Links 4/12/2024

Scientists Discover Hundreds of Unique Species in Africa’s Newest Ecoregion SciTech Daily

States facing the greatest risk from private equity Becker’s Hospital Review

Grizzly bears were pillaging farms. Could a canine keep them away? Science


Is the Atlantic Overturning Circulation Approaching a Tipping Point? Oceanography

World’s largest companies are failing on climate action, new report shows Down to Earth

Neom: The Line project cut by 104 miles amid Saudi budget concerns Interesting Engineering


WATER SCARCITY AND CLEAN ENERGY COLLIDE IN SOUTH TEXAS Texas Observer. The deck: “A high-tech chemical company has purchased the last available water in the Nueces River to make hydrogen and ammonia for export.”


Avian flu virus detected in South Dakota dairy herd CIDRAP. Eighth state.

Bird flu pushes US dairy farmers to ban visitors, chop trees Reuters. The lede: “Dairy farmers in the United States are raising their defenses to try to contain the spread of bird flu: banning visitors, cutting down trees to discourage wild birds from landing, and disinfecting vehicles coming onto their land.”


InfinityCOVID Radicalism: Another Failure of Enlightened Centrism Pandemic Accountability Index

$10 billion long Covid ‘moonshot’ is being floated by Bernie Sanders STAT

LESSONS IN PERSISTENCE Science. “New Long Covid trials aim to clear lingering virus—and help patients in dire need.”

Hospital patient spent nine days in locker room BBC


What Washington got wrong about Niger and Russia Responsible Statecraft

The Koreas

‘Lame duck’ South Korean president reels from election debacle Channel News Asia


U.S.-Japan-Philippines summit to send ‘crystal clear’ signal to China Nikkei Asia

US, Japan slammed as ‘real threats to regional peace’ with ‘Cold War mentality’ Global Times

US Air Force issues $409 million award for long-sought Pacific airfield Defense News. Tinian.

China imposes sanctions on US companies over arms sales to Taiwan Firstpost

The Demographic Costs of a War Over Taiwan The Diplomat. The deck: “China’s population is already shrinking. The further demographic consequences of a Taiwan invasion would be devastating.”

China Inflation Stalls As US Speeds, Adding To Pressure On Yuan FastBull


Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor: 13,000 Palestinians are missing under rubble YPA

Netanyahu Says Israel Preparing for Scenarios in Other Areas than Gaza Asharq Al Awsat

CENTCOM chief begins Israel visit, coordinating for possible Iran attack Al-Monitor

Antony Blinken asks China, others to rein in Iran amid concerns about potential attack on Israel South China Morning Post


Israel and US deliberately gutting international law in Gaza Electronic Intifada

Crimes Against Language The Baffler

Labor and the Bibi-Modi “Bromance” Boston Review


The US dangles Yemen bait, but Ansarallah doesn’t bite The Cradle


Israel Has Declared Record Amount of West Bank Land as State-owned in 2024 Haaretz

European Disunion

Thyssenkrupp Steel to Cut Jobs, Production Capacity Amid Tough Market WSJ

Goodbye Green and Fair, Hello Fortress Europe – Eco Ambitions dropped from EU leaders’ draft 5-year plan ARC2020

Old Blighty

Will David Cameron cause WW3? UnHerd

New Not-So-Cold War

SITREP 4/11/24: Zelensky in Shock as Kiev’s Largest Power Plant Wrecked in Massive Strikes Simplicius the Thinker

Ukraine’s parliament approves new mobilization law despite criticism from battle-worn troops POLITICO EU. Commentary:

Ukraine says there are more than 100 Patriot air-defense systems its allies could spare if they wanted Business Insider. Maybe, but they’re not all that useful without missiles, are they?

West Not Condemning Ukraine Looks Like Indirect Support of Attacks on Zaporozhye Power Plant Sputnik


The Wages Of Fear Trying to Understand the World

US Should Adopt the Mearsheimer Plan Antiwar

U.S. Funds Ukraine Groups Censoring Critics, Smearing Pro-Peace Voices Lee Fang

EU state to give Ukraine fixed share of GDP annually RT

Serbia to Buy French Rafale Fighters in Major Break From Russia: What Belgrade’s Pivot Means For Its Air Defences Military Watch

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

How one company made bank off the regional banking crisis SEMAFOR

Investigation Into Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Arm Underscores Scrutiny of AML and Onboarding Efforts  PYMNTS

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

House panel tees up vote on revised FISA reauthorization The Hill

GOP Clown Car

Johnson shifts from FISA critic to champion as Speaker The Hill

Democrats en déshabillé

Democrats resist calls for Sotomayor to retire Axios


Why big Medicare Advantage insurers may root for Biden to lose in 2024 yahoo! Finance


Humane’s AI “Pin” Is a $700 Flaming Dumpster Fire Futurism

US Air Force Secretary to fly in AI-piloted F16 to demonstrate safety Interesting Engineering


AI and narrative embeddings detect PTSD following childbirth via birth stories Nature

Artificial Intelligence and Biotechnology: Risks and Opportunities RAND

This Woman Will Decide Which Babies Are Born Wired

Supply Chain

Airfreight demand grows but 777F production logjam hobbles capacity The Loadstar

Resurgence of Somali pirates creates another ‘danger zone’ for shipping The Loadstar

Panama Canal Plans to Normalize by 2025, Weather Permitting gCaptain

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Navy secretary says he was ‘floored’ by a Pacific ally’s shipbuilding abilities amid American warship production woes Business Insider

USS Boxer Headed to San Diego for Repairs, Pacific Deployment Stalled USNI News

Class Warfare

Meth, death and abuse: Inside the private security forces patrolling California’s homeless Cal Matters

The Distance Between You and the Revolution How Things Work

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Wabash Cannonball  by Roy Acuff)

    They don’t care what voters want
    They spend our wealth on war
    Cash is green and flows like fountains
    And there’s always plenty more
    Congresscritters must raise ransom
    For their Blue or Red cabal
    Dark Money buys their office then
    The Cash Decides It All

    Your vote ain’t worth a tinker’s damn
    While candidates are knaves
    Who surrender to temptation
    Take the cash and serve as slaves
    Dark money grows on trees
    Every candidate’s in thrall
    Our Congress runs by epigram:
    The Cash Decides It All

    (musical interlude)

    The flood of corporate candy
    Rinses all your rights away
    Damn fools can get elected
    If they’ll sell their vote each day
    Those fools have daily quotas
    Of the donors they must call
    Our Congress runs on private cash and
    The Cash Decides It All

    Citizens United
    Ruled that speech is cash in hand
    Dark money bought five judges
    Now dark money’s in command
    All the rich folk took us over
    And they hope once and for all
    Democracy is dead ’cause
    The Cash Decides It All

    It’s a grand revolving door
    Every senator’s a hoodlum
    We’re the rubes they take us for
    A Congressman’s attention
    Costs a lot of wherewithal
    They won’t vote for peanuts when
    The Cash Decides It All

    Written by: William Kindt

    Album: The Essential Roy Acuff

  2. The Rev Kev

    “What Washington got wrong about Niger and Russia”

    The article says that that US delegation warned the Nigers about their links to Russia and Iran. I would be willing to believe that that US delegation actually made demands and threats against government officials which is why they demanded that the US leave. They say that nothing succeeds like success and I think that this is the case here. They see the French and the US fighting and all that happens is that the terrorists get larger in number and more powerful. Killing your way to success does not work that great. But then they see how the Russian went in Syria and the success that they had with their more holistic approach and so want them in. But this article saying that the Russians don’t have a great feel for Niger and US officers having a lock on the Niger military is already now out of date-

    ‘A Russian military cargo plane has transported a team of instructors and various equipment to assist the Nigerien army with counterterrorism training, according to media reports in the West African nation.
    We are here to train the Nigerien army… to develop military cooperation between Russia and Niger,” a man in camouflage told RTN.
    “We have a lot of experience in fighting terrorism. And we are here to share this experience with our friends,” another Russian specialist told Sputnik.
    “The African corps here will be building relationships and jointly forming and training the Nigerien army,” he added. “We brought with us the educational and material base for the training of various specialists.’

    A thing to note is that the instructors will also install an air-defense system in Niger. Against French aircraft? US aircraft? Or perhaps “terrorist” drones of unknown provenance-

    1. timbers

      Perhaps the group sent to Niger were of the old-school, the Vicky Nuland prototypes, and in various ways told the Nigerians this:

      “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      On the other hand, Nah. Back then (2004) there was still a dim remnant of intelligence remaining in US strategery circles. The folks running things now in Washington are old or incompetent or both, dementia mental defectives…clueless in comparison. In fact they probably never even heard about the above infamous quote and if they did, forgotten about it.

      I would recommend for the next delegation we send to Niger, the US shift gears to a soft power method, a kindler gentler approach – to be comprised of HR types versed in the most up-to-date inclusiveness teachings. We can enlighten Niger with LGBT+++++++++++ wokism, using the they/them/their lingo, and if we really want to impress and win them over, do an on-the-spot re-design of their primative back-water version of the “men’s room/ladies room” facilities.

      Now that would REALLY get their attention and respect.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And viagra. And pallets loaded with bricks of shrink-wrapped used $100 bills — and do that soon, as the $ becomes ever less valuable.

          What currency do big drug deals and arms rat lines get conducted in these days? Crypto? Speaking of creating new realities.

    2. CA

      What Washington got wrong about Niger is that over the last 45 years already very poor Niger lost about 6% of its per capita GDP. Real per capita GDP for Niger in 2023 was $1,579. Where then is development to come from, is the overarching question?

      August 4, 2014

      Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, Niger, Mali and Chad, 1977-2022

      (Indexed to 1977)

      1. Kouros

        I read somewhere that Niger was making only $0.87 out of the $218/kg of uranium sold to France…

        1. CA

          “I read somewhere that Niger was making only $0.87 out of the $218/kg of uranium sold to France…”

          Good grief There seems to have long been a resource extraction relation between France and Niger that offered little to Niger, but why should that have been? I do not understand the France-Niger relation, and I could add to my lack of understanding a number of countries in the particular region.

          Real per capita GDP for Niger in 2023 was $1,579, * while that for France was $56,305:

          Central African Republic ( $1,109)
          Niger ( 1,579)
          Chad ( 1,807)
          Sierra Leone ( 2,097)

          Mali ( 2,639)
          Burkina Faso ( 2,683)
          Togo ( 2,768)
          Gambia ( 2,837)

          Guinea-Bissau ( 3,088)
          Guinea ( 3,241)
          Benin ( 4,305)
          Senegal ( 4,325)

          * All in purchasing power parity terms

          1. Captain Obvious

            What’s there not to understand? Niger was French colony. Francophone African countries don’t speak French because of their love for croissants, but because they were all colonized by France. A resource extraction relation between France and Niger that offered little to Niger, is how (neo)colonialism works.

            Macron is pissed at Putin because France is losing colonies as a result of Russians rearranging the World Order.

  3. zagonostra

    >$10 billion long Covid ‘moonshot’ is being floated by Bernie Sanders – STAT

    “I am heartened that Senator Sanders is treating long Covid as the urgent crisis it is and thrilled that he is directly responding to the community calls” for a moonshot…

    Wow, from M4A to a “moonshot” metaphor for long Covid, talk about downward managing of expectations.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Was it a serious bill or one that was talked about even though there was zero chance of it being passed? The later happens all the time.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Yes I don’t think anybody of power listens to him.
          And why would they? They defeated him twice, in 2016 and in 2020. They pick him up and use him as a feather duster.

    1. John

      The renovation to be completed in five years? How long did it take to build the original? Will it be irrelevant when it is actually up and running in eight years after required cost overruns? How many missiles will it take to put is out of action for an indeterminate period? The Air force is desperately chasing relevance.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Now do….how will the USAF transport jet fuel to Tinian in a high-intensity war?

        Spoiler alert: they won’t be able to, even assuming Tinian isn’t bombed on day 1 of the war

        1. JTMcPhee

          Inter service commitment. Do like the Nazis, build Navy submarines with huge tanks to transport the Air Farce fuel to underwater terminals! Do like the narcodudes and fill huge bladders with petro at slightly negative buoyancy to be towed by those subs! Feature it on the cover page of Popular Mechanix!

  4. GlassHammer

    “Ukraine says there are more than 100 Patriot air-defense systems its allies could spare if they wanted Business Insider. Maybe, but they’re not all that useful without missiles, are they?”

    The “weapon system” is just the small part of the logistics iceberg you can easily see.

    1. Skip Intro

      The operative phrase is if they wanted. Zelensky is slow to get the message though. Dude, they’re just not that into you.

    2. timbers

      Russian statement at UN: “This is how it will go down in history – as an inhuman and hateful regime of terrorists and Nazis who betrayed the interest of their people and sacrificed it for Western money and for Zelenski and his closest circle.
      In these conditions, attempts by the head of the Kiev regime to promote his formula and convene summits in support of the Kiev regime cause only confusion.

      Very soon the only topic for any international meetings on Ukraine will be the unconditional capitulation of the Kiev regime.

      I advise you all to prepare for this in advance.”

  5. zagonostra

    >Crimes Against Language – The Baffler

    The new language we create must speak plainly, cutting through the obfuscations and revisions the perpetrators of genocide are sure to cast over their guilt. It must be a language that remembers what has been so explicitly reveal

    Agreed. But that is exactly what Matthew Miller from the Ministry of Truth works so diligently to counter in each of the public press spectacles the WH holds. The official language of Oceania has its guardians.

    The language has been so debased by the likes John Kirby, Karine Jean-Pierre, and previous press secretaries that maybe instead of a “new” language we can have what Orwell called “Oldspeak.”

    1. Kouros

      We need a retraining of the Shrew, to say that it is day when it is day and not insist that it is night…

  6. The Rev Kev

    “US Navy secretary says he was ‘floored’ by a Pacific ally’s shipbuilding abilities amid American warship production woes”

    The US has all sorts of woes with shipbuilding for the US Navy-

    ‘Mackenzie Eaglen
    US Navy shipbuilding is entering its version of the “doom loop” with a budget for today that shrinks the fleet further *and* cuts new ship investments for tomorrow–ensuring there are no plans for recovery to grow the fleet again anytime soon ⚠️’

    So the logical answer is for the US to give contracts to South Korea to build some of their ships to take off the pressure from US shipbuilding yards. But Congress would never stand for it because jawbs. They might even insist that South Korea set up a shipbuilding yard in the US to build those US Navy ships but with American workers which might take a decade or two to set up. And don’t forget all those beaks that need dipping.

    1. Randall Flagg

      Well, we have to do something with the flood of humanity crossing the southern borders here. Have them build some housing too while upgrading the shipyards.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Recently I came across a rant about the new Constellation frigate which has now been delayed up to 3 years. The funny part is that it’s based on the European multi-purpose frigate FREMM from 2007 to save time and money. It started out with 85% similarity (slightly different requirements), then dropped to 15% and is finally about to reach 80% of detail design to be ready. While the construction is already on it’s way…

      That’s what you usually get with “multi-purpose” – something that has no clear purpose or operational concept. Submarine fleets seem to have avoided the curse of multi-purpose so far; probably because one can’t put helicopter hangars on them no matter how much admirals would like to.

    3. Louis Fyne

      >>>US Navy secretary says he was ‘floored’ by a Pacific ally’s shipbuilding abilities amid American warship production woes”

      It’s been that way since the 1970s. How can a ***Navy Secretary*** not know that!!!????!!!

      Ironically South Korea has to move up on the value-chain and find defense shipping contracts because China cranks out plain-vanilla tankers and cargo carriers like Model T’s, pricing the Korean and Japanese firms out of the market.

      1. Glen

        Yes, have to agree. I was in the USN when it was ramping up to the 600 ship Navy, and even then shipyard capacity and capability was severely diminished from the 50’s-60’s. All four Iowa class battleships were “modernized” and returned to service because even back then building the equivalent of a new battleship was considered almost impossible – it was called a lost art. What that really meant was the workers that had done it were gone, the skills were gone, the good project managers, supervisors, all gone. Naval ship building had been ramped up in the 1930’s, then WW2, and those people had gotten efficient, skilled, done impossible repairs in short periods. You still bumped into them back then, guys that had been plank owners on ships that had fought in WW2; guys that had worked at the Naval yards for forty years.

        You can take all the Ivy league MBAs, and all the semi-skilled just across the border workers from where ever you want, take all the newfangled technology from Korea you want, and you will never get back to those old timers. Instead there will be record profits at private ship yards, and POS partially built ships in the ways just like happened with the Little Crappy Ships. This cannot be accomplished by a technology fix, it’s a upper management culture fix, and a long term commitment to the labor force that will be required to do the work.

        Or you can outsource it to Korea and Japan, after all, it was out sourcing that caused American manufacturing to decline so more will surely fix it. (Personally, I’d ramp up the Naval shipyards and make government jobs, but from what I hear from my still there Naval buddies, that work force has gone way downhill too.)

      2. CA

        “South Korea has to move up on the value-chain and find defense shipping contracts because China cranks out plain-vanilla tankers and cargo carriers like Model T’s…”

        [ An important comment, but apparently incorrect about shipbuilding in China. China is in all categories moving up the “value-chain.” Technology is advanced even in tankers and cargo-carriers, while China is researching and already producing a range of advanced technology ships. While academic papers are being published by American academics about Chinese limitations in shipbuilding, the limitations are gone by the time of publication.

        Also, China has a satellite system in place that allows for autonomous sailing to immediate area weather forecasting for at least 6 days. The Chinese AI weather forecasting system was ranked as the leading Chinese science advance of 2023… ]

  7. Captain Obvious

    US Should Adopt the Mearsheimer Plan Antiwar

    Mearsheimer plan:
    1. Ditch Ukraine.
    2. Try to “contain” China instead of Russia.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, he’s getting pushback for #2. Deservedly so.

      Having said that, some level of great power competition is to be expected but our efforts are clumsy, hyper-aggressive, and have unreasonable aims.

      1. Kouros

        Also, all the social investments needed to strengthen the US are never considered, despite them providing the platform that the US/ and country’s strength is built upon…

        US can be super duper hyper aggressive. It has become the giant with clay feet.

      2. Procopius

        This has been true since Gen. Westmoreland was Secretary of State. Heck, it’s been true since John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State.

      1. Emma

        I would add that he’s not that knowledgeable about any specific country including Russia, China, and Iran. He gets some very basic facts about them wrong, basic stuff that listening to a couple segments of Jeff Sachs or Max Blumenthal should have corrected, but he’s still wrong about how their governments and societies are organized. Because he couldn’t possibly imagine that other countries may have truly different goals and aspirations, even IR goals, than the American hegemon.

        Mearsheimer is an honest “smart” imperialist. That does put him head and shoulders above dishonest, outrageously stupid imperialists that dominate the American MICIMATT, but still something that should have gone extinct by 1960 at the latest.

        1. CA

          Mearsheimer is an honest “smart” imperialist…

          [ Perfect description, though there is surprisingly little knowledge of China as well. Incisive comment. ]

        2. Kouros

          He doesn’t know how the US is working, that is a plutocratic demagogic republic, and thinks is a liberal democracy…

          1. Emma

            Well, now you know why good Communists regard them as being the same. I would say COVID-Ukraine-Gaza show it’s a lot worse. We’re ruled by stupid Fascists who are now in 75% panic mode. God help us when they get to 100%.

            I say honest in the sense that he doesn’t deny he’s an imperialist and tries to follow the logic of his belief system. The rest are crypto imperialists who are in active denial, so what they say is completely incoherent and absurd on its face.

            Imperialism is an insane, blood soaked ideology that consumes human victims like popcorn, so of course what he says should be horrifying to anyone with a conscience.

        3. tricia

          I think both these ‘honest “smart’ imperialists’ and their ‘dishonest, outrageously stupid’ counterparts know full well that the countries they target & victimize have goals and aspirations of their own, ones that clearly differ from the US/imperialist agenda. They just don’t care.
          What matters to all of them is what the ruling Western corporate elite ‘need’ and demand, for their continued dominance and their continued profiteering. Period.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Literally a Chinese ambassador: “The world is big enough for 2 great powers”
      Literally a US ambassador: “No.”

  8. zagonostra

    >The Wages Of Fear – Trying to Understand the World

    Indeed, of all of the emotions that have caused problems in history, the greatest is fear. As an explanation of historical action it’s been around a long time: everyone remembers the assertion of Thucydides that the Peloponnesian War began as a result of the growing power of Athens and the fear this produced in Spar

    The Headline/link immediately brought to mind Romans 6:23, “The Wages of Sin is Death.” I don’t think that one instinct can be said to have “caused” anything, though I concur that fear is primordial and plays a major role. But then so too does love and self-sacrifice as is captured for Christians in the rest of the biblical quote, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    1. Fried

      There was a 1950s film named “The Wages of Fear”, and I only know that because there’s a Goon Show episode called “The Fear of Wages”, which apparently is a parody of the film.

      1. Acacia

        Great film by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

        There have been several remakes, of which Friedkin’s Sorcerer (1977) is especially gripping.

        1. jobs

          The Friedkin remake features a great soundtrack by the German electronic rock band Tangerine Dream.

    2. Polar Socialist

      It should be, perhaps, pointed out that Thucydides asserted no such thing. It was Graham T. Allison, 72 years old (at the time) political scientist with only cursory understanding of ancient Greece in general and Thucydides’ writings specifically who made it up in 2012.

    3. To boldly go

      > Indeed, of all of the emotions that have caused problems in history, the greatest is fear.

      That is no doubt true but it sounds awfully grandiose. Let’s reduce it to an everyday level: fearful people cause much/most of what’s wrong in the world. Of course, they don’t see it as being ‘fearful’; they see it as cautious, careful, prudent …

      Cf. Nietzsche: Sie heißen sich selbst nicht die Schwachen, sie heißen sich »die Guten«

      (‘They don’t call themselves the weak, they call themselves “the good”.’)

      1. zagonostra

        Your right: “Bees and mosquitoes are both insects, but they are not closely related.” Both are amazing in so many ways, though the latter evoke more fear and, in general, one stings as a defense mechanism and the other draws blood.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Those Chinese have nothing on us. Bill Gates’ robot bees can deliver our vaccines. Why depend on Nature for anything? Those mosquitos might try to unionize.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “US Should Adopt the Mearsheimer Plan”

    It’s too late for that. Far too late. Maybe at the time of the Istanbul negotiations that would have been seen as a reasonable outcome but that was two years ago. Too much has happened since with too much blood and treasure spent. The Mearsheimer Plan would amount to freezing the conflict which would be a strategic Russian defeat which they would never accept. On top of that, Russia would have to accept Western promises that they would not accept the Ukraine into NATO. But Russia has zero faith in the words of Western nations and will no longer accept them. Too many international agreements have been broken and betrayed. It is now a battle to the finish. with not just Russia versus the Ukraine but Russia versus NATO and a dozen other Collective West countries.

    1. upstater

      Too late indeed,

      Russia Expects ‘Unconditional Capitulation’ Of Kiev Regime MoA

      During yesterday’s UN Security Council meeting Vasily Nebenzya, the Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, said:

      “This is how it will go down in history – as an inhuman and hateful regime of terrorists and Nazis who betrayed the interest of their people and sacrificed it for Western money and for Zelenski and his closest circle.

      In these conditions, attempts by the head of the Kiev regime to promote his formula and convene summits in support of the Kiev regime cause only confusion.

      Very soon the only topic for any international meetings on Ukraine will be the unconditional capitulation of the Kiev regime.

      I advise you all to prepare for this in advance.”

      1. edgui

        Isn’t it somehow equivalent to the “unconditional” support that NATO shouts for the Ukrainian victory, even to its ultimate consequences?

  10. Louis Fyne

    >>>‘Lame duck’ South Korean president reels from election debacle Channel News Asia

    An interesting glimpse/experiment for a contemporary 1st world election that has relatively minor culture war issues. And an ominous warning for western incumbents.

    Yoon pivoted hard to a pro-US foreign policy (with a state visit in the US and UK versus the traditional approach of juggling 4 plates in the air: CN, RU, JP, US). All the while the local economy had “positive” headline numbers., but awful inflation numbers.

    The junkets and foreign photo ops did squat for his poll numbers. Lesson that needs to be heeded for Biden, Scholz, Macron, etc.

    “All politics are local,” and “it’s the economy, st__p_id.” To quote 2 paleo-Democrats who are now in the proverbial wilderness among contemporary Democrats

    1. Yves Smith

      Thanks! We appreciate additional Links. We try to keep them to 55 so as not to be overwhelming, but that means there’s always some things we missed or excluded that have merit.

    1. Randall Flagg

      That movie, like so many other sci fi stories, is scary for how they have predicted what’s coming for the future. I think the original authors of those stories should be commended for them being the thoughtful warnings for us all as a society.

  11. pjay

    – ‘Johnson shifts from FISA critic to champion as Speaker’ – The Hill

    LOL! Johnson explains his complete change of tune:

    “When I was a member of Judiciary, I saw all of the abuses of the FBI — there were terrible abuses, over and over and over,” Johnson told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday evening.

    “And then when I became Speaker, I went to the SCIF and got the confidential briefing from sort of the other perspective on that, to understand the necessity of Section 702 of FISA and how important it is for national security. And it gave me a different perspective,” he continued, using an abbreviation for sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).”

    You see, we just don’t understand the Truth. But our National Security Elites do, and they know what to do to protect us from the Evil Doers! Johnson realizes this now, his eyes have been opened. Just trust them!

    In my mind Johnson, like most Republicans, was just an Establishment shill who pretended to go along with the MAGA folks so as not to irritate Trump supporters. Or maybe they just showed him the secret Kennedy video.

    1. Feral Finster

      Note how Johnson also suddenly became an enthusiastic supporter of immediate aid for Ukraine.

      Congress isn’t really in charge here.

  12. CA

    “U.S.-Japan-Philippines summit to send ‘crystal clear’ signal to China”

    Japan of course invaded China in 1931, beginning the World War, and was responsible for endless brutality and the deaths of millions of Chinese. The Japanese government has never apologized and Japanese leaders since the war regularly pay respects at the shrines of the leaders of the invading Japanese soldiers.

    So as the Japanese press makes plain, a “crystal clear” signal is being sent by the current Japanese government to China.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “West’s Silence Seen as Tacit Support for Attacks on Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant”

    The Ukrainians are saying that these are ‘Russian provocations at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’ and that ‘We once again insist that [the nuclear power plant] be returned under the control of its rightful owner, Ukraine, and Russia be held accountable for all its crimes.’ The implication is that if the Russians turned over control of that nuclear power plant to the Ukrainians, then the Russian attacks on it would stop. Go figure. The EU’s Josep Borrell also said that the only way to stop these attacks is for the Russians to hand that plant over to the Ukrainians though he did not say who was launching those attacks. The Ukrainians are kinda like this guy- (33 secs)

  14. Wukchumni

    I’m usually good for a cold or 2 a year, but in the past 5 years i’ve only had 1 cold, odd that. Certainly the pandemic helped in that regard, but I’ve gone unmasked for years since.

    Endured one of my worst flu experiences ever and am in the home stretch of the affliction hopefully. All I wanted to do was sleep or some approximation of perchance to dream.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m good there, but passed so much gas that I got cold calls from OPEC wanting to take me on as a client nation.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Mark Ames
    This is grim.
    At the last minute the Rada also removed the “de-mobilization” part of the law which would have finally set a limit on how long soldiers serve. So now they’re all in the war indefinitely. Those press-gang vans are gonna be busy.’

    The real kicker is all those Ukrainian solders who have been fighting right from the start who have now learned that they will never be discharged and that the only way that they can leave military service is by being wounded badly or killed. Or maybe surrender. When the Russians really get moving, it may be that these soldiers may just do an exit, stage left. But what is really causing this crisis of manpower is that the Ukraine has squandered the lives of many tens of thousands of soldiers defending positions that they should have abandoned. Or being sent to attack places in which they stood no chance. They threw those men’s lives away without regard and now find that they needed those men after all.

  16. Jason Boxman

    Why auto insurance costs are rising at the fastest rate in 47 years

    “In general, the numbers of crashes, injuries, and fatalities are up, and inflation has made the cost of repairs more expensive,” AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair told Yahoo Finance.

    As bodily injury and property damage costs rise, so too have the incidence of more complex repairs and the need for more expensive mechanics to get them done.

    New vehicle prices have risen over 20% since 2019, leading to an increase in the cost of parts. Additionally, newer cars contain more technology, such as sensors and control modules built into bumpers and exterior panels, which makes a simple fender bender a potential several-thousand-dollar repair.

    And like almost all industries since the pandemic, the cost of labor has risen dramatically as well.

    1. Mikel

      “Additionally, newer cars contain more technology, such as sensors and control modules built into bumpers and exterior panels, which makes a simple fender bender a potential several-thousand-dollar repair.”

      Not having alot of it would make the production of EVs more environmentally friendly.
      But this is a rip-off world run by criminals that we live in now.

    2. Louis Fyne

      i wonder if damage caused by uninsured drivers is a factor too; and if so, how big?

      it always strikes me when, whatever the issue, one obvious line of thought/dataset is not mentioned

    3. Pookah Harvey

      And profits, don’t forget profits. As the WSJ reported back in January:

      Shares of Travelers, a bellwether for the property and casualty sector, closed at an all-time high earlier this week, up 35% from their lows last fall. The jump came after the company reported a record profit for its fourth quarter, boosted by double-digit rate increases in its business and personal insurance units.
      Progressive said Wednesday that its quarterly profit more than doubled from a year earlier.
      Shares of Allstate, which reports results next month, also reached new heights this week, up more than 50% from their lows last summer.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Israel and US deliberately gutting international law in Gaza”

    If you are going to get rid of international law as well as United Nations treaties to replace it with an International Rules Based Order, then it must follow that you will have to systemically break every international norm and make the unacceptable acceptable. So Israel attacked a Consulate which is really a biggie but the US spiked any censure of them at the United Nations. But in doing so, they have ensured that Iran has to launch some sort of counter attack as there were no international repercussions on Israel. In fact, everybody is running around telling Iran not to escalate and failing to mention that it was Israel that escalated in the first place. So now attacking Consulates and committing genocides is that bit more accepted on the international stage. Such will be life under an International Rules based Order unless the BRICS really enforce international law and order.

    1. edgui

      Not to mention what happened in the Mexican Embassy in Ecuador. Obrador assures that Noboa does not have the guts to take such a risk without the approval of the U.S., since parallel to the capture of an important political figure for the upcoming elections, he wants to end the historical status of Mexico as a refuge for political asylum seekers.

  18. Tom Stone

    I find it quite curious that those watching the electoral campaigns don’t seem to take into account the Biden administration’s total disdain for norms of behavior.
    The refusal to grant RFK Jr secret service protection is one example, the language Genocide Joe used when promising that Trump would not take office again in terms that echo his promise that Gas would not flow through the Nordstream pipelines is another.
    The behavior of the Biden administration has been reckless and irresponsible to the point of insanity in regard to Foreign affairs , it seems unlikely that they will behave any more sanely or responsibly when it comes to Domestic affairs.

    1. Screwball

      I think the warmongers and spooks are in charge. WWIII is looking closer each and every day. As I type this WTI crude is up over 2% on the day and over $87 a bbl. If someone starts the fight with Iran, that will be a bargain.

      Our country is ran by insane people.

    2. Lefty Godot

      The norms of behavior have been coarsening for over 50 years. Things that politicians from both parties do and say now would have been grounds for resignation and the end of one’s career 50 years back. Our whole society has been sliding down that particular slope for decades, and it’s become more vulgar and unapologetic over this last decade. It really is looking like a failed society, with no prospects for renewal at this point. If the oligarchs have a secret plan to salvage things, they’re keeping it well hidden.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The US dangles Yemen bait, but Ansarallah doesn’t bite”

    ‘Stop your Gaza support, and we will give you everything’

    Informed Yemeni sources reveal to The Cradle that the US offered Sanaa – in exchange for its neutrality in the ongoing Gaza war – “an acknowledgment of its legitimacy.”

    This would involve severely reducing the role of the Saudi-backed Presidential Council led by Rashid al-Alimi and accelerating the signing of a roadmap with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to end the aggression against Yemen.

    The sources further reveal that the Americans pledged to immediately release withheld Yemeni public sector salaries from the National Saudi Bank, lift the country’s siege entirely, reopen Sanaa Airport, ease restrictions on the port of Hodeidah, and facilitate a comprehensive prisoner exchange agreement with all involved parties.

    [Washington] pledged to repair the damages, remove foreign forces from all occupied Yemeni lands and islands, and remove Ansarallah from the State Department’s ‘terrorism list’ – as soon as they stop their attacks in support of Gaza.’

    Of course all that stuff on that laundry list is predicated on the fact that the US will keep their word on all of that. If I were them, I would not be holding my breath.

    1. Jeff V

      Seems like it would be a lot easier just to have a quick word with Bibi and impose a ceasefire. There must be some downside that I’m missing …

    2. Kouros

      US recognized Morrocco’s claim on SW Sahara as a condition to normalize relations with Israel…

    1. Debbie

      Our daughter is in middle school. They must have a renegade math teacher down there.

      Class assignment, figure the doubling time for prices at different constant levels of inflation.

      “Dad, at 3.5% inflation a month, the price of items will double in 20 months, can you believe that? That kind of thing leads to the overthrow of governments.”
      Amazed glances across the kitchen table.

      If some middle school students talk like this what does it portend?

      1. Pat

        Not saying anything that people here don’t know, but every once in awhile I feel the need to further burst the big bad Republican meme in regard to the ACA (and not just because the Obama administration worked with the Insurance administration to relabel administration costs as medical to insure higher profits for the medical loss ratios which is also on topic).
        Anyway whenever friends bring up things to improve the sellout to the insurance industry that is the ACA my largest laugh of derisive disbelief is for the so-called public option. See I know that the Democrats had it and stripped it out in the conference committee for that illusory bipartisan vote…supposedly. It ain’t ever going to happen

        1. skippy

          It should never be forgotten that ACA started out as Heritage [institute] Care, re-badge as Romney Care in Mass, and then national as Obama Care/ACA …

          Lambert Shredded it back in the day on NC …

          1. Jeff W

            “Lambert Shredded it back in the day on NC”

            Well, just to make the historical record clear, I’m not sure exactly when “back in the day” was but if it was during the healthcare “debate,” circa 2008–2009 or prior to the passage of the ACA (on 23 March 2010), lambert wasn’t doing any shredding here on NC because his earliest posts here seem to date from late 2011. (He was doing a lot of “shredding” on his own blog Corrente at the time and on the “progressive” Democratic mouthpiece Open Left.)

            The other thing is that, whatever connection between Obamacare and the Heritage Foundation—whether the “core idea” for the ACA “came from” the Heritage Foundation or whether that was “all malarkey”—that connection was not known, at least not generally, until after the ACA became law. President Obama said it a week after the ACA passed and only then did it become an issue that was known and contested. If the influence—any influence—of the Heritage Foundation on the proposed and pending legislation had been known prior to the passage of the ACA, lambert, I’m sure, would have screamed bloody murder about it—lots of people would have—and he did not.

            1. skippy

              Lambert was posting during Obama’s camps efforts, big push by Heritage sorts and Corp Dems to hide the privatization aspect that PE wanted under the guise of personal choice and market incentives are superior to public health outcomes – see Covid.

              I detest white washing …

            2. Pat

              Um, no one may have been acknowledging the Heritage Foundation connection, but the facts were there for anyone paying attention. It wasn’t difficult. ACA was known to use Romneycare as a guide and that had been designed off the Heritage aka Dole plan. That it was being perfected to be even more parasitic and a huge giveaway to corporations was less obvious, but could also be discerned if you didn’t listen to the rhetoric and read beyond the first paragraph of various reports. I may not know Lambert’s work from that period, but I have every confidence that he did all that and could trace its history farther than I did. And just for the record I had a list of the major controls stripped from the Swiss plan during the conference committee period, the Swiss plan being the reported inspiration for the Heritage Plan.

          2. Pat

            I wasn’t on NC during the ACA development farce. But it is something I am very self educated about. It and it’s history, are very clarifying about the corrupting influence of unfettered capitalism and limited definitions of corruption. The disaster that is healthcare in America was accelerated by the ACA, the only seeming delay was because it resuscitated insurance, which was headed to life support, and the victims to financial victims needed to replace those expected funds had to be fed into the system. Yeah I am that cynical about it.

      2. undercurrent

        It’s hiding along with your $600. And guess what? You’ll never find them. And no, they’re not buried among the rubble in Gaza. That’s reserved for the terrorists, those hateful and murderous infants that genocide Joe’s suckled with his bunker-busters. Genocide Joe, always kissing bibi’s backside, and not a baby to be found alive. You and thems got no option, none, nada.

  20. Kevin DeNardo

    Grizzlies and canines. Yes, canines will work at keeping most bear away. The dog pictured appears to a Kangal – used a for keeping coyotes/wolves away from sheep.

    Was privileged to be able to salmon fish alongside Grizzlies on Kodiak Island a couple times. The hosts always had “bear dogs” who ALWAYs kept themselves between the fishermen and bear. Comical to watch 60 pound dogs maneuver 400-500 bear around. It was explained that the bear (these were young ones) know if push comes to shove, they can annihilate the dogs, but the threat of an injury – ripped flesh or bite marks – keeps them from initiating conflict. Plus, with all the salmon around, most want to eat – not fight.

  21. Wukchumni

    Grizzly bears were pillaging farms. Could a canine keep them away? Science

    Seen around 900 Black Bears, but never a Grizzly, so what do I know?

    A few years ago, the Silver City Resort in Mineral King had a few house dogs, one of which was a chubby Chihuahua, who singlehandedly treed a number of bears.

    If you were a bruin, you’d want to keep that fact on the down low, and claim it was a Pit Bull.

    Gus, 9 inches high and 2 & 1/2 feet long of Dachshund who would have benefited from taking the extended warranty on his vocal chords-as all he ever does is bark, treed a bunch of bears too.

    1. Jeff V

      I live on an island with no wildlife bigger than a rat (unless you count the gulls and the occasional buzzard).

      My old king charles cavalier was so friendly I’m sure he’d have happily wandered up to bears, wolves, porcupines, skunks, wolverines, mountain lions or elephants. My (much larger) keeshond used to send the cav over to check out other dogs, to make sure it was safe to approach them.

    2. MT_Wild

      The herd protection dogs are pretty scary. The anti-wolf and coyote dogs do not differentiate between a wolf and a off-leash labrador. So when you see a guard dog in use sign posted on a forest service road you need to take notice.

      The article says the bear dogs were fine with the ranch family, but what about the neighbors?

      Grizzlies can steal kills from wolves and vice-versa, so it seems like a dog would not stop a motivated g bear. But maybe they can send them elsewhere before they realize there’s a food source worth fighting for.

    3. Lee

      Canines working in concert can harry a bear into retreat. I once observed a group of coyotes move a grizzly off of a carcass. They certainly couldn’t kill the bear but like a swarm of mosquitos, they could make him so uncomfortable that he lit out for elsewhere.

      The linked article is hardly news. Humans have been successfully using dogs to protect livestock against predators for a very long while indeed. A major problem with American ranchers is that they’ve become so used to letting their cattle graze, often on public land, in no need of protection against previously extirpated predators so that the old ways come as news to them.

      1. Angie Neer

        My understanding is that canine harassment is also the preferred method in nearby Mt. Rainier National Park (though we have only black bears here). If a bear becomes too comfortable around humans, they tranquilize and move it to a more remote part of the park. But in a stubborn case they will used a pack of trained dogs to chase it into a tree and then basically scare the crap out of it for a while before calling off the dogs. The intent is to create an association between the scent of humans and this horrible experience. Apparently it works. (The reason the bears’ natural aversion to dogs isn’t sufficient by itself is because dogs are not normally allowed in National Parks, a policy I strongly support.)

    1. Pat

      Gad I might regret my one vote for Obama, but even though I never voted for her I regret my support of AOC more. I did get fooled and by this time I should’ve known better.

  22. Wukchumni

    Been an interesting wildflower year in Cali, everything was late on arrival and then in favored locations, the burst of color.

    Driving back from Mammoth on Hwy 395 yesterday, you couldn’t help but notice potential off to the west by Walker Pass on Hwy 178, mountainsides full of yellow-and yet on the other side of the pass, a dull wildflower year, location-location-location!

  23. Snailslime

    Taiwan’s population is shrinking quickly without even being able to scapegoat an official one child policy for it,, as is South Korea’s (more so than the North according to what I heard).

    So Taiwan if anything would suffer almost certainly much more demographically speaking than China if there was a serious war.

    They can’t afford it any more than Ukraine could and indeed would very quickly end up that country’s eastern equivalent in every sense.

    Thankfully though there is no chance of this happening, so fantasies about invasion are moot, with China even if a conflict were to break out isolating and starving the island instead of invading it.

    By the way, part of me thinks, with birthrates around the world falling, population growth slowing down increasingly even where it is not outright reversing yet, with not even the Muslim world or Africa bucking that overall trend (which is of course overall very much a welcome one), to the degree this is a “problem” with any conceivable sort of technological solution, I certainly could imagine China being one of those trying for that.

    There has been speculations and some degree of research into the possibility of artificial wombs for a long time.

    Not that much came from it but I also don’t think anyone was yet THAT serious about it.

    Pure, wild speculation for now, but if/when there is some serious worry or even hysteria over demographics (justified or not), would it be surprising if someone tried to resort to factory producing human beings?

    Certainly it’s a long established part of the inventory of science fiction ideas and so far it’s primarily (at least to my knowledge) been western futurists, transhumanists and space cadets as well as some members of the billionaire class (including Elon Musk if I remember correctly) who have publicly been talking about the possibility of making it a reality.

    But as is typical of the West they mostly just talked (thankfully).

    Though if there is ever a serious attempt to do something like that it wouldn’t surprise me if it took place in Asia (and I’,m not even necessarily talking China).

    1. Emma

      The problem with population decline in an industrialized world is not production but distribution. Socialism/Communism offers fairer distributions to meet the actual habitation/food/medical/social needs of the non-one percenter elderly.

      I have no sympathy for the DPP supporting Taiwanese. Even if their “independence” aspirations were genuine and are not tied up with their leadership’s historical roles as compradors for imperial Japan, it still takes a special kind of stupid to not see what’s happening in Ukraine with “110% American support”. Do they honestly think they’d get a better deal considering that they’re not blonde, America already exhausted its munitions in Ukraine and Israel, and they’re an entire Pacific Ocean away from real help?

    2. John k

      I’ve long been puzzled that China hasn’t told Taiwan, ‘if you won’t sell your best chips to your Chinese brethen, you won’t sell to anyone else. It’s just one China, no? Either side could take out those plants overnight, no need to invade.
      China certainly isn’t following west examples.

      1. yep

        You are puzzled by China not acting like USA would, and others are puzzled by Putin not acing like Biden would. Japan tried acting like a western empire, about a century ago. It didn’t turn out too good for them.

      2. Emma

        China is at a stage where they already got the vast majority of the helpful tech transfers that it wanted. Western export bans are actually helpful for justifying and protecting domestic industrial development.

        By being consistently reasonable and diplomatic, China and Russia are showing the rest of the world that they’re the good guys and reliable long term partners (who also produces everything that the world actually needs, as opposed to access to electronic printing press, Hollywood hasbara, and overpriced weapons/surveillance systems). That will matter as the US keeps insisting that every country in the world choose a side.

  24. Snailslime

    Aurelien/David has eloquently and I have no doubt correctly written about the ideology of european “elites” and what drives them in their crusade to rid if not the world so at least Europe of all these “archaic” and “dividing” notions of nation and nationalism, religion, culture and even history, as if to create a sort of eternal now, a timeless political nirvana, with only a vague sense of history as only having been a prologue to the timeless, perfect liberal endstate, but in no way something that is still ongoing.

    He also perfectly describes the power of fear in politics and how regardless of that fear being “justified” or “rational” or not from hindsight, they certainly were powerfully and acutely felt at the time.

    He also argues that it is difficult if not impossible to say for sure, at least in many cases, if those fears were or are REALLY unjustified and irrational or not.

    There I find myself disagreeing though, at least where the fears of the modern, dominant eurocrats are concerned, the fears that so strongly seem to be centered around a perceived need to tame and ever further domesticate the masses.

    Because if their is one idea that has been genuinely and objectively proven to be horse man*re, than it probably would be the concept that it is the unwashed masses with their irrational passions that are to blame for war.

    And yet the whole supposed fear driving the messianic liberal eurocrat project seems to be built on this piece of s**t thinking.

    The only time in european history when there was perhaps some degree of reality to this was in ancient democratic Athens.

    But ever since throughout western history war has been elite manifactured.

    Me thinks the eurocrat elites claiming to establish totalitarian liberal elite control over the great unwashed out of the noble or at least understandable if misguided drive to prevent the great unwashed from indulging in it’s worst impulses are either complete idiots who know nothing about actual european history or they are deliberately lying and in reality sociopaths that are just obsessed with power and control.

    Which Aurelien by the way also has repeatedly argued in the past and I see something of a contradiction there.

    Because for all their horrible lack of pretty much any other commendable human traits, psychopaths and sociopaths are usually not particularly fearful people.

    They may be many things, but they rarely are driven and controlled by fear.

    Instead they truly are for the most part very aggressive and confident, genuinely convinced of their superiority and far more likely to react with rage and increased aggression even at great risk to themselves when thwarted.

    They tend to be gambling types and adrenalin junkies and they are rather unlikely to be fundamentally ideology driven deep down, trending to thrice in chaos and love conflict for conflict’s sake.

    Peace, rather than something to be preserved and promoted would more likely be boring to them.

    So the quasi utopian ideological motivation may have partly driven earlier generations of eurocrats and there might be plenty of those left even now, especially on lower and mid levels, as there surely aren’t enough sociopaths around to man the entirety of the vast bureaucracies by themselves (which would include lots and lots of jobs too boring for most genuine sociopaths and their thrillseeking mentality) but with the whole structure growing ever more pathocratic over the decades at least in the positions of genuine power where the sociopaths can be expected to be especially overrepresented, there would at this point little left of those misguided, utopian dreamers.

    I think in this Aurelien IS more likely to be wrong and Comrade Finster unfortunately more likely to be right In that the problem with the current crop of eurocrat elites is NOT that they are too afraid, but that they are nowhere near afraid enough.

    Especially since there aren’t that many left that have any memory of what the world wars were like and increasingly those for whom even the Cold War is merely dim memory.

    These are people whose idea of history is shaped by Hollywood and for some like Grusula von den Lügen and the thing that occupies the german foreign ministry by a family tradition of revisionism, resentment and revaunchism, but fear plays little to no role for them.

    And the same goes to the US, though fear of loss of absolute power instead of fear for survival surely is a factor for less delusional members of the ruling class, and that fear of a loss of power is one of the few common amongst even the worst of sociopaths, something they tend to fear much more than death, making it nigh impossible to stop the real hardcore ones by intimidating them, you actually need to go through with killing them or otherwise remove them from power forcibly.

    Anyway, the US elites were never afraid of war the way their european counterparts may once have been, thanks to their comparative lack of real experience with it and the devastation it leaves behind, but Aurelien acknowledges that the behavior of american rulers cannot necessarily explained the same way as that of the eurocrats.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this comment. If the elite and their elite bankers (don’t forget the leading bankers) think the masses are dangerous then what better way to thin the masses than sending them off to a war, “which will be over by Christmas,” they said. Reading Barbara Tuchman’s book The Proud Tower , about the 25 years in Europe and the US immediately preceding WWI, it’s clear there were rising efforts at organizing workers for better wages, and anarchists targeting minor European nobilities for assassination attempts. (Archduke Ferdinand of Austria’s assassination was the ‘last straw’, so to say.) It’s also clear the elites decided the RU was a good target for exploitation and sending young men off to war would take the fight out of them. win-win. right? Except several of the old, aristocratic empires blew themselves to bits. The bankers, however, remained. / ;)

      See old Bolshevik Revolution for example. Is this a rerun again today in Ukraine?. What is this… Groundhog Day (on a hundred year timeline)? / ;) From the Princeton Press:

      Bankers and Bolsheviks: International Finance and the Russian Revolution

      Put another way, if the elite really thought the masses started wars they wouldn’t be importing more masses from far away places. No, the elites rally up the masses the wars the elites want to fight. See US Pres Wilson.

      1. flora

        adding: I think the EU elites are very afraid of the their countries’ citizens, aka ‘the masses’ gaining more economic and political power, having more say in the running of things and more weight at the negotiating table. Therefore, digital IDs and CBDCs and constant surveillance of citizens become crucial for the elites to feel themselves safe from being democratically or organizationally restrained in any way. / my 2 cents.

    2. vao

      And yet the whole supposed fear driving the messianic liberal eurocrat project seems to be built on this piece of s**t thinking.

      From your argument, it follows that the euro-project is not based on the fear or war, but of something else “centered around a perceived need to tame and ever further domesticate the masses”.

      There were two movements that overthrew the liberal regimes that were the ancestors of the current neo-liberal ones:

      1) the Popular Front (in Spain, France, Nordic countries, Chile, locally in other countries such as Switzerland), and comparable governments like the Beveridgean welfare state in the UK, or the New Deal in the USA.

      2) Fascism (all over Europe: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Vichy France, but also Greece, Latvia, Brazil) and especially its most powerful and destructive variant, Nazism in Germany.

      The Popular Front introduced a host of reforms — higher wages, paid holidays, pensions, unemployment benefits, reduced working days. Trade unions were legalized and firms had to negotiate working conditions with them. Some important enterprises were nationalized.

      Fascism introduced corporatism — which put trade unions under the control of the State, prohibited workers to change firm without the agreement of their employer, made strikes illegal, and repressed wages. It also privatized many State enterprises, put business associations under State control, obliged firms to engage in collective bargaining under the supervision of the State, set up occupational medecine, imposed price controls and quantitative objectives in some sectors, blocked foreign capital, hamstrung the stock exchange (too many Jews), imposed severe currency exchange controls, ran roughshod on property rights (expropriation of Jews, disregard of IPR for projects of national importance).

      The (neo)liberal elites strive for three things:

      a) Freedom (derived from classical liberalism): nobody should impose any conditions on how firms are organized and operate. State regulations and controls are anathema.

      b) Control (derived from the firm as a productive organization): workers are resources for the firm. Strikes, trade unions, and every kind of demands from wage-earners that hinder the optimal operation of the firm are anathema.

      c) Winner takes all (derived from neo-classical market ideology): the firm should pay the wages that it deems necessary for its purposes and can impose on employees; this constitutes an optimal allocation of resources by “free market” mechanisms. If capitalists end up scooping up all the carrots, then this is as it should be — actually, they should strive for that in a free market.

      Capitalists hated the Popular Front, because they no longer controlled the workers, and were forced to give plenty of carrots to them.

      Capitalists initially liked Fascism, because they totally controlled workers, and could keep almost all carrots for them (private firms made like bandits under Fascism). They ended up detesting it, because they were completely subordinated to the State, sticks came down on them hard and thick if they did not behave, and Europe ended up destroyed by war.

      How did Popular Fronts come to power? Via democratic elections.

      How did Hitler come to power? Via democratic elections.

      Hence, for (neo)liberals, democracy, i.e. the masses, is the problem that should be eliminated. And this is why, ever since it germinated, the EU exhibited that unshakeable, ever strengthening “democratic deficit” — because (neo)liberals want full control over workers, and the State to be subservient, and keep all carrots for them and give none, or as few as they can manage, to the masses.

      And this is what the eurocrats and EU-elites fear: a mass movement that will upturn the current power and distribution relationships. Of course, (neo)liberals forget that Popular Fronts and Fascism emerged precisely because they had utterly screwed up the economy (Great Depression of 1929-1939), and that they have been at it again at the latest since 2008 — busily destroying the welfare State, freeing themselves from regulations, and taking away all carrots from the population.

      1. Yves Smith

        Your formulation is imprecise enough to be misleading. Hitler was not democratically elected. He was appointed by von Hindenburg. The Nazi party was declining in popularity when that happened:

        ….in November 1932 the party seemed to be past its peak. The economy was recovering, and the NSDAP received 11% fewer votes than in the July elections earlier that same year.

        The conservative parties did not manage to win enough votes. They pressured president Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor. They hoped to form a majority cabinet with the NSDAP. The fact that they expected to use Hitler for their own agenda would turn out to be a fatal underestimation.

        30 January 1933 was the day: Von Hindenburg gave in and appointed Hitler chancellor.

      2. Planter of Trees

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, even if a couple historical details are off. The ruling class fear popular unity, and their consistent undermining of democracy and law speaks for itself.

    3. Polar Socialist

      And the same goes to the US, though fear of loss of absolute power instead of fear for survival surely is a factor

      That is actually well researched and documented regarding both the beginning of the Cold War and the NATO expansion. In both cases USA feared most that Europe would go it’s own way and become a rival.

      Even though some circles in USA wanted to form a sort of European Union already in the 1946, the fact that there actually was an emerging EU when Soviet Union first withdraw and then dismantled itself caused almost a panic in Washington: Europe with no more need for security guarantee from USA and common policies on the way was sure to become a new international power to replace Soviet Union. Especially with the newly united Germany likely becoming a new powerhouse.

      To put it shortly: if USA wanted to remain relevant in Europe after 1991, it had to push NATO eastward and prevent any European “security identity” from forming. In March 1992 USA started acting to converge EU expansion with NATO expansion. While State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs opposed, NSC, State Department Policy Planning Staff and U.S mission to NATO started talking about terms the new members would have to meet. As a preparation for NATO Oslo meeting in June 1992, US diplomats were directed to start talking about “opening NATO membership” and that”NATO should not remain a closed organization”.

      If there was a fear, it was a fear of collective security for Europe by Europe.

    4. Kouros

      Regardless if they are psychopaths or not, a comprehensive and finalized process of domestication/subjugation of humans necessitates full atomization of individuals. This is what is the loadstar of the elites and their acting representatives, the executive part of the PMCs.

      The final victory of the oligarchic system will be represented by the full atomization of the population, except their own caste.

    5. VietnamVet

      This is the crux of neoliberalism. It is the intentional fall back to the era of privilege but without any obligations. There is nothing of value except money. There is no much thing as society or cultural to protect. The legalization of drugs and gambling, the selling of sin to lower classes, has swept across North America — just as coronavirus did because pharmaceutical companies profited, public health was privatized, and proven non-pharmaceutical interventions forgotten.

      The tragedy is that mercenary armies cannot win world wars. When money and looting stops, mercenaries scatter leaving those who fight for god and family the victors. This is a multi-polar world once again. There is nothing Antony Blinken or Jake Sullivan can do to change this.

      The Axis of Resistance won. Will Israel and NATO accept defeat and the restoration of sovereign governments, a new Second Cold War with UN armistices/DMZs to preserve the peace or will the Northern Hemisphere become an irradiated wasteland?

  25. JBird4049

    >>>Meth, death and abuse: Inside the private security forces patrolling California’s homeless Cal Matters

    The housing crisis was not created by the local governments, but it provided lucrative monetary and political opportunities, which are too good to allow it to end. The article adds to that understanding.

    After looking at San Francisco and Los Angeles governments, I realized that much of the situation is a creation of the corruption, and the incompetence it engenders, with the actual homeless actually being the lesser problem. If the homeless actually got decent housing, most of the issues would be solved. If they could all receive the same healthcare that I have, iffy as it might be, even more would be solved. However, the federal and state funding for the homeless might be reduced, which would then threaten the slush funds and power base of local government and NGOs (often interlinked politicians and activist leaders), and that is a disincentive to solve the crisis.

  26. Kouros

    Only China is facing headwinds concerning population numbers (with or without war?

    Here is Taiwan:

    For China, a war with Taiwan would help rebalance the sex disparity in the population, with too many males compared with women.

    Also, while US is asking China to reign in Iran for escalating situation in ME, the whole world is asking the US to stop Israel in doing what is already doing.

  27. noonespecial

    The Hill link on FISA- from the link:

    “Section 702 of FISA allows the government to surveil only noncitizens located abroad. But in that process the government also intercepts incoming communications from Americans interacting with the foreigners being spied on.”

    NC comments on the US Constitution’s 4th Amendment are on point. However, looking at the Washington Times reporting on Friday’s vote, it looks like the security state gets the lay up for the win (me bolding):
    “The House voted Friday to renew the government’s most important spying tool without any major change, giving the country’s intelligence community the powers it wanted.…Lawmakers shot down an attempt to add a new warrant requirement before the FBI can scour the data looking for American citizens’ identities, with a majority of the House agreeing with intelligence officials that it would be too dangerous to make the government have to take that step.”

    Assume the full Congress and Prez sign off, would those originalists supremos rule that after consulting the founders’ ouija board, the folks in Utah’s data hoover center may have to transition to another job?

    1. JBird4049

      The Bill of Rights was created to protect Americans from their government. Somehow, it has reinterpreted by the judiciary to mean protecting the government from the people. Nobody says that of course, but this is what their actions say.

      Maybe they believe that “our democracy” does not mean our democracy, but it does means their democracy, which we aren’t a part of or wanted.

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