Links 3/24/2024

Plastic pollution may have met its match: The saliva of wax worms NBC

Thiel, Bezos and Zuckerberg join parade of insiders selling tech stocks FT


Are we all doomed? How to cope with the daunting uncertainties of climate change Nature. Probably not (for some definition of “we all”). Nevertheless.

Global Choke Points May Link Sea Level and Human Settlement at the Last Glacial Maximum Geographical Review. From 2020, still germane.

Atlantic ocean heat threatens to unleash methane eruptions Arctic News

Top geology body denies appeal, rejects Anthropocene proposal Climate & Capitalism


Thousands of disabled people died after ‘Covid treatment withheld’, inquiry to probe iNews. Commentary:

Handy to have the jargon. I wonder if we have equivalent medical coding?

Neuroimaging findings in children with COVID-19 infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis Nature. N = 111. From the Abstract: “The pooled proportion of pediatric COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms and exhibiting abnormal neuroimaging findings was 43.74%.” I’m so old I remember when children didn’t get Covid at all!

Wearing masks is easy but taking them off is difficult – A situation in Japan during COVID-19 pandemic and after Dialogues in Health:

In May 2022 just before the 7th surge started, the government slightly relaxed the mask-wearing policy, and mask-wearing outside was not necessary as long as one is two meters apart from others. Unfortunately, this change was not well recognized by the public and as many as 58% answered they were not aware of the relaxed policy in a November 2022 survey . The television news, and newspapers at that time [i.e., official propaganda] were welcoming life without masks again, especially when the notoriously hot and humid summer season in Japan was approaching. The subsequent 7th surge, however, was the most severe surge since the pandemic was declared and Japan had the world’s worst record for 10 consecutive weeks during July and September 2022 according to the WHO report [11]. This surge frightened people [My goodness me, why?] and they voluntarily continued to practice masking, though the government mask-wearing policy was left relaxed during the 7th surge.

And letting the cat out of the bag:

Other than the 7th surge, extreme mask affinity which could be referred [indeed it could, but by whom?} to as “mask dependence” developed after 3 years of daily masking practice is also a contributing factor.

“Seatbelt dependence,” “water treatment dependence”, “manual safety dependence,” “traffic light dependence”….

Awaiting a decision on new research regulations, scientists pen dueling articles to shape ‘gain-of-function’ policies Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. At least for potential airborne pandemics, the best and least risky approach to “pandemic preparedness” would be cleaning shared air. But non-pharmaceutical interventions are ruled out.


China ready to remove barriers for foreign companies, Premier Li Qiang tells international forum South China Morning Post

Constant capital for the win:

In One Key A.I. Metric, China Pulls Ahead of the U.S.: Talent NYT

Exploring China’s Water Usage Trends and Sustainability (press release) Chinese Academy of Sciences

‘Obstetric winter’: Why are China’s hospitals shutting delivery wards? Al Jazeera

Philippines accuses China of new water cannon attacks in South China Sea Al Jazeera


Washington aims to complete Gaza pier to enable maritime aid by May 1, says official Times of Israel. Commentary:

US’ Blinken meets Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, holds talks with Israeli Security Cabinet and Israel seizes 8 square km of land in West Bank’s Jordan Valley region Anadolu Agency. Translation: “F___ y__, Tony.” And the horse you rode in on.

The threat to Netanyahu from Israel’s ultraorthodox army exemption FT

Undoing Oslo New Left Review

European Disunion

The lessons from Europe’s banking drama FT

Germany approves partial legalization of cannabis from April Deutsche Welle

Dear Old Blighty

Sick people leaving workforce at record highs BBC. But why? ‘Tis a mystery! And the same story–

Britain is suffering its longest sick note epidemic for 25 years as 2.7MILLION people claim they are too ill to work and holding back the country’s economic growth in the process Daily Mail. At least they mention Covid!

New Not-So-Cold War

“Crocus City Hall” attack in Moscow suburb and other important Russian news and Update on the ‘Crocus City Hall’ massacre Gilbert Doctorow

Putin says gunmen who raided Moscow concert hall tried to escape to Ukraine. Kyiv denies involvement AP

Arab countries condemn Moscow attack, declare solidarity with Russia Anadolu Agency

ISIS claims responsibility in deadly attack on Russia’s Crocus City Hall ABC

Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq Guardian. From 2015, possibly germane; there are a lot of ISIS variants (although none, AFAIK, have ever attacked Israel, oddly).

* * *

Ukraine war: Kyiv hit by multiple explosions in Russian bombardment BBC

Ukraine rejects claims of Western pressure over attacks on Russian oil facilities Politico. “Nice little election you’ve got there, Joe.”

Russia says it is pushing Ukrainian forces back, will create two new armies Reuters

Ukraine’s European allies are either broke, small or irresolute The Economist

* * *

Russia is winning the global grain war Politico

Europe’s Biggest Salt Mine Is Now in Minecraft, and It’s Helping Ukraine Rebuild Wired

Institutionalizing BRICS: A Treacherous Path Infobrics

Global Election Year

‘Democracy Frozen’ Says Congress, Calls Action on Accounts Bid to Cripple it Financially The Wire

Supporters of Modi opponent Kejriwal protest his arrest ahead of Indian election France24

* * *

Judge rules Gaetz, Greene can sue after California cities cancel their rallies over their ‘political views’ The Hill

Biden Adminstration

Senate passes $1.2 trillion funding package in early morning vote, ending threat of partial shutdown AP. Commentary:

American Military-Civil Fusion at Risk With the Loss of the Shift Fellowship War on the Rocks

Spook Country

A survey of expert views on misinformation: Definitions, determinants, solutions, and future of the field (PDF) Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Appendix A: Demographics: “The sample of participants covers a large number of countries with a bias towards Western liberal democratic countries…. Experts leaned strongly toward the left of the political spectrum: very right-wing (0), fairly right-wing (0), slightly right-of-center (7), center (15), slightly left-of-center (43), fairly left-wing (62), very left-wing (21).” Whatever this crowd conceives of as “left wing.” I would guess that control of the means of production does not figure largely in their discourse.

Contest: Make Your Own “The Deep State is Actually Kind of Awesome” Video Matt Taibbi, Racket News. There’s a prize!


Truth Social SPAC could pay Trump’s astronomical legal bills – if board OKs it TechCrunch


Ghost of Microsoft Stalks Apple as DOJ Takes Its Shot WSJ

Digital Watch

Instagram users fume as app begins limiting political content FOX. If I understand this correctly, Instagram is turning off the recommendation algorithm for “political” content (however defined). That’s what Meta should do for all content. It’s hardly “limitation,” let alone censorship.

God Chatbots Offer Spiritual Insights on Demand. What Could Go Wrong? Scientific American


The durability of vaccine-induced protection: an overview Expert Review of Vaccines. From the Abstract: “To sustain public trust in vaccines, lasting vaccines must be developed.”

Blood test could identify millions of people unknowingly spreading tuberculosis Sky News. Right, and who wants that?

Florida measles outbreak is a warning on how, and how not to, handle infectious disease Kavita Patel, Eric Feigl-Ding and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Miami Herald

Medicaid offices sue for dead people’s homes to cover health care costs without warning, critics say FOX. We can’t even fix this; NC first posted on Medicaid “estate recovery” in 2014.

Book Nook

Laurent de Brunhoff, ‘Babar’ heir and author, dies at age 98 AP. On Babar, from a time when The New Yorker still had good days, and Adam Gopnik hadn’t lost his mind.

Class Warfare

Secret RCMP report warns Canadians may revolt once they realize how broke they are National Post.

The town that can’t live without migrants, but isn’t sure it wants to live with them NBC

‘Organising is the best kind of antidepressant’: Astra Taylor and Leah Hunt-Hendrix on solidarity Guardian

Ancient switch to soft food gave us an overbite—and the ability to pronounce ‘f’s and ‘v’s Nature

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 Born Free as sung by Andy Williams)

    Earn me if you want my one vote
    Your budget is all bloat
    Earn me or I won’t take part

    Earn me dark money surrounds you
    It daily compounds too
    We still have feathers and tar

    Earn me or I won’t vote for you
    Our potholes are deep and wide
    You haven’t even tried

    Earn me your input is missing
    You’re good at ass kissing
    Come on — earn me

    (Earn me, your pockets are lined you)
    Want to stay on the real inside
    So set aside your pride

    Earn me in DC you’re living
    I won’t be forgiving
    Unless you earn me

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘there are a lot of ISIS variants (although none, AFAIK, have ever attacked Israel, oddly).’

    That’s not entirely true. Back in 2017 a unit of ISIS fired into Israel and the IDF hit them back. Immediately a delegation from ISIS went to the Israelis and apologized for this mistake and the Israelis forgave them. Normally what would happen is that ISIS would be fighting the Syrian Army while the Israelis interfered with Syrian Army communications. If ISIS got too pressed, they would fire a mortar or two into open land in Israel and the Israelis would immediately retaliate – against the Syrian Army. So maybe a rogue unit got out of hand here?

    1. digi_owl

      Is USA playing the same game as UK did (Giving us Laurence of Arabia in the process) during WW1?

      1. Em

        Didn’t ISIS apologize to Israel for those attacks? Accidents can happen.

        Broadcasting that ISIS attacked Russia is just implicating US and Israel more directly in the attack, when Putin and Lavrov had been bending over backwards to not directly accuse the two regimes for their actions in Ukraine and Syria. I guess the Westoids brain assumes that it’s still 2015 and everybody else in the the world believes in “moderate rebels”.

        1. The Rev Kev

          On the news tonight they were really pushing the ISIS angle and trying to ignore the fact that these guys were making a run for the Ukraine. They even had an image of four masked guys in front of an ISIS flag to “prove” that it was an ISIS attack. Not buying it no matter how much the US State Department and the main stream media are pushing it. Bad luck for the plotters that the Russians caught these guys as that was not what was supposed to happen. I would guess that assuming that they made it to the border, that these guys would have been shot and buried in a forest in an unmarked grave by a “reception committee”. Cleaning up the loose ends to keep the identity of these guys a mystery would be the name of the game here. What else could they do with them? Let them walk around Kiev where they might blab their mouths off?

          1. digi_owl

            ISIS has become really weird since the Syrian civil war.

            Probably helped by there seemingly being no official face to the org, but instead just a mix of social media outlets of dubious provenance.

            1. Benny Profane

              Seems to me that they’ve just become a client of our CIA army, because, well, money. Same money funding Nazis.Lots and lots of money slushing around our there. Thank Syria for that.

          2. Es s Ce Tera

            Yeah, I’m not buying it either, although I do have to wonder about why they were heading for Ukraine. If coming from Moscow they’d end up at the Russia/Ukraine front, would have to go through a war zone just to get to the Ukraine side. That’s an odd escape route.

            However, if I recall correctly, when the Dugin and Tatarsky attacks took place they did the same thing, made their way towards Ukraine. Unsure why this escape plan would make sense to the attackers, maybe I’m missing something.

            Another emerging pattern is that the Russians seem to be EXTREMELY good at capturing escaping terrorists. The speed and coordination is remarkable.

            1. digi_owl

              Even with the SMO going on, Ukraine is perhaps the closest safe haven from Moscow (heading to Finland, Estonia or Latvia would perhaps be a bit to on the nose about their allegiance).

              Once they get close, i guess they could pass themselves off as Belarusians until they could slip over the border.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The escape route isn’t especially suspicious for this reason. Proximity to Moscow is part of the cause of the red line.

                Also with the deaths of the old guard Al Qaeda types, martyrdom isn’t the same with Islamic extremists. ISIS didn’t go the martyrdom route, hence the establishment of the state. I figure they are heavily infiltrated, but the basics make sense. The real problem is the US and Israel are never targeted.

                OBL and friends loved martyrs because martyrs wouldn’t replace them, so they sponsored it.

            2. playon

              Another emerging pattern is that the Russians seem to be EXTREMELY good at capturing escaping terrorists. The speed and coordination is remarkable.

              The USA, not so much.

          3. Mark Gisleson

            I’m seriously wondering if it wasn’t a Mossad op meant to further undermine US support for Ukraine with Israel as the resulting beneficiary.

          4. The Rev Kev

            That image of image of four masked guys in front of an ISIS flag that i mentioned? I just came across this-

            ‘All of these details were not the strangest however. In the photo released by Amaq, the terrorists were using the finger on their left hand to do the Shahada, an Islamic oath and creed. This is strictly forbidden in Islam.’

            Now why would that be?

            1. Martin Oline

              Was the photo reversed? I have not seen it. In many Islamic countries, people are forbidden to eat with their left hand which is considered ‘unclean’ because it is used for cleaning the body after defecation. In addition, ‘public display’ or use of the left hand is against the law in some Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia..

              1. The Rev Kev

                Apparently not or else the lettering on the flag would have been reversed as well. When they talked about the left hand I knew what they meant as I have heard of “lefties” visiting the middle east getting themselves into social hot water.

    2. ISL

      Its not very ISIS-style to attack on Ramadan, either. Captured suspect’s being Tajik, makes one wonder why the US began pushing so hard so early on the ISIS story…….. Almost as if the US expected no live perpetrators to be caught (to pop the State Dept’s balloon). Hmmm that is a lot of knowledge about a massive terrorist attack so early in the investigation.

      1. icancho

        Captured suspect’s being Tajik …”

        Well, maybe that’s what their passports/IDs said … but I believe such docs can be forged …

        1. JTMcPhee

          As can the lies the Deep State/Blob shove down the gullets of us mopes.

          I’m sure the offering of questions about the provenance of the guys the Russians nabbed is all in good faith, but it also is the kind of stuff the Blob generates to sow “fear, uncertainty and doubt” whenever horrors and depredations occur.

    3. Mikel

      Whatever the case may be, I think the message to Russia is that stopping the Ukranian army is not going to stop the attempts at regime change and/or other attempts to prevent a sovereign Russia.

    4. Kouros

      The organization, logistics, resources seem very well constructed. The four idiots pulling the trigers seem to have low IQ scores, bordering feeble mindedness. Probably one reason they were recruited.

      ISIS wouldn’t have any pressing issues to demonstrate with Russia, especially since in Russia would be expected to have stronger security measures.

      Cui produit?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “In One Key A.I. Metric, China Pulls Ahead of the U.S.: Talent’

    I think a more important metric is that of STEM graduates. There is a chart I found which shows the worlds leaders in this with China leading with 4.7 million (population 1.4 billion ) followed by India with 2.6 million (population 1.4 billion). The US has 568,000 (population 335,000,000), Russia has 561,000 (population 143,000,000), Iran has 335,000 (population 88,000,000), Indonesia with 206,000 (population 274,000,000) and Japan 195,000 (population 126,000,000). I would have thought that Japan would have more and I should not have been surprised to see that Iran is right up there-

    1. Bill Markle

      I taught Chinese undergrads from 2009 to 2016 at a provincial school in Hangzhou. Not the caliber of Zheda or Beida, but a good provincial school of science and technology. My students were a mix of Chinese and foreigners, mostly from Africa and the middle east. I taught a couple of non-essential courses for the civil engineers, and I sat in on a couple of the standard course final exams – properties of materials, for one.

      I remember coming out of engineering school thinking that I knew a lot, and finding out that I didn’t when I got into the real world. But I wouldn’t worry too much about the number of engineering graduates coming out of China. The degree that my students earned was not the equal of a BS in an American university. That’s not to say that graduates can’t spend years learning on the job, if they can find a suitable job, and its not to say they can’t do quite well in technician-equivalent jobs. But for the most part, engineering degrees are not directly comparable between the US and China, even if the course titles are similar.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Some fields they must be or else they would not have such a huge industrial complex. Lots of them must be learning on the job as well as they help build everything from iPhones to heavy industrial machinery. These are of course jobs that used to be done in the west until our overlords figured that it was smarter to ship those jobs to China.

      2. Es s Ce tera

        “The degree that my students earned was not the equal of a BS in an American university.”

        It’s the same mathematics, same physics, same mechanics… What would be different?

      3. Em

        Were you teaching the students in English or Chinese? If the former, then it’s not a typical Chinese university level curriculum.

        I’m also rather dubious that aside from computer science which is a branch of linguistics more than it is engineering, that engineering BS or even MS grads from anywhere including MIT and GeorgiaTech, could work on meaningful projects without significant supervision and guidance at the start of their careers.

        1. CA

          Look to the Nature Index of high-quality international research publications for the year. and notice that 3 of the top 5 publishing institutions are Chinese, 7 of the top 10 are Chinese, 9 of the top 15…

          The Nature Index

          1 November 2022 – 31 October 2023 *

          Rank Institution ( Count) ( Share)

          1 Chinese Academy of Sciences ( 7616) ( 2270)
          2 Harvard University ( 3639) ( 1108)
          3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences ( 3261) ( 655)
          4 University of Science and Technology of China ( 1917) ( 654)
          5 Max Planck Society ( 2606) ( 636)

          6 French National Centre for Scientific Research ( 4350) ( 618)
          7 Nanjing University ( 1459) ( 616)
          8 Peking University ( 2287) ( 608)
          9 Tsinghua University ( 1890) ( 594)
          10 Zhejiang University ( 1475) ( 570)

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

          1. jefemt

            Seems to me that it is a coalescence of a nation-state on the wax, and pure demographics and arithmetic. Not rocket surgery, so to speak.

        2. Polar Socialist

          computer science which is a branch of linguistics more than it is engineering

          Ahem, computer science is more of a branch of (applied) mathematics than it is engineering. It was developed by mathematicians, to manipulate ‘information’ turned to bits. There’s no need for any of linguistics paradigms in computer science whatsoever. One can, of course, use computer in linguistics, or try to train an AI that pretends to do semantics, but that’s not what computer science itself is interested in.

          The “engineering” (that all engineers seem to hate) in computer science comes from the fact the very first computers in the 50’s were devices that took up rooms where no one was allowed but the electrical engineers that kept them running and the mathematician ladies who programmed them physically by connecting wires. Precisely like the train engines were run by engineers, so were the computing engines, too. Back then it made sense.

          1. Zephyrum

            Polar Socialist, everything you say is eminently logical, however there is also some truth to the assertion that Computer Science is a branch of linguistics. (I always apprecite your comments, fwiw.)

            In the days when people were programming computers with wires and then numeric codes, the dream was to program them with mathematical formulae, and the early development of FORTRAN reflects this direction. Asimov and some of the other Sci-Fi writers incorporated the formula conception of software into their projections of the future. But at the same time other computer practitioners were advocating for a literary paradigm, and this turned out to be the more successful approach. The “literary” Algol and its descendants account for the vast majority of all software written today. LISP, of which I am quite fond, represents an opposition to the literary metaphor, and its lambda calculus is the logical mathematical alternative. It’s just not popular for writing commercial software for a variety of practical reasons.

            There are some good histories of computer science available, such as the 2014 Nofre, Priestley, and Alberts paper When Technology Became Language: The Origin of the Linguistic Conception of Computer Programming 1950-1960. That was well before my time, but the echos are still evident today.

            1. digi_owl

              Basic is perhaps the best known of the “literary” programming languages, much thanks to it being the in ROM language of most of the early home computers.

              And i dear say the limitation of those systems gave the language a bad reputation among computer scientists, as it produced some bad programming habits.

          2. scott s.

            Well, there is mathematic theory behind formal language theory, with RE languages an important subset of all possible languages. But an engineer is one who builds and operates “engines of war”.

        3. i just dont like the gravy

          computer science which is a branch of linguistics more than it is engineering

          You are clearly talking out of your rear end…

        4. XXYY

          … computer science… is a branch of linguistics more than it is engineering…

          I agree there are differences between computer science and other branches of engineering. I think most of these are due to the fact that computer science as a discipline is only about 50 years old, compared to other engineering disciplines which are hundreds or thousands of years old. In particular, there is not much theoretical discipline underlying computer science at its present state of development. There is also a much more seat of the pants, try-it-and-see mentality than you will find among mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, and so on. I’m sure other engineering disciplines were similar at a time when only a couple of generations of their people had existed on Earth.

          I’ve been doing computer science for 40 years, and I continue to be shocked at the distance between my engineering field and other engineering fields. I’m trying to be patient while we close the gap.

          1. digi_owl

            As the saying goes, computer engineer is not a protected title.

            Much of the seat of the pants approach comes from many risking to programming prominence without a formal education.

            That said, computer science has often been an ill fit to the kind of code mills that companies run.

            1. hk

              I wonder if this is all that different from other engineering disciplines.

              Would a mechanical engineer make a good car mechanic or vice versa? Ditto with electricians and electrical engineers? Well, I suppose quite a few might, but certainly not automatically. I always thought coders are more like electricians, while computer science is more like electrical engineering, with the dividing line between “trades” and “engineering” less defined than other branches and still evolving.

        5. Revenant

          Computer science is not linguistics (although areas like compiler theory and finite state machines have some resonances).

          It is various kinds of mathematics, mostly applied, and an equal.amount of thinking / learning how to make them,…

          1. digi_owl

            that said, there have been programming languages, Basic being the poster boy, that has attempt to be more like a spoken language.

          2. Lefty Godot

            And most of the computer-related jobs out there involve no science, little mathematics, and a concept of engineering that is limited to version control for source code, tracking of updates to any of the hundreds of “library file” dependencies a project has, and arcane procedures for redeploying applications to “cloud” servers after something changes. This whole occupational ecosystem will probably be gone in another dozen years, to be replaced by whatever the new fad in technological progress is. It may turn out that the ancient era of desk-checking your COBOL coding sheet before sending it over to the keypunch department will prove to have lasted longer than what the current regime will end up experiencing.

          3. CA

            Computer science is not linguistics (although areas like compiler theory and finite state machines have some resonances).

            It is various kinds of mathematics, mostly applied, and an equal amount of thinking / learning how to make them…

            [ Nice comment.

            This is precisely what a Chinese Fields Medalist, Shing-Tung Yau, has been teaching. With emphasis on theory for giving direction to development. ]

      4. vao

        In German-speaking countries (and some other European countries as well) you have a distinction between:

        1) “Hochschule” — meaning university and university-level institutions, like e.g. the EPFL and ETHZ in Switzerland (which are “technischen Hochschulen”, like other institutions in Germany). They combine teaching and research, and deliver bachelors, masters, and doctorates.

        2) and “Fachhochschule” — sometimes translated as “university of applied sciences”, which provide a vocational higher education certified with titles of bachelor and master, but not doctorates. Traditionally they were not doing any research, only technical investigations for external customers. Now the distinction with universities is getting a bit blurred, as universities are doing less research and more development, while Hochschulen move into research programmes.

        Does the education system in China have something similar? Where you teaching at the equivalent of a “Fachhochschule”?

      5. hk

        You don’t really need to be top flight science students to be useful in building an industrial economy. In fact, I would suspect a large number of people who are fairly competent in sciences is potentially more important. I would imagine that the average Chinese (let alone Russian) college grads are probably more science literate than their American counterparts.

      6. Glenn Olson

        About 35 years ago my mother married an industrialist in Hobart, Tasmania, AU. He told me that some of his best machinery came from China and that they made top grade equipment. Take it for what it’s worth but I would say that they must have had some pretty good engineers and technicians even then.

    2. john

      Indeed. And PRC does well with elementary and secondary STEM education, which of course sets up the pipeline for graduate education.
      Regarding Japan, the country may be importing talent. E.g. Young friends, US citizens, with astro engineering degrees are working in Japan for private space exploration companies. As women and persons of color, they had limited opportunities in US. They’re doing well in Japan in terms of assignments and compensation. I don’t expect they will be returning here anytime soon.

      1. digi_owl

        “As women and persons of color, they had limited opportunities in US. They’re doing well in Japan in terms of assignments and compensation.”

        Deeply ironic given how supposedly xenophobic the Japanese are supposed to be.

        1. Mr. Johnson

          That’s ironic:

          “Intel is also building fabs in Poland and Israel, which means it would rather risk Russian aggression and Hamas rockets over dealing with America’s DEI regime. In short, the world’s best chipmakers are tired of being pawns in the CHIPS Act’s political games. They’ve quietly given up on America. Intel must know the coming grants are election-year stunts — mere statements of intent that will not be followed up.”

        2. Polar Socialist

          If a foreigner is a foreigner is a foreigner to Japanese, that would create an equal opportunity xenophobic environment.

    3. Ken Murphy

      One thing that has always stuck with me from my visit to China was my visit to the People’s Bookstore right by the Forbidden Palace and near Tiananmen Square. I was looking for Moon books, and the science and engineering stuff was, IIRC, up on the 4th floor. While perusing the stacks looking for the Moon glyph, I couldn’t help but notice all of the young men sitting on the floor poring over the engineering and science books. Each looking to give themselves some kind of competitive advantage over their peers via greater knowledge.

      I did find a bunch of Moon books, and while I don’t read Chinese I do read pictures and technical diagrams and chemical formulae. Don’t underestimate their efforts.

      Comparing that experience with the typical B&N, where the Religion section is usually bigger than the Science section, and where you will rarely find books written at above the mass consumption level, and it is a bit disheartening. The books at my level are typically only found at university bookstores, and trying to buy there if not a student is a bit of a pain. Half-Price Books can be good in that regard, but our culture doesn’t have the hustle that has young men (& women, if they want) hanging out at bookstores to hone their minds on the whetstone of knowledge.

      1. digi_owl

        Brings to mind the claim that one reason Germany became such a industrial power house was that early on it didn’t recognize copyright on technical books. Thus all manner of books on engineering, chemistry and like could be had for cheap almost everywhere.

      2. caucus99percenter

        > looking for the Moon glyph

        Do you mean the Chinese character(s) for “(the) Moon” = 月(月球)?

      3. steppenwolf fetchit

        If American youth know that the big computer/software/etc. companies would rather hire H1B visa holders at H1B visa wages than hire young Americans, why would American youth bother to hustle for a job sector they know they would be excluded from?

        I don’t know enough to assert, just enough to ask.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The u.s. is graduating fewer STEM students. What does it matter? The u.s. does not make good use of the scientists and engineers it has and it does not treat them well.

      1. Mikel

        The USA just needs enough of them who will give information to the establishment that they want to hear.
        (And for those graduates not ask too many questions and just be glad they can pay their student loans or stay in the country).

        1. clarky90

          Re; “… information to the establishment that they (don’t) want to hear.”

          Re; “How to cope with the daunting uncertainties of climate change”

          “Coronal mass ejection (CME) produced by the X1.1 solar flare at 01:33 UTC on March 23, 2024, is expected to impact Earth late March 24 or early March 25, producing G2 – Moderate to G3 – Strong geomagnetic storming.” !!

          This is happening today, as we speak.

      2. Skip Intro

        Why invest in an educational system in the US when you can just import fresh, cheap H-1Bs, educated on some other country’s budget, and left without the fetters national loyalty associated with a lifetime’s worth of student debt?

    5. Glen

      I’ve been trying to look up statistics on MBAs in the BRICS. Mostly because it’s hard to ignore the rise of the MBA as the leader of corporations and the dominate upper level manager in America.

      At the start of my working experience, I worked for engineers/scientists that had been promoted into management and it was actually rare to met someone with an MBA or business degree unless one wandered over to some other department. At some point that switched so that by the time of the GFC all upper management had MBAs, and all the first level managers either had MBAs or were working on them while being the boss. This seems to have shifted how groups prioritized and operated.

      My early experiences were that staffing levels were set by your immediate manager, and were adequate to get the projects done. It was normal that working level engineers attended upper level management meetings to provide information. Towards the end of my career, it was obvious that there was an emphasis to downsize and outsource all aspects of the working environment at every opportunity. It became normal that the lead and senior engineers would look at the scope of work for a project, and have to propose the staffing levels (numbers of engineers/degree type/experience) to get the project done within the project goals. Typically, we would never get the requested staffing, and attending upper level management meetings became “interesting”.

      Getting physically kicked out of upper level management meetings became a real problem also in the early 00’s. The company had launched a huge new program which was in very late and over budget, and saying the wrong thing to upper management would get one kicked out of the meeting. The wrong thing typically was a, as far as we could tell, accurate report on how specific efforts were going, and asking what the backup plan was if specific efforts did not succeed. This became so bad that the company Tech Fellows instituted informal training for new fellows on how to successfully communicate with upper management. The problem exists to this day as far as I know (actually seems to have gotten a bit worse, and seems to parallel what we comment on here that the elites running our country seem to be detached from the reality that we live in.)

      So I’m not trying to say that a significant shortage of STEM is not an issue, it is, but the biggest change I (and others) have noticed over the last thirty years is how the companies are managed and what are the over riding priorities of management.

      1. Procopius

        I went to the bureaucratic side (U.S. Army), but I’ve been reading about the switch in management from production people to accountants and MBAs since the 1960s. It really took off about the time of the Vietnam War. Ford Motor company completely remaking their whole accounting system for McNamara comes to mind. My current impression is that people with these kinds of backgrounds want to loot the company they work for, rather than compete with a better product. Oh, not all of them, but the prominent ones. The ones who make the news.

  4. timbers

    Class Warfare – Immigration

    Admit I don’t follow local events and news but Taunton is near me and this has morphed into a global neoliberal agenda news subject:

    “Taunton sues hotel operator for housing too many migrant families – Thousands in unpaid fines come after hundreds of families occupy Clarion Hotel”

    Aside from violating local health and occupancy and zoning rules that one might argue could help turn Taunton into a slum, a point I’ve been making for long a time is revealed in this article, namely admitting 1 immigrant into the US weather legally or not is not really admitting just 1 but 10 or 100 or more, because their extended family/friends one way or another follow and them the friends and family of those followers as well. I have repeatedly observed considerable extended families living next to me as they move in. At Massachusetts taxpayer expense, the article says families were approved to live in a Taunton hotel but seems to have lost control of the number of occupants which now are well above allowed limits set by occupancy code and zoning. The City of Taunton has also lost tax revenue from the Hotel and has added expense from increased emergency calls and from it’s schools swelling enrollment.

    I’ve seen 1 immigrant quickly become several, first hand when I rented my basement to a young Haitian man who was working and at the time I had no opinion of his citizenship. He arrived with his “brother” who would be staying with him (I specified only 1 occupant) and later his “friend” showed up to visit for the Holidays but when I actually spoke with him alone he told me he was staying here will looking to get a job at a Hotel in Boston.

    I put an end to that and they moved out. I was frankly more interested in avoid wear and tear to the home which was nicely remodeled.

    As a side not, Massachusetts will not allow you evict a mother or mother to be regardless if they pay rent or not. For that reason I only rent to single males.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that this is known historically as line or chain immigration and you pointing it out is important. I have seen in historical records (and in my own family history) how a guy will emigrate to another country and establish himself with work and a place to stay. Sometimes it is two brothers. Then the guy will send for his wife and kids to follow and join him and maybe the parents as well. Even now here in Oz ‘Refugees previously resettled to Australia or others who have been granted permanent protection can apply for their family to be reunited with them in Australia.’ So when Biden wants 5,000 people to enter the country daily, it should be reckoned later that they will have more family joining them later.

      1. Es s Ce Tera

        I live in area of Canada where we had a large number of European migrant families. The street where I reside had very many instances of whole families owning multiple homes on the street. An anecdata trend I’ve been seeing is, where it took multiple generations probably about a hundred years or so for whole families to move here from Europe, almost ALL of the multi-generational families on my street, even those with children born here, have during and since the pandemic moved back to their source countries. The character of my street has dramatically changed as a result.

        Except the Ukrainians. Though they still fly the team flags, they won’t risk anything else for the motherland. (Which is also how I knew they’d lose the war.)

        As I knew many of the families I do know some of their reasons. A common pattern was elderly folks who had remained in the old country needed covid care, so family (mostly daughters) returned to care for them. What at first seemed like a temporary arrangement become less so. Then family started visiting them. Upon visiting they rediscovered how much they missed the old country, the old language and culture, re-made old acquaintances, and generally liked things better. Even though the job situation was not great, or else family was more important than jobs, they were able to rely on rentier or sale income for their houses back in Canada. Before long more and more family moved back to be with them. And eventually those remaining in the new country, who had remained because they had good companies or jobs, dearly missed the family, especially the children, and moved as well. And now what took generations was completely reversed in only a few years. Quite remarkable.

        The other pattern is antivax families decided Canada was a POS country cuz masks and moved en masse, disgusted. (Which I’m thankful for.)

        Edited to add: I think that many of their source countries are experiencing population decline may also have something to do with it.

        1. Karl

          …they were able to rely on rentier or sale income for their houses back in Canada.

          I wonder how often immigrants follow that pattern:

          buy house–>rent house–>return to home country–>live on rentier income.

          In countries where the Canadian dollar goes a long way, this could be a nice way to go.

      2. Mr. Johnson

        Reverend Kevin, or is it drag racing?

        There’s a midcentury ranch house down the street from us with 14 different cars parked in the driveway, lawn, or street regularly and approximately 20 people, plus unknown number of infant”migrants” living in it. The plumbing mushroom keeps popping off the pipe with sewage flowing down the gutter.

        We were threatened with a fine from our local water district for “wasting water” when hosing it away. They are ready to provide all the water meters and new hookups needed for Newsom’s new housing being imposed statewide.

        We are at war, no shots fired- yet. Let’s try the ballot bullets first.

      3. Polar Socialist

        A few years back I did some superficial research on Finnish immigration to North America in the late 19th century, and it turned out there was a requirement for the young immigrant Finnish males wanting to marry to prove that they didn’t already have a wife in Finland – it appeared that too many had forgot that minor detail.

        An approved proof would have been for example a newspaper clipping from their hometown paper of their banns of marriage or a letter from their home parish priest asserting the fact. And yes, there were soon services providing said clippings or even priestly letters. Sometimes while waiting.

    2. Felix_47 Mr. Cash Money!!! 26 children here in Germany. I had a friend here in Germany some time ago who had married a man from Africa. After a couple of years he wanted to take her back to this home country to visit. When she got there it turned out there were already four wives and a lot of children. His wife, my friend, did not know it at the time but she was supporting the whole bunch during the five years they were together. He did not work and was constantly asking her for money to send to his sick mother in Africa. Then he wanted to bring the entire brood to Germany and did. There was a divorce after she was downsized from Siemens and he moved on to another lady but the entire African crowd was able to stay in Germany and get social benefits. A few years later the man ended up in prison for something else and she out of the paid the legal fees and he got out after a fairly brief two year sentence. I suppose the leaders of the developed nations in the west are concerned about the low birth rates so these policies are designed to make it much easier to migrate to the first world……much easier than it was in the mid 20th century, for example. What we hear is that there is a shortage of skilled workers like electrical engineers. This woman friend of mine is now in her 60s, laid off and on social benefits due to downsizing at Siemens, and has never had children and she worked as an electrical engineer until the downsizing about 15 years ago. (The entire plant was closed.) Her marriage was 20 some years ago. In a couple of generations the large number grandchildren and great grandchildren of this man will hopefully be productive workers in the German economy. It takes a couple of generations. The perception of labor shortage by the government leaders and the perception of the workers in Germany and I think also in the US it seems wildly different. I cannot see how paying Mr. Cash Money 1.5 million per year in child support will improve wages and labor standards and technological progress and the economy in the host country. It seems it is a kind of migrant keynesism in that medical personnel, hospitals, schools, language schools, police, prison guards, landlords and lawyers are being subsidized and then they spend that income. It kind of works like a defense budget. I wonder how China is handling third world migration?

  5. digi_owl

    The glorification of glue as part of the Chinese automation tweet chain do not sit right, as glue makes it way harder to get in and repair something.

    Also, i suspect the reason USA do not see much of this is because of the hostility between management and unions combined with the lack of a safety net.

    Keep in mind that the Luddites didn’t break machines because they were anti-tech. They broke them because a few wealthy factory owners used them to put whole villages out of work.

    Thus unions will stymie any introduction of automation as long as there is no carved in stone provisions for those made “redundant” by said automation.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Luddites didn’t break machines because they were anti-tech. They broke them because a few wealthy factory owners used them to put whole villages out of work.

      The version I heard was that they were against enshittification. The quality of the stuff the first machines produced was just crap, and the craftspeople assumed that the cheap crap would spoil the reputation of the whole industry and thus render them jobless.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Got an ancestor who was one of the 1830 “Machine Breakers” for which he got an all-expenses paid trip out to Oz. The problem was that these men had some work that tied them and their families through the cold English winters. But when those machines were installed, they took the work that those men needed to feed themselves and their families leaving them with nothing. At that point they would have to apply for relief from a board made up on land owners, gentry priests and the like who hated doling out money as it meant that they had to pay more in taxes. For those men, it was a matter of survival-

    2. Pookah Harvey

      Automation increases the productivity of workers. Who benefits from the increased productivity is the question. The Luddites realized the owners were receiving ALL the benefits. Some of the benefits can be shared with workers by decreasing work hours while receiving the same pay therefore there needs no redundancy. This is why we got the 40 hour work week and why Sanders is proposing the 32 hour work week.

  6. Robert Gray

    Re: Medicaid offices sue for dead people’s homes to cover health care costs without warning, critics say (FOX)

    ‘”The plan here was to ensure that people who need long-term care can get it but that you plan ahead to be able to pay privately so you don’t end up on the public health care program,” [the plan’s author Stephen] Moses said.’ [emphasis added]

    FFS. This in a country where surveys report that a shockingly, scandalously high xx% of the population can’t afford even $400 for an emergency or other unforeseen expense!

    1. RookieEMT

      “Indeed the situation at the Crocus City Hall was exceedingly lax: there were no armed guards. The security people had only wooden clubs, not firearms, and they apparently were in their quarters when they were tracked down by the assailants and murdered first before they proceeded to the auditorium.”

      This is incomprehensible. Russia doesn’t deal with mass shooters as much but they deal with terrorists and are at war. Not even a small squad of police?

      I find this more confusing than the pipeline as to who did it. A Russian false flag that makes the country look absurdly incompetent and hurts Putin? A Ukrainian supported attack that escalates the crisis and would only further doom Ukraine?

      I kindof just want to believe it’s ISIS but the situation keeps baiting conspiracy. Wait and see.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        We have an extremely lax attitude towards security (arguably, an extremely lax attitude towards life in general, or so the national self-stereotype goes). This sounds par for course for mall security here. Perhaps it will be tightened up after this event, although it wasn’t on the day after in my city’s biggest mall.

    2. griffen

      Best healthcare ever in the history of mankind….yeah for sure. Of course this should widely broadcast and understood at the state Medicaid offices, FFS, who really should also comprehend this can be sensitive topic for children or grandchildren hoping to inherit a modest home (much like the ones cited from the article).

      Along the same line of thought, however, if you’re a corporation in America you’ll receive all sorts of government aid and support no questions really ever asked or demanded.

      1. Mr. Johnson

        Until California Proposition 19 gets enough signatures to be put back on the ballot by the people-it was written by the tax hungry legislature, those kids and grandkids will face reassessment to full market value for family home or small business their parents and grandparents built.

        They can inherit, but will have to sell to pay new property taxes. Goodby corner stores, little houses, hello ten story or more housing towers inserted in any neighborhood. Zoning? Doesn’t apply if California towns and cities don’t comply with Newsom’s mandatory fiat housing, mostly market rate. Google “builder’s remedy” for explanation.

        1. Michael McK

          My policy solution is that any person may only have a beneficial interest in 3 properties subject to prop. 13 relief. That way a family can have their home, business location and house at the lake covered but no more mega corps owning a subsidiary that owns a valuable property and selling the subsidiary to another corp who get to keep the reduced tax liability because the property did not change “ownership”, the company did. Commercial property used to pay most property tax in California, now homeowners do.

    3. JBird4049

      >>>FFS. This in a country where surveys report that a shockingly, scandalously high xx% of the population can’t afford even $400 for an emergency or other unforeseen expense!

      State and county programs like Medicaid and child protective services have been draining the various savings and sources of income from the elderly, children, and the disabled often illegally for a few decades. This avoids the government raising taxes and as with the police use of civil asset forfeitures greatly increases the budget and pay of the agencies’ employees. Even when it is obviously corruption and blatantly illegal, the vulnerability of the victims and the disinterest of the media prevents any fighting back. Too often as well eugenics and contempt for the vulnerable poor or disabled sneaks in as well. It has been a growing problem for decades in tandem I think with the general corruption.

    4. Cat Burglar

      I know an old guy living in his late sister’s tiny house in a small Oregon ghost town. As the executor of her will, he got a call from the neighboring state where she used to live. It seems that they were contacting him about taking the house to pay for her Medicaid. Too bad that she left the house to her cocker spaniel; there seemed to be no way for them to get around that legally, and he said was sorry that he could not help them with that. They haven’t called since.

      1. JBird4049

        I wonder if anyone has mentioned to these ghouls that many, perhaps most, users of Medicaid paid taxes before they needed it?

        I have at least two books on the subject, which includes the nonprofits, but I get so angry that I am unable to finish reading them especially if I think of all the other massive forms of corruption as the sense of contempt for the victims by the victimizers oozes out.

        1. Cat Burglar

          That is an excellent counterargument — thank you. I will be using that one.

          The contempt shown for the victims gets to me, too. I store the memory, and use it to fuel jokes and derision. I think of the contempt shown by the NYT in its notorious “man in a baseball hat” source for the story showing that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and make sure people do not forget that. I use it to fuel every form of pushback possible, from protests to taking landlords to court when they try to zip rental deposits using spurious claims. I am a fan of the Biathlon, the skiing and shooting competition. While I am not a gun owner, I appreciate what Biathletes can do: after skiing flat out, they stop, calmly take a centered stance, aim, and they hit the target. We can all emulate their method in politics.

          1. Robert Gray

            > I am a fan of the Biathlon, the skiing and shooting competition.

            I too like the biathlon. I am a shooter but not a skier. I sometimes ponder ‘what if?’ I had grown up in a snowy place. Anyway, now I fear that it won’t be long until the biathlon is woked out of existence. I mean, it involves gunz shock horror.

  7. antidlc

    From the CDC website
    Dated March 22, 2024:
    Ventilation Can Reduce Exposure to Respiratory Viruses in Indoor Spaces

    Still mentions “particles” though.

    The risk of getting COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses depends on several factors specific to the exposed person (like their immune system and vaccination status), the virus itself, and the environment in which the virus and the person interact. Improving ventilation can help protect people indoors. That’s because viruses spread between people more easily indoors than outdoors in part because the concentration of these particles is often higher indoors.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Virions are particles too; in the structure of the sentence “these particles” seems to refer to the virus.

      The language “concentration of these particles” may imply that the writer does have in mind “floats like smoke” aerosols, since droplets would not remain suspended for long; the concentration of heavy droplets is quite low both indoors and outdoors provided one is not directly in the path of a cough or sneeze plume.

      Perhaps sound communication by the authorities is inching ahead.

      Perhaps they want to get ahead of the curve on the “why is the population so debilitated?” question. It would not be a good look to be surprised by that.

      1. t

        That was my read as well, and agree that writers need to take more time and be more specific. One weird trick or three bullet points doesn’t cut it.

      2. antidlc

        >>Perhaps they want to get ahead of the curve on the “why is the population so debilitated?” question. It would not be a good look to be surprised by that.

        When I saw this on the CDC website, dated 2 days ago, I thought, “Why now?”

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Matt Taibbi. Deep state video contest.

    I will argue that the esteemed Shoe on Head, June Lapine, blew up the deep state in a video two years ago. This is her video/commentary on CIA testimonial videos. Admittedly, her “sample” is somehow skewed and ultra-CIA-woke.

    This video is just one reason why I consider La Shoe on Head one of the great “influencers,” whatever that is, on-line. Amazingly, she throws out analyses of one historical event after another as she slays Girl Bosses.

    With the immortal line, “I’m Italian. That qualifies as a disability, doesn’t it?” Which proceeded to cause an explosion of wildly funny comments from goyim, italiani, and Italoamericans about how Being Italian Is a Disability. Scroll down.

    Taibbi: I suggest sending the thousand bucks to Shoe on Head. She can use it to buy Fritos when they incarcerate her at Guantanamo.

    1. flora

      Wow. Now that was funny. After watching the CIA PR videos I do have a question: Was the Woke movement cooked up at Langley as some sort of psyops? It sure sounds like it; all the buzzwords are in those videos. / ;)

    2. elissa3

      The actual CIA video that she critiques is a parody. . . isn’t it? If it is real real, we live in a country that is so much more insane and absurd than what I could ever imagine.

      Come on, it’s a joke. Isn’t it???

      1. Martin Oline

        The narrator in the film is walking across the CIA seal at Langley. What do you think? A parody by Key & Peele or Chappelle?

  9. TomDority

    Russia is winning the global grain war – Politico
    Just a comment on the headline – I thought food was not to be used as a weapon. Also, I guess – everything has turned into war. Is the USA at war with Mexico, China, Free speech, SS recipients, cheap food, declining sales, a clean environment, reduced fuel efficiency, renewable clean energy,……..?
    Is the US winning the global war upon common sense?

    1. Samuel Conner

      > everything has turned into war

      > the USA at war with … SS recipients …?

      A thought-provoking perspective on domestic public health policy.

    2. Laughingsong

      I have a sign in my office at work:

      “The War on Terror brought us more terrorists, and the War on Drugs brought us more drugs. Let’s have a War on Money and Jobs and see where it goes.”

    3. Feral Finster

      “I thought food was not to be used as a weapon.”

      Only when inconvenient for the rulers. Then, using food as a weapon is No Fair.

  10. The Rev Kev

    Mar 22, 2024
    the reason China is beating America on production is largely that their little bs tasks are automated.
    Example 1 – Cable Harness Wrapping:’

    Take this simple tweet and add this-

    ‘Bulls**t Jobs: A Theory is a 2018 book by anthropologist David Graeber that postulates the existence of meaningless jobs and analyzes their societal harm. He contends that over half of societal work is pointless and becomes psychologically destructive when paired with a work ethic that associates work with self-worth. Graeber describes five types of meaningless jobs, in which workers pretend their role is not as pointless or harmful as they know it to be: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters. He argues that the association of labor with virtuous suffering is recent in human history and proposes unions and universal basic income as a potential solution.’

    I will say upfront that I do not know much about modern day China but the thought does occur to me. How many of China’s jobs are actually bulls**t jobs and how does it compare to other countries? Is anybody even looking at this?

    1. .Tom

      Afaict, American private firms are largely incapable of examining their productivity relative a clear statement of the purpose of the firm. Part of the problem is that for many firms, the main purpose isn’t production. Monopolizing a part of the market, accounting results, and the insiders’ lifestyles and ego gratification are often the purposes prioritized by the firm. As a result a lot of firms ostensibly offering technical goods/services are no fun to work for.

      I don’t know much about the situation in China but I suspect it might be different for engineers there.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        This. American capitalism is not about the work. Creating products is no longer synonymous with creating wealth. Wealth is an ideal that can be created out of nothing, especially if you think of your employees as unimportant nothings.

      2. Feral Finster

        Every American firm has a Mission Statement, it seems. Grandiose mission statements aside, the real firm mission is, as you put it, “[m]onopolizing a part of the market, accounting results, and the insiders’ lifestyles and ego gratification”.

    1. GramSci

      Per Wikipedia [“Ezekiel Emanuel”]:

      «On November 9 [2020], President-elect Joe Biden named Emanuel to be one of the 16 members of his coronavirus advisory board.»

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      “Useless Mouths” is the term of art that I remember reading, and yes, an equivalent medical code is presumably in the works.

    1. Yves Smith

      Do not run claims like this without checking their validity. When you do that, you force me either to waste my scarce time debunking it (as in searching and writing a reply) or not approve the comment. Take this as a warning that in the future I will not approve comments like this.

      The Dowd assertion is extremely poorly substantiated and includes flat out misrepresentation of some data. It has been deemed to be false by ignoring all sort of other contributors to the increase in excess deaths, starting with Covid. And the biggest increase was under Delta and Omicron, well after the vaccinations started.

      See among many others:

      1. Bsn

        And a bit more, Dowd on many occasions has said that his figures only raise the question “What could be causing this?”. He doesn’t specifically say the the vax caused these high death rates. But he does show that the excess deaths increased dramatically in 2021, as the vax was rolled-out and a year after Covid.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Tom67, for goodness sake, look at what you wrote and ponder for a moment. When is coincidence convincing evidence for a theory?

      Coincidence can suggest a hypothesis (Preferably with a clear cause-and-effect relationship spelled out.) but that’s as far as it takes you.

  11. Lena

    Re: Thousands of disabled people died after ‘Covid treatment withheld’

    Of course, there is precedent for this.

    It was called Aktion T4 (T4 Program), the Nazi’s mass murder of mentally or physically disabled people, those deemed ‘lebensunwertes Leben’ (‘life unworthy of life’). Aktion T4 was committed with the cooperation of doctors and other medical professionals, first in Germany, then in Poland and other Nazi occupied countries.

    It began with the murder of sickly infants in 1939. At first, the killings were done by withholding medical treatment and nutrition. Soon this was replaced by ‘more efficient’ forms of euthanasia. By 1945, at least 300,000 disabled children and adults were murdered. This was not the killing of people from any particular ethnic or religious group, it targeted anyone classified as disabled.

    Aktion T4 is considered the prototype for the implementation of the Nazi’s Final Solution.

    1. digi_owl

      The thing we should not forget is that Nazi Germany was the eugenics idea taken to its logical extreme. Most European nations and USA alike had some kind of eugenics program going at the time, mostly it involved forced sterilization of undesired groups. Supposedly it continued well into the 70s in the Appalachians.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Supposedly it continued well into the 70s in the Appalachians.

        Early 1970s in California institutions and IIRC North Carolina as well using illegal sterilizations. Plus separate extremely covert, very illegal small programs in women’s prisons at least as the late 90s in California.

        1. The Rev Kev

          About a decade ago I read of those groups who would go around depressed city areas and offer to pay big money to black women to be sterilized.

          1. JBird4049

            Increased access to the prison commissary was one of the incentives for getting sterilized when they actually offered informed consent, which was not always true in prison. Just done on the sly by the doctor when at the doctor or dentist, which is one of the reasons for the lack of knowledge. Just because you can’t have children does not mean that anyone did anything to you, but people do find out often decades later by other doctors.

            Often this is how these things are unmasked. You can falsify the records, but some victims always find out and come forward, which gets investigated by reporters, writers, even the law on rare occasions.

            I also have to mention this has happened to both men and women especially at the public health clinics across the country at least as far back as the 1930s to whenever it gradual stopped. Again, usually without informed consent and occasionally on children. One book, IIRC War Against the Weak by Edwin Black tells of county sheriff deputies just grabbing children in Appalachia and taking them for a “check up.” Granted they would usually get a real dental check up, but…

            Prisons, asylums, health clinics, etc. and for most of a century… Stuff like this lends support to the whole Covid as eugenics argument. If anyone doubts that this could be hidden, I suggest reading about the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. That bit of evil lasted forty years. It was only stopped in 1972.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Heard about that last one. So much for the physician’s creed of first do no harm. And people wonder where the Nazis got all those doctors from to carry out their policies and experiments.

    2. flora

      A pair of scandals in the UK, one pre-covid, from the BBC:

      And two apparently, still being sussed out, in nursing homes during covid, from Amnesty International:

      And this, from TheSun, so take if for what it’s worth:

      1. Lena

        We have long had our own way of killing the elderly and disabled. It’s called ‘the nursing home’. I witnessed numerous examples of injury and neglect resulting in death of patients when my mother was in a nursing home. Her own death was the result of fatal head injury after she was dropped by a opioid addicted night nurse.

        When I would complain to the nursing home about the treatment (or lack thereof) of patients, I was told it was “none of [my] business” and that my mother would be retaliated against if I didn’t “shut up”. Complaints to the state were ignored. This was years before Covid. It was hell.

        (In case people want to know why I didn’t take her out of the nursing home, it’s because there was no way for me to continue to care for her at home. I took care of her, by myself, for nearly a decade until it was no longer possible. She was too sick. There was only one nursing home that took Medicaid in our community. My mother had no assets, neither did I. Poor people have few options. And yes, my feelings of guilt because I could not protect her are as profound and painful as they were years ago. They do not go away.)

        1. Lena

          Lord, my comments are the most depressing s*** ever. How I wish I had some fun skiing adventures to write about!

          Like the time I ran into Sonny Bono…

          1. Don

            I don’t find your comments “the most depressing s*** ever”. Getting mad is underrated as a cure for depression.

          2. Martin Oline

            Please do not feel bad as we’ve all had and will have similar tragedies. I am sorry about your mother but every word you say is true. One cannot avoid reality but both pleasure and pain is what makes us human. Philip K. Dick believed the ability to empathize with others was what made us different from machines.
            The government is desperately trying to sanitize the Internet to remove any reference to the repercussions of our foreign policies by either censoring or de-monetizing platforms. Being honest about your feelings fights against the tide of approved numbness and detachment that is acceptable in western society.

    3. JBird4049

      >>>Soon this was replaced by ‘more efficient’ forms of euthanasia.

      Like mobile gas vans.

  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    Gilbert Doctorow on the Crocus City Hall attack.

    I think that this article by Doctorow brings up two intriguing points: “No, the reason [keeping the war conventional] was to prevent what has been until recently a conventional war contained within certain rules of conduct degenerating into a partisan war without rules such as you commonly see in fratricidal military conflict. The fact today is that with the upsurge of spectacular terrorist attacks on and inside Russia Ukraine is de facto already engaged in all-out ‘partisan’ style warfare. The fact is that with the threat of a French directed invasion force entering Ukraine …, the time for end-game division of what remains of Ukraine among the interested parties is here and now.”

    1. Partisan war is bloody and grueling, which the Russians know full well from their experience in World War II. See: Kaputt, by Curzio Malaparte.
    2. His second point seems like a stretch. So the French want to be in Ukraine to help draw the new borders? Seems counterintuitive. But then maybe what Macron wants to do is to preserve Odessa as Ukrainian, for various future / inept reasons.

    1. digi_owl

      Odessa, before the SMO, was being set up as a NATO harbor on the Black Sea.

      Never mind that it would act as a check on Sevastopol, the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet since the days of the Tsar.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And before the war the British were going to help the Ukrainians set up two missile boat bases on this coastline which would have been a direct threat to the Black Sea Fleet as well as Crimea.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      “Partisan war is bloody and grueling, which the Russians know full well from their experience in World War II. See: Kaputt, by Curzio Malaparte.”

      Yes, though keep in mind how it ended in Ukraine. Nationalists kept waging a partisan war for a few more years after Germany gave up, but were inexorably ground down. If there’s a will, outlasting a partisan war is possible, though I truly hope it does not come to that.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘New Not-So-Cold War’

    Alex Christoforou was noting in a video how none of the Baltic States were sending any condolence messages to Russia over this attack so far as he knew. But the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs – Gabrielius Landsbergis – outdid himself here when he sent out the tweet ‘Let’s not lose focus.’

    1. John

      One virtue of being a tiny and inconsequential state is that your bad manners and loutish behavior are ignored as akin to the yapping of small creatures.

  14. Benny Profane

    Biden still hasn’t expressed his personal condolences to the Russian people for this massacre in the concert hall. Putin called Bush the day after 9/11 to express sympathies and support. Of course, Putin saw a window for a partnership against radical Islam, but, still. That, and Zelensky snarling insults toward Putin and Russia the day after is another tell, I’m pretty sure, that the west is hardly innocent of being complicit in this stupid act.
    Waiting for interrogation results of the fifteen (!) participants. Should be interesting.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Here is a thought. Back in about 2012 the Russian security services gave the FBI a heads up on two Chechen brothers that, when visiting home, were attending a radical mosque and gave biography details, connections and phone numbers. When these brothers arrived back in Boston the FBI went around to interview them and afterwards said ‘Nah! It’ll be fine.’ Well these brothers went on to do the Boston Marathon bombing in 2012 which killed 3 people and injured hundreds-

      So if the Russians think that the US was playing funny buggers with those terrorists, you think that the next time they catch wind of an impending attack in the US, that they will give the FBI a heads up this time?

    2. Daniil Adamov

      Not sure if either of those things means much by itself. Biden and Zelensky have spoken themselves into a corner with regard to Russia, any expressions of sympathy would be very awkward for them politically as a result. On the one hand, they have to say something, on the other hand it would be at odds with their usual line (and even more so of some of their underlings).

      1. Benny Profane

        Well, that’s sad, because there has usually been a certain level of diplomatic expressions of empathy that are immune to all that, especially since we are officially not at war with Russia.

        I would not be comfortable as a resident of NYC or DC in the near future.

        1. John

          Biden has spoken himself into a corner as regards Russia. Biden has spoken himself into a corner as regards Israel. Biden had a grand plan to, at its most grandiose, dismember Russia. Biden has a grand plan to attack/counter/weaken Iran by weakening its “proxies.” How are each of those working out?

          It is never a good idea to allow you mouth to lead a life pf its own. Just saying.

    3. LawnDart

      My dark logic leads me to the possibility that by putting Ukraine back in the public eye, that this will take some of the heat off of Israel.

      1. Mikel

        And that would be a weird thing for an organization that people associate with radical Islamic views to take part in.

  15. Wukchumni

    Judge rules Gaetz, Greene can sue after California cities cancel their rallies over their ‘political views’ The Hill
    The cities in question strike me as more of righty red enclaves than the usual lefty political perspective one sees in Cali, which makes the potential haul for the clown prince & princess of the Pachyderm Party even more interesting, and talking about interesting times, i’m frankly sick of them, can we have an extended period of normally, please.

  16. Neutrino

    Babar, a fond memory of my childhood. The illustrations sparked imaginations and the adventures, too. Pure enjoyment.

    Comes next some harpy, a proto-canceler, screeching that a little kid can’t be exposed to such horribleness. To which I say, you can have my Babar books when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers. F you, and the elephant you wish you rode in on.

    1. digi_owl

      I recall seeing something similar leveled against Tintin as well, in particular the early stories.

      The whole thing starts to become a bit shrill. Didn’t a movie recently elevate some African queen as peak “noble savage” when in reality she ran one of the biggest slave exports during her reign?

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I remember hearing about that one, though I also forget the name. They wanted a strong woman of colour, morals and politics be damned.

      2. Paleobotanist

        That was “The Woman King” about the Dahomey Empire which did have an army that was about a quarter female. The Empire was built on slave raiding and selling the captives to Europeans into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The female soldiers went through brutal training and were quite effective, including capturing guys to sell as slaves. One man (no matter how big he is) hasn’t a chance against a team of trained armed women soldiers trained to operate together. Historically the movie was beyond dumb as the Dahomey Empire did not fight against the slave trade, as portrayed in the movie, but in fact took part in it and deliberately profited from it. As an amateur historian, the film really, really irritated me. To make matters worse, Hollywood could have made a film about an African woman soldier and general by making a film about Queen Djinga of Angola who did fight against Portuguese slavers personally, going into battle wielding a large battleaxe. She was tall and muscular enough for this weapon. She gave the Portuguese alot of trouble and is considered by the Angolans to be a founder of their country.

        I think that The Woman King was a US Army recruiting propaganda flick aimed at poor black women and historical accuracy be damned.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          That is Nzinga, among other spellings? Mind you, she was also prominently invovled in the slave trade. I’m not sure if any major African monarchy at the time wasn’t, though. It was simply too lucrative. Even if any African rulers wanted to avoid it entirely, they would have been leaving their country at a major disadvantage and exposing themselves to internal enemies.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Britain is suffering its longest sick note epidemic for 25 years as 2.7MILLION people claim they are too ill to work and holding back the country’s economic growth in the process”

    ‘A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘Our £2.5billion Back to Work plan will help break down barriers to work for over a million more adults and our recent Budget measures are estimated to boost the labour force by an extra 300,000 workers.’

    An extra 300,000 workers? That would only plug some of the gaps and even then only for a few months. As 2.7 million are out sick, I thought to find out just how big the UK workforce is for a bit of context and found this-

    ‘In November 2023 to January 2024, the number of people aged 16+ in employment was 33.17 million.’

    So that would work out to be what, maybe 8% of the working population out sick? And we are still only in the fourth year of the pandemic. So how is learning to live with the virus working out?

    1. griffen

      Making me think of an early scene from Braveheart, where Wallace and his band of misfits are in the forest whereby two volunteers show up to join them. One is named Stephen or Steven I guess, and he is really the only source of humor in the movie. “..insane Irish…”

      Later during one of the battle scenes they are under aerial assault from arrows…”the Almighty says I’ll get out of this mess but you’re stuck…”or some similar phrase not safe for a family blog.

  18. griffen

    A ditty for our great American economy and an ode to our rulers and elites, leaders who think their view of jobs aplenty and inflation dropped like a rock are the veritable truth…for econ guy Paul and for econ guy Noah, this satirical take of mine

    Van Halen, “Mean Streets”

    At night I walk these stinking streets,
    past the crazies on my block
    I see the same old faces and hear the same old talk

    I’m searching for the latest thing
    a break from their tired routines
    I’m talking some new kicks
    ones like you ain’t ever seen

    This is home, this is Lean Street
    this is our home, overdue on our loan

    And we don’t worry about tomorrow
    since we’re sick of their high walls
    Now what they think is low cost nothing
    Might be something high cost after all

    Now you know this ain’t no thru street
    And the dead end deficits loom ahead
    The poor folks play for keeps down here
    We’re ruled by the living dead

    Come on down, Paul, down to Lean Street
    We’re dancing around our bills, Paul
    Down on Lean Street

      1. griffen

        It’s an over looked gem my two cents. Of course on that album the best track is “Unchained”…

        Come on Dave, gimme a break…one break coming up..

  19. pjay

    – ‘American Military-Civil Fusion at Risk With the Loss of the Shift Fellowship’ – War on the Rocks

    God yes! I can’t think of a greater “risk” to our society that a decline in “military-civil fusion.” More fusion please! Fusion is awesome…. hey, wait. I’ve got an idea Matt.

    War on the Rocks contributions can be informative at times when the subject is, well, war. But on other subjects, like this one, their apparent cluelessness is stunning. But is it cluelessness, or does this “defense venture capitalist” really see the world this way?

    1. cfraenkel

      It was hard to sift through the DODese to see if there was anything there or not. The gist seems to be that this program costing several $M/yr seconded 450 (total) DOD personnel into one or two month ‘fellowships’ into startups or VC outfits. What can anyone possibly accomplish in two months??? Sounds like a glorified paid-for networking boondoggle, more than anything else.

      My takeaway – VC grifters complaining that a small stream of $$ got taken away from the flood, and a good example of why we spend $T+ on a substandard military.

      1. Karl

        Former heads of DARPA have rotated into and out of the VC world. The CIA has its own VC firm to fund start-ups to develop technologies of interest for intelligence gathering.

        So, taxpayers are assuming R&D risk for pre-commercialization, then the fraction that pans out goes to the next stage of funding, when the IP gets privatized for civilian use and huge profits ensue. It’s even cheaper if they can “borrow” the brains for a 2-month assignment. Brains flow => IP=> deal flow => Networks back in DOD for more Brains Flow => Rinse and repeat.

        So, VC have discovered the gravy train of privatizing public money and expertise. It worked for Silicon Valley bank too. It’s a great business model. If only it benefited U.S. workers and communities.

  20. Sebastian

    The FOX story about the big bad government trying to recoup Medicaid expenses plays on several emotional hot spots. Medicaid is meant to assist those who have no other financial resources with medical or long term care needs. One must be definitionally “broke” to receive such assistance. If one owns a house, and wishes to receive care in that home, or leaves the home for care elsewhere but does not sell the home at that time, it is allowed with the proviso that Medicaid can recoup expenses paid out of the estate of the person who received the benefit. The estate might have to sell the home to pay Medicaid back or the beneficiary of the estate can each into their resources or borrow to pay the debt if they wish to keep the home. This makes sense to me. All personal assets should be used to cover an individual’s expenses before they are “given” any of the money we all pay into the Medicaid insurance pot. If those owning homes are allowed to permanently exclude those homes as assets available to pay for their personal care and to pass that wealth along to heirs without encumbrance it represents an unfair benefit not available to those families who do not own homes. There is already an entire branch of “estate planning” that helps people game the system so that they qualify for Medicaid AND can pass on significant financial and real estate assets free of Medicaid recovery. Shall we just say that one’s home is not an asset to be used for personal expenses? How about we also say the same about IRAs, art collections, expensive vehicles, and fire arms? All “hard earned possessions” of the person receiving Medicaid insurance assistance. Oh heck… let’s just say that “the government” – AKA Medicaid – will pay for everything for everyone. Seems that is what the FOX commentators would like to see. Does that seem fair? What is that called? Socialism?

    1. ambrit

      Yes Sebastian. Tis “socialism.” Seeing how America now implements “Socialism for the Rich” through various and sundry tax breaks, sweetheart deals in government procurement, and true ‘giveaways’ in ridiculously low income tax rates, “Socialism for the Poor” sounds about right. Equal protection under the law and all that.
      If one is to implement a social policy entailing the protection and encouragement of private fortunes, then all levels of private fortune must be included. As above, so below.

      1. Reply

        The poor get clawbacks, adding insult to injury and then some more injury because Congress can.

        Congress and staff insiders with their own healthcare program get to avoid that. They only worry about whether there will be enough crab claws and lobster tails at the lobbyist brunches. 🤬🤮

        Clawbacks are for the little people.

    2. Lefty Godot

      If a cancer patient wants to be able to live in their house while they undergo treatment, the house can be seized by the state Medicaid authority once that patient dies. The expenses for cancer treatment are in the millions, because free enterprise. So we definitely must punish anyone who gets cancer and isn’t very wealthy, apparently. The thought that the relatives of a person like that (the beneficiaries you speak of) could “reach into their resources or borrow to pay the debt” is so unrealistic it’s ridiculous. The Medicaid patient is a poor person usually from a poor family. There is nothing fair about this aspect of the program. It’s another reason why we need single payer healthcare instead of the current patchwork of Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, children’s health insurance programs, etc.

    3. Zephyrum

      Medicaid is called “insurance”, but the costs can be recouped from the policy holder. Seems like an excellent idea to me. Imagine how much we could reduce the costs of the insurance industry by extending this wise policy to private insurers. Your house burns down? The insurance company pays to rebuild it–and then gets to take ownership when you die. A car accident or two? No problem! They’ll get their money back, eventually. Of course the occasional widow or descendant might suffer a bit when property is confiscated, but that’s a small price to pay for avoiding the horror of undeserved compensation due to the good fortune of having an expensive accident.

  21. flora

    re:A survey of expert views on misinformation: Definitions, determinants, solutions, and future of the field (PDF)

    per Lambert: Whatever this crowd conceives of as “left wing.” I would guess that control of the means of production does not figure largely in their discourse.

    Do they mean control of the narrative? / ;)

    1. pjay

      Control of the means of cultural reproduction:

      “Regarding system-level actions against misinformation, the most widely agreed-upon solution was
      platform design changes, with 89% approval, followed by algorithmic changes (84%) and content
      moderation on social media (80%). Experts were also generally in favor of de-platforming prominent
      actors sharing misinformation (73%), stronger regulations to hold platforms accountable (70%),
      crowdsourcing the detection of misinformation (66%), removing misinformation (63%), and even, to some
      extent, penalizing2 misinformation sharing on social media (53%).”

      But don’t worry. They’re “experts” at this.

      I invite everyone to peruse the website for the Harvard Kennedy School’s ‘Misinformation Review’ in which this article appears. It is full of pseudo-scientific “research” like this. Its only real function is to justify measures like the above. Scary as hell to me.

  22. t

    “Seatbelt dependence,” “water treatment dependence”, “manual safety dependence,” “traffic light dependence”….

    would that I could shake the yoke of flossing my teeth…

    1. dave -- just dave

      WaterPik works well and eases the burden on my arthritic fingers – get the one with the water tank, not the cordless one.

  23. R.S.

    > A survey of expert views on misinformation…
    > Whatever this crowd conceives of as “left wing.”…

    If you go to the open data they’ve provided, they determined the right-left positioning by simply asking a question:
    Q19 Some people talk about ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘centre’ to describe parties and politicians. (Generally, socialist parties would be considered ‘left wing’ whilst conservative parties would be considered ‘right wing’). With this in mind, where would you place yourself on the following scale?

    I’d expect the answers be more like weather at Cydonia than anything useful.

    1. flora

      er… Tomás de Torquemada will find out and eliminate all heresies… I mean mis and dis information; those things that may be true but that go against official narrative scripture. Take that, Galileo! / heh

      1. R.S.

        Might invite Heinrich Kramer and Conrad von Marburg as well. Teamwork is essential, y’know.

    2. pjay

      Yes. One’s political orientation (“left,” “right,” etc.) was apparently self-defined and therefore subjective and arbitrary. But so was the definition of “misinformation” itself:

      “The experts we surveyed defined misinformation as false and misleading information. They
      agreed that pseudoscience and conspiracy theories are misinformation, while satirical news is

      So we can all agree on examples of information that is false or misleading? Are there objective criteria for this, or do we rely on the authority of these “experts” themselves? And how about what constitutes “pseudoscience” or a “conspiracy theory”? While we’re at it, what criteria determines who the “experts” are on these issues?

      Like these “experts,” I “strongly agree” that “pseudoscience” and “conspiracy theories” are “misinformation.” I’d love to compare our examples of such phenomena. It there are no objective criteria by which we can guarantee that respondents are not referring to radically different things, then isn’t this survey with all the nice graphs sort of “pseudo-scientific”?

  24. antidlc
    Protecting yourself from COVID-19 these days is hard. And it comes at a cost.

    Long-term, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, said it should not be up to individuals to have to figure out ways to protect themselves from this virus.

    “The government has a duty to protect its people, and businesses also have a duty to make sure that their employees are protected,” he said. “There needs to be investment and approaches to block transmission. We cannot rely on masking forever. We cannot ask people, even immunocompromised people, to mask for the next 100 years.”

    COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere, and given all the evidence about how much lasting damage it can do to the body, Al-Aly said, “we’re going to have to figure out a sustainable way of protecting the population from it.”

    1. Jason Boxman

      I remember when OSHA was going to promulgate actual safety rules, but Biden nixed that, because markets. Oops.

      It takes a Democrat to destroy public health!

    2. Samuel Conner

      > We cannot ask people, even immunocompromised people, to mask for the next 100 years.

      Is it a sign that I am neurodivergent that I do not see why the above statement is so?

      Given the choice between masking in public for a lifetime as the cost of living out my full span, and shortening my span for the sake of unencumbering my lower face in crowds, I would pay the cost,

      Am I neurodivergent, or just “not yet CV-brain-damaged”? I suppose it’s possible to be both.

      This is not to disagree in any way with the writer’s advocacy of environmental and workplace changes to reduce transmission.

      1. Skip Intro

        It may be that herd immunity can become ‘a thing’ at a population level a small fraction of its current, with the 99.9996% who aren’t naturally immune to coronavirii culled over the course of a handful of decades.

      1. flora

        I especially like this para from the article:

        What’s extraordinary is that a Nobel Laureate economist has only achieved this realisation so late in his career. Anyone with practical experience of policymaking, or with training as a historian, or even someone who has worked as a lobbyist or consultant, has a grasp of what Deaton has only belatedly realised: modern capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal form that disempowers governments and rivals like trade unions, is about the use of power by corporations to “change the rules of the game”, to increase certainty for themselves and reduce it for competitors, workers and consumers. It speaks volumes about how sheltered many mainstream academic economists really are.

    1. digi_owl

      I guess he is feeling his age and no longer has anything to lose to be blunt about it.

      Same way as politicians will speak with honesty only after they have long since left the corridors of power.

      1. Reply

        Or in rare instances where their worldviews get a dousing of cold water reality. Witness Alan Greenspan’s little mea culpa around the time of the GFC.

        How many more morons are there in the E-con profession, academia, politics and the media who labor on under significant misperceptions that are evident to mere casual observers and other rational, objective people? Grifters among them on the take, while others are slaves to some defunct economist or three.

          1. CA

            Alan Greenspan was FRS chair: August 11, 1987 – January 31, 2006.

            Housing prices would peak near the end of 2006, and financial problems became evident shortly after 2007 began but were improperly understood by regulators before September 2007. Ben Bernanke was FRS chair from February 2006.

            Also, Dean Baker was writing about a housing bubble by 2002 and Paul Krugman followed soon after. Almost no attention was given the writings.

          2. CA


            August 16, 2002

            Mind the Gap
            By PAUL KRUGMAN

            More and more people are using the B-word about the housing market. A recent analysis * by Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic Policy Research, makes a particularly compelling case for a housing bubble. House prices have run well ahead of rents, suggesting that people are now buying houses for speculation rather than merely for shelter. And the explanations one hears for those high prices sound more and more like the rationalizations one heard for Nasdaq 5,000.

            If we do have a housing bubble, and it bursts, we’ll be looking a lot too Japanese for comfort…


            August 25, 2006

            The Bubble Bursts
            By PAUL KRUGMAN

            Just a wonkish note about how bad the macroeconomics of all this * could be:

            If you look at the most leading of the indicators on housing, stuff like new home sales and applications for permits, they’re off more than 20 percent from a year ago. If that translates into an equivalent fall in residential investment, we’re talking about a fall from 6 percent of the G.D.P. to 4.8 percent. And this may be only the beginning; I wouldn’t be surprised to see housing investment drop below its pre-bubble norm of 4 percent of G.D.P. at least for a while.

            Add to this the likely effect of a housing bust on consumer spending and you’ve got a direct hit to G.D.P. of, say, 2.5 percent or more. That’s bigger than the slump in business investment that led to the 2001 recession. And the main reason the 2001 recession wasn’t as deep as some feared was that the Federal Reserve was able to engineer… a housing boom. What will the Fed do this time?


    2. Mikel

      “Nobel Laureate economist Angus Deaton has delivered a ferocious rebuke to his own profession, saying economists have failed to understand that capitalism is about power.”

      Yes, indeed.

      1. communistmole

        That is why the subtitle of Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ is ‘Kritik der politischen Ökonomie’ -‘Critique of Political Economy’.

        1. digi_owl

          Lately i find myself wondering how much of the enlightenment thinking and language was formed in a power struggle between the established nobility and the rising merchants. In particular as so much of the power of the merchants were built on debt, and a royal sovereign could potentially abolish all that with a decree.

    3. CA

      March, 2024


      Questioning one’s views as circumstances evolve can be a good thing

      Economics has achieved much; there are large bodies of often nonobvious theoretical understandings and of careful and sometimes compelling empirical evidence. The profession knows and understands many things. Yet today we are in some disarray. We did not collectively predict the financial crisis and, worse still, we may have contributed to it through an overenthusiastic belief in the efficacy of markets, especially financial markets whose structure and implications we understood less well than we thought…

      1. Lena

        Thank you for the link.

        These words from Deaton stood out to me:

        “We have largely stopped thinking about ethics and about what constitutes human well-being. We are technocrats who focus on efficiency.”

        That sums up much of what is wrong with Western society today.

      2. Morincotto


        The same guy who a couple years ago refused to sit on the same podium as Michael Hudson because Prof. Hudson was in his eyes basically a dirty commie and not sufficiently dedicated to the miraculous free markets and the anglosaxon free enterprise system.

        Perhaps Deaton will soon join Prof.Hudson, Jeffrey Sachs, Rhadika Desai and Prof. Wolf in making the rounds through the alternative media sphere.

    4. spud

      thank you for the link

      “I am much more sceptical of the benefits of free trade to American workers and am even sceptical of the claim, which I and others have made in the past, that globalisation was responsible for the vast reduction in global poverty over the past 30 years”.

      this is the economist that scientifically linked the death of despairs that is still ongoing in america, to bill clintons disastrous polices.

  25. Mikel

    “Institutionalizing BRICS: A Treacherous Path” Infobrics

    I see NC has the story link placed in the position as a kind of a sub-header related to but not exactly part of the “New Not-So-Cold War” links.
    After reading, I think it could belong under the “European Disunion” section as a sub-header. The discussion is, after all, about the treacherous path of supranational organizations in the current global order. And I’m considering all of its neoliberal linkages.

  26. flora

    From Bloomberg 2023:

    This Is How the FDA Plans to Fight Health Misinformation

    Another challenge for the FDA is to get the public to trust what they’re saying in the first place.

    From Bloomberg last week, 2024:

    Texas Doctors Force FDA to Remove Covid-19 Posts in Settlement

    Agency to delete social media posts, retire consumer updates
    Doctors agree to dismiss all claims in lawsuit against FDA

  27. ISL

    On Covid19 and neurological issues in pediatric patients, interesting article, but aside from the obvious “this should be studied,” I found myself wondering how representative of the overall population the studied (327) children were. The authors did not qualify in their meta-analysis how ill the children were, which I am surprised at the Nature reviewers/editors not asking of the authors.

    If, for example, they were in ICUs, then not very broadly applicable.

    1. Raymond Sim

      The principal finding appears to be that neurological symptoms were correlated with discernible physical changes.

      Is your objection that there might not be discernible changes in children with neurological symptoms whose acute illness had been mild? I’m curious what conclusions you would draw from that.

  28. Mikel

    “In One Key A.I. Metric, China Pulls Ahead of the U.S.: Talent” NYT

    China drinks the “AI” Kool-Aide?

  29. Mikel

    “Secret RCMP report warns Canadians may revolt once they realize how broke they are” National Post.

    The sum of it all appears to be at the end:
    “Economic forecasts for the next five years and beyond are bleak,” reads the RCMP’s assessment of the rest of the decade, even adding a quote from French President Emmanuel Macron that “the end of abundance” is nigh.

    And with the litany of problems caused by the current sytesm the report still wants to hold the line that anyone that calls attention to them and wants to do something different must be labeled:
    “Another major theme of the report is that Canadians are set to become increasingly disillusioned with their government, which authors mostly chalk up to “misinformation,” “conspiracy theories” and “paranoia.”

    So the economic forecasts are bleak, but anyone looking for accountability now is just being “paranoid” and all of the rest?

    Got it.

    1. Feral Finster

      “In the Anglosphere (and elsewhere, as well), there has long been a compact between rulers and the people: you support our ruling democratic system, and we will ensure that your lives get better generation after generation. This compact has broken down in many places, with Canada being one of them.”

      “To protect children from sexual exploitation, Canada must pass the Online Harms Act, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. “I am the parent of two young boys,” said Justice Minister Arif Virani. “I will do whatever I can to ensure their digital world is as safe as the neighborhood we live in. Children are vulnerable online. They need to be protected from online sexual exploitation, hate, and cyberbullying.”

      But Virani’s bill is totally unnecessary to protect children. Its real goal is to allow judges to sentence adults to prison for life for things they’ve said and for up to a year for crimes they haven’t committed but that the government fears they might commit in the future.

      As such, Trudeau and Virani’s Online Harms Act (Bill C-63) is the most shocking of all the totalitarian, illiberal, and anti-Enlightenment pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the Western world in decades.”

      We are not ruled by well-meaning tumblers but by outright sociopaths.

    2. Wukchumni

      Zeks in the Gulag Hockeypelago!

      Canadians have been pretty civil, too civil since the Regina Riot~

  30. CA

    March 19, 2023

    China’s maternal, infant mortality rates continue to drop

    BEIJING — In 2023, China registered a maternal mortality rate of 15.1 per 100,000, which is 10.7 percent lower than the figure from 2020, China’s National Health Commission said Tuesday.

    The commission also noted that in 2023, the infant mortality rate and mortality rate of children under 5 stood at 4.5 per 1,000 and 6.2 per 1,000, down 16.7 percent and 17.3 percent from 2020.

    According to Shen Haiping, an official with the commission, China now has 3,491 emergency medical centers for pregnant and lying-in women in critical or serious condition. Furthermore, the country has established 3,321 emergency centers to provide timely medical attention to newborn babies.

    The commission will continue to facilitate the enhancement of medical institutions’ capacity to treat acute, critical and major illnesses, said Shen, adding that it will also help improve hospital services to cater to the needs of pregnant and lying-in women.

  31. LawnDart

    Regarding the city hall attack, I found this quote a few hours ago on Julian Macfarlane’s website, and if accurate…

    Skynet rejected my earlier attempt to post, likely due to a key word, so we’ll try again without that word and without a direct link.

    From the article:

    The SMO is dead; long live the war

    We will give them this kind of fun more often. Is it fun in Moscow today? I think it’s a lot of fun. I would like to believe that we will arrange such fun for them more often. After all, they are “brotherly” people, and we need to please our relatives more often, go to visit them more often. So, we will go.

    –Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov

    1. Karl

      Very, very interesting.

      The perpetrators sounded (from video clips) like mercenaries, so there’s a money trail. Getting caught alive–that was sloppy of them.

      I wonder if there is a Danilov-Nuland connection. Didn’t Nuland promise an imminent surprise for Russia just before she “retired”? Could the U.S. have been that stupid?

      My guess is that Congress won’t give Ukraine any more aid until the dust settles. If it turns out that Ukraine is involved, that could make Ukraine as radioactive as Hamas (depending how involved). Could Ukraine have been that stupid?

      Some have speculated that the mastermind of the attack could have been Israel, to free up the logjam in Congress for the Israel aid package. Could Israel have been that stupid?

      This act of terrorism makes all aid more politically dicey, it seems to me. It reminds everyone in the US the awful quagmires we are sinking deeper in. The possibilities for terrorist blowback on the US and Western allies are huge.

      Will detectives like Sy Hersh find out more? This is his kind of story. On the other hand, this may be too hot even for him.

    2. alfred venison

      Thanks very much for posting that, I don’t know if I could have found it myself, though I’m sure the Russians will have a copy. I well remember Danilov reported as saying it to a Ukrainian media channel right at the beginning and thinking you can’t make a more explicit claim of responsibility than that, even if you’re a Ukrainian nazi braggart, but there it is.
      Oleskiy Danilov’s “Sikorsky moment” ?

    3. Morincotto

      I from moment one suspected that if the Banderites were involved, their need for sadistic gloating would inevitably get the better of them sooner or later.

      The whole operation basically was as Budanov as can be.


      Some things don’t seem to add up nonetheless.

      If this is true and it certainly at first glance seems believable, at least I don’t think anyone would genuinely surprised, there are questions like why hire Tajiks in the first place.

      If the Ukrainians did it, and I’m very much inclined to think they did, they are certainly very proud of themselves and thus would gloat in exactly the way Danilov is claimed to have done.

      Good, the ISIS angle was probably the idea of the West with the Ukrainians only pretending that they would pretend.

      But if so, why did those shooters apparently pretty much allow themselves to be captured?

      Ukrainian Neonazis would not have tried to become martyrs in purpose, but even those one can easily imagine going down fighting.

      Did these guys surrender relatively quickly because they realized their ukrainian emplyers set them up to be killed making it a betrayel and an undeclared and on part of the shooters unintentional suicide mission?


      Perhaps they simply realized there was no escape and having true mercenary mentality they just preferred survival and cooperation giving the Russians everything over every other option, seeing as there were only unpleasent ones left and there is no mystery.

      Very easily possible, probably even likely.

      But then I had a crazy couple seconds, my brain went into dark conspiracy overdrive and spit out this thought:

      I hope those bastards aren’t suicide attackers after all.

      We all know that the Z Regime and to a significant degree also the Neocons have FAR too much Hollywood on their brains, that their insane stunts are regularly inspired by movies and such cr*p.

      And I thought about one particular trope, the Bad Guy who allows himself to be captured by the good guys on purpose to infiltrate their headquarters and deal them a devastating blow from inside.

      A spectacular terrorist attack in Moscow would see the FSB heavily involved of course, including high ranking officials.

      Including people close to the director, the director himself and the director IS only one step from Putin and thus the entire political and military leadership..

      What if those shooters were infected with a biological weapon of exactly the kind that those US biolabs were apparently working on.

      Many western pundits and even some politicians have more or less openly talked about the necessity of assassinating Putin, even in the last couple weeks.

      In Ukraine there recently was a conference of so called russian Liberals in exile who hinted at similar things, the german “Nachdenseiten” blog that NC has linked to a couple times discussed it two days or so ago.

      These very, very nazilike “Liberals” bragged about having a network in Russia that was conducting terrorist attacks, apparently bombing a railroad tunnel last year and that they intended to make a revolution, assuring the West that they would take take that russian nuclear weapons wouldn’t fall into chinese hands.

      Now, I normally would not worry about these guys as I have zero doubt that there can’t be much to that vaunted network of their’s and that russian security services probably won’t find it particularly difficult to deal with these wannabes.

      But a biological attack hitting the very top of russian society and government, military, defense industry, etc, right away and spreading downwards from there and throughout the security services themselves, that would instantly change everything.

      These maniacs might calculate that they could take out not just Putin, but everyone at the top level (plus probably many millions of total innocents but those would deserve it because they dared to support Putin and the Heroes of Free Russia and their western allies after all were gracious enough to give them a final chance to collectively redeem themselves but they really effed it up in the election so eff them).

      A targeted designer pathogen with a pre determined and carefully calculated incubation period could potentially bring the entire machinery of the russian state to a halt and collapse when introduced in a way that maximizes the likelihood of all the right people being hit pretty much from the start.

      And what would China do under such conditions, with Russia falling into chaos?

      Obviously the Chinese would, among other things, have no choice but to send the PLA into Russia to secure it’s nuclear arsenal before the West and the Japanese can get a hold of it, it would be suicide to not do so.

      In fact China would under the circumstances basically be forced with absolute necessity to do exactly what it never would have wanted in a billion years and which dishonest western scaremongers transparently and unsuccessfully have tried to tell the Russians, they would be forced to take over Russia itself or as much of it as possible before the West can do so.

      And now or liberal network comes into play, either moving to wrest control over Russia’s vast arsenal in the midst of all the chaos and panic and annihilating China with a nuclear strike, presenting themselves to their surviving compatriots as saviors and avengers, blaming China for the bio attack or presenting fabricated evidence to whoever has control over it with the top leadership probably gone to convince them to nuke China off the face of the earth instead.

      This is probably just a crazy fever dream I have and would have zero chance of succeeding even if tried and absolutely nobody, not even the ukro nazis, russian liberal nazis and neocons would ever be in a million years be insane and depraved enough to ever dream up something remotely similar, neither now nor at any time in the future, and besides even they would know that there would be zero chance of success.


      1. rowlf

        Well… the Russians supposedly captured a few biolabs in Ukraine, so they may have a whiff of what was being developed. A second point is that a few years ago I watched a video of a meeting between Obama and Putin and Obama tried to hand a document to Putin. Rather than handle the document Putin politely indicated to place the document on a nearby table to be handled later. While one view may be a slight to Obama another may have been for personal safety on Putin’s part. Add in the various long table meetings over the past few years.

        Moscow Rules have probably been refined over the decades.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There was an article on NC linked her a few short years ago how the CIA would impregnate papers and other objects such as pens with chemical agents, some of which caused cancer. All part of their dirty tricks department and it was remarkable the number of South American leaders that came down with cancer one after another about a decade or so ago. Obama was a snake not to be trusted.

    4. LawnDart

      I found the video:

      Russia Belarus Ukraine
      23 Mar at 3:30 pm

      Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov on the tragedy in Moscow:

      “Is it fun in Moscow today? I think it’s a lot of fun. I would like to believe that we will arrange such fun for them more often. After all, “fraternal” people, and relatives need to please more often and go to visit them more often. So we’ll keep going.”

      Can any Russian-speakers in the house verify?

      1. Polar Socialist

        I think he’s speaking Ukrainian. But yeah, that pretty much what he says. The caveat here is, as pointed out by several commentators there, that it’s likely a deep fake.

        Danilov is the man who has earlier said, among other things, that when he heard in January 2022 schoolboys singing about killing Moscals, he new Ukraine was finally ready for this war. So even if the video is fake, it’s easy to believe that the emotion is real.

  32. Jason Boxman

    Capitalism for the win: The Brutality of Sugar: Debt, Child Marriage and Hysterectomies

    The two soft-drink makers have helped turn the state of Maharashtra into a sugar-producing powerhouse. But a New York Times and Fuller Project investigation has found that these brands have also profited from a brutal system of labor that exploits children and leads to the unnecessary sterilization of working-age women.

    Hysterectomy is a routine surgery performed around the world, though infrequently for women in their 20s and 30s. In India, it is more common, including as a form of birth control, and other parts of the country also have high hysterectomy rates. But in Maharashtra’s sugar industry, everyone — contractors, other workers, even doctors — pushes women toward the surgery.

    1. CA

      March 24, 2024

      The Brutality of Sugar: Debt, Child Marriage and Hysterectomies
      By Megha Rajagopalan and Qadri Inzamam.
      Photographs and video by Saumya Khandelwal.

      Archana Ashok Chaure has given her life to sugar.

      She was married off to a sugar cane laborer in western India at about 14 — “too young,” she says, “to have any idea what marriage was.” Debt to her employer keeps her in the fields.

      Last winter, she did what thousands of women here are pressured to do when faced with painful periods or routine ailments: She got a hysterectomy, and got back to work.

      This keeps sugar flowing to companies like Coke and Pepsi.

      The two soft-drink makers have helped turn the state of Maharashtra into a sugar-producing powerhouse. But a New York Times and Fuller Project investigation has found that these brands have also profited from a brutal system of labor that exploits children and leads to the unnecessary sterilization of working-age women.

      Young girls are pushed into illegal child marriages so they can work alongside their husbands cutting and gathering sugar cane. Instead of receiving wages, they work to pay off advances from their employers — an arrangement that requires them to pay a fee for the privilege of missing work, even to see a doctor.

      An extreme yet common consequence of this financial entrapment is hysterectomies. Labor brokers loan money for the surgeries, even to resolve ailments as routine as heavy, painful periods. And the women — most of them uneducated — say they have little choice.

      Hysterectomies keep them working, undistracted by doctor visits or the hardship of menstruating in a field with no access to running water, toilets or shelter….

  33. communistmole

    Speaking of ‘ballast existences’:

    The action was called ‘Aktion T4’, named after the address of the central planning site in Berlin, Tiergartenstrasse 4.

    The idea was popularized in Germany in the 1920s by a lawyer (Binding) and a psychiatrist (Hoche) in a document called ‘Freigabe zur Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens’ (Release for the destruction of life unworthy of existence) and gradually implemented by the Nazis: forced sterilizations and abortions, marriage bans for so-called hereditary patients and other ‘unerwünschte Existenzen’ (‘undesirable existences’ – including schizophrenics, dementia patients, epileptics, long-term patients, criminals who were classified as mentally ill, etc.).

    Murdering began in 1939, and the first ‘Probevergasung’ (‘trial gassing’) took place then (still in Poland).

    The selection was carried out by psychiatrists, the murder either by malnutrition, injections (morphine) or gassing with carbon monoxide (in Germany between 1940 and 1941).

    Here too, the victims’ dental gold was used and the relatives were issued with bills for fictitious hospital stays.

    After the operation was suspended – there were protests from the Catholic Church, but also unrest among the population (what would happen to soldiers who were unable to work? ), the freed-up personnel were deployed for the so-called Endlösung der Judenfrage (‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’), which also raises the question of whether another reason for the suspension of Aktion T4 was that these specialists were needed more urgently for the so-called ‘Aktion Reinhardt’ (the mass extermination of Jews and so-called Zigeuner (‘gypsies’) in Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, places that were not camps with selections, but pure killing sites).

    1. Lena

      Aktion T4 continued until 1945 although the methods used to murder the disabled did change over time.

      1. communistmole

        The so-called euthanasia of adults was greatly reduced, the euthanasia of children continued (as far as I know, there were no more gassings after 1941; another question is what it would have looked like after the ‘Endsieg’ …)

        p.s. Unfortunately, I only saw your comment above on this topic later.

    2. Feral Finster

      Bishop von Galen was a reactionary who on many different levels would horrify goodthink liberals, but he spoke out so forcefully and publicly against the T4 Program and other Nazi crimes that people fled the Munster Cathedral during his sermons, out of fear that the Gestapo would arrest everyone inside.

      1. hk

        A lot of anti Nazi Germans were horrible reactionaries whose ideas were polar opposite that of modern day “liberals.”. The first time I heard of Ursula VDL was when, as the defense minister, she stripped General Hoeppner’s name from some army base, claiming how his worldview is incompatible with modern Germany. Hoeppner was one of the key ppl involved in the July plot to assassinate Hitler and was executed for it, in addition to being a horrible reactionary.

  34. Mikel

    “Ukraine rejects claims of Western pressure over attacks on Russian oil facilities” Politico. “Nice little election you’ve got there, Joe.”

    Refined oil exports are in the USA’s wheelhouse. Harkens back to the time of Standard Oil’s monopoly.

  35. steppenwolf fetchit

    ” there are a lot of ISIS variants (although none, AFAIK, have ever attacked Israel, oddly). ”

    If the various flavors of ISIS considered Israel too hard to conquer and caliphatize, especially given Israel’s small size relative to Syria and Iraq, they might well have decided to focus on the bigger more lucrative targets first and get around to Israel in the fullness of time.

    If so, then not so odd.

  36. Jason Boxman

    Looks like we’re getting carpet bombed by draft kings and other sports betting direct mail in North Carolina. If ever there was a group of people to flog it’s sports betting CEOs. What a mess. Any way to rob the masses.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Caitlyn is a woman who knows how to get to the point:

      It’s funny to see the US proposing a fake UN “ceasefire” resolution which doesn’t actually demand a ceasefire when it’s public knowledge that the US could single-handedly create a ceasefire by telling Israel it will stop receiving US weapons if it doesn’t negotiate one right now.

      Thank you, Ms. Johnstone. You just articulated perfectly what has been driving me crazy.

      1. Martin Oline

        The proposed “humanitarian” pier in Gaza and the fake UN “ceasefire” resolution are like putting an evergreen deodorizer in the cab of a truck hauling animal carcasses to the rendering plant. When it rounds the curves of the world and stops at borders between countries the rotten liquid seeps out the back and splashes onto the street. Everyone can smell the stench but the government driving thinks everything is great. What a world of denial.

      1. Pat

        I just read a brief interview with Shapiro all about how no one in America should retire at 65, and Social Security has them deluded and inferred Americans are lazy. That he used Biden as an example of how productive you should be late in life was an unintended irony, I think.
        This jerk is a piece of work.

    1. Alice X

      Actually, I don’t go in much for that sort of mocking/comedy. There are plenty of facts in Harris’s résumé to weigh against her, so reckless parodies of her bearing can, as if to: focus on ripples in the puddle while ignoring a tsunami. They miss the thread. Or maybe I’m just an old stickler.

      Come to think of it, there’s not a lot of action from a VP to work into a comedy skit.

  37. Cristobal

    Maybe off topic, but related to censorship. Today (in Spain) I cannot access Consortium News. The site starts to open but then goes blank with one word: “Forbidden”. Is anyone else having this problem?

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