Links 4/11/2024

What happened when the moon ‘turned itself inside out’ billions of years ago?

Trying to Puzzle Through the Current Macro Situation (excerpt) Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality

Jerome H Powell: Opening remarks – Stanford Business, Government, and Society Forum (PDF) Bank of International Settlements


Farmers warn ‘crisis is building’ as record rainfall drastically reduces UK food production Guardian

How Climate Change Will Affect Conflict and U.S. Military Operations RAND

A Tidal Wetland Restoration of Epic Proportions Reasons to be Cheerful


The largest fresh egg producer in the US has found bird flu in chickens at a Texas plant CBS

Deconstructing the Avian Flu Contagion Live


No Substitute for Victory Foreign Affairs. Let me know how that works out.

* * *

Yellen Junks 200 Years of Economics to Block China Clean Tech Bloomberg. The theory of comparative advantage, tossed aside.

Yellen Dispatched to Beg China for Face-Saving Slowdown Simplicius the Thinker(s)

As China’s economy falters, so does middle-class confidence NBC

* * *

South China Sea: Philippines’ Marcos ‘horrified’ by Xi-Duterte ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for status quo in disputed waters South China Morning Post

‘The rule of law says that the islands are Chinese’ Global Times

* * *

No problem that can’t be talked through, President Xi Jinping tells Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou in historic Beijing talks South China Morning Post

Let’s not give China ideas:

Unless they’ve already had them, of course.

First non-American on the Moon will be a Japanese astronaut, says Biden France24. So the vassal state ranking would be: Japan, UK, Germany… Ukraine…


Chevron Exits Myanmar With Withdrawal From Natural Gas Project Wall Street Journal

Myanmar troops retreat as rebels declare control over key border town Channel News Asia

Vietnam Tycoon Lan Sentenced to Death Over $12 Billion Fraud Bloomberg. Vietnam doesn’t [family blog] around!

The Koreas

Yoon Suk Yeol: Was South Korea’s president thwarted by a spring onion? BBC


Biden Administration Fears Iran Might Target U.S. Forces Over Israel Strike The Intercept

Biden vows ‘ironclad’ support for Israel amid Iran attack fears BBC

Nuclear deal in tatters, Iran edges close to weapons capability WaPo

* * *

Dozens of Christians arrested after shutting down Senate lunch in protest of Gaza famine Religion News Service

The Exchange Rate On Palestinian Life The Defector

* * *

Has Hamas Won? Haaretz. Commentary:

Economic Bleeding: The Hidden Cost of Israel’s Military Strategy Elijah J. Magnier

Samsung Next shutting down Israel operations Ctech

* * *

How the Paraglider Left Hurts Palestine Compass

The Destruction of Palestine Is the Destruction of the Earth Andreas Malm, Verso

European Disunion

Greek Solution: Greece’s far right gathers steam before EU elections France24

Dear Old Blighty

The Guardian agrees: Labour’s tax problems can’t be solved by a cosy coterie of old insiders Funding the Future

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia-Ukraine war: ‘They aren’t ready to die’ – the smuggler charging thousands to escape army conscription Sky News

Outcry in Ukraine after Kyiv scraps demobilisation plan for long-serving soldiers Guardian

* * *

US and Russia need to reestablish Cold War playbook to avert nuclear escalation, senior general says Stars and Stripes

Ukrainian official ups urgency for more weapons: ‘Nice and quiet diplomacy didn’t work’ The Hill

No news is good news… Gilbert Doctorow

* * *

Is the Kremlin Overconfident About Russia’s Economic Stability? Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Russia accuses Ukrainian oil and gas company where Biden’s son used to work of funding terrorist attacks Ukrainska Pravda. Commentary:

Global Elections

Bollywood makes a song and dance for Modi ahead of Indian elections France24

Biden Administration

Surveillance bill implodes amid GOP infighting in latest blow to Johnson Politico. And all because those pesky right wing knuckledraggers think the spooks need warrants to search your electronic communications (“the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”).

Biden administration sets first-ever limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water AP. Now do indoor air.

How Biden’s New Clean Air Rules Helps UAW Drive at VW Payday Report


Do We Really Want a Food Cartel? The Atlantic

Is Techno-Monopoly Inevitable? Project Syndicate


Economic Democracy with Pavlina Tcherneva (transcript) MR Online

Digital Watch

Inside the ‘Com World War’: Robberies, Brickings, and ‘Drama’ 404 Media


Biden Is ‘Considering’ Dropping Assange Case Consortium News

Sports Desk

Track and field becomes first sport to pay prize money at Olympics Al Jazeera

Zeitgeist Watch

The Dumbphone Boom Is Real The New Yorker

Supply Chain

Industrial metal prices jump as investors bet on rising China demand FT

Former YDC Worker Feared ‘Rape or Worse’ for Complaining About Kids’ Abuse New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism

Imperial Collapse Watch

Where Is America’s ‘Rules-Based Order’ Now? Spencer Ackerman, NYT

The Plight of DEI Leaders — Heavy Expectations and Limited Protection NEJM. Why should I “listen to Black women” in health care who are not advancing single payer? Commentary:

Class Warfare

Finland Rattled by Political Strikes Against the Conservative Governments’ Anti-Union Agenda On Labor

Older Floridians are going back to work as life gets less affordable Orlando Sentinel

US workers increasingly more detached from their employers: Gallup The Hill

Aging adults stay home more, socialize less than pre-pandemic (press release) University of Colorado

Chasing the dark Lyz Lenz, Men Yell at Me

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 Kicks  by Paul Revere and the Raiders)

    Biden thinks that Wall Street profits
    Is the measure of what he does right
    While our bridges fall down
    And prices soar out of sight
    He keeps playing on the losing side
    Diplomacy is never tried
    He ships bombs to Gaza
    Committing genocide

    He can read his
    Scripts but there’s no presence of mind
    He reads his
    Scripts but we know he’s flying blind
    And when he tries to cogitate well his words don’t relate
    Where’s the leadership? . . . before the whole world?

    When a President’s in failing health
    You use Amendment Twenty Five
    That’s our one safety net
    This man’s not gonna revive
    Biden thinks we’re still in World War Two
    But that world is no longer true
    Biden’s rules-based-order
    Is gonna take a dive

    He can read his
    Scripts but there’s no presence of mind
    He reads his
    Scripts but we know he’s flying blind
    And when he tries to cogitate well his words don’t relate
    Who writes all his scripts?
    Who says that war’s the only way?
    Our wars go nowhere
    They’re waged so very rich folks can get paid

    He reads his
    Scripts but there’s no presence of mind
    He reads his
    Scripts but we know he’s flying blind
    And when he tries to cogitate well his words don’t relate

    He can read his
    Scripts but there’s no presence of mind
    He reads his
    Scripts but we know he’s flying blind
    And when he tries to cogitate well his words don’t relate

  2. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Biden Is ‘Considering’ Dropping Assange Case” article at-

    And no, he is not considering it. That was a throwaway line that he threw at a reporter to fob him off. The first time the reporter asked that question, he pretended he did not hear it and all the while he never actually directly addressed that reporter but was talking while doing that weird Roomba walk of his.

    1. t

      Hey! Randomly saying stuff worked so well for Trump and seems to be paying off for others (so long as they have a famous name.) Why not let a cat on a Roomba join the fun? If people aren’t going to look at track records – and apparently they’re willing not to – why not just run your mouth like Sarah Palin?

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Is it still a lie if you won’t remember saying it ten minutes after you said it?

    3. Feral Finster

      TL:DR I’ll believe it when I see it.

      Trump also made some reassuring noises about Assange. As we all know, they came to nothing.

    4. Christopher Smith

      Don’t “consider” it; do it and run on it. At this point, the Dems have more than maxed out their political credit cards. Either do it and run on it, or sit down and shut up.

      1. CarlH

        How could he run on it? You can’t run on “Hey! Look everyone, I stopped persecuting a journalist!” At least I don’t think you can.

  3. timbers

    Russia accuses Ukrainian oil and gas company where Biden’s son used to work of funding terrorist attacks Ukrainska Pravda.

    Brian Berletic did a recent video on why we can assume with confidence that the USA is behind the terror attack on Crocus City Hall civilians. He does not claim smoking gun evidence but broad historical working relationship, but I agree with him. As soon upon hearing reports the US said “ISIS did it” I thought “So the US is admitting it did it” because it’s long been known among non MSM brainwashed the US and West fund support and protect ISIS for it’s various regime change, mercenary, and terrorist actions. As Garland Nixon noted, it’s not a coincidence the only place ISIS is still a thing in Syria are in the areas US troops occupy.

    The Russians figured this out in Syria years ago if not sooner, and entered militarily to help Assad while Obama was bombing Syria to rubble on his dishonest pretext of “fighting ISIS”. The Russians have been restrained in calling a spade a spade by not directly accusing USA of being the source of the attack on Crocus.

    Nuland’s last words while still in Ukraine sure look prophetic when reading them now. She knew about this.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You do have to wonder if there are lines of communications going from Burisma right up to Biden himself, perhaps through Hunter. Burisma is a link from the Moscow terrorist attack to the Ukraine but the fact that it was Burisma links it then to the Biden White House. Jake Sullivan dismissed any links saying-

      ‘It’s nonsense. Russia knows it was ISIS who committed the attack in Moscow, we know it was ISIS who committed the attack in Moscow, we warned Russia of an impending terrorist attack in Moscow, and all of the rest of this is noise.’

      Still sticking to the story that they launched one hour after the attack itself.

      1. timbers

        I mentioned to a co-worker who brought up ISIS a few months ago when Iraq/Iran supported whatever bombed the US base Tower 22 “in Jordan”. He is originally from the UK. I corrected that the base was in Syria not Jordan and that US troops illegally occupy Syria and steal Syria’s oil, and also support ISIS as a tool to commit terrorism and regime change. He was in shock disbelief. He later ask me to look up the US associated with “Tower 22” in Jordan. The reports on MSM constantly call the attack on a US base “in Jordan”. So I looked it up, and noted that Tower 22 is a part of the US base in Jordan, but is located across the border in Syria. He went silent and walked away as I re-iterated he would be better off not watching MSM ever as a source of news because it is brainwashing him.

        Similar experience w/him regarding Taiwan. He as in disbelief regarding Taiwan being part of China. Gave him a quick education on Nixon one China policy, United Nation, and State Dept website. Told him he believes Taiwan is separate because the MSM wants him to believe this so it will be easier to convince him and others that if conflict breaks out, it will be an easier sell to get the US involved and make China the bad guy. Told him his view of Taiwan is a perfect example of MSM propaganda and brainwashing.

        While watching some of the MSM ask question of WH staff, I noticed they all referred to that bombing in Syria as “in Jordan” proving that they selves believe their own propaganda.

        A small, but telling point of how deeply brainwashed American and The West are.

        1. John

          In 1949 Chiang Kai-Shek (Jiang Jieshi) and roughly two million soldiers and civilians decamped to Taiwan because Mao was winning the civil war. Chiang continued to call himself the president of the Republic of China. Would he have removed himself outside the boundaries of the nation of which he was president? I think not. Were he to have considered Taiwan a separate nation, his would have been a government in exile. Chiang’s Republic of China government represented China in the UN and held its seat on the Security Council until 1979(?). Would a different, separate, and independent nation be at all likely to hold the seat in the UN of yet another, in this case China? Again, I think not. Taiwan has been de facto an independent entity since 1949. . The Qing incorporated Taiwan into their empire in 1683. seems to me that made Taiwan a part of China. Japan seems to have thought so when it took Taiwan from the Qing in 1895. Taiwan was returned to China in 1945 at the end of World war II. At no point in the 341 years since the Qing conquest has Taiwan been considered independent. In its saner moments even the US government acknowledges, however ambiguously, that there is only one China not two.

          Yes, Taiwan has been a de facto all but independent state for the last 75 years, but it has never declared itself to be independent nor will it. You do not have to like the prospect of the eventual enfolding of Taiwan into the PRC. That does not change the history nor speak to a different present.

          The US is using Taiwan as it has been using Ukraine. Look around and tell me the fate of those who receive the tender mercies of the US. Ukraine happens to be bleeding more than most, but add Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Syria to the list of useful minions to be discarded at will. Taiwan is just one more. Now some idiot has put US marines on Kinmen island just outside the harbor of Xiamen. Practically spitting distance from the mainland. And another leg of this “strategy” sends the treasury secretary to China to deliver lectures and the president rouses himself occasionally to call Mr. Xi a dictator before calling him to make nice. Please point me to the kernel of coherence in these actions, among many others as equally both provocative and stupid.

          1. Kouros

            One cannot have coherence when one sings from both sides of the mouth at the same time two diferent melodies that are not in harmony.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        Sullivan’s statement begs the question: what is ISIS? That group and its origin has never been defined by officialdom–I suggest that ISIS is most definitely not what it appears to be.

        1. Oh

          I knew right away that ISIS is a US invention and ally when I saw pics of all the brand spanking new Toyota trucks that were part of their fleet!

      3. Feral Finster

        Is it not rich that the CIA and State know for a fact that ISIS-K was solely responsible for the Crocus attack, not Ukraine, no sirree and certainly not us either, but they can’t ever be sure who killed the World Kitchen aid workers or who bombed the Iranian consulate?

        1. Acacia

 did eventually acknowledge that it was Israel wot leveled the Iranian consulate, but there are many other examples that support your point.

            1. Acacia

              Not sure if I’m parsing your question right, but:

              UN Security Council should have condemned Iran embassy attack in Syria – Iran’s UN mission

              Notice that Reuters says: “a suspected Israeli strike on Monday on Iran’s consulate, adjacent to the main Iranian embassy building”

              But Pentagon Press Secy. Sabrina Singh was more forthright:

              “Q: The U.S. did not conduct a strike in Damascus?

              MS. SINGH: The U.S. did not conduct a strike in Damascus. I would refer you to the Israelis to speak to their strike.


              Wikipedia also attributes the strike to Israel:


              1. Kouros

                I was just tongue in cheeck. At first, Israelis were musing that in fact it wasn’t a consular building so nothing to see there.

    2. Feral Finster

      Of course the US orchestrated this, presumably with MI6 participation.

      What does Russia propose to do about it?

      1. edgui

        Alex Christoforou suggests that the speed and determination with which Russia is trying to unravel those responsible for the attack in Crocus would, in principle, seek to further undermine the US discourse of its fight against terrorism, as well as the underlying interventionism it has brought with it. On the other hand, Russia could accuse Ukraine of protecting and fomenting terrorism, which would put it at an even greater disadvantage with regard to the legitimacy of defending its interests in the war against Russia.

        1. Feral Finster

          It is no secret that the United States sponsors terrorism. Good luck getting any of its various puppets, vassals, etc. to acknowledge this basic fact.

          1. Kouros

            It is not expected of US to do that right now. However, the time might, ust might right some wrongs done by the US. Each year, the economic might of the Chinese combine is distancing more and more from the US and the West.

            Russia is doing its part as well, while fighting a war. When the might of BRICS will be 2 or 3 times that of US and Co, which might happen in maybe 25 years, and many of the present actors will still be alive, we might see some action on this front that you keeps asking for. Intentions and capabilities will align for some and disalign for others…

      2. edgui

        Alex Christoforou suggests that the speed and determination with which Russia is trying to unravel those responsible for the attack in Crocus would, in principle, seek to further undermine the US discourse of its fight against terrorism, as well as the underlying interventionism it has brought with it. On the other hand, Russia could accuse Ukraine of protecting and fomenting terrorism, which would put it at an even greater disadvantage with regard to the legitimacy of defending its interests in the war against Russia.

      3. ДжММ

        I believe they were quite clear about what Russia intends to do. Find and punish the ones responsible and the ones behind them all the way to the ones who ordered the thing to be organized.
        Whether that means arrest and imprisonment, a handful of bullets outside their home in spain, or an icepick to the head in a north american cafe is probably somewhat a matter of practicality. But the specifics don’t really matter all that much

  4. Es s Ce Tera

    re: Biden Is ‘Considering’ Dropping Assange Case Consortium News

    This may be good news for Assange but it’s bad news for truth.

    I’ve always said Assange should voluntarily head to the US, face trial, as it would be the trial of the century and the US government would come out looking reallyreally bad. The USGOV is now realizing this.

    1. Christopher Smith

      I doubt it. The court they are in will prevent him from raising any defenses or issues that will make the US gov. look bad. It will be show trial that would make a Soviet kangaroo court blush.

      1. Cassandra

        The whole vendetta against Assange by the US government is because he published materials that made them look bad. He has been languishing in the British gulag in the hope that he will die quietly and people will have forgotten about inconvenient things like collateral murder, DNC corruption, and most especially internal surveillance and bogus origin data. He (and the whistleblowers who supplied the data) must be an example to discourage anyone considering making the government look bad.

          1. Alice X

            Vault 7 per wiki:

            Vault 7 is a series of documents that WikiLeaks began to publish on 7 March 2017, detailing the activities and capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare. The files, dating from 2013 to 2016, include details on the agency’s software capabilities, such as the ability to compromise cars, smart TVs,[1] web browsers including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera,[2][3] the operating systems of most smartphones including Apple’s iOS, and Google’s Android, and computer operating systems including Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux.[4][5] A CIA internal audit identified 91 malware tools out of more than 500 tools in use in 2016 being compromised by the release.[6] The tools were developed by the Operations Support Branch of the C.I.A.[7]

            The Vault 7 release led the CIA to redefine WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”[8] In July 2022, former CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte was convicted of leaking the documents to WikiLeaks,[9] and in February 2024 sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment, on espionage counts and separately to 80 months for child pornography counts.[10]

            …there’s more. There are other and likely better sources.

            So yeah, it made the CIA look plenty bad, as if that were a new thing.

            1. Vandemonian

              Belated apologies Alice X and Hickory – faulty memory. It was the naming of names and “putting lives at risk” that was done by The Guardian and not Julian.

        1. Vandemonian

          No, Cassandra, Julian didn’t publish materials that made the US look bad. He had those details stored in a secure, password-protected archive (Vault 7, as Alice points out), which he shared with The Guardian. A couple of Guardian numpties then published a book which included the password.

          1. Hickory

            He actually did publish materials that made the us leadership look bad – see collateral damage. The publication that sent the cia into apoplexy was vault 7.

        2. Feral Finster

          Exactly. This is why Assange’s deportation is delayed endlessly, in hopes that he will up and die before there is a trail, too bad, so sad. This also keeps up the “due process” farce.

          If the US wanted Assange now, some flunky from State would snap his fingers and H.M. Government would snap to attention and make sure it happened.

  5. communistmole

    As expected, a useless PR event with the opportunity for a few backroom deals. The Swiss media are already full of publicity for the venue, a popular tourist destination. To find out that Russia is not taking part, you have to consult the German media:

    “Switzerland is organizing a peace summit to end the war in Ukraine. However, Russia has stated that it will not be taking part. Moscow has not received an invitation to the conference, the Russian embassy in Bern announced on Wednesday. “But even if an invitation for such an event were to be received, the Russian side would not accept it”, the statement continued. Without Russian participation, the meeting on Mount Bürgenstock would degenerate into another round of fruitless consultations. The summit is scheduled for June 15 and 16.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that you are right calling it a useless PR event. The basis of that conference is Zelensky’s 10 point peace plan which is a no starter. When that conference is over, they will call on Russia to accept it as it is an “internationally agreed” document. If it was, it would have gone through the United Nations instead. And if Russia refuses, they will say to the rest of the world that it shows that Russia is not serious about peace so a PR victory is what they are hoping for. It’s all about the narratives and the optics.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I just saw an article saying that Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis opined that a Ukrainian peace will be impossible without the participation of Russia in that conference. A bit of reality breaking through I thought until I read this-

        ‘The diplomat acknowledged that Moscow would have to be involved “sooner or later, but not necessarily from day one,” suggesting that the first conference may focus on “exactly how to invite Russia and what role to give it”.’

        So probably they will let Zelensky set the conditions on Russia participating or else he will walk out which will be a bad look for that conference-

        1. Benny Profane

          It’s like the shape of the table negotiations preparing for the “peace” talks in Vietnam.

          1. John

            I strongly recommend reading Aurelien’s The Wages of Fear essay posted yesterday as a precondition to considering the Swiss “Peace Conference” offer and all other such.

    2. Feral Finster

      Nobody expects an actual peace deal. That is not the point. The point is to show that the West will only continue to double down.

      For that matter, if Russia were to accept Zelenskii’s peace formula today without reservations, the West would only demand more, more, more.

    3. Aurelien

      We’re at the stage now where western states are primarily interested in positioning themselves with respect to each other. We’re going to see quite lot of this manoeuvring over the next few months, depending on where the state concerned wants to be when the music stops. This is the Swiss serving notice that they wanted to be one of those states that will go down as having “tried” to find a peace settlement, as opposed to the bitter-enders. Of course it won’t work, but that’s not the point. It also enables western powers as a whole to continue to claim that the Russians “won’t negotiate.”

      PS: since someone was kind enough to mention my recent essay, the link is:

  6. zagonostra

    How Climate Change Will Affect Conflict and U.S. Military Operations RAND

    The computer forecasts identified…conflict in the years to come. That could mean violent state repression, armed insurgencies, intergroup warfare…The models suggest Iran could see more conflict and unrest…

    But looking at the results, the researchers were bothered by the same doubt that comes with any future climate model. They had projected the risk of conflict based on its historical relationship to climate stress

    This reminds me of yesterday’s headline/link European court rules human rights violated by climate inaction BBC. I daresay that I detect a pattern of predictive programming. Or is it my imagination?

    Why look at the historical and economic underlying causes of why the Middle East is in such a mess. Why read up on the Sykes–Picot Agreement, the British and Western partitioning of the dead Ottoman Empire and the arbitrary drawing of maps and sphere’s of influence after WWI, why look at the role of oil and the strategic geographical importance of the area. No, it’s the climate stupid.

  7. Christopher Smith

    Re: the ship container with a pop-up missile launcher

    In John Michael Greer’s novel “Twilight’s Last Gleaming,” the Chinese used devices like that to take down a US carrier. Not a new idea; I wonder if the Grumman employee who through of it read the novel …

    1. lambert strether

      And if you click the link at “Unless they’ve already had them” you will find a link to Greer….

      1. Christopher Smith

        Heh, did not see that link the first time. I still wonder if some Grumman employee was under the gun to come up with a new boondoggle, i mean idea, and figured no else at the office had read the book so why not?

    2. The Rev Kev

      In Greer’s novel, those container were all at a cargo dock so were quickly deployable whereas at sea it would be much more awkward. And as soon as the last cruise missile was launched, they all vamoosed before there was a US counter-strike. But a launch from a ship might be a suicide mission as there is nowhere to hide.

    3. Polar Socialist

      Greer, on the other hand, published first version in 2012, while Rosoboronexport published their Club-K container based anti-ship missile system in MAXS-2011 in 2011.

      China has been rumored to have Club-K version since 2016, and CASIC showed an indigenous system at Airshow China in November last year.

      Israel, I believe, demonstrated a launch in 2019.

      Iran demonstrated it’s version in last January.

      So, yeah. Not a novel idea.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Gee, what happened to the Big Fear of all them terrists and Evil Axis types sneaking crude Nukular Weppins into our shining city on a hill? ‘‘Twas the plot of several novels and movies I recall?

        And think of all the trillions of dollars/rubles/yuan/francs/pounds/rupees that would be saved if us naked apes just pre-positioned nukes in containers in all the major and minor target areas. No need for complex”m “delivery systems” of questionable reliability, when Maersk and FedEx will do it for a relative pittance.

    4. Samuel Conner

      Me thinks the reason that Twitter poster is so happy is that it has taken US only a decade-and-a-half to match RF “Club-K” system.

    5. .human

      As a kid I had an “O” gage train set with a boxcar whose roof opened and ejected a helicopter when the electromagnet in the track was activated.

      So, certainly not novel.

  8. JohnA

    Thank you for the link to Verso and the Andreas Malm piece. Absolutely fascinating how far back the tentacles of perfidious Albion stretch in the middle east. Very much a must read.

  9. zagonostra

    >The Dumbphone Boom Is Real -The New Yorker

    It’s not the “dumbphone boom” that is of interest it’s the “dumbpeople boom” that concerns me.

    I was a hold-out from giving up my flip phone when family and friends had long given them up. I reluctantly switched when I realized that I could not see street signs late at night when driving to new places and the phone guided me in with her calming voice. It was then that I made the leap, probably never to go voluntarily back.

    Today as I walk I’m streaming audiobooks, listening to podcast, reading NC, researching terms, historical events, articles, checking emails, banking, etc… Have I become “dumbed down?” Of course, you have to carve out time to empty/quit your mind from input and stimuli, you have to let your cranial harddrive defragment itself.

    In an different era, I would have been immersed in the text, as Ivan Illich describes In the Vineyard of the Text: A Commentary to Hugh’s Didascalicon and the way I experience “information” would have been completely different. If I lived in bygone era where the “Art of Memory,” as Francis Yates describes in her book of same title, the function of my memory would have been keener, sharper, and essential in ways it is not today. But, I live in the 1st Qtr of the 21st Century, not getting “dumbed down” by technology is my own responsibility and I try to take it seriously.

    1. Yves Smith

      I saw someone yesterday with a Nokia brick and I was SO JEALOUS.

      If you don’t have a car here, you need to use a ride share service (gah!) which = smartphone. I at least tip well to make up for the bad karma of having to go that route.

      I am at my computer all day. When I leave it I do not want the Internet following me around. I hate typing on a phone it is deeply annoying and time-wasting. I can barely type on a laptop using an external keyboard as it is. I get far too many e-mails to deal with them on my phone even if I wanted to. That’s before getting to all the phone snooping and the spyware in apps. I do what I can to reduce my attack surface.

      So while I am glad you aren’t unhappy with the change, please do not generalize from your case.

      1. zagonostra

        If I implied I was happy with it, then I gave the wrong impression. I am an anchorite by nature. I would have been happy to have been under the tutelage of Hugh of Saint Victor, copying a manuscript on vellum. My point is it’s not the technology that is at the root of the problem (dumbing down) but how people use it, for the most part.

      2. Kevin Walsh

        The major issue with old dumb phones is that sometimes you don’t get automated texts from people you would like to get automated texts from. I’ve had trouble with online banking, and reminder texts for doctor’s appointments in the past.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          OMG! – the thought of online banking with a phone runs ice through my veins – need texts for biz but phone off at night and in another room –

      3. Jabura Basaidai

        i’m with you on this Yves – i only turn on data to use map feature when traveling otherwise always off – i get flak and called a dinosaur for not using it for email and all the other things zag mentions, but for me the screen is too small, even responding at length to texts is annoying, and watching so many with heads down looking at a small screen is disheartening – my Samsung is 10yrs old and my daughter has offered me one of her old iPhones that is way newer than my Samsung but why change when it works for what i need it for, phone, texts and pics/vids -actually liked the old days of beepers and a bag full of quarters and knew nobody was listening in on your calls – but that was the business i was in at the time –

      4. ilpalazzo

        I only bought a “smart” phone last September, before that it was old Nokias all the way. I had to make the switch because the 3G infrastructure is being gradually switched off this year around my place (even though I had my nokias in 2G mode to conserve the battery) and I was curious how does it work for other people. After half a year with the iphone I find I don’t use it all that much because I spend half my work day at a PC anyway. Maps do come in handy sometimes when I get lost biking on the forest trails.

        1. scott s.

          Had verizon as a carrier from the old dual analog/digital days. They were bugging me to replace my 3G flip phone and I figured I would wait till it went dark, then one day a new 4g flip phone showed up in the mail.

          It seems to be running some form of stripped-down android. I don’t have any data on my plan. There is an on-screen button “internet” have never clicked it to see what happens.

          Hate using it for 2-factor authentication.

      5. Acacia

        I wonder if a burner phone could be an alternative.

        You can buy one at a big shop like Walmart. No contract. No ID.

        They need to have credit added, but there are various ways to do that, possibly not involving a CC.

        It’s also possible to buy a SIM, and then add credit with prepaid cards.

        That way, you get a smart phone for maps and ride-sharing apps, but it’s basically anonymous.

        If you connect to gmail or any Google apps, though, they will be tracking you everywhere.

    2. Carolinian

      I’m with you. And my smartphone has screen buttons to turn off the wifi and the cell data and presto chango it becomes a dumb phone.

      The first smartphone I bought was for the gps and use in hiking with no phone service at all. Back then my phone had a wire and I was perfectly happy with that. I still don’t carry a phone around with me.

      But I agree that they have become remarkably useful devices and have killed off the budget digital camera segment among other things.

    3. Mikel

      Dumbphones were the battery can be removed is a must have. Even it’s in addition to the newer phones.

      The best ad they could start running:

      “Because sometimes it’s nobody’s business what you did between point A and point B.”

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        another reason i keep my old Samsung 5 is the ability to do just that – old habits die hard –

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that for security, that you actually have to remove the SIM card as it can still blab, even when the mobile is turned off.

            1. Paleobotanist

              does storing your cell phone in a metal cookie tin work as a faraday cage? Any EEs here can answer this question?

              cookie tins convenient and free

              1. yep

                You don’t need EE in order to put your cell phone in a cookie tin (or anywhere else) and ask your family member to call you. ;)

              2. Acacia

                Not an EE, but you might find that a cookie tin will cause the battery to run down.

                Cell phones automatically adjust the power of their transmitter depending upon signal strength, i.e., weaker signal from the nearest cell tower = higher transmission power, which will drain the battery faster.

                Could be best to power off the phone before trying this.

                More on cookie tins here:


              3. Hickory

                You cam set up your own experiment to find out. Put your phone in the tjn and try to call it. Other experiments may take more creativity.

      2. JustTheFacts

        I wish all devices were required to have removable batteries. Throwing something away, or having to remove everything on it so that it can be “serviced” by some unknown person, just because the battery ran out really is a step backwards. If a phone can eject a SIM card, it can eject a battery.

        1. neutrino23

          The new trend is to have an electronic SIM card so there is nothing to eject.

          I really like my iPhone. I use it as a phone occasionally. I get weather reports, maps, news updates, stock updates, exercise tracking, access to some of my stored documents, photographs, videos, voice recording, music and more. I recently got a telescope for the iPhone ( Hestia) and took pictures of the eclipse, loads of fun. When I’m puzzling about something I can quickly look up physical constants, mineral compositions and anything else I can search for.

          1. skm

            i`m still hoping nothing will finally force me to get a smart phone, but am getting ever more nervous about being eventually forced to. I was a relatively early adopter of a PC as it was from the start and has been up til now an obvious godsend ( accessing research papers at a click, access to all sorts of conferences, lectures debates etc NC of course and on and on). I was horrified when smart phones were launched, their invasiveness especially, but then the inexplicable way everyone rushed to submit to this obvious tool of corporate social and mind control. The comment above about technology and that it`s all down to how you use it seems a bit naive given the extreme addictive nature of smart phones. Then watching the effect on everyone around me of these monsters! Then what they have done to human beings in company or also to our ability to be alone, to be alone without one of these corporate tools………
            What is wrong with a dumb phone to use for what phones used to be used for and a PC that allows you to do all the rest – ie everything a smart phone offers but that is kept in its place, one place, at home or at work? I understand that smart phones have now changed our lives so much that for some people they have become essential willy nilly, but there must still be many people that don`t truly need them in their lives and work situations.
            I just simply feared having my very special personal relationship to the world around me so radically changed and mostly in negative ways and mostly by huge corporations…… my instinct was right, at least for me, I feel a freedom as a result that I treasure.
            How long will i be able to keep this up I don`t know. By the way I bought several flip top £30 models – (D`oro)when I realised they might just stop being available and they are all still working. By the way, I don`t understand the complicated obstacle course described in the article as I believe these same models are still available, easy to find and simple to use….

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Leigh Phillips and the Paraglider Left. Compact. Oh, well, it is a step above Benjamin Studebaker’s caterwaulings of yesterday.

    First, “paraglider left.” A new term of abuse? And I’m still trying to figure out “terf”!

    The last paragraph is worth your while: Yes, we must support regular Israelis and Palestinians in their efforts to get out from under the sclerotic West Bank government, repressive Hamas, and the monotheism-addled religious-peeps dominating the Knesset. I will accept Phillips’s advocacy of the two-state solution. (Poor Studebaker attempted to call removal of the illegal settlers from the West Bank “ethnic cleansing”–quite the moral stretch.)

    Yet Phillips’s litmus test is ritual condemnation of Hamas. The facts of 7 October are in serious dispute, as links here at Naked Capitalism have shown. There is a strong case that most of the dead were slaughtered by the IDF. There is less and less evidence that the alleged rapes happened–and only circumstantial evidence, as the UN report admitted. The babies-in-oven propaganda was dismantled long ago.

    So Phillips should try to contain the McCarthyist tendency. Certainly, I am not defending people foaming at the mouth at Oakland city council meetings. I recall many such instances. Oakland seems to be chock-a-block with delusions. And the lurch into anti-semitism, as Phillips reports, shows how often these days abuse is somehow considered a valid opinion. But the vast majority of critics of the Israeli government are not anti-semites.

    Oakland is not the left. Nor are ritual denunciations required–of Hamas, of Putin the man-spreader, of the “unprovoked” attack on Ukraine by the evil Russkies.

    What is to be done?: Serious negotiations. Maybe there is a glimmer of possibility of a two-state solution. In the case of Russia and Ukraine, what is needed is a security conference like Helsinki. Who knows? Maybe a second Arab-Israeli-Iranian security conference is possible.

    But more litmus tests? More ritual denunciations? No.

    1. pjay

      Yes. Just as requiring ritual denunciation of Putin’s “unprovoked” invasion obscures years and decades of provocation, so, too, does the same requirement for Hamas obscure the years and decades of provocation leading up to Oct. 7. In other words, it serves ideology by undermining our understanding of relevant history. Of course accepting Israeli atrocity propaganda serves the same end.

      “Hamasniks” as described by Phillips do exist, as do actual anti-Semites. But they are a tiny segment of the masses who are appalled at Israel’s continued genocide. Hand-wringing about them serves no purpose other than to highlight the straw-men of the enablers.

    2. Feral Finster

      “Totebag liberal” and “NPR Totebag Liberal” are two of my favorite terms of abuse.

      1. LifelongLib

        “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Populist”, “Liberal”, “Capitalist”, “PMC”, “Anti-semite”, “Zionist” are all terms of abuse, equating to “person who must be evil because he disagrees with me”. None of them are of much help anymore in describing what people actually think.

      2. pjay

        One difference, however, is that “tote-bag liberals” may actually hold positions of power and influence. Those Phillips calls the “paraglider left” do not, at least if I understand his definition. It may not be fair to call Phillips a “tote-bag liberal,” but “paraglider left” sure sounds like a term a “tote-bag liberal” would use when providing a “humanitarian” cover for the straw-men of the War Machine.

    3. Albe Vado

      In case anyone needs clarification, ‘TERF’ is Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, which is a kind of bad faith strawman that seeks to present anyone who doesn’t blindly accept that you can change your sex as fringe radicals. A TERF is usually portrayed as a butch political lesbian with tattoos and short blue hair, which I’m pretty sure is a deliberately inflammatory right-wing stereotype that’s been embraced by woke liberals, but I’m too lazy to try and examine the implications of that.

      As for Israel, I’m usually not one to make arguments about the supposed progress of history leaving something behind, the arc of history bending toward justice, or similar Whiggish statements. But on this issue specifically I really can’t reach any other conclusion than that Hasbara is over, it just doesn’t know it yet. The more no one buys into it anymore the more its propagandists scream. The more they call everyone an anti-semite and claim there’s some vast ‘problematic’ pro-Hamas wing, the more they discredit themselves.

      Israel is openly committing ethnic cleansing, with a clear end goal of outright genocide if that’s what they feel is required to achieve their goal of control of Gaza and its beachfront property. What are we at now, at least 14,000 dead kids? Normal people don’t like that. No amount of browbeating propaganda is going to change that. Israel can’t gaslight the visceral revulsion away, not this time.

      Time magazine had a recent issue where the cover story was a dozen pages about the ‘new antisemitism’, which opens by referencing the ADL and conflating anti-zionism with hatred of Jews, spends a bunch of text lamenting how Zionists feel ‘threatened’ by criticism, before admitting that maybe the whole mass murder of Gazans thing might be a factor, but you really have to understand the broader context and that poor Israel is being forced to fight tunnels under hospitals. For the other side, the entire issue had exactly one captioned picture acknowledging widespread starvation in Gaza. Fair and balanced reporting, I’d say.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    Executive summary: The dirtiest word in the Anglosphere these days is “negotiate.” And Phillips takes much too long, with too many right-thinking asides, to get to that dirty word.

  12. Mark Gisleson

    Can’t help but notice that despite giving his support to a number of bills, Speaker Johnson never seems to get anything done. Almost as if he never planned to get anything done.

    Reminds me somewhat of rope-a-dope.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Isn’t that the plan, gridlock and nothing getting done in Congress while the renters keep winning?

    2. Big River Bandido

      Considering that the only things recent Congresses enact are wet kisses to their donors…I’m fine with Congress passing nothing.

  13. Captain Obvious

    How Climate Change Will Affect Conflict and U.S. Military Operations RAND

    The climate have surely changed last few years, but not in the meteorological sense. It got so hot for French troops in Niger, that they had to evacuate completely. Now US sodiers stationed there, that almost no one knew about, are feeling the heat, and might just have to relocate to a place with colder climate.

  14. zagonostra

    >Has Hamas Won? Haaretz. Commentary:

    …Hamas has inter alia exposed the fragility of European support for Israel whatever the immediate reaction to the horror of October 7, in part because of the need to take account of the sensitivities of the large Muslim minorities in many European countries, but also because of a more general and increasingly widespread perception of Israel primarily as an occupying power denying Palestinians their rights,

    Sure, we see the “fragility of support” with Germans sending unlimited arms, the U.S. providing satellite targeting data, and the deafening quiescence of the political class/elites. If that “fragility” exists, its with the people who are disconnected from their “representatives.”

    Of course it’s only the “widespread perception” that Israel is an “occupying power,” that doesn’t accord well with Haaretz publisher’s NewSpeak.

    Has Hamas Won? This is the line that Scott Ritter keeps hammering away at. If it has, it certainly comes at a high price and it is a sad, sorry, dreadful pyrrhic win.

    1. Feral Finster

      For a bunch of supposed namby-pamby sensitivity fascists, euroleaders sure seem eager to please Israel.

      I suppose in that view, Israel can never fail but can only be failed.

    2. John k

      Hamas certainly hasn’t won yet.
      Winning’, I suppose, would mean a valid Palestine state that includes the West Bank. And the day of the win would look feel like a disaster to both sides.
      But 30 years from now it would feel like a great victory to the survivors.

  15. pjay

    – ‘Surveillance bill implodes amid GOP infighting in latest blow to Johnson’ – Politico

    The Democrats and the MSM are acting as if the Republicans fighting this reauthorization were fighting the reauthorization of Social Security. And all of the sudden Johnson is some sort of reasonable statesman being victimized by the fascist right of his own party – which of course includes Trump. Naturally all rational citizens who reject baseless conspiracy theories understand the need for warrantless surveillance! How crazy and un-American are these right-wingers anyway?

    My first reaction was “unbelievable” – but I’m afraid this is all too believable these days.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      My default assumption is that the MSM are unleashing “2 minutes of hate” on Johnson because he has dared to deep-six more aid for Ukraine. This is an unforgivable sin.

      He must be demonized, and turned into an “un-person” for this, until the minute he folds at which time he’ll be lionized as a statesman on the same level as Abe Lincoln, Daniel Webster, and Bobby Kennedy … oh wait, we can’t have the last one because his son has turned out to be loco.

    2. Neutrino

      Congress exemption in the bill, shades of Congress and friends exempt from Obamacare. Those options are for suckers taxpayers.

      As if any Critter would vote against such preferential treatment, proof that Congress is a perverted game theory cluster****.

  16. yep

    Biden vows ‘ironclad’ support for Israel amid Iran attack fears BBC

    President Joe Biden has promised Israel “ironclad” US support, and by that he meant that modern warships in the area will be withdrawn. They have proven to be useless, and will be replaced with ironclad warships. USS Monitor full steam ahead.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Perhaps not USS Monitor, but the ships from the end of ironclad era might do. That 10 inches of “Krupp armor” probably could shrug off a modern anti-ship missile.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You think that they would be able to borrow it from the USS Monitor Center?

        Such subs can be useful. There is a small, very much inland town called Holbrook in country New South Wales in Oz. They have an Oberon Class submarine – the HMAS Otway – set up in park lands after it was retired from Naval service. One day they get a call from the Navy. One of the last Oberon class subs is broken and they no longer have a part for it to fix it. They asked Holbrook if they could go inside that sub and retrieve a part as a replacement to which the council told them to knock themselves out. Don’t laugh. I was reading not that long ago of two artillery pieces on display outside some museum on a US military base which were removed. Destination? The Ukraine of course.

      2. John

        Ironclad support for genocide. Ironclad support for war with Iran. Israel wants those inconvenient Palestinians gone. Israel wants a war with Iran. Let me rephrase, Israel wants the US to fight Israel’s war with Iran. Is it now or has it ever been in the interest of the US to support Israeli occupation of the lands taken in 1967? Is it now and has it ever been in the interest of the US to nurse its grudges against Iran? We with the UK ousted Mossadegh in 1953 and installed the Shah. We were big buddies with Iran as long as it did our bidding. The 1979 overthrow of “our man in Tehran”, the invasion of the US embassy and the hostage taking. Genuine beefs … over 40 years ago. But consider that we rehabilitated Germany within five years of the horrendous crimes of world war II. Conclusion: we are carrying Israel’s water vis a vis Iran. Overall, we are allowing an unruly client state to dictate US policy in the Middle East to the detriment of the US.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Here is how Bill Clinton described US-Russian relations in the 90s-

            ‘We haven’t played everything brilliantly with these people; we haven’t figured out how to say yes to them in a way that balances off how much and how often we want them to say yes to us. We keep telling Ol’ Boris [Yeltsin], “’OK, now here’s what you’ve got to do next – here’s some more s***t for your face.’”


            But I think that it now describes US-Israeli relations when Netanyahu can openly say to Biden for example ‘OK, now here’s what you’ve got to do next – here’s some more s***t for your face’ and gets away with it. Previous Presidents too.

            1. LifelongLib

              There are enough Israel-no-matter-what voters in the U.S. to swing a presidential election, giving them an influence far out of proportion to the actual strategic importance of Israel. Until that changes Israel will continue to “get away with it”.

              1. Chris Cosmos

                Once that was the case–much less so today. The main thing that keeps the US gov. Israel-first is money and influence. If you are familiar with how Washington foreign policy works you know this is true and it’s very visible. I’ve seen it in a variety of ways. Money is obvious, but within the National Security State and it’s factotums in the media(entertainment and news), think-tanks, and academia there are powerful and key players who are Israel-first and they are deeply and almost fanatically attached to Israel–not just as a Jewish state but as a representative of civilization within the heathen and backwards Islamic world. There is no corresponding contingent that is intensely patriotic to our country, i.e., to the people.

    2. ambrit

      The Battle of Haifa Roads?
      The USS Monitor versus the TSS (Two States Ship) al-Aqsa. Fought to a draw.

    3. JohnnySacks

      Attacking Iran would be a bridge too far, any Persian Gulf navy would be fish food within a half hour. And our navy knows it. Iran has modern weapons at their disposal, a far cry from Saddam’s Korean war vintage point and light Scuds.
      Our all to typical vindictive rage at the inevitable outcome of our actions would put us on the hook for the direct genocide this time. But on the bright side, Northrup/Grumman and Raytheon stockholders will score, sorry about all the corpses.

    1. Acacia

      Freak-out and heads exploding. Also…

      So the vassal state ranking would be: Japan, UK, Germany… Ukraine…

      Given the fortunes of the other vassals, methinks the one most likely to jump ship would now be Japan.

      Sato-san on the moon (and perhaps one of the fine NC lyricists can riff on Gil Scott-Heron’s tune ;) feels like the US offering the top vassal a carrot, which makes me wonder what the stick would be, post-Nordstream…

      On this subject… here’s a Russian musical interlude…

      I Like Japan!

      1. Acacia

        Oh and BTW… some highlights of Japanese PM Kishida’s visit to Washington DC…

        Prime Minister Kishida accidentally referred to China as Japan’s ally while speaking at the White House. (He immediately noticed his mistake and corrected it, stating that he meant to say America.)

        Japanese PM Kishida quotes Star Trek in his toast at White House state dinner

        Nico Nico shared this video of live reactions by users watching the Biden/Kishida press conference. A lot of the comments seemed surprised that President Biden was wearing sunglasses.

        A few examples:
        •”Those sunglasses are cool.”
        •”Take off your sunglasses!” (Some users think it’s rude or that he’s hiding something.)
        •”I wish Kishida had also worn sunglasses.”

        Meanwhile, back in the land of the rising sun, the latest poll conducted by Jiji Press shows that the public support rate of the Kishida Cabinet dropped another 1.4 points to reach a historic low of just 16.6%.

    2. yep

      The collective freak-out would be countered by Twitter making memes about Chinese being second on the Moon, and Musk promising to be first on Mars.

    3. Neutrino

      Biden con game, part gazillion, where you promise the moon and somehow forget the rest. Geopolitics practiced by that master of decades of accomplishments, burnishing that legacy. /s

    4. Feral Finster

      I would have figured it would have been a Brit, but I suppose nobody in DC worries about continued british loyalty.

      1. ДжММ

        What choice does Britain have? For Japan, they can easily turn to develop ties with China and/or Russia – either or both of whom would gladly welcome them.

        Britain isn’t even getting let back into Europe.

        1. SocalJimObjects

          Japan is one of America’s protectorates. The locals in Okinawa have protested against the presence of American bases in the prefecture for the longest time to no avail.

          1. Acacia

            This is true, though I would add that the real conflict is not so much between the Okinawans and the US military, but with the central government which welcomes the US military into Japan under the terms of ANPO.

            There has been a significant anti-base movement in Okinawa — indeed for the longest time, and we could even point to those seeking Ryukyu independence —, but it’s been difficult to gain ground when the Japanese central government backs up the US military, overrules the authority of the Governor of Okinawa, and brings in more police from Kyushu to suppress anti-base protests, or generally looks the other way over all the problems visited upon Okinawa by the US military, e.g., crimes against locals (rape, murder, etc.), the toxic footprint of the bases (e.g., Agent Orange, PFAS, etc.) environmental destruction (e.g., Henoko Bay), a series of aircraft accidents (e.g., Ospreys falling out of the sky, crashing into local communities, etc).

            So, while I would agree with ДжММ that Japan could re-align with China and/or Russia, in practice it might be very difficult to exit from ANPO (thus my comment about carrot vs. stick, above). I would fully expect some kind of Nordstream-type incident, in which US sponsored black ops conduct a very damaging operation against Japanese infrastructure.

            And we could say that it wouldn’t be the first time, either. In the late 1940s, during the US Occupation, there were a series of unexplained high-profile incidents of murder (e.g., the president of Japan National Railways), mass poisoning (the Teigin Incident), and railway sabotage with several major train accidents involving numerous injuries and deaths. Basically, there was a systematic campaign of terrorism orchestrated by people who never identified themselves and never made clear their aims. It was blamed on the political Left (sound familiar?), who were all eventually exonerated in court and the Japanese govt was forced to compensate many for wrongful imprisonment. The rogue Canon Agency under GHQ was implicated in some of these incidents but responsibility never definitively proven.

            This was the subject of Chalmers Johnson’s first major book Conspiracy at Matsukawa, though he notes in his study that the US would not give him full access to archives of the Occupation unless he signed an agreement that the US govt could have final say over his manuscript (of course he refused).

            In Japan, there is still interest in the mysterious murder of the JNR President Shimoyama, and even just a few weeks ago NHK had a two-part special historical investigation of this whole incident, entitled “未解決事件 File. 10 下山事件”.

            1. ДжММ

              I guess I wasn’t thinking of the difficulty the US could cause if they tried to leave, so much as the fact that, unlike Japan, who would take Britain??

              1. SocalJimObjects

                Uncle Sam would. Heck Donald Trump would love a King reporting to him, and the rest of the world would rejoice in the public humiliation of the royal family. Heck I would pay top dollar to see the whole thing made into television.

  17. Benny Profane

    From the Foreign Affairs anti China war rant: “Victory requires openly admitting that a totalitarian regime that commits genocide, fuels conflict, and threatens war will never be a reliable partner.” Of course! Which is why China and most of the world is turning their backs on us.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      The article was written by people who are entirely ignorant of history but are steeped in comic book/gaming ideologies, i.e., this is a struggle between good guys and bad guys. That’s the extent of their view. They suggest our policy should towards China should be regime change–they also actually used the “China’s spy balloon” as one of the reason we should classify China as “bad guys” etc. If they had even a small smattering of knowledge of Chinese history and examination of its very old and deep culture they could not have come up with the pathetic inanities.

      One of the main reason why I oppose the Washington Empire is the idiocy and incompetence of policy-makers thinking that great empires were maintained by idiots like them. Looking deeper at the Roman Empire (which Washington is trying to emulate) you see the sophistication of Stoic philosophy that was at the base of the Roman ruling class–we have no such base. Imperialism for Washington will increasingly be a disaster.

      1. ambrit

        I’ve heard it said about someone; “He’s a good guy. When he’s bought, he stays bought.”

  18. The Rev Kev

    “US and Russia need to reestablish Cold War playbook to avert nuclear escalation, senior general says”

    Gen. Christopher Cavoli – NATO supreme allied commander and head of U.S. European Command – Is about twenty years too late. There is no trust anymore and things are far worse than they were in the dark days of the First Cold War. One thing that always happened was that all countries would share intelligence on terrorists as all countries were vulnerable to such attacks like France in 2015 in which terrorists killed 131 people. Or when Russia tried to give the FBI a heads up on the Boston Bombers and sent a whole file of info and contacts. Now? With the Moscow attack that all got thrown in the bin which is beyond stupid. If Russia hears of a planned terrorist attack on the Paris Olympics, will they give a heads-up? A month ago I would have said absolutely. Now? I am no longer so sure.

    In passing, Cavoli said ‘I think the first step is to describe ourselves openly as what we are — a defensive alliance’ in describing NATO. Who is he trying to kid? The Serbs? The Libyans? The Afghans? NATO is what it is. The military wing of the Collective West.

    1. Polar Socialist

      You’d think Cavoli would know that US took that playbook, wiped it’s [familyblog] in it, set it on fire and dropped it at Russia’s front door.

      I would like to also add that there is no defensive military alliances: they are always against some other party’s interest, usually at some cost to the members interest.

  19. Alice X

    ~Biden administration sets first-ever limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water AP.

    Six of the 1500 or so. Small steps on a long trip. But maybe that is a start.

  20. Tony Wikrent

    First Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton tossed aside the theory of comparative advantage way back in 1791. The times it was brought back into USA policy were followed by a second war with England, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, and today’s Second Gilded Age. 

    1. Wukchumni

      Specie was rather scarce in merry olde in the late 18th century, there was a 30 year gap in the minting of Shillings between 1787 and 1816.

      The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme in 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. Previous issues of silver coinage had been irregular, and the last issue, minted in 1787, was not intended for issue to the public, but as Christmas gifts to the Bank of England’s customers. New silver coinage was to be of .925 (sterling) standard, with silver coins to be minted at 66 shillings to the troy pound.

  21. Hymen

    “Aging adults stay home more, socialize less”

    WTF is the point of going out if you can’t afford gas and when you finally get to a mall with A/C, the prices are through the roof and half the businesses are closed.

    Also, the place of full of recently arrived punks, or young children dropped of by adult males, their parent?? from somewhere else who put their feet up on chairs when you just want to sit down and don’t speak English.

    This country is in a recession/depression based on around here and reports from relatives in the Hudson Valley and Los Angeles.

  22. hemeantwell

    Am I the only one here imagining what US death rows would look like if we adopted Vietnam’s approach to major economic crimes?

  23. Willow

    > First non-American on the Moon will be a Japanese astronaut, says Biden

    As if US is the gatekeeper to the moon. Pretty sure China has other ideas.

    1. Betty Lou

      The sports idolotry that has wasted millons of young black lives is disgusting.

      The hope of a career in sports has distracted, dumbed down and destroyed too many.

      Worse, is the bright young ones who waste time on it, wearing their dump ballcaps and memorizing abstract meaningless statistics, to and including whites.
      Yes, a few make it, the others practice rebounds instead of reading.

  24. Susan the other

    On Pavlina Tchernova. Economic democracy and MMT. I can’t tell if she is a stumbling block or a stepping stone on MMT. If money, sovereign money, is the purest form of monopoly why is the monopoly not public? And etc. I noted that she does not talk about the devastation of the environment as if it had nothing to do with value. the whole interview was totally vacuous in my opinion.

  25. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    It’s rare I recommend a Bloomberg article, but this opinion piece by @davidfickling is a must-read.

    He explains that with the “overcapacity” rhetoric towards China, Janet Yellen – and by extension America – is “rejecting what’s been one of the most fundamental principles of economics for more than 200 years: comparative advantage.”

    He notes that this shift is all the more remarkable that it makes very little sense for plenty of reasons.

    For one, there’s “a disconnect between the levels of clean technology deemed necessary by Washington when talking about climate change, and the levels considered excessive when confronting China. Just four months ago, the two agreed to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.” This is almost like a double-personality disorder: you agree with China to triple capacity in renewables just 4 months ago and literally in the same breath ( 4 months is nothing when “a major manufacturing facility typically takes at least 3 or 4 years to get off the ground” ) you immediately complain about overcapacity in the same sector. How does that make any sort of sense?

    Secondly, clean technologies and EVs, what China is accused of being in “overcapacity” of, make up only 5.7% of Chinese exports, which is “less export revenue than from suitcases and backpacks, from furniture (excluding chairs), from wheeled toys and scooters, and from table lights and light fixtures”. So why pick on those in particular and not on say suitcases or table lights? Is it really normal that China generates more export revenue from suitcases and backpacks than from electrical vehicles, so normal in fact that it’s imperative it stays that way as the contrary would mean “overcapacity” in EVs?

    Thirdly, “the bilateral trade deficit between the US and China, relative to the size of the US economy, is the lowest it’s been since 2002”. So it’s an odd time to complain so vociferously about trade imbalance with China since, from America’s standpoint, the trade imbalance is the lowest it’s been in over 20 years.

    Fourthly, the author contradicts the all-too-common narrative – also argued by Yellen – that Chinese products are this competitive because of “unfair state support”: he points out to an earlier article by himself

    ( )

    that demonstrates that “Chinese clean-technology firms are no more dependent on soft money ( i.e. private investments ) than rivals elsewhere in the world”. He also highlights that “of more than 50 disputes filed against China at the World Trade Organization, just one — dormant since 2011 — has been over clean technology.” Meaning no-one has even tried to make the case there was underlying unfairness in the trade there…

    He concludes, and I concur: “in attacking its clean-technology exports the world is cracking down on one part of the economy where the private sector is dominant, and where the prospects for reducing global emissions are good. In acting as the standard-bearer for this policy, Yellen is rejecting fundamental principles of economics to justify a policy of restricting public access to affordable and clean technology. It’s a protectionist disaster in the making — for both the US, and the planet.”

    12:14 PM · Apr 9, 2024

    1. Grebo

      All good points there, except the “fundamental principles of economics”. Ricardo’s comparative advantage theory assumes labour and capital cannot move between countries. That has not been true for some time, if it ever was. It’s just one of the free-traders’ bogus arguments which they are happy to dump as soon as they lose the advantage.

      1. eg

        Ricardo also assumes permanent advantages across time, as in the example of Portuguese wine and English wool — it cannot account for goods subject to technological change.

  26. Willow

    > Biden Administration Fears Iran Might Target U.S. Forces Over Israel Strike
    You’ve gotta think keeping Biden up at night might be part of Iran’s plan. How long can the Admin keep Biden going before he falls off the perch and Harris becomes 48th?

  27. Willow

    Given Israel’s likelihood of attacking Iran in response to any Iranian response to the embassy attack, Iran may be relying on Israel’s impulsiveness to pre-emptively attack Iran instead. An Israeli attack in response to an Iran attack would likely be with US support. But if Israel moves pre-emptively it would likely be without US support, tilting odds significantly in Iran’s favour. Can Israel resist not eating the marshmallows?

  28. Willow

    Something to keep in mind is that Alaska is probably due for a big one. Most focus tends to be on California but the largest earthquake recorded in US was in Alaska, 1964 at M9.2, which is at the northern end of the Ring of Fire. A remote fat-tail risk that would have a disproportionate impact on oil supply & markets this time round given geopolitical events already in play.

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