Links 5/19/2024

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio warns U.S. is ‘on the brink’ and estimates a more than 1 in 3 chance of civil war Fortune

Civil War taught how to influence news media. It nearly cost Lincoln re-election FOX. Worth a read.

How Government Helped Birth the Advertising Industry JSTOR Daily


Weather Like the Deadly Houston Windstorm Is Being Fueled in Part by Climate Change Bloomberg. Heard about Houston?


World’s Largest Forestry Offsets Project Has License Revoked Bloomberg. Wowsers. Could this whole carbon offsets thing be a scam?!

Menace on the Menu: The Financialisation of Farmland and the War on Food and Farming Countercurrents

Meet The Sámi Land Defenders of Scandinavia Atmos


Water firm ‘fallen short’ on parasite outbreak BBC


Prevalence and co-occurrence of cognitive impairment in children and young people up to 12-months post infection with SARS-CoV-2 (Omicron variant) Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. The Abstract: “12 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, around 7 % of children and young people report ‘brain fog’ i.e., cognitive impairment.” On the bright side, they’ll probably grow up to be libertarians….

Ambient carbon dioxide concentration correlates with SARS-CoV-2 aerostability and infection risk Nature. From the Abstract: “We show here that a significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 aerostability results from a moderate increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (e.g. 800 ppm), an effect that is more marked than that observed for changes in relative humidity. We model the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission on the ambient concentration of CO2, concluding that even this moderate increase in CO2 concentration results in a significant increase in overall risk. These observations confirm the critical importance of ventilation and maintaining low CO2 concentrations in indoor environments for mitigating disease transmission.” So, CO2 is not merely a proxy for the presence of the virus in shared air, but an actual risk factor.

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H5N1 doesn’t have to be a repeat of Covid-19’s ‘public health versus the economy’ STAT

Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Detected in Birds in New York City Science Alert. By citizen science!


China new home prices fall at fastest pace in over 9 years Channel News Asia

China’s ‘AI-in-a-box’ products threaten Big Tech’s cloud growth strategies FT

Great Green Wall Polycrisis

Vietnam nominates public security minister as new president Channel News Asia

The Koreas

‘My heart still hurts’: The personal sacrifice of revealing a K-pop scandal BBC

European Disunion

How Entanglement with China Erodes Germany’s Strategic Autonomy RUSI. Sheesh, China blew up the Nord Stream pipeline. What is Germany thinking?

* * *

Slovakia’s Fico ‘further stabilised’ after assassination attempt, judge rules suspect to stay in custody France24

The Drive for War Craig Murray. “Can you imagine the outrage and emotion that would have been expressed by Western powers if not Fico but a pro-Ukraine, anti-Russian leader within the EU had been attacked?”

Crosshairs New Left Review. On Robert Fico.

Russian Disinfo Campaign Blames Ukraine for Shooting of Slovakia’s Prime Minister Wired but Zelenskyy comments on Slovakian PM’s scorn for Slovaks who raised money for shells for Ukraine Ukrainska Pravda. Personally, since Ukraine says Russia did it, I assume Ukraine did it.


Pro-Israeli billionaires fuel NYC Mayor crackdown on Columbia students Al Mayadeen. “[S]ome members expressed willingness to fund private [Israeli?] investigators to aid the New York police in managing the protests, as indicated in the chat log.” Important.

Israel’s Gantz demands Gaza post-war plan, threatens to quit gov’t Al Jazeera

Israel on losing end in Gaza war: Former Mossad deputy chief Anadolu Agency

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Aid trucks roll across US military-built pier to Gaza for first time France24. Photo:

The trucks are half-empty (or, depending on your perspective, half-full). Why?

* * *

Yemen’s Houthis will target all ships heading to Israel, group says Reuters

How Tiny Djibouti Said ‘No’ to the U.S. Over Houthi Red Sea Attacks Bloomberg

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15 Witnesses, Three Confessions, a Pattern of Naked Dead Bodies. All the Evidence of Hamas Rape on October 7 Haaretz:

However, at Shura Base, to which most of the bodies were taken for purposes of identification, there were five forensic pathologists at work. In that capacity, they also examined bodies that arrived completely or partially naked in order to examine the possibility of rape. According to a source knowledgeable about the details, there were no signs on any of those bodies attesting to sexual relations having taken place or of mutilation of genitalia.

At the same time, because there were only five forensic pathologists at work, they managed to oversee the examination of a quarter of the bodies at most. In other words, about 75 percent of the bodies were buried without having undergone a professional examination.

Israel troops continue posting abuse footage despite pledge to act BBC

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s mobilization law comes into force as new Russian push strains troops ABC

Old men belong here. How Ukrainian Armed Forces have become 40+ age army and whether lowering mobilisation age will affect combat capability Ukrainska Pravda

The War in Ukraine is Over as Russia Has Destroyed Ukraine’s Army (interview) Jacques Baud, Dialogue Works

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Zelenskyy sees prospects for new Ukrainian counteroffensive Ukrainska Pravda

Key points from Zelensky’s interview to AFP Agence France Presse. Zelensky: “As for the aircraft, I say this openly, so that Russia does not have air superiority, our fleet should have 120 to 130 modern aircraft.” And a pony!

Ukraine Asks for U.S. Help in Striking Targets Inside Russia WSJ

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Russian court seizes millions of euros worth of German bank assets France24. Only millions?

To Run the World — Moscow’s quest for power and parity with the US FT

Global Elections

Controversy erupts over India’s electoral bonds, opposition calls it ‘world’s biggest scam’ Channel News Asia


Here’s how Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could make the first debate stage under stringent Biden-Trump rules Boston Globe

Trump demands Biden ‘drug test,’ rips ‘radical’ RFK Jr. in bid to ‘rebellious bunch’ at NRA FOX


The education of Lina Khan, whose superpower is busting monopolies WaPo

The Supremes

Consumers, Financial Services Win With CFPB Making Rules of Road Adam Levitin, Bloomberg

At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display NYT

Spook Country

‘I’m the new Oppenheimer!’: my soul-destroying day at Palantir’s first-ever AI warfare conference Guardian

Here’s How the CIA Plans To Use Your Ad Tracking Data Reason


WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces U.S. extradition judgment day Reuters. Let’s hope for a positive outcome.

Digital Watch

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info TechCrunch

Reddit goes AI agnostic, signs data training deal with OpenAI The Register. How long before Autocoprophagy takes over completely, and AI training sets -> bot Reddit posts -> AI training sets?

Groves of Academe


Police Tactics at Some Pro-Palestine Protests Ignore Past Lessons The Marshall Project


Magic Monetary Theory Goes Primetime (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, Racket News. Taibbi does great work, but this ain’t it: “I spent nearly ten years listening to people who in previous eras would have been wandering pantless in asylums insist the solution to all of earth’s problems could be graphed on a napkin” (i.e., the Laffer Curve). Fair as far as it goes, but the media critique isn’t the right tool for the job when evaluating scholarly work, which Kelton’s is and Laffer’s wasn’t. Taibbi should either study up or stay in his lane.

Sports Desk

Pickleball Courts in a Legal Pickle (press release) Acoustical Society of America

Zeitgeist Watch

Vatican revamps norms to evaluate visions of Mary; aims to combat hoax Business Standard

Feral Hog Watch

New Study: Canada’s “Super Pig” Invasion Likely to Spread into Northern U.S. Field and Stream

Imperial Collapse Watch

As American global hegemony ends, multi-alignment rises The Hill. Interesting to see in this venue.

It hurts, but it’s holy London Review of Books. Interpreting British imperialism.

Class Warfare

The End of Southern Anti-Union Politics Compact. But not so fast–

Mercedes workers in Alabama vote against joining UAW The Hill. Commentary:

How to find Your Local Wobbly History The Anarchist Library. Something to be said for paper storage. Anybody want to rewrite Ozymandias, but for post-collapse data centers?

Antidote du jour (via fveronesi1):

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. The Rev Kev

    “Civil War taught how to influence news media. It nearly cost Lincoln re-election”

    Of course it should be mentioned that Lincoln won re-election in 1864 and what pushed him over the line were the votes of the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. At face value it was expected that soldiers would not vote for him so that the war would end and they could all go home. Instead, those soldiers kept the faith and believed in their cause with nothing but disdain for the “Copperheads” who supported the cause of the South. They won on the political battlefield and then went on to win on the military battlefield.

    1. David J.

      I agree with the Rev and want to amplify a little.

      The Fox article is a two-fer, imo. First, it attempts to support the dubious narrative that “secret services” can highly influence an election by manipulating the press, and second, what author doesn’t want to take an opportunity to promote a book.

      That said, I’ll probably get the book and add it to these others in my library:
      – “Lincoln Spies” by Douglas Waller
      – “The Secret War for the Union: The Untold Story of Military Intelligence in the Civil War by Edwin C. Fishel”
      “- Gray Ghosts and Rebel Raiders” by Virgil Carrington Jones, as well as another of his books, “Ranger Mosby.”

      The point being, there are a number of books that cover this ground, so O’Donnell’s book may be a contribution to the literature, but it surely isn’t as unique as the promos claim.

      Further, I object to this claim by the author, found in the article: “In a master stroke in the summer of 1864, Sanders and the Secret Service set up a phony peace conference to trick Lincoln into admitting the war would not end until the Confederacy surrendered, and slavery was abolished.”

      Not sure that I have ever seen the Niagara Falls conference characterized as a special op before, and I would love to hear, in detail, the author’s proof. If it was, then somebody scooped it in the July 19th, 1864 edition of the New York Times, Headlined “Plots on Foot…”

      Now, Sanders was a spook, and you can read some of his correspondence with Greeley here, from the Richmond Dispatch.

      In sum, while the events took place, I’m not so sure that the O’Donnell’s article captures the entire context. Perhaps the book does. I’ll find out as this is an area of interest to me.

      And, as an aside, with reference to Gen. Early and his campaign which faltered on the outskirts of Washington D.C.: Shout out to Lew Wallace (of Ben Hur fame) for fighting a desperate delaying battle at the Monocacy which stymied Early. Wallace got a bad rap about his Civil War service, mostly thanks to Gen. Halleck’s dislike for the man. Three Hurrah’s for good ole Lew Wallace!

      1. scott s.

        Read something once, might have been a PhD dissertation, about influence operations set up in Canada for 1864. As I recall the author’s conclusion was that Davis gave kind of half-hearted support for it and it didn’t achieve what it might have had they gone all-in. I think he attributed it in part to Davis not being 100% on board, but also due to the nature of Confederate government which gave much more power to governors and Davis like Lincoln had not always good relations with their governors, but Davis lacked the means to leverage federal power against them.

        For his part Lincoln had a couple of tools to keep governors in line, in particular draft quotas, which were applied at the state level, and providing or withholding military forces for border areas, as Confederate raiding was an important issue for citizens in the border.

        1. David J.

          Montreal was an important station for the Confederate Secret Service. Some nasty stuff got run from there, including a raid into Vermont. Still, for the author to characterize this influence peddling among the Democrats and Copperheads is a bit like saying: “Water is wet.” What I want to know, both for circumstances then and now, is actual positive evidence that election tampering was as decisive as folks with an agenda make it out to be. I’m also interested in the extent of British/Confederate funny stuff collaboration, of which there was plenty, both based out of Montreal and in old Blighty itself.

          You make a good points on government relations. And Lincoln did not shy away from using his power, while David was mostly prone to fulmination at his inability to sway southern State governments.

      2. LifelongLib

        Grant was unhappy with Wallace’s performance at Shiloh, where thanks in part to miscommunication Wallace’s forces arrived on the battlefield several hours late. Wallace wasn’t gotten rid of but it did pretty much end his career progress. IIRC years later Grant conceded that he’d been unfair.

        According to his private secretary John Hay, Lincoln was generally disdainful of newspapers and seldom read any. Lincoln’s attitude was “I know more about that [any subject] than any of them [journalists]”.

        1. David J.

          As much as I like Grant–and that’s a lot–he kinda was unfair with subordinates at times. Used to ride Meade and his staff and Corps Generals a fair amount, too. But he unusually came around and had a particular sense of justice. I’ve always thought that the reason he was taken advantage of later in life, as President and post-President, was his willingness to trust some untrustworthy people, taking much at face value. Virtuous in life, but no so much in that subset of life called Politics!

          More On Wallace.

    2. Aleric

      There were plenty of copperheads in the North prior to the Civil War. I did some local history research in the 1850s St Paul Pioneer Press and came across a pro-lynching or pro-slavery editorial in nearly every copy.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Not only prior to but during and all throughout the war. Copperheads were ubiquitous in border states and regions, and numerous enough to be politically powerful constituencies in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and southern Ohio. Even Iowa, the most pro-Union state, had to supress Copperhead agitation early in the war.

        1. JBird4049

          There was also a large opposition in the South to the war either because of antislavery or anti-elite/wealthy/plantation class beliefs. The Civil War was not as regional as some believe.

  2. YuShan

    “China’s ‘AI-in-a-box’ products threaten Big Tech’s cloud growth strategies”

    In general (apart from AI), I find it weird that with all privacy concerns, monopolistic behaviour of Big Tech and capable hardware cheaper than ever, that there hasn’t been a move back to localised approaches.

    In the old days when hardware was expensive, you would have a large mainframe with terminals connected to it. This changed when PCs became affordable. Everybody bought their own computer and had everything under your own control. These were the happy times.

    But in the last decade we have come full circle. Now we are back to mainframes with terminals. Stuff that you thought you bought and owned is “in the cloud” and can be taken away from you. And your personal data is sold off.

    I hope “AI-in-a-box” will help reverse this centralisation. That you can again own your own stuff without Big Tech charging “rent” on everything and spying on you. We need to reject the cloud.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If present trends continue, we will be back to the bad old days where we will have a keyboard, a mouse and a dumb terminal which will, if the internet goes down, have the dual function of being a paperweight. I put the term “in the cloud” through a semantic analyzer and it translated as “your files on somebody else’s servers and out of your control”.

      1. yep

        The goal is to “own nothing and be happy”. If you own your files, you can’t be happy.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          Ditto power. Where I am the big energy retailers are trying to talk customers into buying batteries to store energy from their rooftop solar. And the deals are great, 25% off the battery cost and capped electricity costs for 12 months.

          There is only one catch. The fine print says that if you buy a battery from these bozos then the energy company controls the battery. It can drain it at any time it chooses, and cycle it however many times it chooses.

          So essentially, you are purchasing infrastructure for the big energy company you deal with, to use as they see fit. If they choose to drain your battery just before a big electricity outage, then you have no backup power and sucks to be you. And if they cycle the battery excessively and shorten its life by say 30%, then you get to buy them a new one.

          This is a “sustainability” initiative to create a Virtual Power Plant for your area, so the virtue is built in from day one.

      2. ChrisFromGA

        I think it is more likely that in about a decade, generative AI will be seen as just as big of a scam as the “metaverse.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          I fully agree with what you say. But by the time it is revealed as a scam, the smart people would have long ago sold their investments out to any gullible investors just like with a Ponzi scheme.

          1. John9

            I’m betting on us ending up with post collapse data centers once and in the future known as libraries.

            1. Lysias

              Most new books I read on my Kindle. But those books that particularly impress me, I make sure to get a hard copy of, even though I have already read them on the Kindle.

              I recently did this for Michael Collins Piper’s “Final Judgment”, which blames the JFK assassination on Israel and the Israel lobby. A work which is especially likely to be purged at some point.

            2. JBird4049

              Well, I support public libraries while I steadily increase the size of my own. I get why people want ebooks and streaming, but having it on your shelf ready for your hand is much more satisfying; I also seem to learn better as the physical tends to map more on to my memory.

        2. Bugs

          I give the AI hype cycle 2 years max. That means by next year it will have run its course and there will be a sorting out of the useful applications that remain. I keep a server at home with no exposed ports so I’m looking forward to trying out some of these tools on my own data. The work needed to get one up and running is too complex for my skillset at this point in the evolution.

      3. XXYY

        I don’t disagree with you, but once I spent about an hour talking to one of the IT people at my large company about this. To my surprise, he was very happy at the prospect of what was then called “software as service” (SAAS). His point was that maintaining an on-premise installation of some piece of software ended up being a huge burden for the IT department. They had to have one or more people dedicated to keeping the thing running, installing the most recent versions and updates, upgrading the hosting hardware, having good failover and backup arrangements, dealing with purchasing and contracts, and so on. Offloading this effort to the software manufacturer, or to someone else, had a big budgetary impact (a good one) for the IT department.

        He did not seem to be worried about the loss of control or sovereignty of the company’s data. This was probably tunnel vision on his part, but I admit he made a good argument for his position.

        1. LifelongLib

          The “cloud” is kind of where banks were c. 1930. Generally safer than keeping cash under your mattress (personal computing), but not adequately regulated to prevent users from losing everything or being taken advantage of.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            silly…but then, after chewin on it fer a minnit….oh, so apropos.
            of course, im of the bury it on the place somewheres school on all that.
            (4-6″ pvc, screw on ends….good for rifles, too(Amfortas muses about revinoors digging random holes and screwin around with ground pen tech in the pasture(i have no need, nor the back, to bury, gunz, dernit)))

        2. The Rev Kev

          But ‘keeping the thing running, installing the most recent versions and updates, upgrading the hosting hardware, having good failover and backup arrangements, dealing with purchasing and contracts, and so on.’ Isn’t that, well, his job? What they pay him to do? How can you have secure information if the company files are sitting on somebody else’s servers? If somebody online is doing that job, do you still have full situational awareness of what is going on around the place?

    2. digi_owl

      The shift to phones happened.

      Those were initially limited in terms of CPU, storage and battery. Thus offloading to a server was beneficial.

      these days though the specs of a phone can rival that of a laptop. Samsung even offer what they call Dex on their phones, where you can dock it to a larger screen, keyboard and mouse to get a desktop interface.

    3. NotThePilot

      It is an interesting thing, YuShan, and I suspect there’s something deeply cultural at play. Like do people intuitively see technology as something expansive with agency or more limited like a tool? Much of the current Western interest in AI, for or against, seems to come down to people placing their own hang-ups about “control” (or even a post-Christian, paternalistic “god”) onto the technology.

      Thus all the interest in giant server farms, large-language models, “smart” networks (don’t bother asking why scaling data fusion should be a magical exception to the law of diminishing returns). Maybe it’s something deeply Western, maybe it’s just consumerism & capitalism, or maybe it’s just our current moment. There are exceptions though; if UNIX-y software people had an official catechism, “first and foremost, technology should be a good tool” would be on the 1st page.

      I don’t know if Chinese technologists tend to see AI from a different perspective, but the isolated, narrow approach seems wise to me. Beyond reliability and better privacy (potentially, if the will is there), it arguably shows a better sense of where the current ML / AI methods are genuinely productive. While it may not impress tech journalists and VC bros as much, you can do a lot of potent things “close to the sensor”. AIs for computational problems with well-defined limits, like Google’s game players and protein-folder, are also hard to dismiss, even if just academic applications.

      1. Revenant

        VC bro here. Edge computing is already a thing. So is fog computing. But they all assume systems are taking their orders from the centre, which programmed the edge nodes in the first place even if it is not controlling them thereafter. Give me a CPU until the age of seven and I will show you the man etc.

        Only cloud computing of these has the scaling properties investors like though: one code base running on third party cloud computing infrastructure. The investor has to fund the development of the software and, if successful, pay marginal cost to the cloud infra providers. No large fixed cost of standing up a global “five 9’s” infrastructure.

      2. digi_owl

        It may well be that the 90s onwards saw a shift towards Deux Ex Machina as people’s spiritual needs were no longer fulfilled by old school religions. At least for those that didn’t dive head first into Wicca or Chaos Magic (perhaps laying the groundwork for the modern day identity circus).

        And while i do not know about the Chinese, i have long found it fascinating how the Japanese seem to have no problem embracing the idea of a machine spirit. Likely because Shinto allows for any object or place to develop a spirit with time. Thus one can find anime stories today involving spirits or AI that are effectively the same, sans some stage dressing.

  3. Samuel Conner

    > Taibbi should either study up or stay in his lane.

    I am always deeply disappointed when a writer whose work I appreciate turns out to not have enough curiosity (I assume that’s the problem, and not “lack of wit”) to understand a specific subject before writing about it.

    (OTOH, I’ve done this from time to time myself, in NC comments that turned out to be less than well-considered. I hope that Taibbi may reconsider. As MMT goes mainstream, will people who have previously publicly rejected it just “dig in”, or will some of them reconsider? We already know that a certain subset will grudgingly acknowledge its validity, assert that everyone has always known that, and that it doesn’t matter anyway.)

    1. YuShan

      I think MMT has been discredited. The basic idea was that if inflation goes out of control, the excess money would get taxed out of the economy. Well, MMT was implemented during/after the pandemic but of course nobody is going to raise taxes when the cost of living crisis hit (~20% inflation).

      So even though some aspects of it could work in theory, it is simply impossible to implement in practice, as we have seen. Much like communism could perhaps work in theory, but it has never been successful in practice.

      I think much of the population is now so traumatised by their loss of living standard caused by MMT-like policies that it won’t come back on the agenda anytime soon.

      1. Yves Smith

        Sorry, you have this wrong.

        1. MMT describes how things work under a fiat monetary system. Saying it has been discredited is like saying gravity has been discredited. The statement is non-sensical. Taxing DOES drain demand. You are trying to say that is not true? Lordie.

        2. MMT advocates additionally make policy recommendations but those are not central to how MMT works as a description of the system. Specifically, they argue for automatically countercyclical programs so that spending falls off in good times and increases in bad times. The job guarantee is a prime example but social safety nets in general operate that way.

        1. John9

          In the spring of 2010 there was an online economic teaching that explained MMT. I spent the next three weeks in headache inducing cognitive dissonance as I released all the common sense ideas I had previously held about money. I had never understood what a fiat is and how it differs from the gold back system previous to 1971.
          I recently saw a debate between Warren Mosler and some Austrian economic guy. Mosler explains how the misleading MMT got its name….not modern and not a theory. It a description of how fiat works.
          A bigger realization is that MMT does not determine the politics of fiat use.
          The US uses a lot of the power of fiat to make war and pay for corruption, not provide a better life for a majority of its citizens. How the fiat is spent? That is a political decision.

        2. simplejohn

          Yves always brings us back to earth. Long time subscriber who’s more than pleased.
          My first paid for blog was (and I still subscribe) Economics from the Top Down by Blair Fix.
          “But having a correct theory of money is a bit like having a correct theory of traffic lights. Traffic lights (like money) are a social convention.”
          This is the heart of MMT. Adding jobs and other functions are feature sprawl. Stephanie Kelton and some adjacent to MMT muddy the waters because it’s hard to earn a living just teaching one sentence.
          MMT doesn’t by itself cure anything. However, any economist who pretends there are forces other than political and any obstacles other than those that the bankers activate to skim is not seeing monetary mechanics as simply as it is.
          The greedy rich have spent hundreds of billions over the past century endowing economics departments and think tanks to tell us that there are currents in the monetary ocean that we can’t master, can only pray to survive when they mysteriously roil the seas.
          Modern economists say “Hooey,”
          All anyone ever does with money is move it either 1) to where it can inspire some human good or 2) into an account of someone who wants to control you and your neighbors.
          Money is much like blood.
          Animals have evolved homeostasis to where balance is almost always present and will be sought when not. There are seldom greedy organs demanding blood to the inflationary point that other organs are starved.
          Societies need econostasis which creating and taxing back money implement.
          Economic societies need econostasis where the political powers allocate as well as animal bodies do. Money delivering incentive to where it will likely do good. Greed attracting antibodies that cleanse the system of financial excesses.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            the blood thing is an interesting analogy, Simplejohn.
            ima buck Yves a lil, here…from the other day…by elucidating as best i can.
            i put Political Economy into the Humanities, because its Human.
            it aint a thunderstorm or a holy mountain…we made it,even though that idea has been lost down through the ages.
            i put anthropology, sociology, and even primatology in the same general section of my library….adjacent to the much more comprehensive comparative mythology section…which i also consider related,lol.
            ie: under Human Studies.
            far from now, cockroaches and hermit crabs will get together at the waters edge to discuss us.
            they will see things like capitalism, socialism, MMT and every damned thing else we obsess about as akin to jumping bulls in pre-Thera Crete.
            or the shaman climbing the tree, trippin balls, to fall out of said tree and into otherworld where he learns stuff.
            Tar Paper Shack on the Moon, and all…near the Mare Crisium, under the Hill of Picard.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Speaking of analogies and blood — with cancer and blood, there’s this thing called angiogenesis. Cancer is a lot like the vampire squid aspect of finance “capitalism.” Sneaky shit — able to fake out our immune systems, which daily recognize nasty evolutions of cell machinery, akin to the stuff that brought about Great financial Collapse. Cancer invents “legal-appearing” facades to hide behind, and goes about stealing resources and growing outrageously until it is either effectively treated or kills the host.

            And cancer, like the financial disease, has another nasty trick called angiogenesis — the ability to trick the victim into sending more and more of the gbody’s resources to the tumor. By a process of getting the body to build ever larger blood vessels to feed more energy (analogous to wealth/money?) to the diseased tissue, converting more and more of the body’s tissues to to cancerous horror.

            Not sure there’s a cure for the financial equivalent of cancer, such a various and novel set of diseases in both physiology and political economy, which take such a toll on so many people. I’m hoping maybe the Russians or Chinese maybe figure out how to tame the beast and keep it from spreading. For sure, a lot of Smart People are already figuring out how to game the oncoming financial Tower of Babel that might be a result of a BRICS currency and “trade” conducted in local currencies. Seems like lots of opportunities for arbitrage and moral hazard. As if there’s not enough of that in the world already.

            So far, the cures for cancer are often worse than the disease. Best to figure ou some way to avoid giving it a chance to start, or to encourage the process of carcinogenesis.

            But maybe I’m way off base in thinking there’s any meaningful analogy to be made between finance capitalism and cancer.

        3. djrichard

          Here’s a good example It’s behind a paywall, but the URL conveys the message.

          Of course the message doesn’t connect the dots correctly, but that’s easy to re-arrange. Basically Russia’s economy is running hot because of the war. And now they’re contemplating increasing tax rates to mitigate inflation. As far as I can tell this hasn’t happened yet. But once it does, it will be a good confirmation.

          I suspect they’re trying to avoid this via central bank mechanisms to tighten liquidity. That in itself would be an interesting topic for MMT mavens to tackle. Inflation from private debt creation (tethered by central bank liquidity) vs inflation from Fed Gov spending. Which has more of a inflationary effect? In my view, private debt creation is the real “force multiplier” when it comes to inflation. But in the case of Russia, I think iflation is mostly from Fed Gov spending on the war and it’s probably compounded by private debt creation. So for Russia to nip the inflation in the bud you need a combination of both central bank tightening as well as anti-stimulative effects by the Fed Gov (I.e. increased taxes).

          1. Glen

            Both Russia and China are going to have to spend money on their military, but it looks like both countries are taking action to ensure that military spending doesn’t consume their economies. Russia (or the USSR) has been in that trap before. Both countries are probably looking at the American government which spends over half it’s budget on a military which hasn’t won a war in a long, long time, and trying to avoid that trap too.(Where does all that money go?)

            My impression is they are trying to create a virtuous circle of investment to create something like Silicon Valley – initially created by military spending implementing new technology, but ultimately creating whole new technologies/industries for the private sector. The real secret to “winning” a Cold War is to have a healthy middle class with a good life – something America and the EU seem to have forgotten.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              like the reverse order of what FDR’s ambitions ended up as.
              with wartime spending driving a domestic economy into productive future, instead of into just more war to keep the plates spinning for our oligarch’s sole benefit.

              i hope just half of Xi’s and Putin’s rhetoric is true…and proved out.
              it would make for a better world, i think.

          2. ilsm

            Too much spending on the military is negative on the economy. The only conditions that warrant expanding the war economy is existential threat.

            Russia faces such challenges so that war spending is justified, unlike the USA!

            Russia being resource rich with a balanced economy can deal with war spending for a time. Russian FX is in good shape via a vis USA, anyway.

            Relating to PRC military expansion, it has grown rapidly within a tight range of percent GDP.

            One advantage both have over US MIC is the word corrupt is available in relations with their war establishments.

    2. GramSci

      IMHO, Taibbi has discovered that he gets more money from Shellenberger’s side of the aisle. I paid him for his first year on substack and that was it.

      1. Donald

        That’s exactly what I was going to say. Well, I wasn’t going to say “ Shellenberger”, but yes. I subscribed for a year, and initially was pleased, but he panders to the Covid skeptics and last summer made fun of people who were disturbed by the smoke from the Canadian forest fires— mocking concern about the effects of climate change goes over well with most of his subscribers. Early in the Gaza War he did a bit of media criticism— he jumped on the press for initially blaming the Israelis for bombing the hospital ( I forget which one since they have all been partially destroyed or worse). Okay, but if he is going to talk about Gaza and the press, I would hardly say the main problem is bias against Israel.

        To be fair I think he also criticizes the suppression of free speech on all sides, but based on the comment section the majority of his subscribers are rightwingers who are pleased a leftwing journalist echoes most of their concerns about liberals. Which is fines as far as it goes, but I don’t recall reading any piece he wrote which made them upset. So I stopped subscribing.

        1. Keith

          Taibbi & Walter Kirn are happy to mock and criticize college students protesting Gaza yet offer no real commentary on Gaza itself. It is disappointing to see folks I generally like get sidetracked with low stakes symptoms of much larger and important structural problems that get ignored.

          1. JBird4049

            They seem to be free speech absolutists being happy to mock and criticize the excessive reaction of the government and especially school administrators to the protests; their alarm over the increasing censorship, repression, and the growth of the security state is real and general, not party or ideology specific.

          1. Donald

            It isn’t. Greenwald heavily criticizes Israel and its defenders and he infuriates the conservatives who like him when he ridicules liberals and Russiagate.

            I wish Taibbi were more like that.

    3. Terry Flynn

      Well said. I have an 85%/15% academic/private sector background and one of the best lessons I learnt was what I *didn’t* know. That didn’t stop me from sounding off on subjects outside my lane on occasion (with the appropriate slap-down from those who knew better). However, I increasingly notice two worrying things:

      1. People in the know – primarily but not exclusively academics – who won’t stay in their lane and who are too arrogant to recognise the limits of “their” paradigm and how it might not carry over to the area they want to talk about.

      2. The increasing influence these people have, given a critical failure in general discourse to be able to spot when the academic is straying from their lane and isn’t acknowledging their limitations. The “degree as indicator of rigour in analysis etc” model is gone. The degree is now increasingly just an indicator of money, and/or an ability to reinforce the status quo in ways that might be extremely dangerous for society.

      The ossification of discourse and the lack of knowledge (going below a critical threshold in terms of ability to question concepts and quickly interrogate data) is something I have seen in General Practitioners qualifying since around 2000. I’m non-clinical but med stats/health economics were what I taught med students from 1999 and I was shocked. However, I couldn’t be too smug. Objectively, my UK A levels in Mathematics and Further Mathematics of 1991 were demonstrably weaker than those of someone in 1981: in practising for Further Mathematics, our “past papers” from pre early 1980s were all papers from SINGLE mathematics – ergo a bunch of important stuff had been relegated from single maths to further maths (taken by small proportion of people and very very few people who went on to be medics).

      1. Retired Carpenter

        Terry Flynn,
        re: “People in the know – primarily but not exclusively academics – who won’t stay in their lane”

        Good point. Perhaps, in addition, quite a few powerful “experts” who are supposedly “in the know” are either ignorami in their own area and/or proven liars. “Fauci”, “Nudelman”, “Blinken”…their names are legion. As far as staying “in their lane”, I have walked off several jobs where the homeowner, usually well credentialed and always well-to-do, decided to supervise my (custom) cabinet installation. After all, they are “masters of the universe” and we exist to “serve”.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Yep. Can totally empathise. Dad still runs a company doing Japanese Shoji panels and blinds. He has loads of votes of confidence from Japanese immigrants (who in fact love it that he uses a stronger cat-proof and infant-proof material rather than traditional washi paper but which can fool their elderly traditional parents).

          However, there are always certain clients (usually “supposedly clever”) who know better. Thankfully people like the Ambassador to the UK from a major EU power is self-effacing and loves Dad’s stuff and trusts Dad to get it right. Dad still laughs that the Ambassador (accidentally) when getting Dad’s personal number, laughed that his “too clever by half phone” almost gave Dad the contact details of the head of a major security service in Europe, who it turns out is next to Dad in the alphabet. If I name the service I’ll end up on a list so don’t ask.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Jabura you may well be right. I am honest enough to admit I’ve suffered from it.

        2. ChrisPacific

          It’s a special case where it interacts with the halo effect. If people are extremely good at one particular thing (world class athletes, Bill Gates, Elon Musk etc.) we have a tendency to assume that their opinion on everything is worth listening to. Words like ‘genius’ encourage this kind of fallacy. Possibly as a result of consistently receiving that kind of feedback, the individuals end up believing that themselves (the Dunning-Kruger part).

          We end up with scenarios like Ronaldo hawking crypto products, Bill Gates being quoted as an ‘expert’ on climate change etc. when there’s no reason to believe those people have any insight or expertise at all in that area.

      2. Revenant

        Terry, when you were Cam-adjacent, did you realise that NatSci teaches Part IA Maths and, in the alternative, Maths for Biologists. :-) Count the number of kegs and divide by four…?

        (I know mathematical biology is actually hardcore but the Maths for Biologists class is not training the next population geneticists: I have a friend with a first class Natsci physics degree who is an evolutionary geneticist and gets to exercise his maths chops daily).

        Anyway, my point is that nobody ever breathed what gets taught for maths in MedSci! I know that one can take all the required Medsci preclinical courses in NatSci except Anatomy so I assume darkly that they all do Maths for Biologists….

        1. Terry Flynn

          Thanks Revenant. I was darkly amused at Cambridge when someone I knew from school, after comparing notes, admitted that the “mathematical economics” unit of the Economics degree was (in some key areas) more advanced than the Mathematics Tripos!

          However in hindsight I’d have happily sacrificed some of that time to be taught more stuff about sectoral balance sheets etc. My Director of Studies desperately spent the last 5 minutes of every supervision trying to get us to recognise that the first 55 minutes (for “the exam”) was total rubbish.

          He was MMTer before MMT was a thing. Interestingly he was a very old school SNP supporter.

    4. Socal Rhino

      The most common comments I see on MMT are of the “magical” variety, but there have been plenty that argue that MMT just rehashes things economists already knew, so “nothing new here.” And with a few exceptions, I see straw man arguments and a lack of good faith. To me, this smells of rice bowls being protected.

      1. NotThePilot

        I think this is the one (unfortunate) downside of MMT’s increasing visibility; a lot of people on all sides misunderstand or misconstrue it as something more unrealistic. The qualification that society’s real economic capacity imposes real limits gets dropped a lot, or capacity is massively overestimated, which leads to the same magical thinking.

        The “modern” part is definitely ironic though because aspects of MMT have been around a very long time. One example I know of is when Frederick II of Swabia just had a bunch of leather coins stamped on-the-fly during the Seige of Faenza. The Guelphs thought his soldiers would mutiny because “the Holy Roman Emperor can’t just generate money out of his own authority.”

        Ron Howard narration: “The Holy Roman Emperor did, in fact, generate money out of his own authority.”

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      “Just as a six becomes a nine, when we view it from a different angle, a government deficit becomes a financial surplus,” she [Kelton} says.

      When the explanation of your ideas involves turning a 6 upside down to get a 9, you should probably expect some skepticism.

      1. urdsama


        But when nation states do this as part of routine policy and governance, I’m not sure it’s much of a stretch.

      2. DavidZ

        I think what Kelton was saying is a person can see different things from another angle.

        Everyone seems to be surprised by the strength of the US economy recently, IMO it’s mostly to do with the deficit spending by the govt. Same reason why the USA did way better than the EU after the GFC.

        Govt deficit = people & corporation’s surplus (which is what Kelton is trying to explain). If the govt doesn’t spend, no income for people and corporations.

      3. djrichard

        I wonder if it would have helped the video if they referred to the kalecki levy profit equation Because that’s the equation that ultimately provides the basis for this message that Taibbi is ridiculing. In particular, it’s the Dg variable (scroll down the link) which stands for government deficit. It’s one of several nation-wide variables that contributes to nationwide “profit”. I can imagine the producers thought they could have the conversation without referring to the math. I guess Taibbi needs to see the math.

        So I’ve been posting on Taibbi’s substack thread that capitalists rely on this very math as part of their economic forecasting. So people need to discredit the math if they want to discredit the message. Sarcastically suggesting they scrub that Dg variable from the wiki entry. What’s particularly shocking to me is that I seem to be the only one who’s noting this in the comments. It’s one thing to elide this conversation in the video. It’s another to not furnish it as evidence when challenged.

        By the way I purchased and watched “Finding the Money”. And while I saw the part about flipping the graph upside down, more than once, I didn’t actually see anybody say “just as six becomes nine …”. Maybe I missed it.

    6. flora

      My comment will make me anathema, but here goes:

      I found Tiabbi’s article refreshing. The subtext , imo, to the opening question “when asked to explain why government borrows its own currency to pay bills.” is a question about fiat currency (which MMT does explain) coupled with a private banking consortium – The Federal Reserve – doing the printing and the loaning and charging interest, which the US govt Treasury could do itself and cut out the private middleman, the profit taking Fed. MMT doesn’t explain the usefulness of a private outfit charging a vig to the govt for the use of the govt’s own money. That’s a significant problem, imo. A private banking outfit loans money to the govt and charges interest on the loans. The govt doesn’t need the middleman to print and distribute money, the Treasury used to do that before the Fed existed and could do so again, and save us a lot of money. The private bankers that run the Fed wouldn’t like that one bit. / ;) (I’m leaving unsaid stuff about the petro dollar and the dollar’s world reserve currency status commanding a premium, which the US is slowly losing by financialing the dollar and its new REPO act, it seems.)

      ( I’m ready to duck the rotten tomatoes coming this way. heh)

      adding: CBDC’s are the ultimate private corp control of a govt’s money.

      1. Yves Smith

        The government does not borrow money to spend. Treasury debits its account at the Fed and then issues bonds later. The bonds are a political holdover from the gold standard era.

        And the Fed is not private! If Taibbi said that he is really full of shit.

          1. drive-by writter

            From your link:

            The Federal Reserve Banks are not a part of the federal government, but they exist because of an act of Congress. Their purpose is to serve the public. So is the Fed private or public?

            The answer is both. While the Board of Governors is an independent government agency, the Federal Reserve Banks are set up like private corporations.

            It goes on to list differences, but the FED isn’t a private bank nor a collection of private banks, it’s a serious mistake to say that

      2. djrichard

        Hi Flora,

        I think the video could have benefitted if they referred to how this operated when the Fed Gov was using the Lincoln Greenback during the civil war. Which was a bonafide government currency – not a bank note of some private bank (nor central bank for that matter). So the Fed Gov didn’t need to apriori acquire the currency (through taxes or bond issuance) – the Fed Gov simply printed what it needed. That said, the Fed Gov still issued bonds. It was a win/win. It allowed the Fed Gov to recycle the currency out of the economy, out of the strong hands that had nothing better to do with the currency than to swap it for Fed Gov bonds. So those strong hands could hoard treasuries instead of currency and in turn get a yield. And by recycling the currency, that allowed the Fed Gov to keep the “float” of the currency at a relatively fixed basis. That is, it allowed the Fed Gov to generally stick to “sterilized” spending where it wasn’t increasing the float and therefore keeping the value of the currency stable.

        No different than how it operates today. Except that now the Fed Gov is forced to engage in sterilized spending as it no longer is using its own currency but the Federal Reserve’s (to your point). Even so, the “vig” as it were goes to the strong hands who have swapped their currency hoards for treasuries. But if you think about it ultimately those strong hands pay for the vig as well. Because as treasuries mature, the Fed Gov needs to roll those treasuries over (in general the Fed Gov perpetuates the debt rather than paying it down). To roll the debt, the Fed Gov must first issue new bonds plus whatever vig/interest needs to be paid out. And once it swaps that for currency, it then uses that currency to pay out on the treasuries that matured. The thing is, it’s basically the same parties – the strong hands that have nothing better to do with the currency than to swap it for Fed Gov bonds. They’re the ones buying the new bonds to retire their existing bonds that have matured, in the process providing the currency needed to cover the vig as well.

        1. flora

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I disagree slightly with your second para about the “strong hands” at the Federal Reserve banks being no different from the strong hand in Lincoln’s day in terms of their reach and influence and their composition. The best example, though you might not see the comparison I’m making, with regard to privately owned central banking and unfettered money printing – or credit expansion, if you like – and the effects that can have on a country is this old movie “Princes of the Yen.”

          The movie starts slowly with WWII and a lot of biographical information unimportant to its main point. The point does come through. Based on the book by Prof. Richard Werner. Unfettered money printing is a trap. The parallels are interesting. utube, ~ 1hr, 30+ minutes.

          Princes of the Yen | The Hidden Power of Central Banks

          1. djrichard

            Thanks Flora. By strong hands I didn’t have the Federal Reserve principally in mind. While the Federal Reserve does have a large balance sheet built up of treasuries, that’s not because the Fed Reserve is operating like the other treasury buyers. Other treasury buyers are ending up with a lot of currency in their hands because they hoover it up from the economy. They’re selling goods, services, loans and interest-yielding assets. Or in the case of international trading partners like China, they’re swapping the local currency for US currency to help peg their currency to be perpetually cheaper than the US dollar. In contrast, if the Federal Reserve ends up “hoovering” any currency out of the economy as part of routine running of fractional reserve banking, that’s not a good thing, that means their liquidity pump is running in reverse and the currency is deflating. They want the opposite, the float of their currency to be perpetually inflating. Hence their pushing on the rope with QE and putting treauries on their balance sheet.

            “Prince of the Yen” was a foundational video for me, can’t praise it enough. So was Zarlenga’s book “The Lost Science of Money”. As well as many of the articles on Naked Capitalism, particularly by Michael Hudson.

            I agree “unfettered money printing”, private debt, is the more fundamental source of our woes. But this isn’t the battle that the MMTers are trying to fight. So for instance, there’s nothing in their video about nationalizing banking or going to 100% reserve banking system or going back to a Lincoln greenback type currency. Withstanding that even just a more governed window system like what the central bank of Japan was doing before they went rogue. The Swiss had a referendum on a variant of nationalization if memory serves and it was hard to even get agreement on this web site in favor of what that referendum was suggesting. But all in good time. At this point, I think it’s more important that MMTers win their battle. Cheers!

            1. flora

              Thanks again. There’s a great deal in the video about creating a financial crisis in order to change the entire Japanese economic paradigm and structure by intentionally creating a bubble, aka economic crisis.

              Now what in the West is a new economic paradigm Central Banks seem moving toward? The rollout of CBDCs? How would MMT facilitate that transformation? I don’t know. My – what is it called (?) – my spidey sense pricks up when the powers that be are suddenly promoting MMT. This indicates to me it’s become a political question more than a financial question.

              So, I must agree to disagree with you about MMT, and disagree always on the friendliest of terms.


      3. fjallstrom

        MMT doesn’t explain the usefulness of a private outfit charging a vig to the govt for the use of the govt’s own money.

        I don’t think it needs to, because it isn’t useful. If we correct this to looking simply at the printing of bonds (after spending money into the economy) sold to banks, it isn’t useful for society at large, it is useful for banks. It might be useful to society at large, if the banks in turn are useful to society at large.

        If my memory serves, the french government used to borrow directly from its central bank.

        Issuing bonds to the general public or corporations can be useful if the government wants to postpone demand. For example US during world war II issued war bonds were savings and profits could be parked to grow into more demand after the war (so it was patriotic to buy them, but not because the government needed your dollars).

        MMT is useful here because it helps us understand what is necessary (for example soaking up demand during a war) and what isn’t necessary, in this instance the government borrowing money from banks. That can in turn form the basis or political demands, like making banking boring again.

        1. Yves Smith

          Treasury bonds are extremely valuable. They are a risk free asset. They are a vehicle for private sector saving. Their pricing serves as the foundation for valuation of investments all over the world (at least assets that are priced analytically). Interest is the time value of money.

  4. Benny Profane

    “The trucks are half-empty (or, depending on your perspective, half-full). Why?”

    Weight limits on that stupid pier?

    1. The Rev Kev

      No, no, no. I bet you that it is for reasons of Occupational Health & Safety.

    2. Art_DogCT

      I think it’s to do with sea and weather conditions. A recent article about the pier said that parts of it couldn’t be assembled in place due to wind and waves – I think it was the causeway portion – so it had to be assembled in a more sheltered location and towed. I think the trucks are half loaded and the sides rolled up so there’s less risk of a truck being blown over or overboard, the prevailing winds being routinely perpendicular to the pier/causeway.

      1. rob

        I agree, my guess would also be that loading the trucks to to top makes them top heavy. A lower center of gravity could keep the truck from tipping and taking the pier with it. Also agree with the taking down of the sails/sides.
        I would also imagine that if on the other end of that pier there is no forklift or other to help unload…. stacking things on other things would mean it is more difficult to unload,

      2. El Slobbo

        Yes, sea and weather conditions must be the reason. Too bad there isn’t a road from Egypt where these trucks could come through fully loaded.

    3. R.S.

      I’d say open trucks with no racks, they can’t stack the pallets. Also, loading and unloading a truck like those on the photo is simple. You need just some guys with fork jacks, no special lifts or loaders.

    4. tegnost

      could be weight, wind sail, ease of unloading,or some combination thereof
      Look how calm the water is.
      Obviously the pier is necessarily a one way street, which adds complications…

      1. digi_owl

        In the end it is just more kayfabe by Biden and Bibi.

        Though i’ll admit that i am surprised to see the pier in operation at all.

        Fully expected it to be stalled eternally on a litany of technicalities.

      1. Bsn

        Speaking of optics, the pictures I’ve seen of the “port” show a huge dirt berm surrounds the landing/loading area. No roads lead away form the staging area.

        1. GF

          Going from 500+ pre-war 40 ton trucks a day (~20,000 tons) to 500 tons in ?? days sounds like starvation rations to me.

    5. Randall Flagg

      As the great George Carlin said of a half empty or full glass of water, they’re just improperly sized trucks.
      Can’t link it at the moment.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I never knew George Carlin said this. I claim ( with zero possibility of proof) that I invented a version of it in the form of a saying . . .

        The optimist says the glass is half full.
        The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
        The engineer says the glass is 50% too big.

        ( Someone pointed out that technically I should have said ” the glass is 100% too big” and that I got the arithmetic wrong. I replied that I am not an engineer and my version sounds more humorous/informative to my fellow layfolk).

        I would sometimes use that aphorism to lead up to a political joke which I also believe I invented.

        The Conservative sees a homeless triple amputee and says: ” Why don’t you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps?”
        The Liberal sees a homeless triple amputee and says: ” I can get you some benefits if you could lose that other hand.”

        1. Revenant

          The optimist says the glass is half full.
          The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
          The nativist says immigrants drank our water
          The globalist sells the glass to China and acquires a San Pellegrino concession
          Matt Taibbi says that MMT means we can live by drinking our own urine
          Stephanie Melton says that actually in a microeconomic sense sectoral balances require the government to pee before we can drink water
          Bill Mitchell says the same but with a jobs guarantee.

        2. Randall Flagg

          I have to correct myself, George Carlin stated the glass is twice as big as it needs to be

          >The Conservative sees a homeless triple amputee and says: ” Why don’t you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps?”
          The Liberal sees a homeless triple amputee and says: ” I can get you some benefits if you could lose that other hand.”
          That pretty much nails it…

  5. Trees&Trunks

    Ray Dalio – just another parasite billionaire. His idea: just suck out the profits of the still living parts of the US, like the vampire he is, abandon the rest, move your money out of the country. I bet he has strategies profiting from civil war.
    Billionaires are a system error.

    1. tegnost

      Ray figured when the wall street took over the dem party that globalism (we already took over the world) was locked in based on the bill clinton prophecy of “where are they going to go?”.
      I’ve had to endure some pretty ridiculous dinner table convos with the pmc, I say what is the exact mechanism that trump will use to become king? Who chooses the barrons…oops I mean barons and earls? What about the wee problem that most dc apparatchiks (vindeman and etc…) are dems, do they just roll over?
      Heads explode.
      Ray is talking his book, to no sensible persons surprise…

    2. griffen

      I worked ~20 years ago for a fixed income investment manager, as in prior to the GFC and all the wondrous aftermath of it. Thanks Obama, Eric and Timmy for foaming that runway! \sarc

      The words I used to frequently hear from higher ups there, at that time, many times such commentary is likely helpful to how one’s investment portfolios are already configured. Also, if you’re reading about it today in the WSJ or in Barron’s you’re late already.

      If he’s talking about it now, Dalio isn’t putting these positions in place next week. To state the obvious for those less interested or less familiar, he is very likely talking up his book. Billionaires aren’t always or exclusively lining up with the Republicans. My best guess is that Dalio leans into the Democratic party ( maybe not with the Squad as it were ).

    3. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      “Billionaires are a system error.”

      Brilliant. And original, I suspect.

      Can I use it on a bumper sticker for my jalopy?

    4. urdsama

      Far from being a system error, they are the desired outcome of neoliberal capitalism.

      Now in terms of sustainability and long-term stability, yes.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “How Entanglement with China Erodes Germany’s Strategic Autonomy”

    The author – Andraes Fulda – should be writing for the American Enterprise Institute rather than the RUSI. What he calls ‘entanglement’, the rest of the world calls international trade. And right now, Germany needs to do as much as it can – and China is their best hope. Through sanctions blowback and the NS2 bombing, they have cut themselves off from cheap energy as well as the Russian market. They are hemorrhaging corporations and firms at an alarming rate and are taking on military obligations with cheques that they will not be able to cash. And this guy Fulda says to finish the job and have Germany cut themselves off from the Chinese market as well. I went to look at this author’s background and it is kinda bleak. He went from University to university and I see no sign of working in the private sector to get a dose of realty. But more to the point, I see no assignments in China or study there so I think that I will save some money and not buy his book which he keeps plugging in this article-

    1. CA

      “How Entanglement with China Erodes Germany’s Strategic Autonomy”

      This is writing modeled on German writing of the middle 1930s. That there should be a British or German audience for such strategically and culturally antagonistic thinking and writing is distressing.

    2. CA

      May 16, 2024

      How Entanglement with China Erodes Germany’s Strategic Autonomy
      By Andreas Fulda

      Strategic blindness in Germany’s approach to China has led to mounting costs in terms of national sovereignty, economic independence and civil liberties. Disentangling from Beijing will not be easy, but the benefits will outweigh any short-term difficulties…

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    Pope Francis and apparitions of Mary, Mother of God. News you can use. Business Standard. (From the Business Standard?)

    Here in the Chocolate City, Mary, Mother of God, has all of the truly important churches. Above the city, the Basilica of Superga towers, often glowing in the sunlight. It commemorates when one of the Savoys asked Herself in 1706 not to let the French conquer the Chocolate City. And so she did.

    What’s remarkable is the constant “eruptions” of divinity (rather than dogma, which is a bunch of shreds of theories held together by Scotch tape and sealing wax).

    At the church of the Consolata, a people’s basilica, one can admire the many ex voto. Mary, the Mother of God, was / is constantly helping people through surgeries, pulling them out from under trams, saving them from rockfalls, and returning them from wars. (And then one goes to the caffè across the piazza for a bicerin.)

    And I write this as a bad Catholic and a bad Buddhist. Further, Francis himself has taken the name of the great Boddhisattva of Catholicism, the leading Sufi teacher, Francesco di Assisi, who is still very much alive in Italy. There are regular peace pilgrimages to Assisi. One contemplates what all of this is about.

    A list:

    And I’d also like to remind you of the acheiropoieta, divinely-sparked images in Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism. (Reminds me of xoana and the many sacred statues in ancient Greece):

    And now, after a touch of contemplation of the divine, I return you to your regularly scheduled programming of Trump, Biden, Hillary, and RFKJr snarling at each other…

    1. Eclair

      The immigrant population, especially the Irish, of our US east coast industrial city had a mad devotion to Mary in the years before and after WW2. Catholic parishes held dueling May Processions on a chosen Sunday in May, with little girls dressed in white and favored older girls garbed in flowing robes, as various representations of The Virgin.

      Our Lady of Fatima was a special favorite, perhaps due to her insistence that Russia be ‘consecrated’ to her Immaculate Heart, although the Russians had no say in this matter apparently. One year, I held the role of Lucy, one of the three children to whom Mary appeared, in our parish procession. The nuns had sussed out that my mom was a talented seamstress and she sewed new ‘Portuguese Peasant’ costumes for the children, as well as a splendid robe for Mary. I suspect that’s why I was awarded the honor of being Lucy.

      The year I was in fifth grade in our parish school, 1950, the nuns unveiled a foot-high statue of Our Lady of Fatima, standing on the semi-circle of the world, which cunningly opened up to reveal a storage space for a specially-blessed set of rosary beads. Each week, one child was awarded the privilege of taking home the statue, with the admonition that every night for seven nights, the family kneel in front of the statue and ‘pray the rosary.’ All for the ‘conversion of Russia.’

      I was horribly conflicted. My father was a ‘heathen’ who refused to attend Mass. No way was I going to get him to kneel in front of a plastic statue for seven nights and spend 15 minutes mumbling Hail Mary’s, while reflecting on the Sorrowful, Joyful, and Glorious Mysteries and demanding that the Russians pay fealty to the Pope, and not some heretical Orthodox imposter. So I lied to the nuns. And never confessed the lie. And that was probably the beginning of my sneaking suspicion that we really should not be messing about with the belief systems of other nations.

      1. EMC

        Well, Lucy, I went straight to Lucy pulling out the football from under Charlie Brown, and having made it to the end of your post, I wasn’t wrong. She was one of my childhood heroes. A cynical ex-Catholic, no part of my Catholic childhood was fun. I don’t recall a cult of Mary in our Irish/Italian Catholic neighborhood, there was just a Mary in every family, and at least a third of the students in every classroom shared the name. Cult enough for me. At an age entirely too young I rejected the mumbo jumbo we had to repeat as nonsense having no relevance to my life. And the notion we try to influence our parents religious behavior was simply preposterous.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        Great story, Eclair. As kids, we would have been jealous knowing about your access to the plastic Mary. Mother made the whole family kneel on the scratchiest wool carpet ever to say the Sorrowful, Joyful and Glorious because of the directive from the pulpit.

      3. CA

        “The immigrant population, especially the Irish, of our US east coast industrial city had a mad devotion to Mary in the years before and after WW2…”

        What a stunning experience and comment.

      4. JTMcPhee

        I’m reading in the “pro-Russian” and Russian-source publications that there’s no love lost between the Roman church and the Russian/Eastern Orthodox. A lot of work by the notoriously perverse Roman See to try to force the Papacy of Rome back over the whole Slavic world, and beyond. And the Roman Church has such a nice set of priests, who claim vows of poverty and celibacy but apparently not chastity. The Catholic believers in Baltimore are particularly beset just now, per articles in the Baltimore Sun, seeing the huge judgments and settlements that Diocese (and many others) have had to pay out to victims of perverse priests, seeing many of their parishes, for many the root of their communities, shuttered and sold and forcibly combined with other parishes with different social systems. Just amazing that anyone still goes to Mass — where do they get enough untainted priests to preach and administer the sacraments? A realistic question, given how the Church has so carefully fostered a perverted priesthood and concealed and continued the worst sorts of betrayals of faith, apparently right up to the present.

        I’m a lapsed Protestant — tried various denominations, discovered that hypocrisy and factionalism and a preference for the myths and signs of the Old Testament in liturgy and preaching were way more universal than adherence to what I at least understood, from the interpretation offered by that great proto-Madison Avenue man “Saint” Paul and whoever authored the Scriptures, was the message of Jesus. Plenty of Protestant preachers are Jimmy Swaggarts and Anal Robertses and Jim Bakkers and Joel Osteens, and growing up Presbyterian, there was pedophilia and adultery in the church I attended. Not to mention that Communion had to be grape juice, so as not to place temptation in the path of the current or reforming alcoholics in the congregation.

        I just refreshed my recollection on the Hebrew writing of the tale of Abel and Cain, and how YHWH punished Cain for killing his brother out of jealousy (YHWH allegedly preferred Abel’s burnt offerings to Cain’s, what kind of god does that very human thing?) and then lying to YHWH when the Almighty confronted Cain. And Cain whined that the punishment of having to wander and work hard to survive was more than he could take, and that people would kill him as a murderer (“eye for an eye” justice) so YHWH relented, forgave Cain, and “put a mark or sign on him” so that no one would harm him. Maybe the priests and preachers think they are the heritors of Cain, forgiven by YHWH and marked so they would not suffer any consequences.

        Never sampled Orthodox Church — lots of schism and faction there too, it seems. But maybe they at least got the part about the idiocy of that vow of celibacy right, allowing their priests to marry, and thus maybe reducing the drives that result in assaults on altar boys and girls. I guess I’ll never find any kind of absolutes or revealed truths in “established religion—“ looks like even the Buddhists and of course the Hindus and animists of all types do murder, rape and torture, the world being what it apparently actually is.

        Dang it.

        1. Eclair

          JT, as a ‘lapsed Protestant,’ do you not, by default, become a ‘UU’ (Unitarian-Universalist?). :-)

          Anyway, I am glad I moved on from the rigid theology of my girlhood, as the Church hierarchy would have sternly dissuaded me from reading the comments of a …. gasp …. Protestant. And, I do enjoy your comments.

          I will confess now that it was not really any point of doctrine (and I was already ‘gone’ by the time of the clergy sex scandals) that made me ‘lose my Faith,’ but the insistence that boys were superior to girls, simply because God was a boy. I looked around at my grubby 10 year old male classmates and thought, nah, I can’t buy that one. Oh, and the solemn assurances that fairies were purely mythical creatures, while angels, also with wings and invisible, were ‘real.’

          I get the same weird feelings recently when our politicians and billionaires and MSM presenters assure us that what we are seeing is not real.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hmmm. No wonder they arrested the wife on day one. It would not be the first time that Ukrainian intelligence has recruited people in other countries, including Russia, to perform murders and sabotage for them. The Russians just arrested a young couple a coupla days ago for attempting to blow up a railway in Crimea. But to do so for the actual leader of an actual country is really getting ambitious. I don’t think that that has happened for decades. Of course, looking at western reactions over the past two years, I think that they will give the Ukrainians a free pass if they were found guilty of doing this, even if this opens the way for more political assassinations of even some western leader-

      1. hk

        You know, Slovakia is a NATO member and Ukraine is not. An Intel agency attempting assassination on the leader of government is a warlike act. I wonder what would happen if Slovakia does invoke Article 5 over this. (No, I don’t expect anything “substantive” to happen, but it’ll make things convoluted certainly.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That’s a very good point that. They certainly have a case. Will Slovakia make some noises about it? Or will they keep their silence in return for the other NATO countries backing off their country?

        2. Feral Finster

          Not really. A degree from even a third rate American university will open more doors than any Russian institution, and rich people around the world gladly pay full freight for the privilege.

          I don’t see any evidence of people clamoring to get into Russian institutions.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Maybe there’s a trend? Given the dilution and bastardization of grade, college and post-grad education now becoming apparent in US schools, and the upward trend of Russia and the Russian Federation and China as new big kids on the world bloc, it does seem a lot of people see a significant value in having their kids educated in Russia:

    2. Feral Finster

      Sort of like the idea of how James Earl Ray was the convenient patsy for the murder of MLK.

      Plausible deniability. No need to investigate further, LOL.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Jersey Noah 🔻
    It’s finals week at UCSF medical school and the library is closed to students bc admin turned it into a police headquarters’

    Did UCSF medical school not have another building that they could use? Like an auditorium or gym or maybe the campus canteen? Doing this during finals week just looks like the admin were seeking to punish all students. You think that this year’s graduates in the years to come will look kindly on requests for donations to UCSF?

    1. lambert strether

      > Did UCSF medical school not have another building that they could use?

      How about the administration building?

      1. Terry Flynn

        Yep since they’re likely there anyway. In my experience medical students never set foot in a library since around the turn of the millennium. When I see one of my GPs I pay close attention to when they qualified. Pretty good indicator as to competence.

        Yeah yeah…. Old man & clouds warning.

  9. sarmaT

    Key points from Zelensky’s interview to AFP Agence France Presse. Zelensky: “As for the aircraft, I say this openly, so that Russia does not have air superiority, our fleet should have 120 to 130 modern aircraft.” And a pony!

    He said it openly. Russians do have air superiority. Next, he will announce the fall of Bakhmut.

  10. i just don't like the gravy

    Billionaire investor Ray Dalio warns U.S. is ‘on the brink’ and estimates a more than 1 in 3 chance of civil war

    Good. Looking forward to it.

      1. i just dont like the gravy

        I am impotent in the face of overwhelming biosphere collapse and the immiseration of all humanity.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you go looking for Ray Dallio in case a civil war breaks out, the only thing that you will find will be a jet contrail headed out of the country – where he will be reunited with his wealth.

        1. The Rev Kev

          They’d bring back gladiatorial fights if they thought that they could get away with it.

        2. griffen

          Mad Max film franchise come to life, art imitating reality or a more predictive function? Watching the opening scenes of the entry from 2015, Fury Road last evening…the ruler in the film, Immortan Joe, certainly represents a sort of dried up, withering politician…

          Still from that film, who are the War Boys representative of, I wonder ? They aren’t monks or preachers, after all… acolytes instead.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        The countries Dalio listed as possible investment havens are all on the front line for heat death in the event of runaway global warming. Those investors who move their investments to the future heat death frontline countries to escape what they have created here in this country may well get what they deserve. And I earnestly meditate on the fervent hope that they do get what they deserve.

        People looking forward to happy LARPing in a Civil War 2.0 are too stupid to realize that such a Civil War would be a combination of the Syrian Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Yugoslavian break-up wars and a heaping helping of Somalia. Plus a side of Rwanda.

        If Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ” National Divorce” means a “National Velvet Divorce” such as that between Czechia and Slovakia, that would be preferrable to a YugoSyrioSpanish plus RwandaMalia civil war. If partition could be achieved without the mass democide against people fleeing to their own “side of the line” as happened in the Partition of India, that would be a least-bad way out.

        1. hk

          You do realize that such not-so-happy divorces happened here, once successful (1776), the other not (1861).

            1. Laura in So Cal

              Not so much. The activities in the Southern colonies were largely partisan in nature. One of the notable battles was almost 100% Americans with Patriots winning against Tories. (Kings Mountain). In the Civil War period, the actvities in “bloody Kansas” and border states/territories (Missouri) were largely neighbor vs. neighbor.

              Most of this isn’t taught in schools unless it was something that happened locally. I’m going to plug a small local museum in Springfield.MO that had a whole civil war section that had my teen-aged son fascinated.

              1. JBird4049

                Both civil wars are oversimplified both to present a certain viewpoint and because it is easier to teach. One can easily make an entire college course each for the periods just before, during and immediately after each war. Actually, it probably would be the only way to adequately explain each war, including not only the direct causes, the political economy and political philosophy as well, which means touching on the Enlightenment. However, spending 48 weeks just to cover the American Revolution in class is probably considered excessive by some.

              2. hk

                The 12th and 13th stars in the Confederate flag were Kentucky and Missouri, whose state governments broke up into pro Union and pro Confederate factions (in addition to WV breaking off from VA). “AZ territory” (as the secessionists called themselves) broke off from NM Territory to join the Confederacy (there was a secession convention at Tucson, something that no one seems to know about–but the maps didn’t exactly match the current boundaries,). Things were a lot messier than people realize.

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            Those two weren’t divorces because both sides did not jointly agree to the divorce.

    2. jefemt

      Dalio—so, a 60-65% chance there will NOT be a civil war? I read the long and illuminating interview NC featured yesterday Saturday May 18, with Jill Stein and Michael Hudson. I had no idea Hudson was so deeply involved in Stein’s candidacy. Illuminating, heartening, and disheartening, all at once. Thank you for hosting and posting it. I shared it pretty broadly.
      Saw other poll data re: RFK, Jr. It’s not even June, and the Trump campaign finance violation/hush money trial has not wound down (or up?) .
      I personally believe that the ‘left’, the neocons, the Dems, will NEVER start a civil war- most don’t own and have never held or shot a gun. “Their” thinking doesn’t go to gunplay as a solution.
      I have no idea where the Presidential choice will fall– if Biden wins, there is a good chance some opposition may start things up.
      If Trump wins, cooler heads will go to the bar or Church, and the invisible hands of power and money will pull out the 800 plus page ‘plan’ to turn the US into a monotheistic beast of the 21st century.
      I don’t see an organized counter-movement to that.
      Frankly, I think that the last 7 years–Trump, George Floyd, BLM, Covid, post-pandemic chaos… we all are a little PTSD’d. Many might even be in a covid fog and suffering diminished intellect and critical thinking/acting capacities.
      I am not really keen on Nation-States. But I do get a little cloaked in the flag resentful when I see folks like Dalio prep their bug-out bag and poised to jump on their yacht or jet to flee to greener pastures.
      I have $532.89 pennies in the bank, a leveraged home rooted to American soil, with escalating property taxes. Proudly rooted, or stuck?
      So, do I buy a box of 150 grain 30-30 cartidges a week, until November, or just make sure I have one well-cleaned and functioning gun with one cartridge? There is an investment question for Dalio.

      I guess we will just have to wait to see and hear the onslaught of September /October Narratives(tm) that we are to embrace and support.

      Still waiting for RFK Jr. to pipe up about Israel: I have sent his web site closed-probe questions- no response to me, no official statements in public that I have heard. Of course, if you aren’t Uniparty, you don’t exist or get airtime.

      By the way (and I fully recognize someone out there will cancel it) Jill Stein is getting my vote.

      1. i just dont like the gravy

        So, do I buy a box of 150 grain 30-30 cartidges a week

        Yes. Think of it like dollar cost averaging a portfolio.

  11. flora

    re:Pro-Israeli billionaires fuel NYC Mayor crackdown on Columbia students

    They want to influence US perception and NYC politics directly? The article did remind me that in some of his private conversations Nixon used to refer to NYC as h****town. I’d forgotten that…until I read this article. / ;)

    1. LifelongLib

      IIRC Jesse Jackson got slammed for saying the same thing.

      Nixon always had a chip on his shoulder about being born poor Irish in California rather than a rich Northeast WASP.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine’s mobilization law comes into force as new Russian push strains troops’

    They had this story on the TV news here and started it by talking to this middle age guy home on medical leave. They then went to – I kid you not – an Azov recruitment office with all the posters where this young dolly bird talked about how all must do their duty. Eventually they went back to that old dude where they got around to mentioning that he actually lost his foot but was going to return to the fighting anyway. And then his wife said of course he had to for the good of the nation or some such. The TV news here is really getting to be bizarre lately.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Myself, I was wondering how many tons of broken glass fell from that skyscraper. Good thing that that storm kept people inside then.

      1. flora

        I was surprised by the glass, too. Every few years in the Midwest we’ll get a storm that has 60-80 mph straight line winds that can last 20-40 minutes. The danger to glass is from flying debris, not from glass being blown apart by the wind. Was that glass and its framing up to code? ( Is there a code in Texas? )

    2. Lunker Walleye

      My brother, who lives on the rural Great Plains, phoned the other day asking me if I had heard about the devastating storm in Houston. He said his property insurance rates had gone up 60% and wondered if it was because of climate change. We haven’t received our bill yet but are expecting a big increase too.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was reading today how insurance companies are pulling out of Ohio because of the constant storms and tornadoes. Other States will follow.

        1. flora

          It’s been happening in California for a couple years.

          Losing homeowners insurance is a big problem for people with a mortgage.

          I wonder if part of this is due to inflation in the cost of building materials, and the sudden steep rise in the cost of houses; part of me wonders if this is collusion among the insurance companies to drive up the price of homeowners insurance by reducing supply?

          1. Laura in So Cal

            I suspect this mostly using the climate change talk to get permission to raise rates. I’ve lived in my locality for over 50 years. Every 15-20 years a large wild fire makes its way down the canyons during a hot summer/fall wind event. One of my earliest memories was seeing my Father up on our roof with a hose with red sky behind him. This was 1969 and I was 4. My current house is just 1 mile from my childhood home and we bought it right after a very large wildfire in 2007. My insurance rates were in line with what the previous owners were paying. My rates always went up every year by some nominal amount up to 10%/year. Then my insurance renewal in 2022 DOUBLED to $6600/yr. In 2023, it went up another 30%. My risk did not change during that time. In fact, we’ve hardened our house and yard against fire during that period.

            I can’t speak to hurricanes or flooding risks, but this has always been a high fire risk area. Premiums going up like this just doesn’t make sense.

            1. LifelongLib

              Maybe you’re in effect subsidizing people with higher risks? I don’t know anything about how insurance companies set rates but have a sense that it’s not strictly based on individual or local risks. We’re expecting big increases here in Hawaii, but I’ve heard it’s not just because of (say) the Lahaina fire or hurricanes.

        2. jefemt

          So, circling back to MMT, the notion of Utilities, and Nationalization… do we nationalize property /casualty, and strip out executive pay and the perverse incentives quarterly returns and shareholder demands force?

          I’m ok with it, but the ‘because markets’ supermajrity, there are seemingly few of us that are attracted to the rationality and sensibility of nationalized Utilities for life’s essentials — the greatest good for the for the greatest number.

          1. LifelongLib

            I suppose at the point where you gamble on the chance of paying out of pocket vs the certainty of a premium.

      2. Trees&Trunks

        Great stuff so the insurance industry is nowing gearing up climate change greedflation a la food retail since 2020?

    3. Es s Ce Tera

      Texas, the big oil state. And this is also the state which had blackouts because they never anticipated freezing temperatures, so didn’t build their grid to such specs. And they probably did build structures in anticipation of hurricanes but the hurricanes got stronger and more frequent.

      Here in Canada industry tends to soften the edges with heavy donations to hosting cities, building beautiful greenspaces and parks, infrastructure and road improvements, sponsoring social programs, etc., their way of compensating for uglification. As a result some of our industrial towns are also the most beautiful, keeping people happy and grateful. I wonder if big industry will now need to do something similar re: the weather.

      Big oil should be contributing to those repairs in Houston.

      Also, re: that framed structure collapsing – the carpenters are at fault for not building shear walls. I’m surprised it’s not required by code.

      1. Dalepues

        Sheathing is subbed out. That crew had not arrived yet I imagine. I saw a similar thing happen in Atlanta forty or so years ago. It used to be that framers would install sheathing on the walls as they were being put together on the floor deck, then stood up and nailed through the bottom plates.

        1. juno mas

          Yes, but framing up 3 stories and then placing roof trusses before doing shear sheathing boggles the mind. I guess it was SOP until the wind blew really hard.

          It appears that workers were on the 2nd and 3rd story during construction with nothing but 2×4 temp. braces on the structure.

          (At least the lumber is still on hand to replicate an upright structure ;0)

    4. Amfortas the Hippie

      i grew up north of houston…and dont remember a storm like that, unless it was an actual hurricane.
      the day and into the night before that storm hit them…i was present(and out here at the wilderness bar) for its formation…some 350 miles west northwest.
      it was pretty hellish for us…but nothing like that.
      i had 2 1/2″ in about 2 hours, and around 50 mph winds…such that i backed way into the driest corner of the bar. sideways rain.
      and of course, i have few tall trees, no highrises, and no giant transmission lines.
      cousin got missed by 6 miles or so…but could hear either the straight line or a tornado from his porch…he’s somewhere near Spring, TX…north of houston.
      he’s already talking about calling up his stable of methhead wrecking crews to do the considerable tear-out that will be required…just like after any old hurricane in that part of the world.
      lots and lots of insurance money will soon be sloshing around the greater houston area.

      1. Xihuitl

        I’m on the 7th floor of one of two twin 12-story highrises in Montrose in the middle of Houston. Watched the roaring black winds come pounding and pelting at my west-facing windows. Nothing broke except the transformer and some trees. (We have a lot of big old trees around here.) Still no power or water and no power or water expected until possibly Wednesday. Lots of older people in these two buildings. Fire department and medics been working overtime to check on residents and carry them downstairs while staff and volunteers carry buckets of water upstairs to flush toilets and hand out bottles of drinking water.

  13. IMOR

    “The trucks are half-empty (or, depending on your perspective, half-full). Why?”

    From Yves’ intro to “Rube Goldberg Pier” article last week:
    “The long causeway should be a cause of alarm for drivers, as the winds and waves so dramatically affected the construction of the causeway that most of the causeway was put together in the calm waters of Ashdod, an Israeli harbor, after winds and waves made construction of the causeway in place off Gaza impossible. ”
    Open-frame should help with that, like a livestock trailer does better than a WalMart truck in crosswinds. Open sides may dictate a smaller or at least shorter stacked load.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      They may also be running into weight limits. If the cargo is dense enough, you’ll run out of weight-carrying capability before you run out of physical space in the trailer. I’ve seen rigs driving out of a steel mill carrying one coil each, with 90% of the flatbed trailer remaining empty. It looks like a lot of wasted space, but each coil of steel weighs over 20 tons. Putting two on a trailer would violate weight limits on the road, or in this case, the pier. Or possibly collapse the trailer.

      1. hk

        I’d heard some numbers on the amount of “aid” on ships that were coming in and was pretty shocked: one of them (I think I heard Mercouris mention this) is carrying “almost 100 tons,” I think I heard. My reaction was, is this some kind of sick joke?

      2. juno mas

        Yes, this most visible when you a see an 18-wheeler carry a full stack of lumber, but just a small pile of steel rebar. Wood at ~80lb/cuft vs Steel at 490lb/cuft.

  14. Feral Finster

    The Drive for War Craig Murray. “Can you imagine the outrage and emotion that would have been expressed by Western powers if not Fico but a pro-Ukraine, anti-Russian leader within the EU had been attacked?”

    This is because the West has soft power. Russia does not. Western rulers are by definition legitimate, and when they arrest opponents or suspend freedom of speech, the press and assembly or cancel elections and simply remain in office nobody raises a peep, because they are doing this to save democracy, see?

    Anti-western leaders are by definition tyrants, and anything they do is done to destroy democracy and because they hate freedom.

    No, not fair, but fair has nothing to do with it.

    1. Paleobotanist

      Well, to much of the world, Russia has alot of soft power: check out sci-hub and lib gen and think what they mean for scholarship and students in much of the world… Capture your fans young.

  15. Feral Finster

    Key points from Zelensky’s interview to AFP Agence France Presse. Zelensky: “As for the aircraft, I say this openly, so that Russia does not have air superiority, our fleet should have 120 to 130 modern aircraft.” And a pony.

    Ukraine Asks for U.S. Help in Striking Targets Inside Russia WSJ

    Zelenskii will get all that and more, including sheep-dipped NATO pilots.

    1. Eclair

      I have been watching the John Mearsheimer’s talk at Australia’s Center for Independent Studies, entitled ‘Why Israel is in Deep Trouble.’ He posits that Israel has always relied on ‘escalation dominance;’ you hit me, I’ll hit you back harder. But, Israel lost that edge after the events in the first two weeks of April, when Israel’s ‘retaliation’ for Iran’s attack was forcibly moderated by the US.

      Hmmmmm. Maybe they were simply waiting. When will prominent people learn that small planes and helicopters are, well, not stable?

      1. Alice X

        I watched Mearsheimer’s talk. I was disappointed when he didn’t push back (as in ignored) on statements in a question from the host regurgitating Oct. 7 thoroughly debunked themes, such as beheaded babies, babies in ovens and mass rapes. An audience questioner brought it up tangentially in asking about the Lobbies’ control of the narrative, but again he ignored it. JM made several other assertions I thought were duds but I didn’t list them. But, overall, I tend to agree that Israel is in deep doo-doo. The transition of the settler colonial ethno-state into a genuine democracy with full rights for the Palestinians (the actual owners of the land) cannot come too soon for me, or them.

        As far as the crash reported today, fertile imaginations will no doubt jump into overtime, but if it were shown as having been deliberate by a foreign actor, then I don’t have any squares on my bingo card for what would follow.

        1. Feral Finster

          The US already openly murdered an Iranian general and Iran dared not do anything about it.

          1. Yves Smith

            I have had it with you Making Shit Up. I warned you less that 12 hours ago and here you are at it again.

            One more like this and you will be banned. Iran fired over 2 dozen ballistic missiles at 2 US bases and said that was merely a down payment:


            Even Brookings warned: Iran knows how to bide its time. Don’t expect immediate retaliation for Soleimani.

            Ditto Aljazeera:

            Iran said after the October 7 attack that it still had unfinished business re the Solemani killing. The killings at the latest anniversary have only upped the ante. Iran’s response to Israel, in successfully hitting three heavily protected targets, has shown Israel and the US that it has escalation dominance in the region.

            You need to shape up or shut up.

            And if you try jailbreaking, I will rip out your entire comment history.

        2. Yves Smith

          Twitter shows LOTS of fog at the crash area. Very thick, like San Francisco really bad pea soup thick. I think they were stupid enough to take a helicopter (I would NEVER fly in one, if anything bad happens you are dead) in not great weather.

          Actually there is one exception, serial auto exec and one time designer Bob Lutz. He was in a heli that crashed, somehow bouncing on its top. He walked away from the wreck unharmed.

          The motivated perp would be Israel and they by contrast would make the hit in a showy manner.

          It is possible that some internal group succeeded in sabotaging the bird.

          But so close to Fico, this does look a little too lucky for the collective West.

          1. flora

            So far it sounds like a bad weather accident. As for Isr, there’s no reason they’d want to provoke Hezbollah, Iranian client, even more just now, imo.

            1. ArvidMartensen

              I don’t know. Israel is very keen on assassinations. Netanyahu said last November that Israel would be assassinating Hamas all over the world.
              What better way to have an assassination of a leader in a country that whips your **se than to have some plausible deniability.
              These days the tech is so good that you can plant something into software and then activate it at a time of your choosing. Fog would make for good plausible deniability. Or some device if you can plant an agent in the right place. Assassination can be a waiting game.

              I would imagine that when the dust settles, Iran will give this idea a good going over, considering all the assassinations of important figures that Israel has carried out in Iran.

              1. Yves Smith

                This does not have the hallmarks of a Mossad political kill. Like the mob, they want it to be obvious it was not an act of nature or an accident. In the end it similarly looks like the death of Prigozhin was not an assassination even though the manner of his death looked way more suspect. If it was an assassination, internal opponents look more likely. The US might be supporting them but actors like that do have agency, as we are seeing with US difficulty in brining Ukraine to heel.

          2. irenic

            News reports describe President Raisi as going down in a hard landing(the helicopter comes down on its landing gear) as opposed to a crash. If it was a hard landing then there’s a good chance most of the passengers survived. Even though a great pilot can land a dead engine helicopter successfully, the hard landing occurred in a forested mountainous region so we shall see.

            Years ago in the Air Force I had a friend who twice(!) went down in a hard landing(the engine failed both times) where no one was injured and the helicopter was repaired(the first time) and put back into service. Needless to say, my friend refused to fly in helicopters again!

            1. Not Qualified to Comment

              Yes, if it’s ‘just’ a dead engine rather than a structural failure an experienced pilot can to some extent brake the descent into a hard landing using pitch control to trigger auto-rotation. That needs to be done at the ‘right’ time, however, and if fog means you can’t see the ground ’til you’re almost there, picking the right time is virtually impossible.

              1. hk

                NYT has just reported that Raisi and Abdollahian have died. Maybe an accident still, but even if so, it still looks awfully suspicious. I strongly suspect that somebody will start taking actions as if it’s not an accident at all–after all, there will be plenty of people who will never believe it’s just an accident. I have to admit, though, that i have no clue who they might be and what actions they might take, but whatever they might be, we might be just hours or days away from some big cataclysm.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I always wonder about COVID brain damage now. We’ll never know. The recent small plane crash in America the pilot was coughing up a storm.

  16. Alice X

    ~How to find Your Local Wobbly History

    September 5, 1917, when IWW halls across the U.S. were raided by federal agents.

    Woodrow Wilson, making the world safe for democracy, well maybe not so much and certainly not in the USA.

  17. Sub-Boreal

    I’ve seen some commentary by this guy elsewhere, and it appeared to be pretty reasonable:

    1/ Here is a thread on why recent record sales by the Chinese of US Treasuries might be one of the first signs of a major fiscal crisis in the US. There is a lot of confusion about how this would work so let’s go through it step by step.

    1. Yves Smith


      The people to read on this are Brad Setser and (when he bothers) Gabriel Zucman.

      Setser since his days in the Treasury has meticulously tracked foreign funds flows. You can’t tell what China is doing through the stats Pilkington is using. A lot of Chinese buys are booked through London and show as London, not China, purchases.

      Zucman has done meticulous work on foreign bank assets and liabilites. He found they don’t add up to the degree of 8% of total bank assets, The difference is $ in secrecy havens, 1/4 of which actually is reported in the end to tax men, the rest is not.

      Zucman also found that correcting for the hidden assets means the US financial asset inflows, and hence the trade deficit, are MUCH lower than reported.

      So Pilkington needs to get his hands on better data before he makes these pronouncements.

      And anyway the US does not need to borrow to finance his spending, so the fact that he bangs on about a fiscal crisis is barmy. What we could have is a big globally destabilizing fall in the value of the $.

      In general, formerly sound commentators have either put themselves on Team Multipolarity or Team Collective West and are allowing their ideological biases to color their analyses. Sadly this has happened to Pilkington.

  18. hk

    The last paragraph in the Haaretz story about alleged rapes really bugged me:

    “But sexual assault is not only whether someone was raped or committed an act of sodomy. People who were touched physically – were touched. We lost our privacy, our homes were violated and our souls, too. I don’t see any of that in the discourse.”

    So, it didn’t matter whether what took place was an “act of sodomy” or not. It mattered b/c “I/we” say so because “they” were wrong and “punishing” them has to be justified one way or another, isn’t that right? I’d heard similar types of stories before: lynch mobs in the South where the accusations almost invariably involved allegations of rape.

    1. Es s Ce Tera

      Yes, I agree that is particularly interesting phrasing for the reason you mention, that even if rape or sexual assault didn’t take place it’s some kind of metaphorical sexual assault that has taken place. I’m also struck that the wording, “was raped or committed an act of sodomy”, is as if sodomy in and of itself is a crime, consensual or not. Interesting given Tel Aviv prides itself on being gay-friendly, I wonder if that is now no longer the case considering the current extremist political makeup of Israeli government.

  19. Es s Ce Tera

    re: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces U.S. extradition judgment day Reuters.

    I know I’m going against the grain in that I’ve always thought Assange’s legal strategy should have been to allow himself to be arrested and extradited. He would essentially be a very public political prisoner of the US and as such would place the American government and justice system on trial – it needs to be done.

    The US government can’t and won’t proceed with a trial, public or secret, even if Assange is extradited. It is therefore likely hoping the court opts not to extradite. However, I’m hoping the court does extradite, and also hoping it goes to trial, as we do need a public rehashing of US war crimes. Especially in the context of US complicity in destroying Ukraine, Europe, attempting to draw the world into war with China and Russia, and now its role in supporting genocide and the upcoming rulings of the ICJ/ICC. The timing is exactly right, the world needs this.

    1. Bugs

      Perhaps he had a very reasonable fear that if he gave himself up, the USA would kill him and make still more stuff up about him to bury his reputation after his death.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        same reason Snowden stays well out of reach.
        “…somehow…a shark got into his cell, and devoured him…”

        i was a peripheral part of the student news crew at the waco debacle…i wasnt there for the fire, but was in the newsroom on campus as friends of mine were filming it live.
        they spoke…accidentally…with one of the soldier types who would later become a witness for the plaintiffs…before he died by falling from a boat and being killed by a shark.
        details are hazy in my memory…and i doubt google will help…but it was rather spooky at the time.
        things like that happen.

    2. Pat

      Do you honestly believe that Assange will make it to trial if he is extradited to the US?
      If extradited: Assange will either die of failing health or have an Epstein moment.
      If by any chance he does make it to trial that courtroom will be closed. Coverage will be non existent in the MSM, see the extradition coverage, and there will be no access for anyone who honestly want to report on it. The most Americans, and the world, would hear would be the glorious day the government gets their guilty verdict.

      I might have agreed with you a decade or two ago.Now idealistic me thinks the best thing for the world and journalism would be for the British justice system to work and extradition be denied. And for Wikileaks to go full on expose them all. But the more realistic me will be relieved and happy if that poor man is allowed to go and live with his family in peace. Unfortunately you will probably get the first part of your wish, he won’t and we will get to find out who understands how the world works anymore.

    3. Feral Finster

      Assange already is a political prisoner of the United States, with H.M. Government as jailer.

      Nobody of influence and authority in the U.S., U.K. or Australia dares raise a peep.

      1. Yves Smith

        This is complete horseshit. The Australian PM has called for his release, saying “enough is enough” and that Assange has already been punished enough via his incarceration to date.

        You are no longer welcome here. I warned you twice but you can’t resist peddling your garbage.

        Take your fabrications elsewhere.

        1. Martin Oline

          Thank god, Yves. He was a regular at Moon Over Alabama with the same hopeless outlook, but Moon has always been rather loose editorially. I nearly sent him money earlier this year when he finally clamped down on the propagandists. I was fixing lunch the other day and let the YouTube run on after Dima’s broadcast. A VOA piece came on and it was remarkably similar in tone to many of the posts at the Moon.
          I worked for a very short time (60 days) with a Dutchman who had a saying he repeated endlessly, “A good dog will beat itself,” The owner liked him. While I am no choirboy I have had enough of this perpetual negativity which masquerades as realism. He has been our resident ‘Oscar the grouch’ with no solutions or alternatives, just ‘bend over and enjoy it’.

    4. John Wright

      I remember the late Senator Diane Feinstein suggesting that Edward Snowden should come back to the USA and face the justice system.

      Needless to say, Snowden declined to follow DiFi’s advice, wisely in my view.

      Perhaps Assange inferred from Snowden’s actions that the USA justice system and its supporting cast of media/journalists is not to be trusted.

      Australian Assange is NOT a USA citizen, was not in the USA when his alleged crimes were committed and is being charged with a crime with a seldom used USA espionage law.

      The world may be concluding that no one, anywhere, is safe from the reach of the USA’s justice system, unless they are protected by a powerful foreign government that will not be intimidated/bought off by the USA as Ecuador was..

      Imagine the uproar if another foreign country began trying to extradite USA citizens for infractions of THEIR laws.

      Another example could be Osama Bin Laden, who was executed, by the USA, in a foreign country rather than captured and brought back to face the USA’s justice system.

      A fair trial of Osama Bin Laden on USA’s soil could have demonstrated to the world that the USA was justice minded, not “just us” minded.


      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Sad to say, Snowden might be safest staying right in Russia, which has a strong enough intelligence and security system and etc. to prevent Snowden from being kidnapped or assassinated by American or Western agents.

        The Russian Federation is a big country and one could spend one’s whole life seeing only a part of what is there.

  20. Glen

    Re: As American global hegemony ends, multi-alignment rises

    It’s sort of a shame that Victoria Nuland left government service. She should be there to take credit for her most momentous achievement – firmly uniting Russia and China. In fact, she’s had a large part in making them the new cool kids on the block that everybody wants to join:

    BRICS announce major expansion with 6 countries joining in 2024

    Pretty amazing stuff watching the latest Putin-Xi summit. I guess we’d better send Yellen and Blinken back to yell at them more, and deliver that anti-WalMart message – quit making all that cheap $hit! (A little late on that – should have gone to Arkansas twenty five years ago and yelled at the Waltons to fix that!)

  21. juno mas

    RE: Pickle Ball

    The solution is not distance (decibels diminish as the square of distance) it is changing the surface material of the ball or the paddle. Drop the sound pitch (frequency oscillation) and ‘noise’ level drops too.

    If one of the reasons for the popularity of pickleball is fewer physical demands (accessibility to older players) then reducing the decibel level of the ball/paddle impact will save more player ear drums.

    I’ve watched games locally and the court is so small and the paddles so large that the sound of ball/paddle impact would not change the performance of the players or the ‘skills’ needed to play the game.

  22. Robert Gray

    re: Feral Hog Watch

    > Wild boars were brought … for meat and high-fence operations. … [but] the market for those pigs fell out,
    > and many farmers released them into the wild.

    ‘Many’ farmers? I’d really like to hear a convincing rationale for such a move, which (a) has got to be illegal (?) but even more (b) just seems bloody stupid.

    1. jefemt

      I’m thinking the Red Misters in the High Plains, the local chamber’s of commerce, and Fish and Game departments will turn this in to a win win win. Year round season. Plentiful unlimited and not- too- expensive resident and non-resident tags to fund F & G, and hotel rooms, alcohol, and meals to sell.
      Taxidermy and custom cut game processing.
      Watch for a chain of Trump properties to pop up. The Trump princes Donjay Hoonior and Earache the Dunce will be champin’ at the bit to jet in, shoot and release–gitsum!
      Jared… not so much. No blood on HIS hands! He’ll be busy on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

  23. Jason Boxman

    The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel

    After 50 years of failure to stop violence and terrorism against Palestinians by Jewish ultranationalists, lawlessness has become the law.

    This story is told in three parts. The first documents the unequal system of justice that grew around Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. The second shows how extremists targeted not only Palestinians but also Israeli officials trying to make peace. The third explores how this movement gained control of the state itself. Taken together, they tell the story of how a radical ideology moved from the fringes to the heart of Israeli political power.

    1. CA

      May 16, 2024

      The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel
      After 50 years of failure to stop violence and terrorism against Palestinians by Jewish ultranationalists, lawlessness has become the law.
      By Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti

      The long arc of harassment, assault and murder of Palestinians by Jewish settlers is twinned with a shadow history, one of silence, avoidance and abetment by Israeli officials. For many of those officials, it is Palestinian terrorism that most threatens Israel. But in interviews with more than 100 people — current and former officers of the Israeli military, the National Israeli Police and the Shin Bet domestic security service; high-ranking Israeli political officials, including four former prime ministers; Palestinian leaders and activists; Israeli human rights lawyers; American officials charged with supporting the Israeli-Palestinian partnership — we found a different and perhaps even more destabilizing threat. A long history of crime without punishment, many of those officials now say, threatens not only Palestinians living in the occupied territories but also the State of Israel itself…

    2. Alice X

      Well, the piece, which I read, linked to and commented on the other day, has much useful information. But it fails to mention the previous 50 years of violence and terrorism against Palestinians by Zionist ultranationalists.

      It doesn’t even mention the Nakba. That’s the NYT for you, Finkelstein calls them the official US bureau of Israel. Or something like that.

      If the title had been: The Unpunished: How Extremists Created the State of Israel, and then provided a broad context, it might truly have been something. But it wouldn’t have run in the NYT.

      Fortunately for the world, the history is well documented in many places, not to mention the Israeli archives opened in the ’90s.

  24. Vander Resende

    “Drought in Amazonas. [Amazon State, in Brazil , ]issues warning of severe drought soon
    Climatic data points to a worrying situation in local river levels. Drought in Amazonas is expected in the coming months

    By RBA Editorial
    Published 05/16/2024 – 6:56 pm

    The scenario adds to the drought that promises to hit the Pantanal in the coming months. The alert also applies to other parts of the country

    RBA: São Paulo – Amazonas has issued a drought warning for the next period, which could be as severe as the 2023 drought, one of the biggest in history. The state government released a statement based on the latest hydrological bulletin for the Amazon Basin. The study was carried out by the Geological Survey of Brazil (SGB), highlighting that the situation of the rivers is critical.”,rios% 20%C3%A9%20cr%C3%ADtica.

    1. Alice X

      Porto Alegre in the south has been flooding.

      Images of a Brazilian City Underwater

      Torrential rains have caused one of Brazil’s worst floods in modern history, leaving more than 100 dead and nearly an entire state submerged.

      Climate change is leading to climate chaos.

    2. GF

      I wonder if the relentless cutting of the rain forest has anything to do with the drought?

      1. CA

        “I wonder if the relentless cutting of the rainforest has anything to do with the drought?”

        Interesting question, the answer to which appears to be not the cutting as such. Brazil is still over 62% forested, with over 91% of this primary forest. The answer appears to be general climate change and a need for water conservancy. China for instance is spending over $150 billion yearly on water conservancy.

        1. CA

          “Interesting question, the answer to which appears to be not the cutting as such…”

          The assumption I made about a Brazil that is above 62% forested still being sufficiently forested for overall water needs appears to be incorrect. What is necessary is that the Amazon be sufficiently forested and that is not now the case.

      2. Sub-Boreal

        Probably – back in 1983, when I was a grad student at the University of Washington, I heard a seminar by a visiting Brazilian scientist, Eneas Salati, who presented evidence that at least half of the rainfall in the Amazon basin originated as water transpired by forests farther upwind in the basin. At the time, I didn’t properly appreciate how startling this finding was, and it appears that Salati’s work was foundational for understanding what we now recognize as one of the globally significant climate tipping points.

        1. CA

          February, 2018

          Amazon Tipping Point
          By Thomas E. Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre

          In the 1970s, Brazilian scientist Eneas Salati shattered the long held dogma that vegetation is simply the consequence of climate and has no influence on climate whatsoever. Using isotopic ratios of oxygen in rainwater samples collected from the Atlantic to the Peruvian border, he was able to demonstrate unequivocally that the Amazon generates approximately half of its own rainfall by recycling moisture 5 to 6 times as airmasses move from the Atlantic across the basin to the west.

          From the start, the demonstration of the hydrological cycle of the Amazon raised the question of how much deforestation would be required to cause the cycle to degrade to the point of being unable to support rainforest ecosystems.

          High levels of evaporation and transpiration that forests produce throughout the year contribute to a wetter atmospheric boundary layer than would be the case with non-forest.This surface-atmosphere coupling is more important where large-scale factors for rainfall formation are weaker, such as in central and eastern Amazonia. Near the Andes, the impact of at least modest deforestation is less dramatic because the general ascending motion of airmasses in this area induces high levels of rainfall in addition to that expected from local evaporation and transpiration.

          Where might the tipping point be for deforestation-generated degradation of the hydrological cycle? The very first model to examine this question showed that at about 40% deforestation, central, southern and eastern Amazonia would experience diminished rainfall and a lengthier dry season, predicting a shift to savanna vegetation to the east….

          1. GF

            Looks like the rain forest is currently at 38% deforestation using CA May 19, 2024 at 5:53 pm above as the source. Pretty close to the model prediction I’d say.

      3. Frank

        I’m pretty sure that deforestation has some effect.
        Adirondack park in upstate New York was established as a reserve because of micro climatic changes noted from logging back in the day.

  25. Amfortas the Hippie

    ive been busy bein a farmer…so please forgive if this has been given the treatment:

    Pepe’s so worked up about it it bout brought me to the edge, as it were.
    so i went and looked.

    looks like crypto, to me…but supposedly linked to gold.
    i’m halfway through their faq near the bottom…and i wish i would have seen this ere i started cooking(ie: drinkin beer)
    my 30,000 ft view says potential stopgap measure(they say as much) until the problem of some universal trade currency can be figgered out, without encumbering china, overmuch.
    Pepe does sometimes get a bit orgasmic about things…
    but still…
    it would be a big first step.
    and could, all by itself, make big ripples in our pond.
    i guess…in spite of polanyi….its back to gold, it is.
    i’d rather see some kinda UN currency…but only after rather drastic reform of the institution(ie: forcibly remove the damned veto, democratise the whole thing, etc)
    but i also am a dirt farmer…toiling naked with a headlight, pullin weeds at 5am.
    i havent the time to dig back in to macroeconomics.
    nor the bandwidth.

  26. tawal

    Bernie could have won in 2016 if the Green Party demanded he be their candidate, even in 2020 possibly. I will vote Green again in 2024, and have since Cynthia McKinney, except in 2020, when I held my nose and voted Biden.
    He will never get my vote again.
    What a spectacle of a society we live in where 60% of voters align with Stein’s policies, but she will hopefully garner 5% of all votes.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      thats the main reason i prolly wont bother in november…it just doesnt matter….even as some kind of advertisement,lol…in my county(4500 0r so souls), when they publish the election returns in the local paper/brochure, there i am…Libertarian, Green, whatever…Bernie….and i’m pretty much the only one,lol.
      i can name everybody else hereabouts who votes like i do, pretty much….i know them…but we dont run in the same circles, socially.
      (theres like 10 people, last i looked…5 are rather extreme in their religion…and the rest are just garden variety libertarian fuckwads,lol_with me making 11, i am the only one who can articulate an argument of any kind beyond tu quoque and ad hominem, etc)

  27. Tom Stone

    Hillary “Won” the California Primary with the help of now Senator ( Then CA Secretary of State) Alex Padilla who decided that those of us with “No Party Preference” would be issued Provisional Ballots rather than Cross over Ballots.
    Crossover Ballots are automatically counted, Provisional Ballots are counted, or not, at the discretion of the CA Secretary of State.
    Mr Padilla decided that there was no reason to count the 3,000,000 votes cast by those of us with
    “No Party Preference”.
    The Youtube Video “Uncounted 2016” covers this quite well.
    It’s “Their Democracy” in the Golden State.

  28. chris

    Interesting to see anecdata in the form of articles like this, bounce up against YouTube testimonials like this.

    Is there really a class of people who are employed and can be intoxicated while working as long as they meet someone’s idea of performance? And if there is such a class, do you care if they lose their job and livelihood to AI?

    Mr. Marks writing in the Guardian typically involves strings of words that aren’t good enough to ape Tom Friedman, even if they were quoted by whatever taxi driver was allegedly involved. Stuff that is full on status quo but from a perspective that is almost contrarian. I expect people like him to beat the drum that AI is going to help people like the graphic designer that just lost his job in ways that the poor slob doesn’t appreciate yet. Like how all those illegal immigrants and off shoring are improving the lives of US citizens “in aggregate” “on net” and “on average”. Never mind the average is skewed! Someone benefits, therefore, it’s OK.

    I have never worked at a place where my mind and my hands didn’t have to be reliable all day. I have worked under severe Fitness For Duty requirements because of the tasks I was responsible for performing. The idea that people could make the same or more than me in those roles, while high, fills me with disgust.

    But what if that is what it takes to get through the day when your employer is Mr. Marks? What if that is what it takes to deal with the stress of constantly waiting for your job to be eliminated by AI? Not everyone can be a plumber or a carpenter or a daycare teacher. A lot of those positions don’t pay what the cushy office gigs do. But as those jobs get eliminated, what happens to those people? I guess they just stay high all the time. At least as long as they can afford it.

    For the rest of us who have to keep society moving, what does it mean that we’d be keeping the lights on for people too numb to care? If the state of employment becomes, it’s OK to reduce all these jobs because the people doing them are likely all high and replacing them with AI will get better results, then where does it stop? Maybe the next line will be, we can’t let these people vote, they’re unemployed addicts, best to tell them what we’re going to do and then just do it.

  29. Adam Eran

    I’ll second Yves comment by saying that the false mainstream marketing narrative is that inflation stemmed from the COVID supports, not supply-side constraints like … well, like a pandemic caused. Heck, according to the Fed’s own audit, it pumped $16 – $29 trillion into the financial sector in 2007-8, far more than the COVID payments… Where was the inflation then?

    Even the 56 historical hyperinflations Cato documents in its inflation document did not arise from too much money printing. In every case, even Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe, interruptions of supplies and balance of payments problems are what kicked off the inflations.

    Milton Friedman’s declaration that “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon” doesn’t withstand any scrutiny… See also Friedman’s student Elton Rayack’s Not So Free To Choose, which outlines in some detail how awful Friedman’s policy recommendations were.

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