Links 2/16/2024

Anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety – emotions that feel bad can be useful The Conversation

Recession reality hits major economies Axios

The Economics Teacher of the New Generation: Cryptocurrency Ideology MR Online


“Lost winter”: Great Lakes ice cover sets record-low for mid-February Axios

Global tree-planting push threatens African grasslands, warns report FT

How air pollution prevents pollinators from finding their flowers WaPo

JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock drop out of massive UN climate alliance in stunning move FOX

EU says small modular reactor deployment can help cut emissions 90% by 2040 S&P Global

New Global BRICS Driving Emerging Architecture InfoBrics


Lies, Damned Lies, and Manometer Readings Asterisk. The deck: “America’s HVAC labor force is plagued by dishonesty and frequently incapable of meeting industry standards. Interventions in indoor air quality are the next frontier in pandemic prevention — but are they up to the task?”

One little COVID infection is no reason to miss work, says Biden’s very science-believing CDC The Gauntlet. Liability for Covid infection is never covered, from which we can deduce it’s an important.

Tucson pilot battles with FAA after being grounded for ‘post-COVID neurocognitive deficits’ KOLD:

Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy is a professor at the University of Arizona studying patients with Long COVID symptoms. While he cannot speak to Hotto’s case specifically, he did say it’s not just pilots having to quit their passions because of the virus.

“We have seen situations where people are being told the task is too complex and that they are not able to function according to the standards,” Parthasarathy said. “There are also circumstances where I see patients with this problem where they themselves have recognized that it’s unsafe for them to do the work that they are doing because too many lives depend upon them.”

Parthasarathy says anyone who develops COVID is at risk of developing Long COVID. He said the best way for anyone to avoid having to give up their job or hobbies is to get fully vaccinated and be aware of the wide-ranging impact COVID can have on your life.

That last sentence is obligatory with physician quotes and it’s wrong. The “best way” is to develop and stick to a protocol of layered protection, which may indeed include vaccines. Amazing that to see doctors and the press collaborate to erase non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Global Elections

Wellingborough and Kingswood: Tories suffer two by-election defeats with big swings to Labour BBC

‘Mandate thieves’: New Pakistan government takes shape amid slew of jabs Al Jazeera

Understanding the Federal Police operation in Brazil: Why Bolsonaro and allies could be arrested Brasil de Fato. Now they have been.


As Chinese scramble to save money, ‘everyone realises winter has come’, and they’re trying to get out of the cold South China Morning Post

Hong Kong authorities arrest seven in US$1.8 billion money laundering case Channel News Asia

China’s Expanding Influence Operations: Online Propagandists Play the Long Game Nippon

Dry Bulk Market: Are China’s Commodities Imports Sustainable? Hellenic Shipping News


‘Here for the long haul’: Protesting Indian farmers set up camp Channel News Asia


Gaza and the End of the Rules-Based Order Foreign Affairs

Why a Demilitarized Palestine Won’t Work Foreign Policy

Israeli rappers call for Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid and Mia Khalifa to be KILLED in controversial chart-topping war anthem which tells the celebrities they deserve ‘what’s coming’ Daily Mail. Ness ve Stilla are at it again.

* * *

Egypt Builds Walled Enclosure on Border as Israeli Offensive Looms WSJ (Furzy Mouse).

* * *

After months fighting Houthis on the USS Eisenhower, sailors face a new kind of sea threat FOX

The Seals and the Dhow Seymour Hersh. Not paywalled. “I have learned in six decades of chasing down hidden stories that it is delving into the little lies that reveals much about the bigger lies.”

* * *

The Perfect Recipe For A Real Antisemitism Crisis Caitlin Johnstone

Jewish Identity with and Without Zionism The New Yorker

European Disunion

EU partners lose trust in Berlin after policy U-turns FT

They Ploughed the Fields & Scattered Literary Review

France’s ‘Article Pfizer’: A Controversial Shift in Health Policy and Free Speech BNN. India. This story seems to have its origin in this “Advisory Opinion” (Google translation) issued by France’s Conseil d’Etat in 2023. But sourcing is awfully sketchy. Can knowledgeable readers comment?

UPDATE Fortunately, Nick covers this today.

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukr Collapse: Avdeyevka Defence Breaks, Troops Flee, Rus Missle Strikes, Syrsky Admits Rus Advances (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Shout-out to NC.

Ukraine withdraws units from parts of Avdiivka, sends in crack brigade Reuters. Azovs into the meat-grinder.

A Long War Made Longer by the West’s Unaddressed Mistakes Wilson Center

Can Ukraine Still Win? The New Yorker

South of the Border

Mexico overtakes China as the leading source of goods imported by US AP

Chinese Carmakers Want Factories In Mexico. That Can Mean Only One Thing The Drive

Biden Administration

US House of Representatives starts recess without voting for Ukraine aid bill Ukrainska Pravda

Spook Country

Explaining Russiagate Exposé (video) Matt Taibbi, YouTube. How the spooks went after Trump (sadly paywalled at both Racket News and Public. Well worth a listen.

U.S. Government Is Hiding Documents That Incriminate Intelligence Community For Illegal Spying And Election Interference, Say Sources (excerpt) Public. More on “the binder” (surely, for good or ill, a MacGuffin?).


Ex-F.B.I. Informant Is Charged With Lying Over Bidens’ Role in Ukraine Business NYT (Rev Kev).

Digital Watch

AI comes for video (and, presumably games (“Learn to code,” lol)):

An enormous training set, stolen and capitalized by bullshit artists. This “changes everything”?

FTC Wants to Penalize Companies for Use of AI in Impersonation Bloomberg

IT body proposes that AI pros get leashed and licensed to uphold ethics The Register. In the UK.

No ‘GPT’ trademark for OpenAI TechCrunch

how to uninstall copilot? i dont want to disable it i want to completely remove it from my system its a waste of space to me. Microsoft. Co-pilot is Microsoft’s new AI tech, which is now “integrated with operating system” exactly as Internet Explorer once was.


A pilot study of chlormequat in food and urine from adults in the United States from 2017 to 2023 Nature. “Toxicological studies suggest that exposure to chlormequat can reduce fertility and harm the developing fetus at doses lower than those used by regulatory agencies to set allowable daily intake levels. Here we report, the presence of chlormequat in urine samples collected from people in the U.S., with detection frequencies of 69%, 74%, and 90% for samples collected in 2017, 2018–2022, and 2023, respectively. Chlormequat was detected at low concentrations in samples from 2017 through 2022, with a significant increase in concentrations for samples from 2023.”

Older Americans skipping surgeries over cost, missed work worries Benefits Pro

Our Famously Free Press

Joe Rogan and Bret Weinstein Promote AIDS Denialism to an Audience of Millions Vice

The Ongoing Impacts of US Imposition into Gayogohono Governance Stiking Distance. A new local paper.


Kansas City police link Super Bowl rally shooting to dispute, not extremism Reuters

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Slaughtering Abolition Democracy Rutgers Law Journal. On Reconstruction.

Imperial Collapse Watch

World leaders’ responses to conflict imperil the rules-based world order Al Jazeera

Trump’s awful truth: the US can go it alone FT

Class Warfare

Employment’s Hidden Figures City Journal

Nearly all wealth gained by world’s rich this year comes from AI Business Standard

Metaphors make the world Aeon

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (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


    An Aryan knows he’s the Master Race
    Above lesser humans is his place
    He need not ponder or think twice
    As he kills for his blue-eyed paradise
    Human rights are for him — not you
    Permitting your life will never do
    Guernica and Auschwitz must take place
    To make room for his Master Race

    Jim Crow proves he’s white as can be
    When he hangs a black man from a tree
    He need not ponder or think twice
    As he kills for his plantation paradise
    Human rights are for him — not you
    You strolling his sidewalk will never do
    Centuries of murder must take place
    To make room for his pure blood race

    A Zionist knows he is blessed by God
    With full permission to kill and defraud
    He need not ponder or think twice
    As he kills to claim his paradise
    Human rights are for any Jew
    The goyim are mere residue
    This genocide in Gaza must take place
    To make enough room for his sacred race

    There’s something connecting these three themes
    Something that drives their harsh extremes
    How do people bounce their kids in their laps
    Then go blow their neighbors’ kids into scraps?
    Can you spot what binds these themes, I ask?
    What’s common behind these three masks?
    What lets you murder and debase
    And fail to see we are one race?

            1. Antifa

              It’s got its own spoken rhythm, so maybe a talkin’ blues song a la Johnny Cash or Dylan or Hank Williams? Or just rap it?

              I talked to some local musicians, but they said if it’s not about the thrill of Oxytocin there’s no money in it . . .

          1. Mary Wehrheim

            There is also the German anthem ‘Die Wacht am Rhein’ which in Casablanca gets drowned out by the patrons singing ‘La Marseillaise’

  2. The Rev Kev

    “how to uninstall copilot? i dont want to disable it i want to completely remove it from my system its a waste of space to me.”

    ‘Microsoft. Co-pilot is Microsoft’s new AI tech, which is now “integrated with operating system” exactly as Internet Explorer once was.’

    This brings back memories. Microsoft nearly missed the Internet boat because Bill Gates insisted that it was a passing fad so forget it. His people were literally screaming at him to check it out which he finally did over a weekend. When he came back he was a true believer and insisted that the internet had to be jammed into every Microsoft product. And this meant that the actual operating system had Internet Explorer jammed into it so that now you had the operating system now displayed a large attack surface to the internet via IE. Microsoft did this as they were in competition with Netscape Navigator at the time and claimed that IE browser could not be sold separately but had to be bundled with the operating system. It never occurred to me that the same would be happening with AI which when you get down to it is still new, buggy software with unknown vulnerabilities.

    1. digi_owl

      More like until he saw the web stuff in action, he assumed the net was email and usenet, maybe FTP, all something that MS already had a solid grip on where it mattered (corporate office). This thanks to having recently muscled out Novell in that market.

      The MS focus at the time was AOL. Why they got involved with NBC (creating MSNBC) as they were in the process of setting up MicroSoft Network (MSN). This to the point that Windows XP shipped with a messaging client that would badger people to sign up on every login.

      Likely what spooked Gates was that web tech, when applied to the corporate LAN, would compete directly with their Exchange product that only recently beat out Novell’s Netware.

      After all, Netscape was heavily pushing “intranet” as a concept along with their integrated Navigator suite that included a IRC client and HTML editor alongside web browser and email.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, back then Microsoft was setting up MicroSoft Network (MSN) which they wanted to be a competitor to the internet. It would be like a walled garden that would have everything in it. It failed of course but when you think about it, isn’t this what Facebook succeeded in doing?

        1. digi_owl

          Even Facebook may be small fry compared to Wechat.

          But yeah, the tech world do seem to go round in circles. As right now things look eerily similar to the mainframe and terminal era of the 70s-80s.

    2. Lefty Godot

      Gates was one of the many expecting everything network-related to run through a “set-top box” that connected to your family room TV. The cable giants loved that prospect too. And maybe you could get some internet content from there, like you could from AOL in 1993, but it wouldn’t be the major part of what you interacted with, which would be proprietary. The internet was just considered too nerdy, and PCs were obviously not something the average person would spend much time interacting with at home. The irony is that so much internet content has ended up like a worse version of television, complete with the repugnant adevrtisements.

      1. Carolinian

        Isn’t social media just the “battle of the gateways” updated? The problem for Microsoft is that desktop operating systems are archeological at this point and the world’s dominant or at least most popular operating system is the Android on all those smartphones. MS in the end didn’t win the browser wars–Chrome is most popular–and all their fooling around with Windows seems arcane–merely drives people to Linux and other alternatives.

        1. digi_owl

          MS is already aware of this and is pivoting to the cloud by marketing Azure towards businesses.

          Basically they are leaving Windows to devs and gamers, and have already retired IE for Chrome powered Edge.

          MS will follow in daddy IBM’s footsteps it seems, focusing ever more on their legacy business customers.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Well, Microsoft already thinks spyware must be bundled with Windows. After seeing this garbage in Windows 10 I can never go back again. Sadly Windows 7 is EOL. Windows 11 I have no doubt is even worse. What a disaster.

      I still remember having to get Winsock DLL shareware to get online in Windows 3.11. Those were the days. The days of Netscape Navigator!

    4. c_heale

      The worst thing about copilot is that it’s being integrated into Github (something MSoft should never have been allowed to buy.) I think we are going to need a new Github soon.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      In Dima’s last video, he stated that the Azov 3rd brigade did not even make it into the city. Assessing the situation, they wisely decided to stay back near a village on the outskirts (Lastchance-nya?) and prepare a defensive position to allow for one of the last muddy roads out to act as a retreat for additional troops trapped within Avdeyevka.

      Dima also speculated that the Azov 3rd may have ignored orders from Syrsky, deciding to do what was best on their own judgment.

      Meanwhile, the WH is becoming increasingly unhinged, ranting about Mike Johnson having the nerve to go on a scheduled recess without passing more aid. At this point, the schedule looks grim; the House comes back on the 28th but will be preoccupied with passing a bill to fund the government, as the first CR expires 2 days later on the 1st of March. Then there is the reality that even if Johnson caves, Ukraine isn’t getting the $61B the Senate passed. There is a group of GOP hawks talking about adding border security to a new bill, and giving less money to Ukraine.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Assessing the situation, they wisely decided to stay back near a village on the outskirts (Lastchance-nya?) and prepare a defensive position to allow for one of the last muddy roads out to act as a retreat for additional troops trapped within Avdeyevka.’

        More likely they set themselves up in the role as a punisher unit who will machine-gun anybody trying to retreat from Avdeyevka. The Russians could do the Ukes a favour and bomb the hell out of their location.

      2. Polar Socialist

        In Russian TG there a lot of references to Azov members complaining about the situation they entered in Avdeevka, It seems that they are in the northern part that is FABbed constantly, not in the southern part that is basically cut off by now.

        1. Skip Intro

          Between this and Selidovo, those Azovs can’t catch a break. It is becoming clear to most, I think, that denazification is a necessary prerequisite on the Ukrainian side for any negotiations to avoid utter dismemberment of Ukraine.

        2. hemeantwell

          From MoA, the end of the Avdeevka cauldron. There’s been a disorderly retreat from the southern pocket back into bomb-levelled positions in the city that offer very weak defensive possibilities. Big question as to what the AFU can cobble together off to the west of the city. This could be a point when Yves’ idea from earlier in the week, re not advancing too quickly to avoid crazy responses from NATO, becomes very pertinent.

      3. Yves Smith

        My conservative contacts say Rs all over the country adamantly opposed to more Ukraine funding. It’s pretty close to toxic. Rs who vote for it had better have secure seats or not be up for re-election soon because they will take a hit.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Are we getting into a Monica Lewinsky type situation where ‘bad’ people end up doing ‘good’ things for all the wrong reasons?

          Maybe a Tolkein-esque situation where evil destroys itself because of its own contradictions?

          It’s really adding a nice sweetener that Israel aid is getting held up, too.

      4. Wukchumni

        Republicans admit it. Kevin McCarthy has never looked so good.

        House GOP insiders view the new speaker as a man perpetually without a plan.(Politico)


        Friday night, it was late, Gaetz was voting you out
        We got down to it and I had been dreaming of the night
        Would it turn out right
        How to tell you Kev
        They want to build their world without you
        Tell you that it’s true
        I want to make you understand I’m talkin’ about a lifetime ban

        That’s the way it began, You, Eric & Ryan were hand in hand
        Young Guns brand was better than before
        We yelled and screamed for more
        And the Tea Party tunes (shrink government today!)
        Made us dance across the room
        It ended all too soon
        And on the way back home you promised
        Those that did it would soon atone

        Hurry, don’t be late, revenge can hardly wait
        Kev said to himself ever so bold
        We’ll go lurking in the dark
        Using campaign funds for their opponents and reminiscing

        Friday night, it was late, Gaetz was voting you out
        We got down to it and I had been dreaming of the night
        Would it turn out right
        Now as the Speaker Johnson’s failures roll on
        Each time we hear our favorite ex-fundraiser’s song
        The memories come along
        Older times we’re missing
        Spending the hours reminiscing

        Hurry, don’t be late, revenge can hardly wait
        Kev said to himself ever so bold
        We’ll go lurking in the dark
        Using campaign funds for their opponents and reminiscing

        Reminiscing, by Little River Band

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Keep in mind that the folks pining for “Muh Kevin” aren’t the rank and file. They’re the deep state apparatchiks who are raging against the fact that Johnson has turned out to be a tough nut to crack.

          Here are Johnson’s practical accomplishments:

          + Stopped a bloated foreign aid bill for Ukraine
          + Deep-sixed another $14B for Israel (that’s $85 per taxpayer)
          + Held spending at 2023 levels for basically 5 months of FY 2024 (CR freezes spending)
          + Stopped a bloated omnibus loaded with “goodies” from passing

          Of course, the Beltway insiders and lobbyists are aghast, and are probably contributing to Kevin’s revenge fund.

          Nice tune!

    2. Lefty Godot

      Unless Syrsky can pull a rabbit out of his hat, it looks like the AFU is down to its last two weeks, maybe less, in Avdeevka. Farther north, it will be on to Chasiv Yar in another few weeks. So there is still some hope that the RF can push the front, and tie up enough AFU forces, that a “mad dash” of fresh troops through Sumy toward Kiev could send the American-British puppet regime packing and relocating to western Ukraine, in time for the Democratic Convention. There would be some poetic justice in Biden’s big project coming unglued just as he (or his replacement) is getting pushed in front of the convention teleprompter.

      If anyone has read Robert Heinlein’s Double Star, doesn’t this seem like the time for a Biden look-alike actor (like the self-styled “Great Lorenzo” in the book) to get slipped in to take his place?

      1. Pat

        Where is “Dave” when you need him? Although unlike Kevin Kline’s doppelgänger President, they would never bring in someone who had ethics and morals.
        the trailer
        And Jill is no Weaver…

  3. The Rev Kev

    Breaking news: Alexey Navalny dead-

    ‘In a statement on Friday, the Federal Penal Service in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region said that Navalny, 47, who was serving his sentence in a correctional facility on several charges including embezzlement, “felt ill” after going for a walk, losing consciousness almost immediately.

    Officials said that medics and an ambulance were called without delay. “All the necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, but they did not yield positive results. Paramedics confirmed the death of the convict,” the statement added.’

    First the neocons are losing Project Ukraine and now they have lost their guy to be the President to replace a deposed Putin.

    1. digi_owl

      Meh, he will be martyred and his US based daughter will take up her father’s “cause”.

      On a different note, i’m getting old…

    2. timbers

      Alexey Navalny is a no-body to everybody except in the West, an asterisk in polling in Russia. His only thing close to a “constituency” is Racheal Maddow brainwashed liberal Dems in the US, and they don’t vote in Russia. The last time someone I know brought up his name was at least 5 years ago by a co-worker who listened to NPR radio all day at work. He said Putin jailed him to stop him from becoming Russian President. (I think among other things he was a tax evader). That’s like saying Biden is going to jail Jill Stein because she’s going to beat him in November.

        1. zach

          I had read at MofA a while back that Navalny’s episode in Germany a few years ago, characterized at the time as an Skripal-esque attempt on his life by the Mad Vlad Putin Regime, was due to an underlying heart condition for which he hadn’t been properly medicated.

          Could just be he had a bum ticker. I hear Russian prisons ain’t exactly salubrious.

      1. Screwball

        Bernie Sanders Tweet from earlier today;

        Bernie’s Tweet

        Alexei Navalny courageously exposed the corruption and lies of Putin’s authoritarian regime. Now Putin has killed him for it. The Russian people deserve better.

        My PMC friends have already found him guilty and convicted him. It was a slam dunk.


        Today’s news to watch for; Biden is suppose to visit East Palestine, Ohio today. I hope they tell him it’s Ohio and not Gaza City.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If he had gotten into power, Navalny would have triggered a new Russian civil war but against the Muslim republics of the Russian Federation. The guy hated muslims and referred to them as cockroaches.

          But for Bernie, I would say that the American people deserve better than him too as twice he formed a massive movement in Presidential elections only to bail out on his supporters and sheepdog them into the Democrats.

          1. rowlf

            Alexei Navalny seems to be a good litmus test to see if someone is inside the western media bubble or outside/resistant to it.

            I happen to have marketing allergies and haven’t found a source for SPF 100 Preparation H cream. I’m thinking he wasn’t chocolate.

          2. Snailslime

            Maybe a hypothetical Navalni Russia would have been steered to become an anti China attack dog similar to how Ukraine was turned into an anti Russia attack dog.

            Anyway, good riddance to bad rubbish and Russia certainly dodged a huge bullet by marginalizing the sorry, traitorous piece of *Familyblog*.

      2. Em

        Except that Jill Stein is a pretty good human being who could make a great president, if only she was actually allowed to make her case…and Navalny was a racist Soros funded comprador.

        Maybe 2024 has some more surprises for us, so I wouldn’t write off that scenario quite yet. Just look at what happened in Pakistan a couple days ago.

      3. R.S.

        My IMHO from quite a long time ago is that the man was first and foremost a grifter. He swinged wildly from ethnic supremacists to “liberals” (more like libertarians), did anti-corruption exposes (sort of) while running fraudulent schemes, and so on. And his “teenage rallies” were just below any standard.

        I guess the story that kinda sealed it for me was the pension reform of 2018. Navalny long advocated raising the retirement age, but when the gov’t initiated the reform, his team literally removed the relevant pages from their website and started organizing anti-reform protests.
        (For instance, link in Russian:

        The rumour is it was embolism, a blood clot (what’s his COVID story, I wonder). But the timing is just terrible.

    3. Feral Finster

      Substitute the words “Jeffrey Epstein” (who we are duly assured killed himself when all the security camera happened to malfunction and the guards happened to be asleep) for “Alexei Navalny” and watch the narrative shift.

      1. mrsyk

        Dude got Epsteined. At whose bequest? Got me wondering if there was more to Navalny than “noble opposition candidate”.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I think John Helmer (apologies if I got that wrong) said that Navalny’s anti-corruption organization started out as a “legal hit man” service in the oligarch turf wars – when you wanted to take over somebody’s business, you dug out some dirt, gave it to Navalny who then took the victim to the court. And then you took over the business and gave Navalny a suitable “donation”.

          Considering that he was treated with a lot of leniency with his first sentence (anybody else would have gone to jail), and after the “novichok attack” (nobody else was allowed out of the country due covid) he seemed to have somebody protecting him from the worst.

        2. Feral Finster

          The difference is that we are duly assured that the ludicrous circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death are perfectly normal and anyone who doubts is a loon, while Navalnyii’s death could only the result of foul play ordered by Putin.

          1. Pat

            And that Epstein was still a threat to those in power, whereas Navalny was a con man who was only a threat to Putin and the Russian establishment in the minds of those deluded by western propaganda, yes Bernie including you.
            If anyone infiltrated the prison to take out Navalny it had to be someone on the US payroll because the only thing this helps is their failing Russian evil empire con.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘the guards happened to be asleep’

        I always thought that they were drugged. Did they do a blood test on them at all on the day?

      3. Arclight G

        This is as apt a comparison as that to any other American citizen who has died while imprisoned without ascertained cause of death. There are many of them. That’s to say, it’s a bad comparison.

        Navalny was a political rival of Putin, he was sent to a remote prison, and died while in custody. The equivalent event in the United States would be Trump dying in custody today.

        Rather than supporting the actions of the ruling group of a nation–yes, even if you think it or they get unfair treatment in the press or in international affairs–correct moral judgments are reached by considering the facts that apply to a situation.

        The situation here is simple enough: Navalny was in custody. That means among other things that his health is the responsibility of the entity in whose custody he was. He died. At a bare minimum, that is negligence on the part of that entity.

        The idea that “it’s nearly universally accepted that Epstein killed himself” needs support. A similar claim is “it’s nearly universally accepted that Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman.” (Neither is nearly universally accepted.)

        1. JohnA

          How abour everyone wait for the results of an autopsy before pointing a finger? Navalny by various accounts was not in the best of healths and a diabetic.

      1. Kevin Walsh

        I’m not sure how Jacques Baud can say that Stalin wasn’t of Orthodox culture. Stalin rather famously received his secondary education in an Orthodox seminary.

        It’s also interesting that Baud excludes Yezhov from his list of Communists who committed the most crimes while including both his predecessor, arrested by Yezhov, and his successor, Beria, who arrested him – presumably he must think the 1937-1938 purges, the so-called Yezhovshchina, was justified.

  4. JohnA

    Re Gaza and the End of the Rules-Based Order Foreign Affairs

    Sadly and ridiculously, like much of the material published in western media, this piece descends into gratuitous Russia and China bashing. It is almost as though such articles would not get published without such mentions.

  5. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    According to the German minister of the economy, the country’s economic situation is “dramatically bad”. That’s an exact quote! *

    He attributes the situation to 3 factors:

    1) High energy prices
    2) Increased military expenses
    3) Reduced exports to China

    And incredibly, when you think about it, all 3 are pretty much directly caused by the US.

    High energy prices in Germany stem from the war in Ukraine and the fact it can’t get cheap gas from Russia anymore. War in Ukraine caused by NATO expansion – an American decision – with the severing of Germany’s energy dependency on Russia a long time, openly stated, American objective (which is also why it’s most likely the US who blew up Nordstream).

    Same thing for high military expenses, also caused by the war in Ukraine, as well as fear by Germany – very much confirmed by Trump’s recent declarations – that the US (or Ukraine) couldn’t be depended upon in the long run for protection.

    Lastly, reduced exports to China coincide with the shift of US strategy towards the country, from engagement to containment, and the imposition on their “allies” to follow them in that pursuit. And when they prove reluctant, the US employs indirect methods to force their hands, as we’ve just seen with Germany’s BASF. The company, suffering from high energy prices, shifted a lot of production to China.

    Interesting coincidence; last week, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an anti-communist propaganda shop founded by an act of Congress, found links between BASF factories in China and “human rights abuse of the Uyghurs”. Immediately the company received a letter from the Inter Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an international group of legislators essentially charged to pressure governments into containing China (with members like Marco Rubio), threatening them with grave consequences for their business if they didn’t close shop at the relevant factories. Because “human rights” The company didn’t have a choice and announced they would…

    And just yesterday the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation interestingly found links between Volkswagen and “human rights abuse of the Uyghurs”, I’ll let you guess what happens next…

    * German economy doing ‘dramatically bad’, economy minister says as government prepares to slash GDP…

    7:34 PM · Feb 15, 2024

    1. The Rev Kev

      In the next sanctions package, the EU – and Germany of course – are supposed to be sanctioning three Chinese and one Indian firms that are suppose to have links with Russia. You want to believe that there will be blowback from both China and India about this against the EU. The EU is trying to tell major powers like China and India who they are allowed to trade with which will not go down well with Beijing or New Delhi

      1. CA

        “In the next sanctions package, the EU – and Germany of course – are supposed to be sanctioning three Chinese and one Indian firms…”

        The animus that has historically characterized the German leadership, from the opening genocide of the last century, in Namibia, to drives to the First and Second World Wars, to the Holocaust, that animus evidently still characterizes the German leadership. Where I would think a rational German leadership would be the most notable peace-makers, rather Germany is belligerent and aggressive and self-harming as ever.

    2. Feral Finster

      German politicians have said that they do not care whether the war on Russia is popular or not, and that they do not care whether Germans freeze or starve.

      I suggest that we believe them.

    3. DavidZ

      3 are pretty much directly caused by the US

      I agree with pretty much what you say. I also believe that European leaders have for years now been doing the bidding of the US, even when it’s to the detriment of their own people/country/interests etc (see Germany not being offended about Nordstorm 1 & 2 being blown up – not a cheep).

      I get the feeling that they were either paid off (maybe cash, maybe future cash aka Tony Blair w/Blair Institute and getting “jobs” from the US Govt.) How many Europeans end up supporting US policies, lose their political power and then end up working for US think tanks (Boris Johnson? Jens Stoltenberg at Nato) etc.

      IMO – US has in a way co-opted the European elite to work for them and if they don’t, they get colour-revolutionised – example Jeremy Corbyn; no wonder Kier Starmer is sucking up big time to the USA.

  6. zagonostra

    >Gaza and the End of the Rules-Based Order Foreign Affairs

    It is as if the grave moral lessons of the Holocaust, of World War II, have been all but forgotten, and with them, the very core of the decades-old “Never Again” principle…the destruction of Gaza and the West’s response to it, signals the end of the rules-based order and the start of a new era…

    Israel and its biggest supporter, the United States, must accept that the stated military objective of destroying Hamas has wrought an overwhelming cost to civilian lives and infrastructure, which likely cannot be justified under international law. It is now more important than ever that the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court act decisively to deliver indictments for crimes committed by all parties to the conflict…

    The painful memories of wrongs, both recent and from long ago, can help save lives today, as well as in the future, in Israel, in the Palestinian territories, and beyond. That process must begin immediately, however, as time is running out.

    Excellent article. I found myself agreeing with almost every point made in spite of source, FA. One point that I don’t agree is that time is “running out.” According to Pepe Escobar/Alexander Dugin, who had a fascinating discussion at below link, both agreed that the “rules based order” died in Novorossiya. Pepe had been touring/interacting with locals and gives a first hand account and impression of what he found. Below is Part I of an excellent interview by two serious global political analyst.

    1. Kouros

      Time is never running out. Maybe in less than a generation, Egypt will shake of its Mameluke regime and the Kingdoms will become Constitutional Monarchies with elections.

      Yeah, I would be interested to see the blood money Israel will have to cough up to compansate the Palestinians, just as a pre-condition to have the Arabs talking with them about security issues and guarantees… And the US won’t be able to do anything about that.

  7. .Tom

    “An enormous training set, stolen and capitalized by bullshit artists.”

    Yes. That’s the business model of a lot of internet firms. Search engines, for example, have been stealing our content and using it for the filler between ads for decades. The concept of a proprietary work product has significance. Their software processes our content into a data structure different from the original and, by some legal magic trick I cannot fathom, that is now their unassailable property. They don’t even have to show it to us and they get to claim that they do not keep the original material it was derived from. Nice work if you can get it.

    1. Mikel

      For a long time, ripping off creatives has underpinned the internet tech business model.

      So I looked at the prompt for the video and first, quick impression:

      It looked like the scene moved around the cat more than the cat moving through a scene – still had a video game vibe about it. It seemed to creep more than jog. The cat didn’t blink and looked more dazed than happy.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, it still had that ‘uncanny valley’ vibe to it, even though it was a cat and not a person.

        1. digi_owl

          What i noticed was that there was this shimmer/halo around the cat as it moved, suggesting the model struggled to deal with the background passing in and out of view. You see a similar shimmer around cheap green screen setups and like.

          1. vao

            Look at the legs. They sometimes seem to originate straight from the middle of the body, not from the sides. The transitions from a leg moving forward and the other backward are often very odd — body parts seem to “melt” within each other.

      2. digi_owl

        Meh, more like companies ripping off other companies that may or may not be ripping off the actual creatives (who in turn may be ripping off the old masters of the craft, as very little in this world is truly tabula rasa).

        1. Mikel

          The give and take among creatives over the years is different from what is going on here.

          An example:
          I’ll argue that music copyright laws (absence the abuse or attempted abuse by estates) had a real element of a sharing economy.

      3. IM Doc

        I have watched several of these in the past 24 hours.

        They seem rather spectacular when just focused on a subject with minimal background. The peacock looking blue bird with the red breast for example.

        When there are city scapes and movement added, things get problematic real quick. There is one of a couple walking through a Japanese street. They are clearly walking under the bright red awning, or supposed to, but the lady’s right shoulder and head are clearly impacting the awning or above it. It takes you right out of the scene.

        I was watching these in between patients last night.

        I find this all very scary. Give it time, and I can easily see how realistic this will all be.

        You could literally potentially write your own manuscript for a movie, insert your own favorite chosen actors, and let it do its work.

        Better yet, “Computer, please go make a 2 hour movie based of the novel Madame Bovary starring Harrison Ford and Greer Garson.”

        I have no doubt this will be possible quicker than we think. The stuff they are talking about in medicine is horrifying.

        I have an all new appreciation for the actors and writers strike this past year.

        1. JustTheFacts

          It’s all going to be so much more fun than that when it is used for propaganda, or as “video evidence” in court cases.

          Not only that, but with the various rulings that copyright cannot be used to prevent “fair use” by ChatGPT et al spell trouble. Why buy and read a book if you can just ask ChatGPT? Once people move to using ChatGPT et al as interface to the world, instead of search, the information landscape will not be bad, it may simply not exist, since there will be no way to fund independent writing.

            1. JustTheFacts

              Yes. Also there was a judge in South America, if my memory serves, using it to make legal decisions.

        2. Randall Flagg

          >The stuff they are talking about in medicine is horrifying.

          At your convenience I would be fascinated (or yep, horrified), to read your thoughts or speculations on what could be coming down the pike with AI in the field of medicine.
          As always all your comments are most appreciated!

          1. IM Doc

            For starters – and I understand this is already in beta format – I have heard about it through the grapevine from doctors already involved.

            There will be cameras and microphones in the exam room. Recording both the audio and video of everything that is done. The AI computer systems will then bring up the note for the visit from thin air – after having watched and listened to everything in the room. Please note – I believe every one of these systems is done through vast web services like AWS. That means your visit and private discussions with your doctor will be blasted all over the internet. I do not like that idea at all. This is already being touted to “maximize efficiency” and “improve billing”. My understanding from those that have been experimented upon as physicians, that as you are completing the visit, the computer will then begin demanding that you order this or that test because its AI is also a diagnostician and feels that those tests are critical. It will also not let you close the note until you have queried the patient about surveillance stuff – ie vaccines and colonoscopy, even for visits for stubbed toenails. And unlike now when you can just turn that stuff off, it is in control and watching and listening to your every move. The note will not be completed until it has sensed you discussing these issues with your patient and satisfied that you pushed hard enough.

            I understand also that there is a huge push to begin the arduous task of having AI take over completely things like reading x-rays and path slides. Never mind the medicolegal issues with this – ie does the AI have malpractice insurance? Does it have a medical license? Who does the PCP talk to when there is sensitive material to discuss with a radiologist, as in new lesions on a mammogram etc? Are we to discuss this with Mr. Roboto?

            There are other examples I have heard but they are so outlandish that they should probably wait for another day for further confirmation.

            The glee with which the leaders of this profession are jumping into this and soon to be forcing this upon us all gives one a very sick feeling. Complete disregard for the ethics of this profession dating back centuries. I had a very similar sick reaction to the glee exhibited in the days of Oxy-Contin and the COVID vaccines.

            There are days I am so so glad I am going to likely retire long before all of this really comes to fruition. All I can say is live as healthy a life as you can. Your medical system is very soon going to throw a rod.

            1. Randall Flagg

              Many thanks.
              Time to go for a walk to negate the thoughts of the possibilities of these depressing scenarios. Pretty sad to think this is the world coming around the corner to my kids and grandkids.

              1. Revenant

                A friend doing some tech consulting in the NHS reports a recent study found that, in a head-to-head test, an AI system performed worse in interpreting lab tests / imaging than the human doctors but was preferred overall by the patients for its bedside manner….

                1. Kouros

                  Strange, because lab tests and imaging diagnostics are done by professionals that never see a patient in flesh and blood.

                  1. Revenant

                    I don’t think I was being cryptic and I hope you are not being obtuse.

                    The system performed worse in *interpreting* the tests – which is what your GP or consultant does for you in the consultation – not in performing them. I never said the AI or the physician it was preferred to performed the test.

                    Also, imaging tests require seeing a flesh and blood patient. Possibly seeing through them as well but definitely seeing them!

            2. Kouros

              How much time will then take a visit? One cannot maximize the monetary output from a patient without a good “sales pitch” and that takes time, and it will be like haggling, because patients too can counter-argue by quickly brousing sites like:

              and not signifficantly reduce the number of patients seen, the throughoutput. Which hits in the immediate bottom line of the physicians.

            3. JustTheFacts

              FWIW, I think there could be a useful role for AI systems to check the diagnosis and prescriptions. Doctors seem often to forget one’s allergies when prescribing… There are tools in programming that find standard kinds of errors in source-code called “linters”. They are very useful. A linter for prescriptions or X-rays might catch errors the doctor missed. But that’s very different from giving over the responsibility for prescribing or interpretation over to the AI which will fail unpredictably when shown unusual data.

              Another concern is that X-ray interpreting software turns out to be very dependent on the pictures on which it was trained. Using a different X-ray machine, or even the same type but with a component manufactured to different specs, can throw the results.

      4. Acacia

        As many people note, there are glaring artifacts in these AI-generated images that produce an uncanny valley effect, etc. However, I wonder if these are really that much of a deal-breaker.

        If the criterion by which we assess these images is a professionally-made film of a real cat in a real garden, then yes of course this video fails.

        But meanwhile, think about how many millions of people watch anime, Disney, Pixar, Marvel, etc., or buy Hallmark cards, and are perfectly comfortable with these images, i.e., they neither seem to need nor care about “reality”, or in fact they don’t want to see reality.

        As this tech evolves (and as IM Doc suggests, above, it could very easily happen sooner than we think), and given the vast number of people who already do not care about “reality” and even seek to avoid it, a new “AI aesthetic” will take shape, and millions of people will likely be onboard.

      5. Jonhoops

        I suggest people look at the other examples in the Sora presentation before poo-poohing it. Compared to the current state of the art Runway-ml or Pika labs it is mind blowingly good. The cat clip was probably one of the least impressive of the clips shown. There were multiple examples that would definitely fool most people as being real. Most researchers thought this level was at least 1 or 2 years out. Things are getting crazy.

        1. c_heale

          Personally I think AI will destroy the Internet. When it’s all nonsense, far from reality it will be useless.

  8. JW

    The two UK by-elections had the same result , 63% said ‘none of the above’ by not bothering to vote. Labour’s dramatic wins constituted 17% of the eligible voters.
    People are generally fed up, of more or less everything.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘Here for the long haul’: Protesting Indian farmers set up camp”

    The police have been using drones to drop tear gas on those farmers figuring that they would be helpless against this. But it looks like some of those farmers are using kites to tangle up and bring down those police drones- (42 sec video)

    So compare the cost of a high tech police drone and a cheap throwaway kite.

    1. Will

      IIRC kite fighting is a very popular sport in India. Deadly, too, with glass coated kite strings sometimes cutting the throats of the unwary.

  10. Wukchumni

    Kansas City police link Super Bowl rally shooting to dispute, not extremism Reuters
    The shooters were juveniles and all they’ve known all of their young lives is the veneration of guns, which won every legal battle in the land without having to fire a shot.

    Taylor Swift donated $100k to the deceased woman’s family, which I hope doesn’t start a trend of GoGunMe.

    She could very much be a determining factor in the election if we didn’t have Genocide Joe in denial in regards to being senile…

    My granny went senile about the same age as Biden, she was convinced grandpa was sleeping with every hottie in Calgary, Joe just wants to start wars in his particular affliction.

    1. Janeway

      The sad fact is that the typical suspects immediately jumped on the extremism ban gun ownership train the minute the news was in. Couldn’t wait for details, that’s now proving that it was nothing more than typical gangbangers gangbanging, just happened to be at a very crowded public event.

      Which gets me to the same typical suspects focusing on mass shooters, AR-15s, MAGA and yada yada yada. But the out of control handgun violence of inner city gangbangers that takes tons more lives (of mostly other gangbangers) than mass shooters? Crickets every time.

      1. Wukchumni

        How are ya gonna ban 400 million guns in existence, the sacred cows have scattered and the barn fell down a long time ago.

        It’s more getting used to these events that is the worry, one of the commentariat threw out a bon mot that went something along the lines of how was gun control when Bush was reading The Pet Goat?

        So I went and looked. There was 1 mass murder of 4 or more in the USA in 2001, that’s it. A double homicide in Santee, Ca. took honorable mention.

        There were 656 mass shootings in 2023 in these not so united states.

        I despise the idea of getting used to these events of usually random violence against complete strangers, my nephew’s high school in San Diego was gonna be the subject of a father-son shoot ’em up last month, dad even had procured an RPG for the special occasion.

        1. Stop Gun Violence

          Disarm all young black males if you want to be effective.

          How? Perhaps all housing projects units could be subject to random inspections by the ATF?

          Better, familial pressure:
          Any gun possession violations would result in immediate eviction of the entire family and being cut off from welfare forever.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Kid in my town was caught trying to shoot up the school my daughter goes to. He has quite the porcelain complexion.

        2. JBird4049

          Yes, all true, but do we focus on the reasons for the insanity or the tools for its expression? I submit that the insanity is greatest in the most desperate, economically deprived areas, which often have the most corrupt, abusive, violent, and lethal police, as well as the most corrupt, incompetent, and exploitative government; the insanity created is expressed using handguns.

          Strange is not that it is the big, bad, scary long gun and the (relatively) rare mass shootings that receive all the attention, but the much, much more common use of handguns used in economic, social, governmental, police-state waste zones are ignored? Most deaths happen in ones, twos, and maybe threes using handguns. Explosions of fear, anger, and payback especially when there are no other obvious means of defense or justice. The United States has always been heavily armed and violent, but why are these shootings happening now? Blaming the designated the disposables and deplorables, the exploited, as the reason is not the answer. It is merely blaming the weakest and most victimized.

          1. ACPAL

            The news is all about “gun violence” and “gun killings” and not about “violence” and “killings.” Parse that out and you can see that the focus is not on violence or killings, those are unimportant. It’s OK to kill with knives, cars, baseball bats, and etcetera, it’s just not OK to do it with a gun, especially with that long black scary one.

            The anti-gunners don’t care about crime, violence, or victims, those they can live with. They just want those scary things banned. This is how shallow those people are.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Hard to imagine that whack job in Vegas throwing a thousand baseball bats out the hotel window, let alone killing 60 people and wounding 413+.

              Sadly, the gun-humper’s phallic symbol of choice scales in terms of death; this should not be surprising, as they are machines designed to kill.

              1. Lefty Godot

                The gun has been glamorized in movies, on TV, and on every other paperback book cover for many decades. Not to mention in videogames, more recently. And since the rise of the “antihero” protagonist in late 1960s visual media, you don’t have to think of your gun as only necessary for self-defense. Since then it’s become “cool” to be “bad” and waste people who “disrespect” you. One way or another, the so-called entertainment (and news) media have been pushing American culture (never wholly admirable to begin with) toward more violence, more division, more hostile know-nothingism, more rudeness and crass sexual exhibitionism. As Morris Berman says, we’ve become a nation of violent buffoons.

                  1. zach

                    One might use the term “crisis cult,” and more accurately in my opinion.

                    You can make good money off death, but you can make a s***whack more off panic.

                    1. JBird4049

                      Violence seems to be as American as apple pie and extremely profitable to encourage for some. Said encouragement always includes creating as much fear as possible.

    2. Carolinian

      Joe is worried Europe may be sleeping with Putin. He did a drive by shooting of the Nordstream pipeline to prevent.

    3. Pat

      Oh if only all Joe did was to start fights with men he thought were touching his wife, or lay into Jill for having it off with the Secret Service detail. For one he wouldn’t remain in office for long, this would blow up like their dangerous dogs. Unfortunately he is a narcissistic bully who now gets to run his pack from a distance and beat up on his lessors from a distance. Lucky us.

      Not that he couldn’t get personal. Anyone want to guess the odds that Joe was claiming he not only could but should beat the bejesus out of Johnson for not bowing to his demand to fund Ukraine.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “US House of Representatives starts recess without voting for Ukraine aid bill ”

    It wasn’t just money to the Ukraine but to Israel and Taiwan as well as a bunch of other stuff. Pretty sure both the Ukraine and Israel were hanging out waiting for those precious billions. The House might vote again on this when they come back on the 28th of this month but then there is the little matter of negotiating a deal to avert yet another US government shutdown to deal with first. Biden refuses to have legislation that includes any money for the border and the House GOP members refuse to vote on ‘clean’ bills as they know that as soon as they do, then Biden will renege on voting for any border bills. I think that one wag US politician suggested renaming Texas as Israel so that Biden would vote money to them.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The GOP tends to be fairly crafty relative to Team Blue. Democrats are broadcasting their brilliant strategy of moving to the extreme right to undercut the GOP than stomping their feet that David Duke won’t endorse them. The GOP knows how this will play with their voters and low they don’t need to disrupt employers bringing in migrant workers and can still pretend to be for “borders!” Joining with Biden will only annoy the employers they want to keep happy but will get them labeled as RINOs.

      As far as Ukraine and even Israel, failure will he laid at Biden’s feet, not the GOP. Except for a few true believers, the GOP members don’t care about funding. They just know Biden will flail.

      We went through all this with Trump and “build the wall”. I’m not sure why Team Blue thouget this is where they would GOP votes given that happened a week ago. The answer is too many safe districts simply let turds rise to the top of the Team Blue courtier class. Biden also has Susan Rice running his domestic policy, and she was a terrible foreign policy expert with no domestic experience.

  12. ChrisFromGA

    They’re both deranged

    Sung to the tune of, “Bebe LeStrange” by Heart

    It’s got to be time for succession
    (Not your Kamala)
    I don’t know how to say it no better
    You need memory care
    Never heard rantin’ like you could
    Howling like you can
    It gets me thinking of Ozzy Osbourne
    But you know you ain’t no man

    When I heard your presser I knew
    The rules must have changed
    We’re all dog panicked and you are to blame
    Everybody ought to worry
    Biden’s deranged
    He looks so insane
    Bread pudding for brains
    Biden’s deranged

    I wish I knew when you’ll have a good day
    A rare time of reason
    But the way you move with that unsteady gait
    It’s yet another sign

    Count to twenty, give me a sign
    Call me back if this gets through
    Mitchster, Mitchster, Mitchster, Mitchster
    Your OS needs a reboot

    When I heard your presser I knew
    Why you’re dubbed “Freeze Frame”
    We’re all gut-laughing and you are to blame
    Everybody ought to worry
    Mitchster’s deranged
    He looks so insane
    We gave him a name
    Freeze Frame’s deranged

    Oh, invoke the amendment
    Oh, call in the doctors
    Oh, invoke the amendment
    Oh, call in the doctors


    1. Wukchumni

      Most excellent~

      My late mother lived at her assisted living place for 8 years and it had 51 apartments and the building was attached @ the hip with ‘memory care’, a vastly different and I dare say forbidden (my sisters & I never once saw the inside of it, the feeling was that you’d better not know it exists, compared to my mom’s digs where everything was ebullient-the cruise ship permanently docked on Whittier Blvd, as it were) part of the assisted living existence.

      Mom told me a year ago that in her time there, 5 or 6 residents went ‘to the other side’.

      1. Adam Eran

        As someone who has visited “memory care,” I can testify that the accommodation is as nice as “assisted living” — where the less impaired reside. The difference: They lock the doors so the patients (inmates? residents?) don’t wander out into the street.

        I’ll add that if all the musicians/lyricists present on NC are interested, playing for these venues is a potential gig. They will probably pay you gas money, too!

        1. Twylah

          We’ve done that with our quartet, it was much appreciated by staff and residents and felt amazing to us. Many sang along.

      1. mrsyk

        Glad to see the US’s impending, self-inflicted isolation is conveniently Trump’s fault and certainly not caused by the people currently in charge. Anyway, no biggie. Our robust manufacturing sector surely will pick up the slack. Or maybe Mexico will still sell to us. Heh heh. Oh boy.

        1. Pat

          Hey you can’t go giving the Bidenites all the credit. The crews the Clintons, the Bushes and Obama gave us may have done a dance in and out of office for the last thirty years, but for much of the causes of our isolation and our lack of ability to survive it they have all been making the same moves.

          1. Wukchumni

            Willy Loman & son Biff have done their best to alienate the rest of the world as far as being salesmen. ….think ‘Dark Dale Carnegie’.

          2. c_heale

            Maybe the US can go it alone, Russia certainly can, Maybe China can if it can stop relying on exports for income. Western Europe certainly can’t, it has no resources, decreasing political power. The European empires have lasted for about 400-500 years, now they are done.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Europe had five empires (British, German, Austrian, Russian and Ottoman), and all were ripe and done with over a hundred years ago. We’re still settling old scores from that, though.

              What is coming to an end is the European neo-colonialism, and that’s going to hurt.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s really the whole debate isn’t it? Meanwhile Putin, while desiring “partners,” seems perfectly willing to go it alone and ordinary Americans–who typically spend zero time thinking about the rest of the world–have always been willing to go it alone even if they now buy all their stuff from China.

      Our ruling class needs to get out more in the country they actually live in.

      1. digi_owl

        Given the recent display of opulence in the number of private jets after Super Bowl, not gonna happen any time soon.

    2. Lee

      The U.S. is quite capable of a high degree of autarky, and should retrench. Go back to the Monroe Doctrine, resign itself to being a hemispheric hegemon, then make do with just selling weapons to various Eurasian tribal combatants. There’s money to be made and fights to stay out of. Ever the giddy optimist, me.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        ” . . Go back to the Monroe Doctrine, resign itself to being a hemispheric hegemon,”

        I don’t think the Latin American hegomees are going to put up with their hegemon’s tender loving embraces much longer.

      2. hk

        That has a long history.

        “Whatever happens, we got the Maxim gun and they have not.” (Hilaire Belloc)

        “I’m an American, you European fop.” (Hiram Maxim–the actual quote was something like “let’s invent stuff those fool Europeans can kill each other with,” off the top of my head).

  13. Mikel

    “Recession reality hits major economies” Axios

    Good thing US companies don’t have too many foreign customers or clients. ;)
    Or maybe this is where US as a tax haven posing as country comes into play.

  14. t

    If I’m skimming correctly, this Trump spying was part of the strategy to set him up and them knock him out right before the election? (Even if that means sitting on actual criminal evidence – even suppressing news – through the primary and most of an election year.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “After months fighting Houthis on the USS Eisenhower, sailors face a new kind of sea threat”

    They might be getting spooked. You have NATO controlled sea-drones going after the Russian Navy in the Black Sea and just a few days ago they sunk a Russian landing craft. The thought might arise that perhaps the Russians might send a technical team to Yemen to teach the local how to upgrade their sea-drones to be more effective against allied naval ships.

  16. t

    When people are sad, they process information in a deliberative, analytical way ….

    I haven’t met a lot of these people and am not one. This just sounds like another in the current trend of “enjoy your misery” assessments. I’d these things were try, PTSD would make us superior, more highly fit and functional folks.

    1. Yves Smith

      Sad may not be the right word. Tons of studies have found the mildly depressed are more realistic and have a better grasp of the odds of various things coming to pass. They don’t have the optimism bias that screws up the assessments made by “normal” people.

      1. Lefty Godot

        The positive thinking crowd will demur that it’s only “unrealistic” optimism that is bad. Then they’ll hand you books with titles like Think and Grow Rich and Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. Yup. Us pessimists are onto their game!

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Gnostic. Maryanne Williamson sums up Course in MIracles well:

            Thought is cause.
            Matter is effect.

            Tough to stay tied to reality when that’s your worldview.

      2. c_heale

        I’m wondering (having done no research) if the very concepts of optimism and pessimism are complete nonsense. Can they even be accurately defined?

  17. Carolinian

    Thanks for the lotsa links. Re The New Yorker on the psychology of Zionism

    Benzion [Netanyahu–Bibi’s father] considers Blum a delusional fool for having bought the kind of “integration” America is selling him: extermination on the installment plan. (Blum’s daughter effectively risks her life for a nose job.) Blum, for his part, believes that what Benzion professes is not history but thinly veiled theology. He is nonetheless drawn in, to his surprise and discomfort, by Benzion’s provocation that American Jews have ransomed themselves for the fantasy of belonging.

    There’s a lot to unpack in this para and the very much worth a read article goes on to talk about other books on the psychology of Zionism. But perhaps the central point is that it is all about psychology, not safety. Despite claims to the contrary the Israelis could have made peace with their neighbors at any time but then that all important identity would be threatened and assimilation–“extermination on the installment plan”–merely moved to the MIddle East.

    It’s pretty deep for we USians who live in a country explicitly founded on the rejection of European wars of religion and prefer to worship mammon. Assimilation isn’t a Holocaust–despite what some assert.

    1. pjay

      I also though this article was worthwhile, and these days I’m automatically skeptical of just about anything in the New Yorker. Over the years I’ve had a number of Jewish friends and colleagues who have wrestled with these issues and dealt with them in different ways. Since I am not Jewish I will not speak for them, but as the author emphasizes it seems like one is forced to deal with the issue of Zionism today when once it was possible to avoid it.

      It was interesting to compare this complex discussion with the relatively simple points made by Caitlin Johnstone in the article just above it, which makes crystal clear why the issue of Zionism is unavoidable today.

    2. Carolinian

      Having praised one New Yorker story the “Can Ukraine Still Win” is the usual “it would be irresponsible not to speculate” nonsense. The mag itself needs a regime change.

  18. Wukchumni

    The sun was shining and blue skies reigned over the 57th World Ag Expo in Tulare County Tuesday. But inside seminar trailer No. 2, the mood was gloomy to dismal as panelists discussed the San Joaquin Valley’s water outlook.

    The upshot is that, with surface supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta shrinking and increased groundwater pumping restrictions looming, more than 900,000 acres in the Central Valley will have to come out of production, according to Michael Ming, a broker with Alliance Ag Services LLC, which has been tracking ag land values with respect to water for nearly 20 years.

    The bulk of that fallowing will be in Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, he said.

    The lack of water security is also a driving force on land valuations.

    Even in districts such as Arvin-Edison Water Storage District, which contracts for federal water, land prices have dropped recently from $22,000 per acre to an average of about $17,000. That price is for farmers in the district that have wells and buy the district’s contracted water. Values go down from there.

    Landowners whose parcels are not in a water district, called “white lands” because they appear as white on maps, are the real canaries.

    Land prices have dropped from $15,000 per acre to $4,000, Ming said, and he anticipates them going even lower.

    Funny how they don’t really mention overplanting of tree crops-by far the dominant food grown around these parts, with almonds leading the way in draining aquifers in a race to the bottom to see how low of a price they could get for their nuts.

  19. Feral Finster

    TL:DR, The man whose job it is to defend and explain Canada’s foreign policy in Parliament admits in private that Israel is engaged in genocide with Canadian support and that Canada defunded UNRWA at the behest of the United States.

    Needless to say, Oliphant is not the only politician in Canada or elsewhere who is fully aware of the evil that he is doing. He’s just the only one we have a recording of admitting it.

  20. Wukchumni

    Some of the current political parties try to include these young people, sarcastically called 2005-born liberals and whose numbers are increasing every day, but Turkey’s unique political conditions largely prevent this line from reflecting on the political scene, at least for now. Unfortunately, the situation is different for Argentina, which ranks second after Turkey in terms of cryptocurrency ownership rate and suffers from currency crises and chronic inflation just like Turkey.

    I get it, you’re young (know anybody over 60 that is invested in cryptocurrency?) and you want to be different than stodgy old economics where shares were worth something because the company made something, and if you need Albanian hookers, illicit drugs and/or exotic armaments that can’t be paid for on a credit card, I mean where else would you go other than Bitcoin et al ?

    Argentina & Turkey are world class hyperinflation specialists, hell, they had to chop off 6 Zeroes about 20 years ago in Istanbul from the old Lira and I heard they used a rusty sword, but abracadaver its a basket-case again along with the best Buenos Aries can pull off, hopefully keeping it real @ 100% inflation per annum.

    Argentine holders of Bitcoin for a few years have pulled off a double win, as it went up in $ value as the Peso plunged in $ value.

    1. TWal

      In Argentina, they have done real estate transactions in $US for decades. I used to think that PayPal or something similar would allow something like a reasonably stable currency to be used as an alternative to a local hyper inflated currency. But it never happened.
      In Cambodia, everyone seems to use $US cash.

  21. Mikel

    Digital Watch:
    June 2022 –

    How Paramount+ Became a Contender in the Streaming Wars | Charts
    “Demand for the service’s programming has made it one to watch — just a year after it replaced CBS All Access”
    Today, February 2024 –

    How Paramount Became a Cautionary Tale of the Streaming Wars

    “Shari Redstone inherited her father’s storied media empire and tried to take on Netflix. Now it’s looking for a buyer.”

    It’s a cautionary tale about more than Paramount +.

    1. IM Doc

      Just as Disney has completely trashed both the Marvel and the Star Wars franchises – possibly beyond repair, Paramount has completely destroyed the Star Trek franchise. As someone who has fond memories of the Star Trek vision as a child, it is deeply sad. The new shows on the streaming service are literally unwatchable. And this is not just an “old person” thing. My own kids love The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine – they cannot even stand to watch Discovery for even a minute. You know the franchise has completely jumped the shark when they pick Stacey Abrams – yes that Stacey Abrams – to be the President of the Federation.

      Bankruptcy and selling off cannot happen quick enough for these companies – Paramount and Disney. It is my dream that whoever gets them will take them back to square one. The people who run them now seem to be doing all they can to keep digging deeper.

          1. IM Doc

            I would tend to disagree with you about that. One look at the “female of the week” aliens and their costumes in the Original Series – to me is the opposite of what I hear from the woke crowd in our modern world. And it was literally week after week.

            I repeatedly hear and read in forums over and over about how misogynistic the original series and even TNG are. They are often considered so evil that it “hurts” people to discuss them in public. There is currently an obvious and extended campaign to remove even the memory of Captain Kirk from the franchise as evidenced by multiple recent ads and commercials from Paramount +.

            In my humble opinion, those original shows are indeed somewhat dated. But they had a very strong ethos of “live and let live” of racial equality, of teamwork, of respect and dignity for all life, of loyalty, of friendship and comeraderie at work, of an optimism for the future, of vivid use of the scientific method, and just the wonder of the universe. From what I have been able to tell, the current iterations of Star Trek with maybe the exception of Strange New Worlds celebrate none of these virtues.

            Instead they often degenerate into an entire hour of “virtue signalling.”

            To me those virtues from the early shows are consistent with progressivism for sure. They are also consistent with a functional society which we should all want. However, progressivism is the absolute opposite of the authoritarian totalitarianism of what we currently call “woke”. So no, I do not believe at all that the early iterations of the franchise are “woke” in any way shape or form.

        1. flora

          If the idea was to demoralize their customers for some reason it didn’t work. People got annoyed and stopped buying their products. They lost a lot of customers for good. Own goals.

      1. c_heale

        Everything comes to an end. We aren’t talking about great human artistic achievements here. We’re talking about a TV series, a simplistically plotted movie and it’s sequels, and a load of movies based on manichean comic book stories.

        Personally, I think they were just trivial ‘entertainment’ and never had much cultural significance anyway.

        DEI isn’t the problem. The problem is that the original material is weak and can’t support the sequels.

  22. Lee

    “Amazing that to see doctors and the press collaborate to erase non-pharmaceutical interventions.”

    At my most recent in person doctor’s appointment my smiling, maskless PCP commented on my P100, “That’s quite a mask you’re wearing.” That was a couple of months ago. Lately I see a lot more people in public wearing masks. Good news or bad? Is this increase in masking a lagging indicator, or a wave of the future indicating people are wising up? Something about horses and barn doors comes to mind.

  23. Craig H.

    JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock drop out of massive UN climate alliance in stunning move

    This is an amazing article from Mark Goodwin and Whitney Webb.

    Tokenized, Inc: BlackRock’s Plan To Own The Fractionalized World

    They don’t give a hoot about the climate. What they want is power and control. If they can get control with left politics they will use it. If that’s not working they will try right politics. Dimon was testifying to congress that crypto currency was for criminals and then two weeks later JPMorgan rolled out a bitcoin fund. The Argentine fellow got elected insulting the international banks and the first thing he did was sign up with the international banks.

    The oligarchs own both sides of the partisans on almost any publicized issue.

    1. digi_owl

      I seem to recall a claim that when the crisis started rolling in 2008, US banks were allowed to accept cartel deposits in order to keep them afloat.

      Never mind that UK went to war with China to protect opium smugglers, as UK was facing an unmanageable trade deficit over tea.

  24. MicaT

    Thx for the vice/rfk/joe Rogan article.
    I didn’t realize that people still thought that about AIDS/HIV.
    As I’ve listened to more interviews of RFK, his abilities as a lawyer to cherry pick particular statements and present them as coherent facts is quite convincing if one doesn’t have the knowledge to see through it.

    In a different case I heard him try and make the case that Hamas is completely at fault and Israel is the good guy , definitely not doing genocide. His interviewer did a great job of exposing most of his misconceptions/lies. And this interview was after the ICJ first report or ruling. Not sure what’s it’s called.

    1. IM Doc

      Let me give you another aspect from the lens of medical history and ethics.

      I think the issue is really not “Is HIV the etiology of AIDS?” It is clear that issue has been put to rest. I think the main concern as far as many medical ethicists are concerned is how Dr. Fauci behaved in the 1980s when we really did not know what was going on. Let me put it this way – the scientific method was simply subverted in the dollar signs. And instead of having debates about this issue, Fauci and others went around the backs of very eminent scientists who dared question the at times flimsy official narrative and stabbed them repeatedly. He and his NIH leaders also made big efforts to torpedo anything and everything being done as far as pharmaceuticals that were not the official narrative or money stream. It was literally a disgrace. And in the fullness of time, Fauci et al were absolutely wrong about so much of it. And many died because of it.

      The abhorrent behavior has been the subject of many ethics conferences and lectures I have attended over the years. The surprise in some quarters was palpable when he was trotted out by Trump and put in charge of COVID. At the time, I heard many correctly predicting the disaster that was to unfold. Looking back, it is almost as if the AIDS behavior was a dress rehearsal for the performance we have seen the past few years.

  25. Feral Finster

    “Ukraine withdraws units from parts of Avdiivka, sends in crack brigade Reuters. Azovs into the meat-grinder.”

    n.b. at least one report stated that the Third Assault Brigade (the unit referred to in the article) refused orders to go into Avdeevka.

    If you read Russian, Geroman reports “partial withdrawal” of the Third Brigade from Avdeevka.

    1. mrsyk

      I cannot type the phrase “crack brigade” without chuckling. Seemingly “crack” enough to avoid the meat grinder for now anyway.

      1. Wukchumni

        Perhaps there was a meth-odd to their madness, pervitin?

        Once I had in intervene at one of those Greek restaurants in LA that has about 147 items on the menu-hamburgers-Mexican-etc, and on the marquee outside the words FISH MALTS were uncomfortably close to one another, not that there’s anything wrong with a trout smoothie.

  26. Jason Boxman

    Producer prices and consumer prices both came in hot in January

    Fewer cuts this year? I think Biden is toast if Bidenomics isn’t brought under control soonish.

    Wholesale and retail prices rose more than expected in January, data pointing to the stubbornness of inflation that could lead the Federal Reserve to put off cuts to interest rates.

    The producer price index (PPI), which measures how much businesses pay to each other for goods and services, rose 0.3 percent in January, above expectations of 0.1 percent.

    Service prices increased 0.6 percent on the month while goods prices decreased by 0.2 percent. Annually, wholesale prices were 3.7 percent lower in January than they were in January 2023.

    The core index with more volatile prices of food and energy stripped out rose 0.6 percent, the largest advance in a year, the Labor Department noted.

    1. Pat

      Biden and the Dems had one chance to bring this under control. Unfortunately it was totally unacceptable to the donor class because it would have hit them AND more importantly it would have made all the claims inflation was the result of higher wages look ridiculous. They needed to enact an excess profits tax, but never even put it on the agenda.

      Now there isn’t a chance. The big players may supposedly want to keep Biden in office, but they have to keep Mr Market happy. Not to mention they are looking at each other and going “you first!” when any one even indicates prices should go down.

      1. Gilbertina

        American workers had their first opportunity in decades to demand and get higher wages and a share of productivity post pandemic.

        With 6 million adult ‘migrants’ demanding, and probably getting work permission, that is over, as is unionization in private industry.


        Something else no one ever mentions is the money that they send out of our country back home. Food deserts, lack of local money spent in communities, poverty, those are all exacerbated by the many hundreds of billions sent out of the U.S. every year. From The International Monetary Fund:

        There’s a limit to links. This is easy to find online:
        It does not address the money sent out of the country, just direct and indirect costs.

        “At the start of 2023, the net cost of illegal immigration for the United States – at the federal, state, and local levels – was at least $150.7 billion.”

      2. spud

        good luck trying to tax the rich under free trade.

        offshore tax havens are a direct result of free trade: the pathology of free trade is being exposed

        Today’s global rich are increasingly stateless, detaching their money from nation states and conventional representations of ownership to hide and preserve it. A global oligarchy is growing — and it does not bode well for everyone else and the planet.

        free trade enables the plundering of the wealth of nations, especially hurting the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations. It allows wealthy individuals and corporations to dodge and evade their tax responsibilities, shifting obligations onto those with fewer resources. It empowers criminals, deadbeats, and kleptocrats

        in 1983 there were only 15 billionaires in the u.s.a., under bill clintons free trade, billionaires have ballooned into more than 615(i hear its up to about 800 now), and under free trade, this is happening globally

        The costs of a secretive ‘wealth defense industry’ of shell companies, offshore tax havens, and empty luxury condos
        When oligarchs and ultra-wealthy around the world game the system to hide riches in Boston and other cities, everyone else pays.
        By Chuck CollinsUpdated April 1, 2021, 11:55 a.m…

  27. CA

    “China’s Expanding Influence Operations: Online Propagandists Play the Long Game”

    A ridiculous attack on Chinese media criticism of the dumping of radioactive waste water into the ocean by Japan. As though the Chinese criticism were entirely “communist” driven. The lack of introspection by the Japanese writer is remarkable, but that is what propaganda actually amounts to.

    1. Cat Burglar

      Articles purporting to expose disinformation are usually a source of it, and the article followed the rule.

      Checking the sources, you get —

      Oxford Internet Institute (funded by the UK, and a foundation set up by a Dame)

      Australian Strategic Policy Institute (funded by the government, and by the governments of Japan, UK, and US — yet still refers to itself as independent. I wonder what it is independent of?)

      “[T]he US nongovernmental organization Freedom House” (funded by the US government)

      David Shambaugh of Georgetown University (and Brookings Institute)

      Jamestown Foundation (founded to give paychecks to defectors from the USSR, with the help of CIA director William Casey; it denies funding from the US government, but does not provide any information about funders on its website)

      Joshua Kurlantzick (a journalist working for the CFR)

      The writer does not identify any of the state-funded organizations that are the predominant sources of the key analytical ideas in the article. She even misleads the reader into believing Freedom House is an independent organization, and ASPI’s deception on the same point does not seem to affect its credibility. Looks like a propaganda conduit to me.

      1. CA

        “Articles purporting to expose disinformation are usually a source of it, and the article followed the rule…”

        Really helpful; I am quite grateful.

  28. Jason Boxman

    From Lies, Damned Lies, and Manometer Readings

    This horror caught my eye:

    And our inadequately trained and skilled HVAC workforce is already proving itself a roadblock for another key technology: heat pumps. Replacing combustion furnaces and boilers with electric heat pumps is a critical step toward reducing carbon emissions. But there’s a catch: The refrigerant most commonly used in heat pumps, a formula called R410a, is itself a potent greenhouse gas. Systems installed according to industry standards very rarely leak. But in practice, HVAC technicians frequently — at the very minimum 10% of the time, though estimates vary widely — fail to follow these standards. Many of the gains of electrification are being clawed back by unexpectedly high refrigerant leak rates as a result.

    (bold mine)

    So, LOL, these miracle devices require a horrid refrigerant that’s highly destructive if it leaks. Surprise, surprise!

  29. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    That’s actually hilarious.

    On 12 Feb, Rahm Emmanuel, US Ambassador to Japan, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “What no expert saw coming: the rise of Japan”.

    Three days after, Japan was said to have slipped into a recession and lost its spot as the world’s 3rd largest economy.

    Quite the prophet, isn’t he?×360×360

    2:15 AM · Feb 16, 2024

    1. Acacia

      There have been some other articles about Japan losing its 3rd-largest economy status, opining that Germany will take its place. But I wonder if these factor in the actual state of the post-Nordstream, post-Russian gas German economy…

      1. CA

        “There have been some other articles about Japan losing its 3rd-largest economy status, opining that Germany will take its place. But I wonder if these factor in the actual state of the post-Nordstream, post-Russian gas German economy…”

        What counts is purchasing-power-parity GDP levels. Japan has had an especially weak currency, weak overall and in regard to the EURO. So even with a weak economy Germany has passed Japan in GDP. The point should be however that both Japan and Germany are faring poorly economically, however Japan is still the larger economy:,924,132,134,532,534,536,158,546,922,112,111,&s=PPPGDP,&sy=2007&ey=2023&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) for Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States, 2007-2023


        Brazil ( 4,101)
        China ( 33,517)
        France ( 3,869)
        Germany ( 5,538)
        India ( 13,120)

        Indonesia ( 4,393)
        Japan ( 6,495)
        Russia ( 5,056)
        United Kingdom ( 3,872)
        United States ( 25,950)

    2. CA,924,132,134,532,534,536,158,546,922,112,111,&s=PPPGDP,&sy=2007&ey=2023&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) for China, Germany, India, Japan and United States, 2007-2023


      China ( 33,517)
      Germany ( 5,538)
      India ( 13,120)
      Japan ( 6,495)
      United States ( 25,950)

      August 4, 2014

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

      (Percent change)

      August 4, 2014

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

      (Indexed to 1977)

  30. Carolinian

    Re Chinese car makers entering Mexico

    Mexican manufacturing is of great importance to carmakers from across the world due to its cheap labor and access to the U.S. market. (The fact that the industry is consolidating there is only a bonus.) Mexico is a member of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the NAFTA successor that lowers trade barriers between North America’s three biggest economies. It allows vehicles like the Mexican-made Ford Maverick to be exported to the U.S. without incurring the 25-percent “Chicken Tax” on light trucks, which shuts out foreign competition like the Chevrolet Montana, Japanese kei trucks, and a range of cheap Chinese alternatives. Some of them are even quite stylish.

    But that may not last, because Mexican production offers China another benefit as the U.S. tries to drive EV adoption. Our new federal EV tax credit requires a vehicle to be assembled in North America and for its battery minerals to be sourced or processed within Agreement countries in order to be eligible. That would mean a Mexican plant would not only skirt some of the U.S.’s protectionist tariffs, but also allow buyers of Chinese EVs to claim federal tax credits.

    So we may get those $11,000 EVs from BYD after all? Look out Tesla.

    1. Wukchumni

      About a dozen years ago we were in a shopping mall somewhere in NZ, and on display was a Toyota 4Runner look-alike, some Chinese brand called Great Wall. I looked it up and while not of Yugo integrity, it had some catching up with the likes of KIA et al. I’m sure everything has improved mightily since I saw it.

      New cars are wickedly expensive in NZ, but this had a list of around NZ$22k, which was nothing.

      Ford saw the writing on the wall and got rid of passenger cars except for the E-Mustang when pitted against Korean competition, do they close shop once the cheap Chinese EV’s flood in?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      BYD cars are quite expensive in most markets – their Seal, which is the direct competitor to the Tesla Mark 3, is significantly more expensive in most markets where they go head to head. Their smallest car, the Dolphin city car, sells for around the 25,000 euro mark in Europe, which is above the level of some European EV competitors.

      Tesla have been slashing prices in China and are likely to do so in other markets – they seem to have been very successful in cutting costs and their scale means they can buy up battery packages cheaper than their competitors. Tesla have taken a very lucrative chunk of the Chinese market and are not likely to give it up without a fight.

      I guess it depends on which models BYD focus on – I would guess they will go for smaller SUV’s – but I think they are far more likely to threaten the Japanese and Korean brands than Tesla, and maybe GM too. I tend to think that every successful EV brand is a bonus, not competitor to Tesla, as it normalizes EV’s and expands the market.

      If someone goes for a very cheap EV, its likely to be another Chinese brand than BYD. BYD specialises in vertical integration to drive down costs, but this means they may not be able to take advantage of the upcoming flood of much cheaper battery packages (usually from Chinese makers) which could well give new entrants a major cost advantage. However, building up a brand and an integrated manufacturing system is difficult and expensive, and a likely huge worldwide glut in car production capacity is likely to mean there will be a lot of losers in this battle.

      1. Carolinian

        I can’t remember where I saw the article–it may have been in Links–but I believe it said that BYD originally was a battery company that turned into a Chinese car company making EV but now make hybrids as well. It said they have been using lithium iron batteries that hold less charge than the Tesla lithium rare earth batteries but that are safer. Article on their latest battery

        And this is their new car that sells for $11,000–only in China presumably.

        Of course any car imported to the US has to meet US safety standards concerning crash testing, number of air bags etc. But that above mentioned article said one reason they are not already in the US would be the Trump tariffs which presumably wouldn’t apply if car assembled in Mexico.

    3. CA

      January 4, 2024

      China’s BYD becomes world’s top pure electric vehicle seller in Q4

      SHENZHEN — China’s BYD became the world’s leading seller of pure electric vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2023, marking another landmark moment in China’s fast-growing new energy vehicle (NEV) sector.

      The Shenzhen-based auto company announced the sales of 526,409 all-electric cars between October and December, surpassing Tesla’s 484,507 in the same period.

      The annual figures also saw BYD retaining the title of the world’s top NEV seller, with more than 3.02 million cars sold last year, including both pure electric models and plug-in hybrid ones.

      BYD is one of the many NEV producers that have seen booming sales as China, boasting the largest number of motor vehicles in the world, transitions toward greener technologies.

      Among Chinese companies, GAC Aion, an NEV subsidiary of GAC Group, saw its sales increase by 77 percent to reach 480,000 last year. NEV startup Li Auto delivered 376,000 vehicles in 2023, marking a 182.2-percent rise.

      The U.S. NEV giant Tesla also celebrated a 38-percent growth in car delivery in 2023. With a gigafactory in Shanghai, the company considers China its largest overseas market outside the United States.

      WHY BYD?

      Established in 1995 as a battery producer, BYD was an early starter in the pursuit of NEV manufacturing in China. In 2004, when BYD’s new energy cars made their debut at Beijing’s international auto show, the company was the only carmaker there to exhibit NEVs.

      “When we first announced our electric vehicle production plan, not many people had confidence in us,” recalled Wang Chuanfu, chairman of BYD.

      “But we had confidence in our prediction that the traditional auto market would have a market size ceiling due to environmental and climate change factors,” Wang said.

      After tiding over a rocky start characterized by consumer suspicions over driving range and scarce charging facilities involving NEVs, the company ushered in an era of robust growth in recent years.

      Last year, the company sold more than 1.57 million pure electric passenger cars, representing a 72.8 percent rise year on year. Its sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles also climbed 52 percent to exceed 1.43 million.

      Its bestselling models target the mid-range market and young consumers. In China, BYD models rank first in price ranges of 100,000 to 150,000 yuan (about 14,000 to 21,400 U.S. dollars) and 150,000 to 200,000 yuan, according to a report by SDIC Securities.

      Industry observers say Chinese NEV companies such as BYD have incorporated attractive designs and smart technologies to appeal to Chinese consumers aged between 20 and 40, who have become the primary customers of NEVs.

      On the manufacturing end, BYD has benefited from the mature NEV industry chain in the city of Shenzhen, ranging from battery packs and intelligent cockpits to charging piles. The southern tech hub also boasts many internet and artificial intelligence companies that are making inroads into the intelligent driving sector, said Yu Xiquan, head of the city’s bureau of industry and information…

      1. heresy101

        Warren Buffet’s BYD has had a huge impact on their city of manufacture.
        The city with 16,000 electric buses and 22,000 electric taxis.
        Unsurprisingly, the electric buses and the electric taxis have proven incredibly popular with drivers, who cited that the vehicles are easier to drive, quieter, and, without emissions, healthier too. The inconvenience of charging time, on the rare occasions there is the need for it, is offset by first-class facilities at the depots.

        1. CA

          Unsurprisingly, the electric buses and the electric taxis have proven incredibly popular…

          [ Really helpful comment. How advanced battery technology has become now for buses is not yet clear, but I know that rolling bus recharging is being extensively worked with. ]

  31. Melanie

    “Only one sample out of eight organic oat-based products at detectable chlormequat at 17 µg/kg.”

    Smart people eat high quality organic food. There is no cost difference when health costs, are taken into account. Infertility treatments, premature aging and early death are other costs avoided with organic.

    Eating conventional food with GMOs, pesticide residues, bio-engineered DNA, irradiation, chemical packaging contamination and loose handling is basically like smoking. You really can’t respect anyone who smokes as they are self-destructive and pitied.

    At this point, people who eschew organic food are in the same league.
    Conventional food is not addictive however, it is a choice.

    1. ambrit

      You ignore the price differences. “Organic” foods are priced higher, not only due to increased growing costs, but also increased “specialty niche branding costs.”
      Try shopping in any true “inner city” in America. The old term “Food Desert” is not strictly about actual supply problems, but also about the quality of foods available. Now, find us regular city bus lines with fairly easy connections to the “organic realms.”
      The industrialization of agriculture is the real culprit. When managers took over the control of inputs to agricultural items, health took a back seat to economics. The result is plain for all to see.

      1. tawal

        Not only the price, but the shelf life. My experience with organic fruits and vegetables is that they last about 3 days; nonorganic more like 6 to 7 days. I detest shopping. There are no longer any small grocers around like there were 20 years ago, when daily shopping was OK.

  32. flora

    Taibbi live streaming this afternoon. Here’s his latest article, and not paywalled.

    Livestream, 4:00 p.m. ET: How to Refute Lesley Stahl and “60 Minutes”
    The flagship CBS news show still hasn’t corrected its infamous eye-roll over surveillance of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The documents you need to answer this, including a Chris Christie cameo

    1. spud

      they still have not Refuted what Lesley Stah said about bill clinton, the smartest president she ever saw.

      a few years later every crank policy the dim wit initiated, blew up in the worlds face in 2008, it was a miracle his crank policies lasted that long. if bush had not dropped helicopter money, and spewed out billions in the wars for free trade, we were heading into a debilitating recession, quite possible a depression by 2001.

  33. Louiedog14

    Thank you for the Employment’s Hidden Figures article. This was new information to me. (The part about the different methodologies, not the part about the economy sucking.)

    NC earns my yearly donation every day.

  34. LawnDart

    Re; Lies, Damned Lies, and Manometer Readings

    Thank you for that article– the dishonesty and scaming is all too pervasive throughout the trades, and our society in general. It was good to have a look from an insider of the HVAC world who describes the current shitstorm of incompetence and fraud within his vocation.

    In the trades, I have seen these behaviors and issues first-hand with homebuilders, auto mechanics, and industrial maintenance as well. Although cliche, I believe two common sayings are fitting: a fish rots from the head and monkey-see, monkey-do. Together, these create a symbiotic relationship of covetous gluttony, predatory, parasitical, and thieving behaviors– i.e., “screw everyone else, I want what’s mine!”

    And this is even before you get to the issues of quality and poor-workmanship.

    Covid is making our low-trust society even worse, by virtue of causing damage to areas of the brain that affect judgement, emotions, memory, and those that would temper impulsive behavior. And worse, while many before covid were lacking in self-awareness and introspection, the damage caused by the disease can eliminate these altogether.

    We desperately need to bring back civics classes to education. These may help staunch the bleeding by helping to communicate and articulate, ethical and socially-responsible behaviors. People also need to learn how to recognize when they are facing brain-damaged people, and how to cope, interact, or otherwise deal with these, because their numbers are rapidly growing.

    I’d also suggest that we should hang or decapitate most of our ruling-class– aside from a few examples safely locked away in cages for study. I believe that this could help too… we could call it “The People’s Great Reset,” or something like that.

  35. Late Introvert

    This article was both the must read of the day, and the look for the helpers of the day also.

    We need more people like this.

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