Links 3/10/2024

How a Jellyfish and a Sea Slug Illuminate the Mystery of the Self The Marginalian

Brain Waves Travel in One Direction When Memories are Made and the Opposite When Recalled (press release) Columbia University


Forces shaping the future of energy S&P Global

Tests show high-temperature superconducting magnets are ready for fusion “A new type of magnet, made from high-temperature superconducting material, achieved a world-record magnetic field strength of 20 tesla for a large-scale magnet. That’s the intensity needed to build a fusion power plant that is expected to produce a net output of power and potentially usher in an era of virtually limitless power production.”

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Radical idea to protect ‘doomsday’ Thwaites Glacier with 62-mile long curtain divides scientists Sky News

Kohei Saito’s “Start From Scratch” Degrowth Communism Jacobin

Capitalism’s New Age of Plagues, 1 Climate & Capitalism


Popular magazines now beginning to lead the discussion?

Woman, 30, Dies After Blood Clot Symptoms Were Dismissed Twice as ‘Long COVID and Anxiety’ People

3 COVID Experts on Why the CDC’s Isolation Guidelines Are Bad for Public Health Self. The deck: “You can still be contagious if you’re fever-free and feeling better.”

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Tracking SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity in rural communities using blood-fed mosquitoes: a proof-of-concept study Frontiers in Epidemiology. From the Abstract: “We have demonstrated that using mosquito bloodmeals, country-wide sero-surveillance of human diseases (both vector-borne and non-vector-borne) is possible in areas where human-biting mosquitoes are common, offering an informative, cost-effective, and non-invasive sampling option.”


What Buzzwords From China’s Key Political Meeting Reveal, From ‘AI Plus’ to ‘New Three’ Bloomberg.

Xi Jinping: China’s president of precedents and new norms, but at what cost? Channel News Asia


The Biden doctrine in Gaza: bomb, starve, deceive Aaron Maté

Biden says US has no ‘red line’ on Israel in Hamas war where ‘they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them’ FOX. Ramadan starts Monday.

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1,000 US troops will deploy for temporary port operations to move aid into Gaza Stars and Stripes. Some detail on JLOTS (Joint Logistics Over The Shore).

White House Plans to Build Temporary Port to Land Food Aid in Gaza Maritime Executive. More detail.

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Starvation stalks children of northern Gaza and Biden says Netanyahu is ‘hurting Israel’ with high death toll in Gaza FT

Cyprus-Gaza humanitarian corridor to open soon, von der Leyen says Politico. Delivery by sea, Israel to sabotage inspect.

‘How could they allow themselves to reach such depths of depravity?’ Cyprus Mail

UNRWA report says Israel coerced some agency employees to falsely admit Hamas links Times of Israel

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South Dakota governor codifies IHRA definition of antisemitism in state law Jerusalem Post. One tool that the Israeli Embassy, Parliamentary Labor, the press, and the spooks used to take down Corbyn. “Pro-Israel activists can and have mobilised the IHRA document for political goals unrelated to tackling antisemitism, notably to stigmatise and silence critics of the Israeli government.”

European Disunion

Undisclosed country receives nod to buy weapons from Sweden for $1.75 billion: Report Anadolu Agency

Irish prime minister concedes defeat in a vote over constitutional amendments about family and women AP. Commentary:

New Not-So-Cold War

Pope says Ukraine should have ‘courage of the white flag’ of negotiations Reuters

Mutual Frustrations Arise in U.S.-Ukraine Alliance NYT

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Russia Is Burning Up Its Future Foreign Affairs

Exclusive Satellite Images Reveal the Expansion of Russian War Cemeteries Following Huge Troops Losses in Ukraine National Security News. Big if true.

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Biden’s Armageddon Moment: When Nuclear Detonation Seemed Possible in Ukraine David Sanger, NYT. “… Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until he retired in September, told me over dinner…” [cough, gag, spew].

F-35s Certified to Launch Stealthy Nuclear Strikes: Why Russia, China and North Korea Are Worried Military Watch. So the F-35 isn’t such a fat tub only because of the Marines’ demand for vertical take off and landing (which required a big fan to be built into the fuselage).

Biden Administration

Biden says he’ll sign bill that could ban TikTok if Congress passes it The Hill. It’s bipartisan! “In addition to specifically naming ByteDance and TikTok in the legislation, the bill also lays out a process for the president to name other apps that pose national security risks due to ties from foreign adversaries including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.” IOW, when the next RussiaGate is fomented, X goes down.

TikTok shareholders who make any ‘disparaging statement’ about the company risk having their entire holdings seized Fortune


The Outrage Industry Teri Kanefield

‘This is insanity’: Political divisions driving Americans into depression, unhappiness, author warns FOX

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Britt’s kitchen SOTU rebuttal garners barbs from Trump allies, enemies alike Politico. I hesitate to deploy the word “unhinged,” but see here for an extended upchuckery of aghastitude that doesn’t mention one single thing Britt said (!). Of course, if you’re inside a bubble, “everybody” “already knows” it all. It’s going to be a long year.

Trump Posts $91.6 Million Bond for Defamation Judgment in Carroll Case NYT

Spook Country

The Weaponization of the National Science Foundation: How NSF Is Funding the Development of Automated Tools to Censor Online Speech “At Scale” and Trying To Cover Up Its Actions (PDF) Interim Staff Report of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, U.S. House of Representatives

Digital Watch

How many startups shut down last year compared to the year before? A lot. TechCrunch

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AI revolutionizes space debris detection, surpassing conventional methods The Watchers

AI mishaps are surging – and now they’re being tracked like software bugs The Register

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Harnessing chaos in Cloudflare offices Cloudflare. “Fresh randomness.”

The Bezzle

Ugandan man behind viral fake East African currency shocked by its success BBC

Sports Desk

Some fans at frigid Chiefs playoff game underwent amputations, hospital confirms AP. Commitment to the bit!


Florida’s Medicaid call center’s wait times, disconnection rates are hindering health care access, study warns NBC. Rule #2.


As Boeing looks to buy back Spirit AeroSystems Wichita plant, bitter memories resurface Wichita Eagle. “What you’re really going to need going forward is skilled and conscientious line workers who care about quality, do things right, and are confident enough to speak up when something goes wrong.” So let’s financialize the situation–

Boeing to Tie More of Employees’ Pay to Safety WSJ

How the crisis at Boeing is threatening a historic Belfast factory FT

DOJ opens criminal investigation into the Alaska Airlines 737 plane blowout, report says AP

Zeitgeist Watch

America’s Loneliness Epidemic Comes for the Restaurant The Atlantic. File under “Extroverts Are Gonna Kill Us All.” Some of my happiest hours have been spent in restaurants, from Michelin-starred to food carts. And I think it’s sad that dining as a collective experience is on the wane, and bad that chains are in the ascendance. Real food isn’t meant to be eaten out of a bag while sitting in one’s car! But I have little sympathy for an industry whose business model depended on “Closed, Crowded, Close Contact” spaces, and didn’t discover or adopt the evident course of action that, well, wouldn’t have slaughtered a measurable percentage of their customers: improving ventilation (and then advertising their spaces as safe. Instead, we got stupidities like this). And that’s before we get to wages.

Book Nook

Reading Genesis by Marilynne Robinson review – a rich, provoking study in luminous prose Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

The West’s Reckoning? Michael Brenner, ScheerPost

Guillotine Watch

From luxury bunkers to tactical vehicles, the ultra-rich are preparing for the Big One CBC

Mr. X Claremont Review

A Mistake in a Tesla and a Panicked Final Call: The Death of Angela Chao WSJ

Class Warfare

Cheap labor. What’s not to like? (1)

Cheap labor. What’s not to like? (2)

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The Historical Origin of “The Singing Union” MR Online. “[N]ext to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in this world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits.” —Martin Luther (looking for a half-remembered quote or paraphrase — “Luther knew that a singing congregation could not be beaten” — which I cannot find; that will have to do). Given the success of the Reformation, Luther seems to have had a point.

At A Trade Show, Power Tools Fit For The Amish NPR

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell)

    Your bombs have ruined every family
    Your bombs have flattened our homes
    They chase us into islands there is
    Nowhere left to go

    You keep us in the line of fire
    You ship them more bombs all the time
    You’ve sent more bombs for months now
    To the Gaza frontline

    All of these bombs that pass your station
    Bring us mountains of pain
    They fly them into Tel Aviv
    Each evening — what do you gain?

    A steady job with steady wages?
    Are you working overtime?
    You are killing small children
    With your assembly line

    (musical interlude)

    For the price of morning coffee
    You’d help some child refugee
    Please don’t kill our children!
    Stop building bombs please!

      1. earthling

        Don’t bother, people are determined to use “by” to mean whoever sang it on their favorite recording. Ironic, a parodist should respect the root author.

          1. Antifa

            We do song research to discover where lyrics and tunes come from, and these attributions appear in the Songbooks when they come out.

            The current Songbook Three (May ’23 through December ’23), which I’ve prepared for John Zelnicker, and Songbook Four (2024), follows John’s previous pattern, which means this particular song will appear as:

            Assembly Line Man
            Posted March 10, 2024
            Inspiration: Wichita Lineman by Jimmy Webb, as performed by Glenn Campbell

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      While the song and the sentiment are compelling, it/they bring to mind a weakness in the economic promises of a Peace New Deal which is just as central as the weakness of the economic promises of the Green New Deal.
      Yves Smith has referred to that promise of “good jobs at good wages” for all the disemployed coal, oil and gas workers as being the Big Green Lie. Certainly the fossil fuel workers regard it that way.

      I suspect the munitions workers suspect a similar Big Peace Lie offered to them in the guise of good jobs at good wages for not making bombs/weapons/etc. anymore. Pragmatically speaking, if you ask union bomb makers ( good jobs at good wages) to stop making bombs please, what do you tell them if they ask you for equally good union jobs at equally good union wages making civilian things? And have those jobs ready for them to go into if they should leave the bombmaking jobs?

  2. The Rev Kev

    “1,000 US troops will deploy for temporary port operations to move aid into Gaza”

    If I was one of those 1,000 US soldiers I would not be worried by any attacks by Hamas. What I would be worried about would be a false-flag attack by the Israelis who would then try to pin the blame on Hamas to have that port shut down. They have a habit of attacking allies. As an example. After the 2006 Lebanon war, the UN sent in troops to southern Lebanon and French troops were part of that force to stop further fighting. The Israeli air force would do practice dry bombing on those French troops and only knocked it off when the French started to get missile locks with their manpads on those Israeli fighters as a message.

    1. Bill Malcolm

      Well, I agree. Israel is now blasting Canada and Sweden for deciding to resume funding UNRWA:

      From the Times of Israel live blog: “Today, Israel condemns Canada and Sweden for resuming their funding to UNRWA, saying decisions to do so “after having received the intelligence-based information about blah, blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah …”

      Apparently, Israel is becoming even more completely unhinged. They cannot stand an atom of what they deem as disloyalty. That’s what happens when other countries that once followed their dictates to the letter, decide their path of action is beyond the pale and totally untenable.

      1. Lena

        Oh god of my fathers and mothers, let me live long enough for Israel to condemn the United States for having some shred of moral fiber.

        Only in my dreams…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Israel should be. Biden pulled funding for UNRWA but since then has approached Turkiye on the quiet and asked them to pay the US’s share of the UNRWA budget for them.

          1. Procopius

            Do you have a link? I find this claim very hard to believe. I could believe some low-level functionary in the State Department approaching his peer in Turkiye, but never Biden, Blinken, Sullivan, or Nuland.

      2. Ignacio

        “They cannot stand an atom of what they deem as disloyalty.”

        Israel is a Garrison country, that is why.

      3. steppenwolf fetchit

        Well, the rulers and leaders certainly are.

        I wonder how many legacy center-and-left Israelis are silently hoping for a foreign intervention which works in order to save them from the fascist and fascist-adjacent majority?

    2. DavidZ

      I think the whole – build a port – is rubbish.

      This will not be done.
      It will “look” like the US is doing something – when it will be doing nothing.
      After 60 – 90 days, they will say, it wasn’t feasible, so we will cancel the whole project.

      This gives Israel another 2 – 3 months to go kill more.

      Kabuki is the word I think.

    3. Jabura Basaidai

      it’s not like they haven’t tried to pull a false flag off before – USS Liberty – and failed – but the USA did nothing and from what I’ve read about the sailors that survived they were not welcomed at veteran events if they were going to talk about it –

  3. timbers

    Exclusive Satellite Images Reveal the Expansion of Russian War Cemeteries Following Huge Troops Losses in Ukraine National Security News. Big if true.

    Probably the saner estimates of Russian casualties we’ve read about can account for this. The Kremlin has chosen to fight the SMO with it’s gloves on. From Sputnik today:

    “Western countries ramped up their military supplies to the Kiev regime shortly after the start of Russia’s special military operation in 2022. Moscow has repeatedly warned against continued arms deliveries to Kiev, saying that it would lead to further escalation of the conflict.”

    Moscow is 100% correct – keeping it’s gloves on has indeed resulted in more and more escalation from the West.

    1. Randall Flagg

      Just curious is it possible to correlate the growth in the Russian War Cemeteries with any postings on Russian social media or obituaries, etc. from families mourning the loss of a loved one? Or is that all tightly controlled by the Russian Government as well?
      Makes me wonder about how many US mercenaries may have lost their lives there in Ukraine, or soldiers manning Patriot AD batteries, etc., and how one can find out about that as I’m sure the US Gov. would rather not have that number revealed.

        1. rudi from butte

          “If there were a lot of casualties, they’d be screaming about it.”

          Exactly! And Putin would be gone.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Please, Mr. Adamov (or anyone else), correct me if I’m wrong. I checked two of the cemeteries mentioned and neither is a “military cemetery”.

        The Blyzhnie “close to” Fedosia is actually named “City Cemetery” (yes, written in big letters over the gate!). Now, the city of Fedosia has a population of about 100,000, and the mortality rate in Crimea in 2019 was 1.6%. Accordingly we should expect about 1500 new graves annually, war or no war.

        The other one, Bogorodskoye, is the cemetery of a Moscow district with the same name. The only connection to military I could find was a small patch dedicated to the unidentified casualties from the Chechen wars. Average Russian mortality rate of 1.3% says 1300 new graves each year for a district of 100,000.

        While I know that Orthodox church prefers traditional inhumation burials, cremation has been available in Russia since the Soviet times. I have no idea if it’s popular or not, but it may render the number of graves less than optimal indicator of casualties.

        I only poked the internet for 20 minutes or so, and all and all it seems that “military cemeteries” are not really a thing in modern Russia. I think they went out of fashion in 1856 when the conscription duration was dropped from 20 years to effectively 3 and soldiers suddenly had a life to return to.

        There are plenty of Great Patriotic War memorials that include military graves, though.

        1. R.S.

          Ditto for Tula cemetery “near Ryazan”. It’s the “City Cemetery No.5”, Google map coords ~ 54.142409, 37.665015. In other words, it’s a public city cemetery. Tula is not exactly near Ryazan, more than a hundred miles, and it’s a city of roughly half a million. So prolly several thousand new graves a year around the city just from the base rate.

          I have a gut feeling that they sieved through the images of Russian cemeteries, took those that were recently expanded, and wrote a story.

        2. R.S.

          I have to walk back my words. This particular cemetery seems to have patches specifically reserved for vets, and it’s called a “military cemetery”. It was opened in 2016 or maybe 2017 [1].

          We still have the base rate problem, though. The article says the cemetery is reserved for serving and retired military, law enforcement personnel, state firefighters, as well as WW2 vets. A lot of elderly men, clearly retired vets who died of age before 2022.[2]

          1: link in Russian

          2: A year-old post with photos

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Drain Western weapons/ammo inventories closer to zero, strain Western social cohesion and economic survival further, etc.

        And keep attriting the Ukrainian population and nation down to the status of Paraguay after the Chaco Wars.

        Why would the RussiaGov want to interfere with that? Why would the RussiaGov want to win the war too soon with too much of Ukrainian and Western future potential capacity still left intact?

    2. Samuel Conner

      In line with Frank’s question, the thought occurs that “expanding war cemeteries” could function in the dual roles of “preparation for large scale conflict with NATO” and maskirovka to inflate NATO estimates of RF casualties as a way of encouraging NATO members to continue depleting their arsenals to help Ukraine limp along. If the latter agenda is successful, the former will be less necessary.

      Deception is important in warfighting and is reputed to play an important role in “the Russian Way of War.” Given how badly pre-conflict Western interpretations of RF military and economic capabilities predicted what would actually happen, I think that there are grounds to regard these latest data as being of uncertain significance. We don’t know why the cemetary expansions are taking place.

      1. Samuel Conner

        This paragraph, from the linked article, sounds to me like “projection”:

        >”But the reality for the Russian people is that the expansion of the size of these cemeteries doesn’t fully reflect the true numbers of Russian dead. Many bodies are left where they fell on the battlefield. The recovery and repatriation of Russian dead is not a priority as it keeps the true extent of the casualties away from public gaze and saves the Russian Government paying compensation to families. This year will likely see casualties from both sides reach the 1 million in total mark. I should imagine that the cemeteries will either grow in size again or new ones will have to be developed.”

        How they know this escapes me, unless it is assumed that what the U side is doing, RF must be doing even more.


        I suspect that what Western estimates of RFAF casualties actually reveals is the approximate scale of UAF casualties, which Western analysts are employing as a proxy for RFAF losses, which are assumed to be comparable to or larger than UAF losses.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Yes, especially considering that the Potemkin villages were themselves a rather silly anti-Russian myth. It’s a very persistent idea that we are somehow uniquely deceitful among nations.

            1. hk

              There is something about Russians being uniquely good at using deception, though.

              One story that I always thought was amazing comes from an account of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol by Alvin Coox (who wrote mostly on history of WW2 in the Pacific, esp of the USMC–he had good sources on the Japanese side also.). In the run up to the decisive offensive by Zhukov that routed the Japanese, Japanese thought that they broke into encrypted Russian radio signals. The information they got checked out for weeks, so they thought it was legit. Then, in the few days before the offensive, they got messages that Russian rear was badly flooded and turned to mud by rains that disrupted supplies, which was the case on their side so they thought that was the case and did not expect an attack. But it turned out that the soil conditions behind Russian lines were different: rains actually hardened the surface so it became easier for Russian trucks to bring supplies forward, which the Japanese were not aware of.

              So the idea was that Russians don’t lie except when it counted, but if they do, they make it count. And Russians are pretty good at improvising–since Russians could not have anticipated the rain in August, 1939, at least not that long in advance, while Japanese had weeks to check out the signals.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                That’s fair enough – but the idea that we’d stage a deception operation by expanding cemeteries to exaggerate our casualties is, I think, a little farfetched. For one thing, it’d also fool our own public and undermine home front morale – and that would be at odds with the government’s efforts to keep things as quiet and stable as possible behind the lines. I’d say that takes priority over trying to mislead Americans about our capabilities. Even if we want them to underestimate us, surely there are better ways to achieve that.

        1. Snailslime

          The Russians are advancing and they are in a position to both count and bury their own fallen as well as those of Ukraine.

          There is zero reason to assume that the Russians do or somehow have to leave their dead to rot in any significant numbers if at all, very much unlike the Ukrainians.

          Small numbers that were killed during a failed attack or in a place where the Russians had to do a brief tactical retreat, with emphasis on brief, sure, as in every war.

          If they don’t capture a place in the first or second attempt, they do so in the third, but they do it and their offensive operations have been consistently small units based, because it is incredibly hard to masse large formations without being sitting ducks, so they rarely ever do it

          The Russians haven’t done any large scale retreats or lost significant territory since 2022, they certainly were never routed, not even fall 22.

          All of these factors make it rather implausible that there would be large numbers of fallen russian soldiers left behind in the field anywhere.

          This is one hundred percent ukrainian projection and ghoulish wishful thinking on part of the West.

          1. NYT_Memes

            Advancing Russian forces, able to count their fallen as well as Ukrainian losses, brings a thought to mind. Are the Russians removing killed enemy soldiers and giving them a decent burial as well as their own? Could larger cemeteries, to some extent, be for enemy soldiers?
            I know nothing about Russia or Russian mindset, so just a random thought shared by an ignorant reader trying to think of alternative understanding.

            1. vao

              Are the Russians removing killed enemy soldiers and giving them a decent burial as well as their own?

              I gather that the Russians try to return dead soldiers to the Ukrainians, but bury them if this is impossible or impractical.

              Could larger cemeteries, to some extent, be for enemy soldiers?

              This is unlikely. Why would the Russians carry dead Ukrainian soldiers all the way to cemeteries inside Russia, instead of burying them in the Donbass?

              1. Snailslime

                Which by the way reminds me that the large majority of russian soldiers in the thickest of the fighting are apparently still the former Donbass militia fighters, even though they are now part of the russian army proper, at least according to Simplicius.

                Most of their fallen presumably would be buried inside Donbass as well.

    3. upstater

      re Expanding military cemeteries… my dad passed in 2012, mom in 2021. Per their wishes their ashes were buried in the Biloxi Military Cemetery. Dad served after WW2 and was more-or-less kicked out of the reserves in the 50s. Both parents were “value oriented” and wanted the free plot and stone. (These places are not ones where I find any solace or comfort)

      Anyway, we’ve been there a couple of times. It expands by hundreds every year. Let it suffice to say if Maxar was to supply satellite photos of the many US and state veteran cemeteries one might conclude that many thousands are dying each year, which is true. The WW2 generation is gone, Korea and Vietnam era vets follow. Any veteran can claim a burial plot. There are 17 million living eligible veterans.

      No doubt Russia has tens of thousands of combat deaths. But the expanded cemeteries may not all be combat related deaths.

      1. Burritonomics

        Exactly. Left out of this (and damn near every article about anything measured or analyzed) is: what’s the base rate?

    4. OnceWere

      Leaving out a scale makes these photos impossible to interpret. You can find most of the cemeteries on Google Maps easily enough, do some measurements, and at least attempt to count grave sites. Looks to me that the four cemeteries might represent a high four figures number of new graves. That’s two orders of magnitude away from proving the six figure numbers that the West and Ukraine want to claim.

    5. Feral Finster

      “The Kremlin has chosen to fight the SMO with it’s gloves on.”

      I have said from the outset that this “just the tip” style of war just gets more people killed for no decisive result.

      1. John k

        I see this ‘proxy’ war as actually a direct war between Russia and nato+ukraine. In 2022 Ukraine’s army was imo larger than all of nato combined excluding turkey, and the latter was never going to war with Russia. So Ukraine army, trained over 8 years to nato standards, plus 8 years to build fortifications, plus thousands of nato mercs/advisors, cia/mi6 brain power, satellite info etc, and basically all of NATO’s armaments vs Russia (which had been on its back in 2000). And the war is now basically in the mopping up stage (granted, thousands more will die); nato lost. Badly.
        Imo a direct war between Russia and nato would have been far more dangerous. Russian cities would have been attacked. Granted they have superior missile defenses, but some bombs/missiles would have got thru. And beyond that there would have been a real threat of ww3. The frog was boiled slowly, imo in the safest way possible. The world now sees nato as a paper tiger while the world is recognizing russia as militarily the most powerful in the world, while the west is so de-industrialized it is impossible to catch up.
        Imo Russia will incorporate all of the Russian speaking oblasts (4 more) including Kharkov and Odessa. The rump will remain Ukraine, neutral and never part of nato. Nato will sulk but claim that the men and treasure were worth it because ‘we stopped russia from taking anything more’.
        And imo some eu governments will fall at their next election.
        Russia perhaps should have realized they would be fighting all of nato from the beginning. But imo their evolution speed ranks with both the us and russia’s following their entrance into ww2.

        1. Snailslime


          I think by this time it’s just plain wrong to claim there is no decisive outcome.

          The Russians not yet having taken Kiev doesn’t mean Ukraine’s fate hasn’t been decided, that’s not how war works.

          And frankly, even when NATO sends in more of it’s own troops, they will still come piecemeal,from only a small number of countries within NATO, and they will be killed piecemeal with the fighting largely contained to the ukrainian theater.

          Which is almost certainly how Russia would prefer it.

          I definitely think if Russia was marching to the polish border almost overnight people Like Macron would have an easier time finding support for their “coalition of the willing”.

          1. Feral Finster

            Well, Macron is getting his coalition, and a lot of dead Russians in the process.

            How did NATO respond to the 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia, which was pretty forceful? They didn’t dare do a thing other than the equivalent of “thoughts and prayers”.

            1. steppenwolf fetchit

              Czechoslovakia was not a NATO member. Neither was Hungary in1956. So why would NATO have responded?

    6. Ignacio

      This looks like the newest effort to declare victory or success. Two links today on this, including the NYT mentioning the same numbers. Measuring success by the number of killings is quite insane IMNSHO, but if they are happy with this, let them be happy with all the mistakes committed. More of this to come, more mistakes, more idiocy.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I think it and the burning future article, plus some others shared here a few weeks back, may represent an interesting messaging trend. If they cannot credibly claim victory anymore, they can at least say it is a pyrrhic victory for us. A consolation prize.

        1. Ignacio

          Agreed, there may be people in the administration who do not want to seek for more successes like these in Ukraine.

        2. hk

          I think you mean that they are saying the Russian victory was Pyrrhic, seeing as that King Pyrrhus lost in the long run? I do wonder how one can meaningfully define a victory as Pyrrhic or not, though, especially when propaganda is involved….

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Yes, that is what I mean. They are trying to send the message that although Russia is winning in Ukraine, this is happening at a terrible long-term cost for Russia. The eventual Pyrrhic defeat that follows the Pyrrhic victory is some sort of disaster further down the line (rather than in the current conflict), due to economic and demographic damage that is not really evident yet but will be later. Then Russian liberals and Western politicians can be vindicated in practical as well as moral terms; the former told us so and the latter didn’t throw all that money and foreign blood away for nothing.

            And the advantage of a Pyrrhic victory being hard to call so early is that, if they turn out to be wrong, this will only become clear by the time when most people will have moved on and forgotten about the predictions.

  4. No Party

    Re: Temporary Port Operations in Gaza

    This smells like “never letting a good crisis go to waste” or in other words, taking advantage of real-world conflicts (Ukraine, Gaza) to test out military concepts, and drive Congressional urgency to appropriate more money to the cause.

    Last year the Army announced that Contested Logistics is a modernization priority to counter China in the Pacific. Simple internet search will provide endless stream of recent articles, Army stood up a new Cross Functional Team within its Futures Command to figure it out. Here is an article announcing the new priority:

    I’d imagine that Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) is being looked at as a critical capability to deliver materiel and manpower to random islands in the pacific during a confrontation with China. Here is Army’s Sustainment Magazine (Winter 2024 edition) talking about just that, and possibly using JLOTS in the homeland to counter adversary attacks against traditional port infrastructure:

    Watercraft is another priority for contested logistics. I’d imagine there is overlap/redundancy between Navy, Army, and possibly Marine Corps, Coast Guard missions and capabilities (read: turf wars). Here is a link talking about the Army’s Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) prototyping effort. The article talks to increasing costs of the effort, and looking to other options available. My guess is the Navy has existing options that will be used in Gaza, perfect opportunity to confirm/deny that it meets Contested Logistics requirements:

    Ukraine/Gaza provide endless business opportunities to drive Congress’ budget priorities. Temporary Port Operations in Gaza is probably one more of those; if it happens to achieve humanitarian/political objectives in the process then it’s a win/win for Biden admin.

  5. The Rev Kev

    I hope that PK speaks up on this story as he should be able to add a lot of keen observations. Anyway, several months ago here in Oz we rejected a change to our constitution and our elite and PMC class were shocked & appalled that ordinary voters would not listen to their advice. I am getting the same vibes with this Irish referendum. On the TV news the reporter did not call Irish voters deplorables for voting no but they almost did. The major parties backed it, the elite backed it, everybody backed it – but the majority of the people themselves. Would you believe that Sinn Féin said if they get power, they will do this vote again. Seriously? The Irish have ended constitutional limits on same-sex marriage in 2015 and abortion in 2018 but this referendum was another animal again. The family amendment would have widened the definition of family to include “durable relationships” but that could mean anything that you want. Most people were comfortable with having family at the heart of society. I doubt that it had much to do with the old Catholic church value but what people felt. The second was more insidious so check this out-

    ‘A proposed 40th amendment would have removed a reference that a woman’s place in the home offered a common good that couldn’t be provided by the state, and delete a statement that said mothers shouldn’t be obligated to work out of economic necessity if it would neglect their duties at home. It would have added a clause saying the state will strive to support “the provision of care by members of a family to one another.’

    Others may disagree but to me this degrades the worth of women at home raising young children which to me is vital. And by deleting that statement, it now means that ‘mothers should be obligated to work out of economic necessity even if it would neglect their duties at home.’ That is Neoliberalism right there. And that last clause says that the State will abandon any duty to help those women & families but throw it onto their family members to do it for them. More Neoliberal values. They weren’t even going to offer those women a set of boot-straps. So a good result for the Irish people and just in time for Mother’s Day in Ireland.

    1. .Tom

      I read the AP article and can imagine how voters rejected these changed on their merits. But I don’t understand how Philip Pilkington reached his conclusions.

      1. mrsyk

        Towards the end of that article…Opponents argued that the amendments were poorly worded, and voters said they were confused with the choices that some feared would lead to unintended consequences.. Were the amendments written to fail?

        1. The Rev Kev

          The government, all the major political parties, the women’s union and all the PMC were behind this referendum and were shocked when it went down in flames. They never imagined that it would fail so badly. Saw the exact same thing here in Oz with last year’s referendum that failed as well. Those Irish voters were not stupid and knew exactly how much they would lose if they voted yes.

          1. mrsyk

            Here’s the proposed language changes according to wikipedia (scroll own a bit). Honestly, must politics always be performative? What a waste of time and money.

          2. Dermot O Connor

            I voted NO/NO. I’m more left than most. The wording was sleazy, the Referenda the creation of the odious and lazy Thatcherite PM Leo Varadkar’s FG/FF/Green coalition. The Greens being ‘Blueshirts on Bikes’ (blueshirts were the Irish brownshirts in the 30s). FF, the party who ran the country into the ground in 2008 and saddled the country with 60% of all Eurozone debt.

            If a coalition of these 3 shyster parties wants us to vote on a Referendum, they’d better make the wording crystal clear, otherwise it’s the Devil I know.

            Shame on Sinn Fein for blowing with the wind. It’s hard to tell where they are any given day. I’m losing what little hope I had for them. Will give them a protest vote, but I’m not optimistic.

            BTW, those of you looking to vote Green in the upcoming US and UK elections: prepare for disappointment should your new heroes get their grubby PMC hands on power.

            1. cosmiccretin

              “BTW, those of you looking to vote Green in the upcoming US and UK elections: prepare for disappointment should your new heroes get their grubby PMC hands on power”.

              Strongly seconded.

              (Watch this space).

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                I can’t speak to the Green Party UK from personal experience, but the Green Party of the United States is an explicitly ecosocialist party — committed to Grassroots Democracy as one of its Four Pillars, and to Community-Oriented Economics and Personal & Global Responsibility among its Ten Key Values.

                We aren’t perfect — and we haven’t been in power much in many places. But GPUS has IMO had, and as far as I can help it will continue to have, people-friendly candidates and platforms. And anyone who wants to help us make them more so is welcome to join in the effort.

    2. CA

      What seems to have been missed is just how well the Irish have been faring with traditional institutions and structures: Real per capita GDP in Ireland in 2023 was a remarkable $137,638 or next to only Luxembourg in Europe and higher than that of Singapore:

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Germany and Ireland, 1977-2022

      (Percent change)

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Germany and Ireland, 1977-2022

      (Indexed to 1977)

      1. CA

        August 4, 2014

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

        (Percent change)

        August 4, 2014

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

        (Indexed to 2000)

        November 1, 2014

        Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, Germany and Ireland, 2000-2019

        (Indexed to 2000)

      2. Laughingsong

        For Ireland, because of the distortions that multinational corporations cause with GDP because of the tax homing BS, it’s more accurate to look at GNP. Or so the economic boffins have often said.

        1. CA

          Ireland used a strong education base and favorable tax policy to attract a significant amount of advanced technology investment, just as Singapore did. What Ireland needs to do is what Singapore has already done, which is to domestically invest a significant portion of GDP. Keep building the advanced technology base.

          Employment in Ireland is high, with employment of women having gained significantly. Now add to this. Ireland’s per capita growth was as important as that of Singapore or Luxembourg in finance services. Then for policy as Singapore has formed policy. Add to investment, from my perspective.

          August 4, 2014

          Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany, 1992-2022

          (Percent change)

          August 4, 2014

          Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany, 1992-2022

          (Indexed to 1992)

          By the way, the debt to GDP ratio for Ireland in 2023 was a mere 43%.

    3. Feral Finster

      “Would you believe that Sinn Féin said if they get power, they will do this vote again.”

      Remember the EU Treaty? The voters rejected it, the rulers did it anyway via a back door.

      1. Laughingsong

        “You’ll vote, and you’ll continue to vote, until you democratically decide to do as you’re told.”

    4. Ignacio

      At least, Varadkar’s reaction as per the article was fine: my mistake.

      Speaking of Ireland I have been watching a Netflix series titled “Rebellion” based on the events of Eastern Rebellion in Dublin 1916. To tell the truth, far more interesting than all those series dedicated to the English royal family.

  6. digi_owl

    The F-35 as a nuclear attack vehicle should not come as a surprise to anyone. It was part of the capabilities Germany was looking for in a Tornado replacement, for one.

    Germany has some 20 nukes shared to them by USA after all:

    As do Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey (talk about playing all sides).

    1. ilsm

      Capability to employ special weapons (nukes) is sensitive information. The presence/stores of special ordnance is also sensitive!

      That said F-35 looks to me like F-105 which was less than optimal in Vietnam bc the tacticl aircraft of the time were designed for NATO which would go nuke in short order.

      Observed somewhere: USAF plans to retire F-22 by 2030. That implies F-35 will be multi-role, sole provider!

      But bucket that is not very testable.

      1. digi_owl

        I believe the B-52 was also meant for nukes, but got retrofitted to drop conventional bombs for Vietnam.

      2. LawnDart

        If it has wings it can deliver/drop/deploy nukes. And I would be very surprised if there are not configurations by which helicopters can be employed as well (Tsar Bomba and its kin excluded).

        The so-called nuclear triad is more like a millipede.

  7. digi_owl

    The Amish are such a curious lot. Some forgo electricity entirely, whole others seem to have embraced solar panels and e-bikes given an article i spotted earlier.

    1. Lena

      I’ve lived most of my life in areas where there are Amish and Mennonites. Over the years, it seems the Amish have been moving in the direction of the Mennonites, some of whom stay with the traditional ways (the Old Order Mennonites) and others who live in the ‘modern world’, albeit simply. It is a slow process of creative adaptation, usually borne of necessity. The Amish follow the old German custom of passing down land to the eldest son, leaving the younger sons to move West to find land, abandoning long established Amish communities, or to take up work other than farming. In both situations, they come into greater contact with people outside the Amish world.

      1. Screwball

        I’m in Ohio about 2 hrs from the Wooster area where there are a large Amish population. Busy tourist area and a great place to visit.

        There is a little town not far from Wooster called Orville (used to be the home of Smuckers Jelly). There is a dirt track there called Wayne County Speedway. I have been there many times. The cars pit along a small county road that runs beside the track. I found is surreal to see an Amish horse and buggy with a slow moving vehicle sign on the back going down this little road literally 50 yards from 900 horsepower race cars flying around a 3/8 mile track.

        1. Lena

          I often see the Amish in town at local grocery stores where they sell their baked goods or at thrift shops where they buy things they need. It’s almost always the women with their children, rarely the men. This has been happening for years, so it’s not an unusual sight. They speak to each other in their form of Low German, but they speak English when necessary. They arrive in trucks driven by the non-Amish, maybe Mennonites. The Amish do ride in automobiles and buses, they just don’t drive them.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      This article is based on an extended visit with an Amish family. These Amish explained that the central concern is not with technology per se but with the need to remain separate from “the English,” i.e. mainstream society and culture. So tractors for farming are OK, but cell phones and social media are not.

    3. Feral Finster

      Not only are there many flavors of Amish and Mennonites, *some* come up with interesting justifications and rationalizations to do what they want to do. E.g. “no TV” can be interpreted to mean “no TV in the house but you can watch the idiot box through a window, i mean, you can look out the window, right?”

      Fundamentalism breeds lawyers.

    4. Arkady Bogdanov

      I have a very good friend who is Amish. Each community is lead by a bishop. The bishop decides which technologies and equipment they may use and under which circumstances. The community actually exercises democratic controls over these decisions because they elect the bishop (although I am not sure if women have the vote in this decision). Sometimes this can get fairly convoluted. For instance, they cannot own cars, but they hire drivers. My friend is a contractor who needed a trailer to move and store tools, so he “rents” a trailer that belongs to my parents that we never used. (We charge him just enough to make the transaction look genuine). He is also not allowed to own a survey laser, but can “rent” mine (he just borrows it as needed). In some cases, such as the example of my laser, it seems they use the rental rule as a method to test the impact of a technology upon their community before allowing its usage wholesale. I saw this happen when they transitioned from small gas powered tools to battery tools. For a few years they could only rent such tools, but now they own them.
      In the instance of electricity, I think in many cases this comes down to keeping their communities sovereign, as well as due to concerns regarding the source of the power generation- as a community, they have a very strong ethical sense and would be bothered by destructive practices. They do benefit from some of this, but seem to me to avoid it where they can. I think this is the reason they relatively quickly adopted solar for charging batteries. They see solar generation as less damaging than using gas to run generators for this purpose, which also makes them more independent. I also think in some cases they adopt tech simply so that they can compete economically out of necessity -I know this is the reason they were allowed to begin using telephones, even if they keep them in phone booths at the edge of their properties- many of them could simply not get work without a phone.

      1. digi_owl

        That thing about phones gets me thinking about a headline i saw recently, where supposed someone was outed as owning a mobile phone when it sounded one of those public safety warnings during a gathering.

    5. Eclair

      As Arkady Bogdanov points out below, there are many different ‘flavors’ of Amish. Each ‘church’ community makes its own rules, within boundaries. For example, in the neighboring counties of Warren, PA and Chautauqua, NY, there are the ‘brown buggy’ Amish and the ‘black buggy’ Amish. Buggy styles and colors are decided within the local church, but overall, horse and buggy are the allowed means of ‘owned’ transportation.

      I thought of our local Amish friends when I read today’s link to the anthropology article. The traditional Amish communities border on anarchism. The communities with which I am familiar don’t have a ‘bishop.’ They do have elected ‘elders,’ but their status is unremarked upon; not exactly secret, but not discussed openly. Sunday church services, held in rotation among at the houses of church members (a ‘house’ must have one room that is large enough to hold the congregation) is an all-day affair, lasting from early morning, through lunch, then into the afternoon, with the older folk sharing news and discussing community affairs (men separate from women.) In my friend’s church, the food served at lunch is strictly regulated: a mix of cooked dry beans, bread, and milk. All restraints are cast aside with afternoon desserts, however.

      All displays of status are frowned upon. Clothing style and color, style of houses, including the type of window, the type and color of window covering, and the color one may paint the front door. But, there are large variations among church communities and families seem to move and intermarry relatively freely among the communities. The Amish realize the tendency of humans to want to display status, to outdo ones’ neighbors, and so have imposed upon themselves, strict limitations. When one considers the amount of time, money and emotional energy we expend upon clothing, for example, choosing it, buying it, deciding what to wear every morning, it is remarkably freeing to get up each morning and decide between the dark blue shirt, or the darker blue shirt. Or between the brown dress or the navy blue dress. Oh, and the Amish don’t have mirrors in their houses.

      All Amish are pacifists. They will not serve in the military, they monitor speech so as not to use violent, belligerent or militaristic metaphors. Children toys and games are resolutely pacifist; boys play with toy horses and other animals (until they’re big enough to lead their dad’s enormous farm horses, usually about age 7!) not with guns, tanks or little fighter jets. Dolls are faceless; but who needs a doll, when you probably have a real baby to play with? But our friends’ four year old daughter, with four big brothers and one younger one, runs barefoot around the farm all summer, chasing goats and chickens, bossing her big brothers, little black (the color worn by small girls) prayer cap flying. Not exactly ‘Barbie’ material!

      The Amish chose their lifestyle, deliberately. A point that I believe Graeber and Wengrow make of past cultures: that they considered the options and made a conscious choice. And the Amish spend a great deal of time debating what new technology they will adopt. Rather than opening arms and wallets to the latest fad that is dumped on us by Apple or GM. The Amish also spend enormous amounts of time talking with one another. Both with the members of their church communities (all day Sunday, or in the local community, every other Sunday), and with visits to relatives in other communities all over the US. They hold ‘frolics;’ a day spend building a barn or splitting firewood for elders, complete with hard work and lots and lots of food. And coffee and conversation.`

      I joke with my Amish friend, L., when she offers to pay me for driving her on a buying trip for her store, that I am storing up credits for when civilization crumbles and the power grid fails. My husband and I will bring our blankets and sleep on her kitchen floor, right next to the big shiny black wood-burning cookstove.

      1. Arkady Bogdanov

        Small gas engines. The ones I know are moving away from this as battery tech improves for tools, however. They are allowed to utilize generators to charge batteries. In PA they are mandated by law to have marker lights on their carriages, which run off a car battery. This legislation, sort of forced the generator adoption.
        The bishop that I am acquainted with has a wood shop with some powerful equipment. All of which had the electric motors removed and are driven by leather belts that are in turn pulled by a large, stationary diesel engine. They do more than most people think.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Degrowth communism–

    This article is yet another hit piece on degrowth from the Ecomodernist Michael Huber from Jacobin, an online socialist magazine that seems determined to trash degrowth. As is his custom, he throws around “neo-Malthusian” as a slur against the degrowth movement while touting the wonders of technology that will deliver us from the evils of both Overshoot and degrowth:

    However, the belief in a fixity to limits — whether of population or resources — misunderstands humanity’s condition. For it is not the case that humanity and our production only hit up against natural limits beyond a certain point; instead, humanity is already always and everywhere surrounded by natural limits, by constraints on what we can currently do.

    It is science and technology, shackled to egalitarianism (or as midcentury Marxist Hal Draper put it, “Prometheus plus Spartacus”), that allows us to overcome those limits. Friedrich Engels famously critiqued Malthus in 1844 for that one element the latter had forgotten to consider: “[S]cience — whose progress is as unlimited and at least as rapid as that of population.” And what is true of science with respect to population is true of science with respect to the material and energy that population uses. (And, one might note in our era of space-faring, the Earth is also not the only possible source of energy or material resources.)

    Aside from demonstrating that Engels could get things very wrong, Huber finds the idea that humans cannot expect unlimited food and energy from a finite planet to be anti-working class. He even tries to tar Donella Meadows and Limits to Growth as associated with racism. Not satisfied with that, he goes on to dis the “Nine Planetary Boundaries” of the Stockhold Resilience Center, what Kate Raworth uses as the upward bound on human consumption in Doughnut Economics.

    The dark picture that Huber tries to paint of working class life in a degrowth scenario is more a product of his own infatuation with Tech solutions than the actual policies promoted by Degrowthers like Jason Hickel as Louis Project explains:

    In an article titled “Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance”, Hickel takes the sting out of a possible future that Huber and Phillips see as a fate worse than death. Being deprived of luxury liner cruises, 5,000 square-foot suburban houses, central air-conditioning, beef four nights a week, and SUVs might sting at first but a 30 hour work week, a job guarantee and a living wage might assuage all except the most rabid Trump voter. Add to this access to high-quality, generous public healthcare, education, affordable housing, transportation, utilities and recreation facilities, it would go along way to keeping people satisfied. Hickel notes that a Gallup poll revealed that many countries (Germany, Austria, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Finland, Canada, Denmark, and most notably Costa Rica) have higher levels of well-being than the United States does, with less GDP per capita.

    At bottom, Huber is nothing but a bad-faith apologist for Business As Usual. He paints it as a defense of the working class when in fact what he seeks to preserve is the consumerist society that funnels income and wealth to the 1% while destroying the planet’s capability to support human civilization. That Jacobin continues to publish such crap reflects poorly on them as well.

    1. KLG

      This comment alone is worth the yearly total of my monthly debit to NC!

      Jacobin is not always wrong, but it’s nothing more that an airy Dissent/NLR, with graphics. Disagreements with Saito can be nothing more than quibbles about his occasional emphasis or order of presentation.

      Anyway, Herman Daly began writing about degrowth, although he did not use this term, fifty years ago. We have not listened. But we will, eventually. There will be no choice. We can do it well or poorly. Our choice.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Or as Kate Raworth asks, are we going to try landing this wounded plane or are we just going to let it crash and burn (somewhat literally).

      2. Eric Anderson

        It’s physics.
        I like to spin on Stein’s Law: “If infinite growth in a finite system cannot continue, it won’t.”
        That we have a thing separate and apart from physics called “economics” is testament to greed prevailing over logic. This becomes abundantly apparent by simply asking the question: Why aren’t the negative externalities from production ever accounted for on a balance sheet? It’s intentional accounting myopia. It’s a direct affront to the physical laws of the universe. But, poof … economists call it “profit,” when in fact it is a loss.

        You read economists like Daly, Keen, and Mirowski these truths just snap into place.
        Recently finished Mirowski’s “More Heat Than Light — Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics.” I highly recommend it.

    2. Antifa

      Either we will invent a machine that will instantly serve Tea, Earl Grey, Hot on demand — made directly out of the quantum flux that’s under and in between universes — or there will be very few of us around here in the foreseeable future. And we will be busy mining landfills for things of great value.

    3. digi_owl

      “job guarantee and a living wage”

      Funny how nobody can foresee a world without work, or greatly diminished (far beyond the 30 hours mentioned) need to work through automation.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Lots of people foresee that. It’s just not compatible with degrowth (intentional or otherwise).

          1. LifelongLib

            I once tried unsuccessfully to find stats on U.S. vs Soviet vs subsistence per capita energy consumption, to get a notion of how much energy a consumerist industrial society (U.S.) uses compared to a non-consumerist industrial society (USSR) compared to a non-industrial one. Hopefully somebody else has done this. That said, I have a dark suspicion that the real problem is industrial society itself (not just its consumerist or capitalist forms) but would be happy to be shown wrong.

          2. converger

            It’s doable. The transition is the complicated part, mostly because we’ve waited so long to get up off of the couch.

            Run the back of the envelope per capita GDP numbers: if you really wanted to make it work and dialed back on terminal extraction strategies and massive infrastructure specifically designed to kill people, degrowth could look a lot more like 1990 except that everybody has enough, with fewer useless plastic trinkets, fewer toxic hazards, excellent infrastructure and consumer things built to last, shorter workweeks, excellent education/health care, and computers, than the pre-industrial hellscape that you suggest. This a degrowth tradeoff I would make in a red-hot second.

            Plus we don’t make the planet uninhabitable: it’s a twofer.

            1. converger

              Just to put some rough numbers on my assertion: apples-to-apples comparisons between different countries is squishy. But in rough terms, current average per-capita Producer Price Parity (how mulch things cost relative to what people earn) adjusted global GDP is in the range of most EU economies. It’s not crazy to say that degrowth plus not throwing money down a rathole gets us to a genuinely more attractive outcome than where we are right now.

            2. Daniil Adamov

              Shorter work weeks – shorter by how much? Enough for it to be “greatly diminished, far beyond 30 hours”?

    4. KLG

      This comment alone is worth the yearly total of my monthly debit to NC!

      Jacobin is not always wrong, but it’s nothing more than an airy Dissent/NLR, with graphics. Disagreements with Saito can be nothing more than quibbles about his occasional emphasis or order of presentation.

      Anyway, Herman Daly began writing about degrowth, although he did not use this term, fifty years ago. We have not listened. But we will, eventually. There will be no choice. We can do it well or poorly. Our choice.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Here’s a book recommendation for the likes of Huber – John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar.

      About overpopulation, it was written in 1969, set in 2010 (which is when I first read it if I remember right), and pretty much nails the current predicament, complete with identity politics and everything.

      I will also note that one of the world leaders in the 2010 of the book has the last name “Obomi”. It is a little eerie how these scifi writers come up with story details like this.

    6. Jason Boxman

      When Jacobin had out knives for Sanders, equating Sanders and Warren to the ‘same lane’, ect., I realized it seems to be a publication worth ignoring. Maybe that wasn’t always so?

    7. Darthbobber

      What Huber offers is a Gish Gallop. When he tries to equate the self-evident observation that a closed finite system can’t sustain the indefinite growth of human population (or anything else) with Malthusianism, all he demonstrates is that either he never read Malthus or that he hopes his readers haven’t.

      Foster’s early (2000) book, “Marx’s Ecology”, already contains a lengthy description of Malthus’s contribution (if we want to call it that), and a detailed refutation. No serious reading of Foster, Saito, or Meszaros would lead a person to call any of the three a Malthusian. Nor, for that matter, the authors of the Club of Rome study Meszaros and others criticized Limits to Growth not because it argued for limits to growth but because it remained within a box that accepted unlimited further accumulation of capital as the underlying driver of the economy, thereby limiting itself to solutions that couldn’t be adopted or wouldn’t do the job if adopted.

      When he bothers to quote Saito here:
      Saito, like most other degrowth advocates, wants to dispense with Malthus’s overpopulation thesis while holding on to its central notion of respect for limits: “If [the recognition of limits] counts as Malthusianism, then the only way to avoid the Malthusian trap would be the dogmatic denial of natural limits as such.” So long as the world retreats from economic growth, there need be no constraint on population.

      In the first line, he seems to reject the idea of material limits within a material system altogether. (a strange position for a historical or any other kind of materialist)
      He actually illustrates Saito’s point in the quote in the course of arguing against it. By the time he’s finished he actually IS engaged in the “dogmatic denial of natural limits as such”. That’s a position that can only be sustained by sophistry.
      Immediately below we are treated to this:

      “However, the belief in a fixity to limits — whether of population or resources — misunderstands humanity’s condition. For it is not the case that humanity and our production only hit up against natural limits beyond a certain point; instead, humanity is already always and everywhere surrounded by natural limits, by constraints on what we can currently do.”

      Neither Meszaros, nor Foster, nor Saito actually ignore this point. Indeed, Meszaros spends a few hundred pages elaborating it. I suspect all 3 actually understand the point and it’s implications better than he does.

      He handwaves at fundamental problems. Greenhouse effects will go away in the face of clean energy (which to him means solar, wind, nuclear).
      And follows up with a hilarious bit about how “in this era of space travel the earth isn’t the only possible source of energy.” (this puts him where Tom Friedman was 30 years ago, but at least Friedman didn’t annoy me by purporting to be a Marxist.)

      I suspect that what the authors, like most who advocate what I’d call “socialism as managed capitalism” really find objectionable is that what’s being called degrowth socialism or communism has as a key component production for use value rather than exchange value and some setup wherein the associated producers collectively allocate resources. People who call themselves Marxists have been steering clear of that for so long that they seem to have forgotten that it was actually the central point distinguishing Marxian socialism from others.

      I think Huber and Phillips’s philosophical position, if we want to dignify it with that name, is radical subjective idealism, which may be why all the pretzel-like contortions trying to palm it off as Marxism.

    8. Sub-Boreal

      Thank you for saving me the time required for reading the entire Huber & Phillips article. I’d skipped right to the end, and its prescriptive complacency was quite enough:

      There is no need to add any “eco-” prefix to Marxism to explain our predicament. Classical Marxism’s explanation and concomitant prescription for correction are already sufficient. There is no need to move to a steady-state economy, to slow down technological development, to decentralize production, to retreat from globalization to the local “bioregion,” to return to more “appropriate” technologies, to abandon “megaprojects” or extraction, or to critique an “imperial mode of living” or a “metabolic rift” with the rest of nature that do not exist.

      Marxism already has a sufficient explanation of the causes of environmental problems, prescription of how to fix them, and description of who has the power and interest in bringing such changes about, all the while never once abandoning the socialist project of human liberation.

      Although I’ve got a copy of Saito’s latest sitting on my good intentions reading pile, I feel obliged to finish his previous book first. I’ll try again, after making it about half-way before bogging down. Maybe it was the translation, or just being unable to suspend disbelief as Saito went to great lengths to show that the old guy had it all figured out ~ 150 years ago, but we just hadn’t been reading the right bits of neglected scripture.

      Saito certainly does have his major blind spots, like on population, as noted here. But I give him points for annoying some of the right people!

      Meanwhile, I’m sure that those hanging from the teats of Koch-funded ideological infrastructure are enjoying these circular bunfights on the Left.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “How could they allow themselves to reach such depths of depravity?”

    Cyprus, where this Rabbi is visiting, remains popular with many Israelis. The reason being that around 20,000 Israelis marry in Cyprus annually, many of them seeking to avoid restrictions on marriage in Israel and by that I mean the insistence of Rabbis that only they can marry people and decide who is worthy. But ever since I heard a bunch of Rabbis tell a group of young kids that one day, that they will own slaves like the old times and the Arabs will be their slaves I remain wary what they are all about. And it is the radical ones that get the high jobs in Israeli society. But it is not just old Rabbis they commit and support acts of depravity but even young girls-

    1. Bugs

      That he went to the Lubavitch headquarters was the biggest giveaway. This rabbi is a hard core supremacist.

  10. Wukchumni

    Biden’s Armageddon Moment: When Nuclear Detonation Seemed Possible in Ukraine David Sanger, NYT
    So you’re on the floor on an IBM tour
    Think you can last at the 1600 Pennsylvania Palace
    Does your brain go to the to and fro?
    But tonight’s the night or didn’t you know
    That Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe

    …He tried his tricks that Ruskie bear
    The United Nations said it’s all fair
    He did the surgical strike he did the kamakaze drone plague
    But NATO could not win with their sanctions spin

    …The Tsar Bomba the Kinzhal strike
    He tried every move he tried to stifle strife
    He drilled a hole in Avdiivka like a Russian star
    He made every move in his repertoire

    …When Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe

    …Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe

    … Now it was Genocide Joe’s turn to blow
    He turned it on, the armaments shipment show
    He forwarded Bibi’s call to the Pentagon
    Watch out for the Houthi leviathan

    …He wiped the Gaza clean as a plate
    What does it take to make a settler retake?
    But the rest of the world are bored and off they go
    Over the road to watch China grow

    …Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe
    Ivan nukes Genocide Joe

    Ivan Meets G.I. Joe, by The Clash

    1. ChrisFromGA


      As usual one must ask the question, why are they pushing this narrative now?

      Qui bono?


    2. ilsm

      Before little girls in fields with a mushroom cloud in the horizon……

      In the 1950’s US Army nuclear war was “fightable”. Atomic canon, and USAF jets.

      That was before ICBM’s and before RAND sold ‘mutual assured destruction’ (MAD) as likely outcome. Reinvigorating MAD is $1.2 trillion likely $2T with excesses.

      “If the weapons exist they will be used”.

      Biden/neocon tilt toward Armageddon over Kiev’s fictions is horrifying, almost more than Gaza genocide.

      1. scott s.

        Not sure what it signals as the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review clearly stated “we will bolster the Triad with capabilities that further strengthen regional deterrence, such as F-35A dual-capable fighter aircraft (DCA) equipped with the B61-12 bomb; the W76-2 warhead; and the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon.”

    1. flora

      The Dem estab has returned to being the party of cheap labor, the cheapest labor possible. B talks unions while kneecapping the railroad workers union. (Illegals aren’t going to unionize. They risk deportation at any time.)

    2. griffen

      One hopes they’re screened before going to work in those restaurants and hotels…like for communicable disease and the like, which apparently does not take place in the context of border policy and immigrant influx controls.

      One might also ask the question, cynically, how much aid or support is going to these policies while ignoring the states own citizens that have needs and face dire circumstances…

      1. Joe Renter

        Restaurants depend on cheap labor. Many do not even check for any documents.
        Race to the bottom on so many fronts.

    3. Mikel

      Like I said when the border crossings went on blast, the establishment is noticing all those labor protests.

    4. Wukchumni

      It’s almost all Mexican-American fieldworkers here in the Central Valley, with the average age being 45, it isn’t as if younger adults are interested in this line of work.

      Some of the work has been mechanized, but a good amount hasn’t, and it wouldn’t be all that out of kilter in terms of who does the work, it started with Filipinos, and then Japanese, followed by Mexicans in the 1940’s-who’ve held sway since.

      Now how somebody from Caracas could end up taking their place, i’ll never know.

      1. Carolinian

        Dont forget your Okies. They made a movie about it.

        Or my South which used to be the off shoring goto for Northern capitalists. The drove ole Dixie down and the white poor went to work at textile mills when not getting the rickets.

        Or the European immigrants of the late 19th cent who populate The Jungle of Chicago meatpacking.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Dont forget your Okies. They made a movie about it.

          Yes, but my parents’ generation went to those free colleges or those factories during the post war boom. What does the current generation have? Besides contempt from the elites that is?

          It has been a while since I have been around California, it was already not good, but by everything I read, it has gotten worse and worse. And the Midwest was depressing twenty years ago.

          If you have nothing and nowhere to go while others, speaking bluntly strangers, are getting what you do not have, but should, would you not be a bit angry?

          I am a freaking leftist, and I have in the past supported immigration, but today I see the arsonists who control our society burning it all down while puking disparagement onto most Americans; what should I do besides just giving up and watching the ongoing destruction of my nation by our country’s “elites?” And if I am not allowed to peacefully advocate for reform, what do I do then?

          1. undercurrent

            I’m not qualified to tell you, or anyone, what to do, but it sounds to me that you’re reaching a point that seems to be in my headlights, too. This: the realization that America isn’t worth saving, that it’s too far gone, and that the powers of the imperial state will be increasingly turned on its own citizens, as its foreign influence wanes faster and faster. And if that’s not enough, then what about the highly possible, even predictable, collapse of a life-sustaining climate? The question then becomes, is our (and it is ours) world worth saving? I think that it absolutely is. And I still think that’s a fight worth having.
            Now, just where did I leave my sidearm?

            1. flora

              If I may, and I hope you’ll grant an argumentative clemency to my debate style rebuttal-ish comment. / ;)

              “…the realization that America isn’t worth saving, that it’s too far gone, and that the powers of the imperial state will be increasingly turned on its own citizens,….”

              It’s only the oligarchic billionaires who profess the US is “too far gone”, not the middling classes who still believe in the founding ideas as aspirations of the country, imo. The billionaires want us to give up on those ideas, want us to abandon those ideas as too old-fashioned, too impossible in their new world, etc. For me, nope, not-a-gonna abandon those old so-called out of date ideas. (Sorry, billionaires.) /;)

      2. flora

        In NY Hochul theoretically wants someone from Caracas to take a NY civil servant job, English ability and high school diploma not required. So much for NY’s civil service laws and requirements. Political patronage: here it comes again. (And here I thought the civil service laws outlawing political patronage in state and local govt jobs were passed 100 years ago. I also thought child labor laws outlawing child labor in factories were passed 100 years ago. It wasn’t the Dem party that pushed for those civil service/child labor laws 100 years ago because those laws undermined the big city Dem machines in places like Chicago and Kansas City and New York City. B Clinton started modern era of Dem machine politics 30 years ago, imo.) / ;)

        1. flora

          adding: Thinking about the modern Dem party as a modern version of the old Dem patronage machines fits the picture, I think. Thinking of Wall St. as the primary patron. / ;)

    5. lyman alpha blob

      She’s doing it for all the poor, poor, hotel owners who can’t find workers, is she? What a humanitarian, looking out for the likes of the Hiltons. She really cares!

      Maybe she can couple that with the program Maine has, where they are building homes specifically for recent immigrants, where they can live rent free for a good period of time, and then pay only 30% of their pay once they are fast tracked into a job –

      My question is, why is this being done just for recent immigrants?!?!?! When I was unemployed many years ago, nobody fast tracked me into a new job, or gave two [family blog]s whether the meager unemployment I was receiving was enough to stay in a house (luckily I was married, or it wouldn’t have been). And given that these immigrants are not the truly poor and desperate (those people generally don’t have enough money to leave), why exactly are they being prioritized over US citizens? As events unfold, the more it appears this is a deliberate attempt to stick it to the working class and keep wages down. people were getting all uppity there during the pandemic looking for better pay, and we can’t have that!

      One thing that George Galloway noted recently was that NHS in the UK is now quite often staffed by good nurses and doctors who are recent immigrants, and his question was who is now staffing all the hospitals in the countries those people left? The West’s wish for more immigrants to do cheap labor presumably causes a serious brain drain in the countries the immigrants leave, all so we can create a few new oligarchs here benefitting from the toil of others in hotels and resorts we don’t really need in the first place.

      1. Pat

        But the US needs unskilled labor, too.

        Not to be sarcastic, but Hochul and her husband better have a very healthy slush fund as she appears to be determined to be ousted in 2026. Her every action since winning her first full term has been designed to p@$$ off the majority of voters in the state, even those in the NY metropolitan area. Think of it this way. Unlike Cuomo, she apparently has no desire for higher political office, so she may be lining up board positions with Marriot, and others to be seen as the 33 months till she would leave office.

          1. Skip Intro

            H-1B lets you find educated, trained workers, without investing in an educational system capable of producing them at scale. This lets the US exploit foreign educational systems, which are foolish enough to leave their graduates without a chain of debt to keep them home.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    Singing Union–

    Go Wobs! Joe Hill, “Rebel Girl” and “Pie in the Sky.” I’d add that Staughton Lynd never gathers with others without trying to get them to sing together, usually “Solidarity Forever.”

    As for Luther’s view of music, here’s my preferred version of “A Might Fortress is Our God” as sung by Concordia Seminary’s chorus of which I was once a member.

    1. dave -- just dave

      Singing and the Soul

      I spent a few years in a Catholic choir and once in a while someone would remind us of the saying, “Someone who sings prays twice.”

      And there’s an essay by Kurt Vonnegut – Palm Sunday

      “I am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount. Being merciful, it seems to me, is the only good idea we have received so far. Perhaps we will get another idea that good by and by-and then we will have two good ideas. What might that second good idea be? I don’t know. How could I know? I will make a wild guess that it will come from music somehow. I have often wondered what music is and why we love it so. It may be that music is that second good idea’s being born.”

      It’s fair to say that religiously Vonnegut was far to the left of Luther and the Catholic Church – he was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association in 1992. In an interview he said,

      I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great, spectacularly prolific writer and scientist, Dr. Isaac Asimov in that essentially functionless capacity. At an A.H.A. memorial service for my predecessor I said, “Isaac is up in Heaven now.” That was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. It rolled them in the aisles — it was several minutes before order could be restored.

    2. Lena

      It’s a fascinating article about The Singing Union. Lee Hays’ “Union Train” keeps coming, coming, coming through my head after reading it. The Big Man with the big voice, who blended his Southern church roots with his politics, to create some powerful songs.

      1. Bsn

        Grew up in a different religious atmosphere and then sang in a good Catholic choir for years. The music was worthwhile but between the singing, oh my, the “preaching” was horrendous. Anti-gay, stop killing the unborn, keep women in the kitchen ….. I just wanted to shout from the balcony. I gave up. I’ll stick with Jazz and folk singing.

        1. Joe Renter

          As a self identified esotericist, I have read that creation was started with sound or the sacred word. Sound, singing and music has deeper meaning than than most realize

  12. griffen

    Life comes at you in unexpected ways and methods. Driving your Tesla X backwards on property you’re unfamiliar with should be solved with some lighting possibly….I dunno since I wasn’t there. Reading about the youngest Chao sister and her untimely end.

      1. Old Sarum

        Billionaire’s enclave: I’m wondering whether the locally-yokelly drift of Texas will induce wealthy fertile residents of Austin’s hinterland to decamp to jurisdictions less focused on the madcap politics of prosecuting female reproductive happenstance, and will they be dragged back by Texas Rangers wielding speculums?

        Could Austin secede?


    1. jefemt

      I think they mis-spelled bunkers. Shouldn’t it be bonkers?
      Why anyone would want to attenuate life for a few months if TSHTF and Jackpot? Folks need to read moar dystopian classics, like The Postman, The Dog Stars, ad nauseum…
      Or Not!

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Sorry, I do not recall whether that was said in the play although that does nicely encapsule its theme.

  13. Wukchumni

    Some fans at frigid Chiefs playoff game underwent amputations, hospital confirms AP. Commitment to the bit!
    I remember that weekend when much of the country was in a deep freeze, and my thought was to call the NFL games off as they had a week leeway with the Superbowl if they really needed to.

    The hope is that those Chief fans who are out a finger or 2, aren’t missing that one in the middle of the hand in particular, but in their grasp I smell lawsuit settlements with a round number followed by many digits.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Did the NFL owe Chiefs fans a duty of care ? and what about Dolphins fans who made the trek? Oddly they don’t seem to have suffered the same fate. Did they wisely overdress with REI grade gear being South Floridians?

      Is an outdoor stadium an inherently dangerous thing?

      What defenses would the NFLs lawyers bring?

      The existence of the Bills mafia argues that fans assume the risk when they enter such modern day coliseums.

      From a PR standpoint it’s probably wise for the NFL to quietly make this go away with some of those TV profits.

    2. griffen

      To me , it seems a little screwy means to pump those eyeball numbers higher and higher every season with undue risk to those wishing to attend the bacchanalian sporting feast of professional football playoffs, US style, of course. Wasn’t there some confab the last week,about a friendly match between Canada and the US in women’s soccer? I think San Diego was in a deluge of rain and the field of play was not, let’s say kindly, ideal for national teams.

      To quote Meatloaf…”I would do anything for love ( of my Chiefs / Bills / Packers) but I won’t do that…”

  14. Carla

    Re: FOX and Politico stories about SOTU — flip sides of the same thing, and ain’t that a surprise?

  15. lyman alpha blob

    There was some discussion yesterday regarding the European (and spreading) farmer protests, and whether they were worthy of support, or just a ploy by Big Farmer, something I’ve been wondering myself. The tractors I’m seeing are enormous, and not the type you typically use on a small, independent family farm. In my experience, those tractors are the type used on massive, BigAg farms – they are much larger than the tractors my family’s dairy farm used, before it was put out of business a year ago by sanctions and Congressional policies oriented toward larger, industrial scale farms. Then again I’ve never seen the equipment used by modern grain farmers since you don’t see those farms much in New England. Hard to tell what types of farmers are doing the actual protesting.

    Just ran across this video where Dmitri Orlov takes up the subject for a couple minutes around the 13:00 mark –

    Orlov says the US forced Ukraine to sell of publicly owned farmland against the wished of the Ukrainian public, privatized it and it’s now controlled by Archer Daniels Midland and the like who have planted it with GM crops that are being dumped on Europe, undercutting EU farmers on price, and forcing GM foods into the EU which they have long tried to avoid.

    This is the first I’ve heard of this privatization claim. I’d thought the plan was for the US to start the looting and selloffs after the war was over, and also that is was incredibly presumptuous to assume victory. According to Orlov, they’ve gotten out over their skis and started carving up the country for the benefit of US business interests while bodies are still smoldering . If true, that would explain the desperation to keep project Ukraine going. It’s not just the weapons manufacturers whose increased profits are at stake if war stops.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Picture this. The war is over and now the majority of that agricultural land is part of the Russian Federation. All those corporations who snapped up that land on the cheap courtesy of Zelensky now find themselves with zilch but debts. So they decide to take it to an international court to demand that Russia pay them top notch dollar for all that land. And at that point they realize that there is no court that they can take Russia to which Russia officially recognizes.

      1. vao

        If I remember correctly, there were people who went to courts in the USA to sue Iran on some grounds related to terrorism, got their day in court because of “universal jurisdiction” for the alleged crimes, and then were granted compensation paid from confiscated Iranian assets.

        A similar procedure might be followed against Russia.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Those court cases were bogus and I think that one set – which they won – was based on the theory that Iran was responsible for 9/11. The US may confiscate Russian assets but there are US assets in Russia that could be seized and sold in turn.

        2. digi_owl

          Go further back and US companies sued, and won against, the US government for damage done to their factories in Nazi Germany by USAF bombers.

    2. Michaelmas

      Orlov is correct.

      Project Ukraine, from the US point of view, has been partly about the grab for the Ukraine breadbasket by US-based agricultural corporations like Archer Daniels Midland, who already possess extensive footholds in country.

      From ADM themselves —

      ADM employs more than 850 people in Ukraine and operates an oilseed crushing plant in Illichivsk, a grain terminal in the port of Odessa, five inland and one river silos, and a trading office in Kiev.

      As of February, 2022 —
      ADM shuts Ukraine grains terminal, crush plant, other facilities after Russia invasion

      However, ADM is trying to resume operations there. Again, from ADM themselves, as of July 2023 —

      ADM Urges Reinstatement of Grain Corridor
      ADM strongly urges all involved parties to come together to reinstate and return to full operation the UN Grain Initiative. As one of the leading growers of wheat, corn and barley, Ukraine is a critical pillar of global food security, and the grain corridor has allowed Ukrainian farmers to continue to serve that vital role even amid Russia’s invasion.

      1. spud

        war changed after 1993. every country has a history with war, otherwise borders would never change, and countries would cease to exist. america was no different than any other country in history over war.

        but what changed from 1993 onward? wars became different. war became americas foundation.

        we went from occasional war, yes occasional, because all you have to do is look at history, to hyper warfare.

        bill clinton had at least four going at once. and with threats for more always close by on the horizon.

        bush was enabled, by bill clinton. obama had seven going. trump tried to shut the war machine down. biden has at least three, plus what he inherited from clinton and obama.

        this is what happened in 1993.

        bill clinton, tony blair and other assorted psychopaths removed what helped make the world into some sort of civil society.

        Tariffs and export taxes slow down the speed of capital: Tariffs and export taxes promote industrialization: Tariffs and export taxes promote food stability and local supply chains: Tariffs and export taxes are ecologically sound: Tariffs stabilize employment and communities

        tariffs do not cause depressions.

        there has been no tariff related inflation.

        tariffs raise wages.

        tariffs give democratic control over trade.

        tariffs reverse poverty caused by free trade.

        tariffs protect the wealth of a nation.

        tariffs promote research and development.

        tariffs help labor create a high standard of living, its called a civil society.

        tariffs do not blockade ports, otherwise where does all of that tariff money come from.

        tariffs are expansionary.

        tariffs are like a universal income for the poor.

        tariffs are a tax on the wealthy

        tariffs are a boon for the poor

        tariffs actually lower import prices, and keep them low

        without tariffs, the wealthy can charge more for imports, they do not have to worry about claims of import price manipulation.

    3. petal

      One of the local apple farmers I worked for had a tractor similar to those. He asked me to drive it one harvest. He was independent, not a corporation or BigAg. Just a local small fry.

    4. Revenant

      The tractors are huge but also the modern size on even small farms. We farm in the rainy, wet hills of the Westcountry where farms are small by US standards (200-300 acres) and largely stock farming rather than arable. These are nevertheless the tractors that local farmers buy from new.

      There are nevertheless a lot of smaller tractors still running but these are from the 1980’s or older (we had a 1950’s Ferguson for a while). If it weren’t for old farms with small tractors, I wouldn’t be able to get some of my fields mown where the gate is only 9ft10in wide!

      The contractors who do hedge trimming, slurry spreading, silaging etc also buy the big tractors because, as an example, they can pull a bigger slurry tank and do so faster, cutting down on the trips back to the slurry pit. Our farm manager is also a contractor and all his wealth is tied up as the equity in his vehicles, which cost £100k for the tractor and £50k for the tanker and its spreading bars, blowers, shoes etc (the house comes with his job and he has no savings to speak of). He has two tractors, one for the spreader and one for hedge trimming in winter (cows are indoors, hedges are not protected for nesting) or, in silaging season, one for the mower and one for the rake.

      In grain country in the East of England, every tractor is huge and the crop handling equipment (combine harvesters, balers etc) are bigger again. They come with folding parts because they don’t fit on UK country lanes otherwise! The size of hay and silage bales has increased from the small square ones a man can lift to the big round ones which require a telehandler to manoeuvre so even feeding the cattle becomes a mechanised job.

      There are farm profitability studies showing how much the cost of machinery eats farmers’ margins. A lot of savvy older farmers shake their heads and young farmers who buy all the kit. There’s quite a divide between tractor but farmers and the ones who’d rather buy another pedigree cow or another acre. Bug Tractor farming makes you a slave to the machine and encourages further intensification because of your sunk costs.

      If you go on farming chat boards, many of the farmers in the regenerative farming topics, like mob grazing, make a big point about how running a big herd and keeping it indoors creates a problem (slurry) that doesn’t exist if you can out winter the cattle appropriately and removes the need for big tractors by reducing slurry tankering. With the right set up (electric fencing, moveable troughs), you can get by with a quad bike and a dog, to put food out and move the cattle around. Cutting herd numbers so that the grass can be grown March-Nov and minimising silage and hay requirements further reduces big tractor. In arable, experiments with agrifirestry, cropping between trees, and with undersown cover crops, create a need for smaller and more inventive machinery. The talks by Andy Cato (DJ turned farmer) at Groundswell are very interesting on this point.

      If we are going to farm with sustainable efficiency, we will need smaller machinery to treat each acre differently, rather than giant machines for erasing the differences in land in pursuit of a single commodity.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Before mechanization, one calorie of energy input produced 10 calories worth of food. Most of that energy was human or draft animal.

        Today, to get one calorie of food requires 10 units of fossil energy.

        One way or another, the percentage of people involved in growing food is going to start increasing back to pre-mechanization, pre-chemicals days.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Undisclosed country receives nod to buy weapons from Sweden for $1.75 billion: Report”

    Turkiye. I bet it’s Turkiye. And this was a side deal agreed so that in exchange Turkiye would give the nod to Sweden joining NATO.

  17. griffen

    Love him, hate him, it is hard to ignore him..Elon Musk is unique in the class of IT gazillionaire that have been perpetrated really since the calendar flipped to 2000. I can’t say I’ll buy the book but I’d watch a film based on the Isaacson book.

    I long thought that Steve Jobs made a more fascinating character study versus his peer Bill Gates. One can disagree but Jeff Bezos seems a bit less busy these days with his entrepreneurship endeavors aside from owning the Post. Musk just seems like the type to continue and progress well into his 60s and 70s, if death doesn’t derail him.

    1. jefemt

      I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to see Elon, Jeff, and Bill get in a dusted-off and fully-vetted Apollo-class rocket to the Sun – I mean Mars.

      1. griffen

        We could expand the list of candidates worthy to include on the aforementioned rocket… politicians galore ( serving and or retired too! )…

        If we’re dreaming this let’s go big…send them to LV-426 where they can put to work on the latest atmospheric designs and engineering from Weyland corporation..btw some local but not indigenous creatures will welcome them….\Sarc

      2. Alice X

        I would rather send them to some nearby lush terrestrial camp to commune with Mother Earth, the honor would be in the setting and the humans would only be camp members. The clues to how this would be done come to me in dreams, though I must now with sorrow confess, begin with a dark side. A darkness has come over me as I find more and more layers pealed away from the ultra elite. I died in Gaza.

    2. Carolinian

      I long thought that Steve Jobs made a more fascinating character study versus his peer Bill Gates

      A low bar? I don’t think Musk is all that interesting but he has done some interesting things. What our tycoons mostly have a talent for is making money. You even see it in entertainment where Taylor Swift is celebrated for being so rich. Her music?? PR is all.

      1. Yves Smith

        Jobs started up Apple, NeXT and Pixtar and then turned around Apple. NeXT was the best user experience in computing, evah, bar none. But NeXT came to market at a very bad time, just after a cycle where buyers had just bought new workstations (and they are expected to last longer than desktops) and during a recession.

        1. spud

          Jobs was nothing without employment by atari, which woz helped him loot. he would have been al bundy, he got lucky.

            1. spud

              gates had parents with financial ins, what did that have to do with bills outstanding achievements?

              jobs stint at atari when he really was nothing, no one ever said he did anything there, except hang over others shoulders, and had the keys to the warehouse for late night incursions, surely gave him a leg up, just as bill gates had a leg up.

              1. griffen

                Microsoft was literally built using technologies borrowed, bought or stolen from others…DOS being the most obvious, glaring example of the achievements by Gates, Allen, etc… I’m too young but does WordPerfect ring anyone’s bells perhaps?

                I see neither Jobs or Gates through sympathetic lenses of course,but the technology advances since the late 70s are in many ways remarkable in hindsight. Gates is just a more typical style or brand of success than a Jobs was, my opinion only.

                1. spud

                  i should have put sarc behind gates achievements. if you think gates stole, then you better research jobs at atari. where did the parts for that famous computer in a garage came from. where did apple basic come from?

                  its easy to be considered as a mover or shaker when you had lots of help along the way. and inside help to boot.

                  so i guess this is how things are really done, and legends are not all they are cracked up to be.

                  1. griffen

                    You’re full of it pal. But please do enlighten and tell us more from the fount of your intellect.

                    Not sarcasm.

                  2. griffen

                    Also that’s on you for not including a sarc tag on “achievements”… honestly…yes the man took ideas from others that isn’t even a secret is it ?

                    This topic I find fascinating. We have two competing interests coming out of the 1980s and one of them being Apple nearly fell by the wayside into the dustbin of history…

                2. Procopius

                  I have no love for Bill Gates, either, but his and Paul Allen’s BASIC was a remarkable achievement at the time. “Real” computer scientists like Edsger Dijkstra pointed out that it ruined many “programmers,” making them unteachable, but it also introduced tens of thousands of people to programming and fit into 64K. In the 1970s that was important.

          1. elissa3

            Perhaps Job’s most notable personal trait was his perfectionism, which he successfully applied not only to the development of original products, but also to the selection of the upper management at the companies he headed. An individual cannot do it all, and the ability to recruit, inspire, and oversee the people who do the nitty gritty is a rare skill at the level of such companies.

            Luck and timing are always factors, but agree with Yves that Jobs had a rare, special business genius.

            1. spud

              you have to do research on where jobs and woz got their parts for that famous computer built in a garage. you will also have to find out where apple basic came from. it was really strange, apple basic is almost atari basic.

              don’t believe me? just look at all of the pink apple ports on atari 8-bits.

              i have had ports done also, its easy. almost as if apple basic was atari basic.

              then of course there is the macintosh, with just minor tweaks, it runs on atari machines.

              1. griffen

                I have never seen this aspect mentioned or discussed at length. ATARI seriously what the heck. Of all the brainchild offsprings to come from the late 70s the best ideas were from … Asteroids the video game.

                Good grief. I have never, not ever seen this mentioned previously and I have definitely looked into it. I would not be that shocked to learn if all you allege is, indeed true. Engineers ripping off engineers,and so forth.

                1. spud

                  one of the problems i have with people who worship is, that they simply do not understand in most cases, the jobs, gates, musk, bezoes of the world, get into their vaunted positions, and can act like they are some sort of saviors and genius’s is because, in reality, most of them had a leg up in starting out.

                  having parents with money and ins, stealing, err, liberating from others, what was needed to start up their own. that is the theft of wealth and sweat from others.

                  getting preferential treatment like not having to play by the same rules, laws and regulations that everyone else has to play be.

                  the panera bread guy might be held up as a genius someday, because he got special treatment on minimum wage, like bezeos with sales taxes.

                  then someday they get worshiped.


                  Silicon Valley’s Secret Involves Proximity, Stolen Parts, and the Kindness of Strangers, Say Atari Alumni Atari alumni, gathering in Silicon Valley last week, reminisce about Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ray Dolby, and all the companies that got started with “liberated” parts
                  Tekla S. Perry
                  14 Sep 2016
                  3 min read

                  “Liberating parts,” corrected Bushnell.

                  “A fine tradition,” said Alcorn, “that Atari adopted. That’s how the Apple II was made, with Atari’s parts.”

                  don’t belittle atari. the mass production of miniturized parts and lots of other innovations created the technology we have today.

                  most roads can be traced back to atari.


          2. J.

            Steve Jobs was actually really really good at design, and applied this talent both to MacOS user interfaces and to Mac hardware.

            Industrial design usually doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves.

            1. spud

              yea sure.


              TIL that Steve Jobs lied to Steve Wozniak. When they made Breakout for Atari, Wozniak and Jobs were going to split the pay 50-50. Atari gave Jobs $5000 to do the job. He told Wozniak he got $700 so Wozniak took home $350.

              and from what i understand, woz did most of it.


              Steve Wozniak: I Cried When Steve Jobs Kept Atari Bonus to Himself
              By Alistair Charlton Alistair Charlton
              12/15/11 AT 12:25 PM GMT

              “Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has admitted he cried when he discovered that the late Steve Jobs had tricked him into designing a game for which Jobs received a majority of the profit.

              Speaking to the BBC in the programme Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy, which aired on Wednesday evening, Wozniak explained that when Jobs had been approached by Atari to create a new “break-out” game, he got Wozniak to do the work, but only paid him less than half of what he received from the company for the job.”

        2. Carolinian

          Perhaps Jobs was more like Musk than like Gates–i.e. the big picture guy while somebody else did the engineering. Of course Jobs developed a glowing media reputation but then so did Musk for awhile.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            I think this is more of the case. And I also think deep down it burns Musk up that Jobs was seen as “cool” in a way he never will be.

            1. digi_owl

              Jobs basic trick was to become a household name with the media tribes.

              How he managed to get RIAA and MPAA (MAFIAA…) to put their content onto the ITMS when in the past they had been fighting online content sales tooth and nail.

          2. spud

            BINGO!! you just described a glory hog. al gore worshiped jobs, that’s all you need to know.

        3. Greg Taylor

          Still miss my NeXT that I used from 1992-2001 or so. Even thought of restoring what’s left of mine or getting another. Monitor screen narrowed and I didn’t realize it could be fixed. Tossed it, regrettably. Unfortunately, the keyboard plugged into the monitor so you can’t easily use just any monitor. I’d need another MegaPixel monitor and likely a new SCSI drive to get the NeXTStation to work again.

          1. Yves Smith

            You used yours a super long time too! I think I got mine in 1991 (the pretty non-turbo version) and it lasted 10 and a half years! And the reason I had to ditch it was not mechanical but that it was too memory-constrained to function well as Internet sites became more demanding. The only hardware issue I had was with the printer. I loved the Canon printer (and that the machine would intone “Your printer cover is open” and “Paper is jammed in your printer” when appropriate). But the printer wheels didn’t last all that long (and this was in the day when most people printed a lot, e-mailing docs not hugely common due among other things to compatibility issues) and virgin or underunded Canon printers became a scarce item.

  18. Maxwell Johnston

    Russia is Burning Up Its Future — Foreign Affairs

    The author (Andrei Kolesnikov) is a long-time Putin critic who now works at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center (in Berlin), so one can hardly expect a sober even-handed analysis from him (and of course this is Foreign Affairs, one of The Blob’s official mouthpieces). Kolesnikov has his own point of view and will select the facts that support it, which is fair enough. But some things he writes are just a bit too much and bear refuting.

    “…..Russian politics had been until recently reduced to a Navalny-Putin confrontation.” — Nonsense. I doubt Navalny would have gathered more than 10% of the vote in any free and fair election. The main schism in Russian politics today is between the centrists (the Putin regime, broadly defined) and the nationalists (who view Putin as a soft touch who needs to adopt more Stalinist methods).

    “Russia is neither stable nor normal.” — This is a completely meaningless statement in the absence of any comparison to the situation in other countries around the world (e.g., would a Martian consider today’s USA to be ‘stable and normal’?), but Kolesnikov uses this as the theme for the rest of the article.

    “Putin has made clear that Russia is fighting a permanent background war with the West…..” — Given the recent news reports about long-term CIA involvement in the Ukraine, German generals discussing how best to attack Russian assets, and the French president openly calling for ground forces to be sent against Russian troops, one might think that Putin is onto something.

    “…..the regime has resorted to gigantic social expenditures and preferential treatment for the poor…..” — Oh my goodness, what an evil thing to do! Bad Putin! Bad Russian bear!

    “Twenty years ago in Foreign Affairs, Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman called Russia a “normal country.” — Yes indeed: he’s quoting the very same Andrei Shleifer who was involved up to his neck with a scandal that did so very much to discredit the USA’s reputation in Russia way back in the wild 1990s:

    Kolesnikov spends much time bemoaning Russia’s demographics, but without any comparison to other countries’ demographics and without any footnotes or links (maybe the print version of Foreign Affairs has footnotes, I don’t know). Russian demographics are not fantastic, but they’ve improved steadily since the 1990s. Russia’s fertility rate (1.5) is actually higher than that in many EU countries and is approximately the same as the USA’s (1.6). All the recent data I see shows that Russia’s deaths due to homicide, suicide, and alcohol have been declining steadily for 20+ years. The death rate has gone up recently (possibly due to Covid and the fighting in the Ukraine), but not drastically:

    “Under the most pessimistic scenario modeled by the state statistics service, by 2046, the population of Russia…..will shrink by a total of 15.4 million people…..” — This is indeed the pessimistic scenario. And under the optimistic scenario, the population will rise by 4.6m. Both scenarios ignore any population increases via net immigration (and there are a lot of foreigners working both legally and illegally in Russia) and via the annexations:

    “…..his costly project in Ukraine has laid a minefield under the country’s economic and demographic future…..” — We shall see what the future holds, but so far neither the objective statistics nor my subjective observations support that statement.

    There is plenty more silliness in this article, but I’ll stop here.

    1. Feral Finster

      Russia could cure cancer, using this one weird old trick and they’d complain about all the doctors that are now out of work.

      I forgot the name of the Russian guy who was on American TV some years ago. Later, he tried to compare positive vs negative mentions of Russia in the MSM. The problem was, he literally could not find a single positive mention.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Probably Vladimir Pozner. From autumn 2018:

        “Pozner also stressed the destructive role media on both sides of the Atlantic play by escalating the mutual dislike and fear. “Russian mainstream media (…) shows an extremely negative picture of the United States,” he stated while pointing to the levels of government control, before adding, “but much to my surprise, American media is doing exactly the same.””

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “would a Martian consider today’s USA to be ‘stable and normal”

      I don’t think he was from Mars, but he did claim to have been from a different time and place, and this was his take 50 years ago:

      I just wanna know about, the rooms behind your minds
      Do I see a vacuum there, or am I going blind?

      Later on, he expresses concern for our future:

      I have lived here before, the days of ice.
      And of course this is why I’m so concerned.
      And I come back to find the stars misplaced,
      And the smell of a world that has burned…
      Well, maybe, maybe it’s just a change of climate.

      Up From the Skies” Jimi Hendrix

    3. Cat Burglar

      Kolesnikov respects the limits on elite discourse in this country. Citing Shleifer is his signal that he is going to toe the line.

      For an article that spends so much time trying to establish the existence of an Authoritarian Reflex in post-Soviet Russia, you’d think he would go back to the origin: Yeltsin calling out the army to shell parliament in 1993, to forestall it from revoking his Shock Therapy powers. It can’t be repeated enough that it was done with the encouragement of the United States. Lots of people died protesting the attack. Kolesnikov might have continued with an account of the rigged 1996 elections. Look at what even Navalany wrote about it in August 2023 —

      What has the KGB got to do with it? There was no creeping or overt coup in our country led by people from the special services. They did not come to power by pushing the democrat reformers out of power. They did it themselves. They called them themselves. They invited them themselves. They taught them how to fake elections. How to steal property from entire industries. How to lie to the media. How to change laws to suit themselves. How to suppress opposition by force. Even how to organize idiotic, stupid, talentless wars.

      That is why I can’t help it and I fiercely hate those who sold, drank, and wasted the historical chance that our country had in the early 90s. I hate Yeltsin and «Tanya and Valya», Chubais, and the rest of the corrupt family who put Putin in power. I hate the swindlers, whom we used to call reformers for some reason. Now it is very clear that they did nothing but intrigue and take care of their own wealth.

  19. .Tom

    Regarding The Outrage Industry Teri Kanefield and ‘This is insanity’: … author warns FOX. The first seems like an update on Hate Inc., which was ok but … What drives me to depression and unhappiness is that this is the best we seem to get in terms of a political critique. If a critique of American politics fails to explain the class interests served by the maintenance of this definition of politics then it is actually serving those class interests too.

    A few years ago I proposed an analytic model of American political discourse and meta discourse.

    1. The overt politics we see play out in the news.
    2. Is the meta discussion of Level 1, e.g. the things by Kanefield, Taibbi, and all the fairly routine “Why oh why is our politics so divisive?”
    3. Is the narrative that insists that the L1 is in fact politics. In truth the L1 discourse is a nonsense theater that keeps us distracted from the stable, steady-state, status quo that the ruling class needs to preserve. This ruling class largely controls both political parties and owns most of the news media. But the message in L3 is this class divide isn’t political and gunz, abortion, Trump, borderz, masks, vaxx are.
    4. Is the meta discussion of L3 which includes therefore discussion of L1 and L2 and describes how the whole thing operates to serve the interests of the ruling class. Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model, for example, is in L4.

    So it seems to me that L2 discussions can be in service of the L3 narrative by reinforcing the message that American politics is in fact fundamentally what it appears to be in L1, but it has become corrupted commercial and ego forces and needs some reform in terms of its tone and detail.

    1. pjay

      Sorry .Tom. Your comment wasn’t posted when I started mine right below. I was trying to say the same thing, but you said it better. I do think Taibbi’s recent work is a little closer to what you are saying.

      1. .Tom

        I’ve supported Taibbi buying books since The Great Derangement and on substack since his launched. He’s getting closer with time but I doubt he or Greenwald will ever get over their belief that we’ll get back on track if only American liberalism and civil libertarianism are reformed and diligently upheld.

  20. Carolinian

    Re that pier, file under The Stupid It Burns

    “The food, water, and medical supplies so desperately needed by people in Gaza are sitting just across the border,” Doctors Without Border said Friday. “Israel needs to facilitate rather than block the flow of supplies.”[…]

    The very fact that the delivery of “a significant amount” of aid is conditional on Hamas accepting Israeli demands underscores that Israel, with US backing, is using that aid as a tool of coercion. This directly contradicts Biden’s claim, in his State of the Union address, that such assistance cannot be “a bargaining chip.”

    Of course the pier idea is a ploy but one that is so off the wall even the MSM is criticizing it. The mystery of why Nikki Haley thought she could be president is solved by looking at Biden’s example. She said to herself “I can do that.” Meanwhile she may get her way with a ban on Tiktok and Biden says he will sign it. Haley was the RINO Biden.

    Meanwhile football games are held in a minus 27 degree open stadium (I used to drive past it on the way West). Whatever Biden/Haley have it’s catching.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Just recently I heard on the news that Trump has said that banning TikTok is wrong, harmful and will make a lot of young people very unhappy.

      I think Trump is being very shrewd and clever here. If the TikTok ban gets passed and Biden signs it, millions of the young people whose votes Biden counts on will wake up to no more TikTok and blame the man who signed the Bill. And they will withhold their votes from him, in their millions. And they might even vote for the Trump who said ” don’t take the young peoples’ TikTok away from them.”

      At least that is what Trump hopes. And he could be right.

  21. pjay

    – ‘The Outrage Industry’ – Teri Kanefield

    This is pretty good, especially since it was written by a liberal attorney. The long list of “consequences” for Trump and his associates in response to the liberal “never any consequences” trope is itself worth the read. She also covers liberal “outrage” agents like Maddow, Laurence Tribe, Andrew Weissman, and MSNBC in her discussion (I also learned that the median age of MSNBC viewers was 71!).

    I started reading this fairly long piece just to see if there was any mention of Matt Taibbi’s Hate Inc., which covered this territory five years ago. There wasn’t. Also, like Taibbi’s book, while this helps provide some “balance” in considering the “left” side of the Outrage Machine, it stays on the partisan surface. It does not dive into the deeper and more serious bipartisan Establishment sources of much of this “outrage” manipulation – something that Taibbi has been doing in his recent work. Nevertheless, worth the read.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > something that Taibbi has been doing in his recent work. Nevertheless, worth the read.

      I read Hate Inc., but did not review it, because I felt — it was awhile back — that the institutional focus was vague or completely lacking. But I think you are right, Taibbi has his teeth in that “institutional focus” right now, and has discovered it can bite back. More power to him!

      1. JBird

        From what I remember, it was more of a written version of the Edvard Munch’s The Scream than anything scholarly. Something he wrote after an awaking seeing the murder of Eric Garner.

  22. Alice X

    ~”… and potentially usher in an era of virtually limitless power production..”


    If you believe that humans have done a fine job on the planet so far, with measly finite fossil fuels, you will be absolutely enthralled by the advent of a limitless power production!

    1. Alice X

      Mark my MWhrs (megawatt hours) …and some guy’s laws of thermodynamics, …things are going to work out just fine.

  23. Screwball

    From the “outrage of the day” department, both sides edition.

    PMCville people are aghast at Trump (imagine that) for making fun of Biden’s stutter at the SOTU speech while campaigning in Georgia. He is a sick heartless human being and if anyone votes for him they are too, to quote one.

    On the other side of the sporting event; the Red Hats, as some call them (if you are not a card carrying member of PMCville you are a red hat (there is no middle ground)), are aghast that Joe Biden, in a MSNBC interview, apologized for calling the “undocumented” who killed Laken Riley an illegal, and also saying the undocumented built America. It was also reported Trump met with the parents of Riley while in Georgia.

    We have what, 240 more days of this stuff? It’s only going to get more wild and disgusting.

    1. ilsm

      The MAGA’s have nothing on the depth of rage spewing out against Trump and his deplorables.

      MAGA’s are raging about murder, the PMClass is raging about their reaction to a murderer!

      It is almost like the rage Bibi has against GAZA bc Hamas!

      1. Feral Finster

        The rage of people entitled to rule by Divine Right being deprived of what they see as theirs.

        Think Miami gusanos, White Russian emigres, or Canadian Ukrainians.

      2. cgregory

        Clinton used the wrong term to describe Trump supporters. They are not “deplorables.” They were encouraged to become and consequently are “miserables.” Their self-assumed state of misery makes them pliable for GOP ends. Their willingness to focus on one murder by an immigrant blinds them to the fact that Biden could very easily come up with a dozen homicides in M.T. Green’s district that were committed by legal Americans.

        1. ilsm

          A couple of George Floyds, preferrable to a lock down to “run” an election under?

          We a week away from 2 weeks to slow the spread…… and 4 years.

        2. griffen

          They’ve been told to “go learn how to code” and that’s all they get from the empty promises for the last 30+ years…Obama in 2012 I think it was described a portion of”them” also as clinging to their guns and Hillary just doubled down on the mentality of political elites.

          No idea what would make them the way they are. None at all.

          1. Joe Renter

            Here is clue, most think with their emotions. Which is easy to mold by the powers that be.

  24. CA

    Thoroughly brilliant essay:

    March 7, 2024

    The Shoah After Gaza
    The dark meaning the Israeli state has drawn from the Shoah, and then institutionalized in a machinery of repression. Anyone calling attention to the spectacle of Washington’s blind commitment to Israel is accused of antisemitism, ignoring the Shoah.
    By Pankaj Mishra

    In 1977, a year before he killed himself, the Austrian writer Jean Améry came across press reports of systematic torture against Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons. Arrested in Belgium in 1943 while distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets, Améry himself had been brutally tortured by the Gestapo, and then deported to Auschwitz. He managed to survive, but could never look at his torments as things of the past. He insisted that those who are tortured remain tortured, and that their trauma is irrevocable. Like many survivors of Nazi death camps, Améry came to feel an ‘existential connection’ to Israel in the 1960s. He obsessively attacked left-wing critics of the Jewish state as ‘thoughtless and unscrupulous’, and may have been one of the first to make the claim, habitually amplified now by Israel’s leaders and supporters, that virulent antisemites disguise themselves as virtuous anti-imperialists and anti-Zionists. Yet the ‘admittedly sketchy’ reports of torture in Israeli prisons prompted Améry to consider the limits of his solidarity with the Jewish state. In one of the last essays he published, he wrote: ‘I urgently call on all Jews who want to be human beings to join me in the radical condemnation of systematic torture. Where barbarism begins, even existential commitments must end.’

    Améry was particularly disturbed by the apotheosis in 1977 of Menachem Begin as Israel’s prime minister. Begin, who organised the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in which 91 people were killed, was the first of the frank exponents of Jewish supremacism who continue to rule Israel. He was also the first routinely to invoke Hitler and the Holocaust and the Bible while assaulting Arabs and building settlements in the Occupied Territories. In its early years the state of Israel had an ambivalent relationship with the Shoah and its victims. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, initially saw Shoah survivors as ‘human debris’, claiming that they had survived only because they had been ‘bad, harsh, egotistic’. It was Ben-Gurion’s rival Begin, a demagogue from Poland, who turned the murder of six million Jews into an intense national preoccupation, and a new basis for Israel’s identity. The Israeli establishment began to produce and disseminate a very particular version of the Shoah that could be used to legitimise a militant and expansionist Zionism.

    Améry noted the new rhetoric and was categorical about its destructive consequences for Jews living outside Israel. That Begin, ‘with the Torah in his arm and taking recourse to biblical promises’, speaks openly of stealing Palestinian land ‘alone would be reason enough’, he wrote, ‘for the Jews in the diaspora to review their relationship to Israel’. Améry pleaded with Israel’s leaders to ‘acknowledge that your freedom can be achieved only with your Palestinian cousin, not against him.’

    Five years later, insisting that Arabs were the new Nazis and Yasser Arafat the new Hitler, Begin assaulted Lebanon. By the time Ronald Reagan accused him of perpetrating a ‘holocaust’ and ordered him to end it, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese and obliterated large parts of Beirut. In his novel Kapo (1993), the Serbian-Jewish author Aleksandar Tišma captures the revulsion many survivors of the Shoah felt at the images coming out of Lebanon: ‘Jews, his kinsmen, the sons and grandsons of his contemporaries, former inmates of the camps, stood in tank turrets and drove, flags waving, through undefended settlements, through human flesh, ripping it apart with machine-gun bullets, rounding up the survivors in camps fenced off with barbed wire.’

    Primo Levi, who had known the horrors of Auschwitz at the same time as Améry and also felt an emotional affinity to the new Jewish state, quickly organised an open letter of protest and gave an interview in which he said that ‘Israel is rapidly falling into total isolation … We must choke off the impulses towards emotional solidarity with Israel to reason coldly on the mistakes of Israel’s current ruling class. Get rid of that ruling class.’ In several works of fiction and non-fiction, Levi had meditated not only on his time in the death camp and its anguished and insoluble legacy, but also on the ever present threats to human decency and dignity. He was especially incensed by Begin’s exploitation of the Shoah. Two years later, he argued that ‘the centre of gravity of the Jewish world must turn back, must move out of Israel and back into the diaspora.’

    Misgivings of the kind expressed by Améry and Levi are condemned as grossly antisemitic today…

    1. Lena

      Thank you for the link to this article.

      Primo Levi was a brilliant man, an Italian chemist and writer. Being a secular Italian Jew meant he had little in common with religious East European Jews he met in the camps. His relationship with Judaism and Israel were complex. Levi ended his life by suicide. His writings on the Holocaust and other subjects are important and provide a different viewpoint than those of the much better known Holocaust writer Elie Wiesel.

      When I was in college, I went to a speech given by Elie Wiesel. Let’s say I was less than impressed by the great man. I wish I could have heard Primo Levi give a talk instead.

      1. CA

        “I went to a speech given by Elie Wiesel…”

        I understand completely.

        Primo Levi in contrast was a humanist, and that while of lasting importance and validity evidently proved difficult for Levi.

      2. CA

        “Primo Levi was a brilliant man, an Italian chemist and writer. Being a secular Italian Jew meant he had little in common with religious East European Jews he met in the camps. His relationship with Judaism and Israel were complex.”

        I think “we” can benefit importantly by thinking about the way in which Levi lived. I do appreciate your mention.

        A possible suggestion:

        December 12, 1989

        Primo Levi and the Ghosts of Auschwitz

        Stories and Essays
        By Primo Levi

        1. Lena

          Since his death, there has been controversy about whether Levi died from suicide. Some say it was an accident.

          I remember I first heard he had died from one of my professors who knew him personally and said it was a suicide. He told this with great sadness in his voice.

          We may never know for certain but, yes, what is important is the way he lived. May his memory be for a blessing.

  25. Es s Ce Tera

    re: America’s Loneliness Epidemic Comes for the Restaurant The Atlantic.

    I think the downfall of the restaurant began long before the pandemic. My partner and I (used to) visit restaurants often and had noticed a pattern.

    It goes like this: Restaurant opens, the food is excellent, amazing even, gets good reviews and wins awards, establishes steady clientele, then the key chef/owner remains as an important part of the operation, or moves on to open other operations, or just collects the profits in absentia and f’s off. Over time and by attrition, without a very strong chef in the kitchen, the staff will unlearn the recipes and the skills, to the point where you have cooks who, for example, don’t know green potatoes are toxic, don’t know how to properly cook, start serving dishes under or overcooked, missing key ingredients, etc., and the owner/chef is nowhere to be found to correct or control for this. After many stomach upsets, said restaurant loses clientele and the restaurant closes, unprofitable.

    This is entirely the fault of the chef or owner who opened the restaurant, it’s greed, it’s lack of quality control, it’s failing to understand that food is a learning tradition to be nurtured, nothing to do with market conditions or labour.

    Another aspect of this is chefs often won’t train staff, their thinking is why invest time if their learnings, their secrets, will be taken elsewhere for someone else to profit from. Thus, their own staff stagnate, decide to move on, self-fulfilling the cycle. Chef sees this as betrayal, can’t understand why there’s no loyalty, etc. Obviously there’s a bit of emotional immaturity coupled with greed.

    The owners of these failed restaurants always blame labour costs and the economy, anything but themselves. I’m not at all sympathetic to this view. Usually they’ve created the conditions of their own failure.

    1. Sub-Boreal

      What did in restaurants for me – long before the pandemic – was the epidemic of over-amped music playing on their sound systems, to the point where any conversation at less than shouting level was impossible.

      So I voted with my feet – and dollars.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Zeitgeist watch here: There is one local bar that actually took pandemic safety seriously, installed CO2 monitors everywhere, and spent a lot of money revamping ventilation (and even more redoing it when the monitors revealed deficiencies and dead spots). The main benefit they claimed was vastly reduced sick days for staff, but I’m unsure whether punters noticed the precautions. They are the only place I’ve found locally that did anything like this.

      Sadly they announced last week that they are now closing down. I’m fully expecting the new tenant of the space (whoever it might be) to rip out all the CO2 meters and monitoring as an extraneous expense.

  26. Bsn

    “Big if true” writes Lambert writes about the satellite images of Russian cemeteries. I couldn’t find any funding sources for the paper, National Security News, but skimming other articles found lots of pro-Israeli, pro Navalny, articles featuring Gen Petraeus (really??), the dangers of China and other drivel. Lambert, I suspect altered photos or misleading text at best. Darn, I was hoping for better but back to the Duran.

    1. Carolinian

      Aren’t they just aping the cemeteries from satellites claim against the Ukrainians (yielding an estimated 300,000 dead). in other words more ‘I know you are but what am I?’.

      Sounds dubious.

  27. Jason Boxman

    Another stupid outrageous column in the NY Times that COVID-19 is over.

    As a Doctor, I Don’t Fear Covid as I Once Did. But I Carry Its Grave Lessons Forward.

    Concedes long COVID, then babbles on that it’s just the flu for everyone.

    And we are still adapting to a new reality: The virus is endemic. Covid is no longer so different from the seasonal flu and a host of other respiratory viruses, an inconvenience for most of us but a dangerous and potentially mortal threat for some. We have ricocheted in a few short years to acceptance from terror, which leaves us in a strange place: How do the majority of us move on when this virus still poses a threat to a relative few? Can we balance our desire to forget the past few years with the lessons that we, as a country, have learned?

    Useful idiot. From Brigham and women’s.

    Truly stupidity. SARS2 infects the brain. It’s a vascular disease. It’s protein envelop ensues it’s nothing like the flu. This is maliciously stupid. Casual evil.

    1. antidlc
      We ignored AIDS. Let’s not repeat the mistake on long COVID | Editorial

      In the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, America ignored the problem, even though people were dropping dead by the thousands.

      We’re repeating the mistake now with long COVID. Millions are suffering, but the government has largely turned its back, as new cases emerge with each passing wave.

      So people are coming from all over the country this week to Washington D.C., in the footsteps of AIDS activists, to protest at the Lincoln Memorial on March 15th. They’re desperate for their stories to be heard.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Unfortunately the narrative around long-COVID is just that some people are very unlucky or simply predisposed, and everyone else needn’t worry as long as you’ve got your COVID shots. This is patently false. The evidence from the VA study is quite clear that every infection can cause widespread damage, and that every infection on balance leads to more damage and worse outcomes.

        Long-COVID or not is a matter of degree only; SARS2 infection ultimately is going to get everyone to the same place. Long term disability.

        Because COVID doesn’t outright kill most people, and it’s easy to quibble about cause of death when someone does die, the ongoing spread of SARS2 is easy to sweep under the rug. How long until damage from repeat infections makes it impossible to ignore is a subject of much speculation. It’s abundantly clear that COVID is contributing to a labor shortage, but as of yet this isn’t dire enough for any change of course to be contemplated.

        Maybe it never is.

        This is now year FIVE of the Pandemic. I’d expect at least another 3-7 years before there’s enough population level damage that there’s any possibility of concerted action. But perhaps not even then. It’s only really been game-on for the past two years, with all restrictions finally dropped in the past 18 or 20 months. That’s still only 1-3 or 4 infections per person. But this thing’s got a long tail, and damage from an infection can be quite ephemeral as it accumulates.

        Stay safe out there!

  28. ilsm

    More on F-35:

    “So the F-35 isn’t such a fat tub only because of the Marines’ demand for vertical take off and landing (which required a big fan to be built into the fuselage).”

    F-35 is a “tub” because weapons stored in the big weapons “bay” do not ruin the stealth radar protection. Iron hung on wings reflect radar quite readily.

    The F-35B loses some volume in its weapons bay taken up by the shaft that runs from the jet engine to the down blast fan assembly in the weapons bay space.

    Explains that the F-35B model because of the VTOL hardware can carry 4 not 8 of the larger “small diameter bombs” being newly deployed.

    “Real estate” that is volume/weight (strict design budget) to install electronics, etc is a scarce commodity on military aircraft and fighters in particular.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > F-35 is a “tub” because weapons stored in the big weapons “bay” do not ruin the stealth radar protection. Iron hung on wings reflect radar quite readily.

      I’m too tired to dig out the POGO stuff on the Marine Corp’s stupid fan.

      For the rest, we don’t disagree. It’s gotta be a tub to hold nukes. So F-35’s everywhere is really an extraordinarily aggressive move

  29. mrsyk

    Since nobody else has bothered, I’m happy to point out the irony that it’s a university developing automated censorship tools for the NFS. Next up will be the positive societal impacts of hookers and blow.

    1. flora

      Universitys have become too dependent on grants, ever since California’s Proposition 11 passed (see Howard Jarvis) , and severe cutbacks on state support of university education funding. That leaves uni funding largely to private grants. And so, the piper still calls the tune. The piper now is largely private and gov military grant funding instead of state general funding with few strings attached. Sad but true.

      1. JBird4049

        Yes, Prop 13. Those twits Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann’s amendment. There was a very good case for some reform for senior citizens loosing their homes due to high property taxes, butr that proposition was mainly a tax giveaway for corporations in the guise of helping those desperate seniors. Aside from Governor Ronald Reagan’s machinations on higher ed, it was beginning of the end for California’s system of higher education.

        1. flora

          Right, Prop 13. (not Prop 11, my mistake). Thanks for the reminder. You are right about the beginning of the end of California’s once stellar, widely regarded as best in the nation, system of public higher ed unis back then.

          1. mrsyk

            This is one of the beneficiaries of these grants. Presenting CourseCorrect (YouTube). They happen to specialize in censorship of “mis-information” in two categories, skepticism regarding the integrity of U.S. elections and hesitancy related to COVID-19 vaccines.(quote from the House Judiciary Sub-Committee doc, page 21).
            This from UW Madison. The video is thoroughly depressing in many ways, not the least being the amateur production.

          2. JBird4049

            >>>Right, Prop 13. (not Prop 11, my mistake)

            Well, it was forty-six years ago! I only remember it as it was a big deal, back when, and watching the school system I have attended at all levels get whacked. I am regularly reminded of the cost of the tax cuts.

            The increasing corruption at all levels of California’s government means that education would still have been crippled, but the decades of ongoing cuts including in student aid concurrent with rising fees and tuition made it worse.

  30. Glen

    Sal Mercogliano (What’s Going On With Shipping) talks about the Gaza pier and discusses how this is done (he’s done it):

    Gaza Pier Announced by the US | How the US Military Builds a Pier | Joint Logistics Over the Sea

    And in his conclusion, he admits that just having the Israelis allow more trucks into Gaza is way better than a pier.

    More at gCaptain:

    US Dispatches Ship To Gaza After Biden Vows To Build Pier

    I have to admit, this is all rather stupid, especially once you hear that the Israelis will be “screening” everything coming off the pier. So now there will be trucks backed up in Cyprus waiting to get to Gaza rather than at the Rafah Crossing.

  31. flora

    re: Antidote.

    Thanks for the picture of the markhor goat. That’s some set of horns, a narrow or thinned and extended cork screw pattern. I think this goat in the picture is a male because it looks like it has a beard. Did you know, even male turkeys have beards. Really. The male is almost always the most physically flamboyant in the animal kingdom.

  32. anon

    I just got off of my local church link; I attend by zoom. About 20 people attend in person these days and almost none of them mask. A nice elderly lady who attends in person got up during the sharing time and took off her surgical mask and said that she had been sick with a long series of illnesses (I know that at least one of them was covid) since the turn of the year, and it was starting to get her down. However, she said, a particular song does help to cheer her up. So she sang it aloud to the the people who were there. Without a mask.

    This is the world’s most PMC church and everyone is a liberal and has an advanced degree, including the nice old lady; she is extremely well educated. So it is not a lack of information.

    1. flora

      I am so sorry. How is it that the powers that be managed to so disconnect people from one another during the pandemic that so many now are so emotionally desparing – imo – that they will take off a mask to sing in public to reconnect with others?

      “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”
      ― Blaise Pascal

      As you say, “It is not lack of education.” It is something much deeper and more important to human connection and the community, imo. The fault is not hers, imo.

      1. flora

        adding: To find this connection even in old age to an important community for themselves, maybe especially in old age.

      2. anon

        That is a good guess, but this lady is the least emotionally despairing person I know. Her very nice son was sitting right next to her. She is a person who is always sure she is right and she is always talking about the spiritual significance of trees and quantum physics. She’s was never alone during the pandemic; she took in a homeless lady to live with and help her and they get along fine and she has a busy life. She wasn’t driven to sing in church by the usual causes; it just seemed right to her. Crazy to me; right to her. She’s not demented so she really is responsible for her actions by any normal standards. But my guess is that the virus affects behavior and makes rational action impossible.

        But then, it wouldn’t surprise me if the virus is affecting her mood. So maybe you are right, and she is now emotionally despairing. But it seemed to me that this was her usual sort of self-expression.

        1. flora

          ” but this lady is not emotionally despairing at all. ”

          and you know this how exactly?

          “Her very nice son was sitting right next to her. ”

          And you think this is a marker because of what exactly? And your extended points are all her former “public” declarations of sorts which can be entirely unrelated to one’s personal ideas or her personal feelings. Public image and all that.

          1. flora

            adding re:

            “But my guess is that the virus affects behavior and makes rational action impossible.”

            I reject this idea entirely.
            I’ve on one or two occasions been very severely ill, high fever, very unwell, and even then my reason never deserted me. And I do not think it deserts anyone else normally very healthy before a sudden illness in the same. / My 2 cents.

            1. anon

              Different viruses affect human behavior differently. Being infected with the flu causes greater sociability. Toxoplasmosis notoriously affects behavior, leading to a much greater risk of dying in an accident. Maybe the illnesses you had were not the sort that affect behavior. I wasn’t claiming that being ill as such was affecting her reason; I was saying that many viruses affect the behavior of their vectors and it seems likely that covid is one of them.

            2. Daniil Adamov

              I don’t know. One of the common theories about Caligula is that he went mad from encephalitis. His first few months in power were much more sane than what followed after he suffered from a severe illness. Maybe he was faking sanity until then, but I find that somewhat unlikely (doesn’t seem that easy to do, when always in the public eye). If a disease affects the brain, I’d say it’s possible for it to make rational action impossible.

          2. anon

            If you read my second paragraph, you will see that I said that perhaps she is despairing.

            I know her well and she sounded as usual. She doesn’t care about her public image; she wouldn’t dream of faking what she felt.

            note: I think you somehow have responded to my first post, which I then edited for precision. If you reread the post I ended up with, it may seem more plausible to you.

  33. antidlc

    An Airbus
    United Airlines jet from SFO makes emergency landing after hydraulic system problem

    A United Airlines jet flying from San Francisco International Airport to Mexico City on Friday was forced to make an emergency landing in Los Angeles after what officials said was a hydraulics issue.

    This is at least the fifth incident involving a United Airlines plane this week. Earlier Friday, a United jet rolled off a runway and got stuck in grass at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. On Thursday, a United Airlines flight headed from SFO to Japan lost a wheel during takeoff. On Monday, a United Airlines flight from Houston to Florida made an emergency landing after an engine went up in flames in midair, USA Today reported. Also on Monday, an SFO-bound United Airlines flight from Honolulu safely landed after engine failure mid-flight.

  34. marym

    > SOTU rebuttal

    She said she went to the border and spoke to a woman who was a sex trafficking victim of the cartels for years as a child, implying this happened in the US on Biden’s watch.

    Neither of the 2 links above include the subsequent story that a journalist posted the next day, and that generated additional aghastitude on twitter and SNL, saying that this horrific story of trafficking occurred in Mexico during the Bush years. The msm then played a little catch up.

    Also, although the bio of the author of the second of the 2 links above quotes the Pulitzer jury saying his commentary “has a national resonance in scrutinizing corrupt politicians, championing the rights of women and calling out hypocrisy” he didn’t mention that current the Republican preference would be to turn this young woman away when she did manage to get to the US, or that Britt worked on the recent “bipartisan” Senate immigration reform bill and then voted against it.

    Journalist’s follow-up story:
    Msm catch-up:

    If Republicans want to claim their own version of aghastitude about immigration, trafficking, and cartels, they at least ought to be able to use credible examples.

    1. CA

      March 10, 2024

      US economist Jeffrey Sachs says Israel has a murderous gang in government

      Middle East Eye
      1.79M subscribers

      “This will stop when the United States stops providing the munitions to Israel, it will not stop by any self-control in Israel.”

      Professor Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University says that Israel is deliberately starving the people of Gaza…

  35. Wilow

    US is cock-blocking Egypt by deploying troops to build a temporary aid port for Gaza. Purpose of the 1,000 US boots on the ground is not to provide humanitarian aid but to block Egypt from entering Gaza. There must be real concerns Egypt is going to make a move and hoping they will now think twice.

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