Links 5/30/2024

Something Strange Happens to Wolves Infected by an Infamous Mind-Altering Parasite Science Alert

Taking Stock: Dollar Assets, Gold, and Official Foreign Exchange Reserves Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics

Would Returning to the Gold Standard Resolve Our Most Pressing Monetary Problems? Charles Hugh Smith, Or Two Minds. No.

CalPERS opposes Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay package amid shareholder discontent WION

The CRE non-crisis rolls on FT


US and China must take lead in climate fight despite their competitive relationship, top Beijing envoy says South China Morning Post

In search of a market-driven price on carbon S&P Global. Let me know how that works out….

Trees in Distress St Louis Post-Dispatch

Proposed Cooling Policy Would Cause Air Conditioning Usage to Rise, Risking Blackouts RAND


Accusations flare as Mexico City’s water crisis approaches ‘day zero’ Bnamericas

Dozens of Alaskan rivers and streams turn orange, visible from space Interesting Engineering

Understanding Water Advisories The Brockovich Report


Officials investigate unusual surge in flu viruses in Northern California San Francisco Chronicle

The bird flu vaccine is made with eggs. That has scientists worried. CBS


Beware forecasts of doom for Taiwan under Lai Brookings Institution

Debt-Trap Diplomacy J-STOR Daily

Chinese scientists cure diabetes using stem cells in world first NextShak. But if we cure it, what happens t our rents on insulin? Think. people!


Myanmar’s ethnic armies consolidate strongholds as junta weakens, reports say Reuters

Vast concessions threaten Malaysia’s forests: Report Channel News Asia


Delhi ‘unbearable’ as temperatures near 50C BBC

Power demand peaks in heatwave-hit Delhi, but temperature readings may be ‘error’ Channel News Asia


The US-built pier in Gaza broke apart. Here’s how we got here and what might be next Orlando Sentinel

* * *

Israel says it seized key Gaza-Egypt corridor as Rafah ground offensive intensifies France24

Pushed to the edge, starved and exhausted, Rafah IDPs struggle to survive The New Arab

* * *

Attacks on ICC Show ‘Condemning Hamas’ Is Really About Absolving Israel FAIR

Israel shrugs off UNSC bid to ‘stop the killing’ to continue Rafah assault Al Jazeera

European Disunion

Walking France: Avignon to Pont-Saint-Esprit Chris Arnade, Walking the World

Dear Old Blighty

Favoured Nation New Left Review

Labour promises to hit 18-week NHS waiting target within five years BBC. Ambitious!

New Not-So-Cold War

NATO meets as calls grow to let Ukraine strike targets inside Russia France24. Mercouris, more recent than any of these, says striking targets in Russia is coming off the boil.

US Secretary of State hints they may allow Ukraine to strike Russian territory with US weapons and Poland allows Ukraine to use Polish-supplied weapons to strike targets in Russia Ukrainska Pravda

NATO Ramps Up Figleaf of Cross-Border Strikes Simplicius the Thinker(s)

U.S. concerned about Ukraine strikes on Russian nuclear radar stations WaPo

How to Win in Ukraine: Pour It On, and Don’t Worry About Escalation RAND. But from May 22.

* * *

Ukraine war: influential Russian think tank proposes a ‘demonstrative’ nuclear explosion South China Morning Post

* * *

Nato has just 5% of air defences needed to protect eastern flank FT

Image shows a 7-layer defensive line planned for the border between NATO and Russia Insider. Awesome. I assume a PowerPoint comes with it?

NATO Holds First Meeting Of Critical Undersea Infrastructure Network Naval News

* * *

Delivery of US weapons to Ukraine helping stabilize frontline, Blinken says Reuters

Soldiers in Ukraine say US-supplied tanks have made them targets for Russian strikes CNN. Oopsie.

Increasingly Effective Russian Electronic Warfare Turning the Tide on the Frontlines – Reports Military Watch

* * *

Georgia’s “foreign agents” law is now a reality. When will it take effect and who will it impact? JAM News

Hundreds of Georgian NGOs pledge to defy ‘foreign influence’ law Al Jazeera

Global Elections

South Africa counts ballots in most competitive election since apartheid France24


Jury Instructions & Charges (PDF), People v Donald J. Trump

AIPAC offshoot spending heavily to beat Cori Bush in her primary Politico. Election interference.

The Supremes

82. The Supreme Court’s Four Officers One First

Spook Country

The obscure federal intelligence bureau that got Vietnam, Iraq, and Ukraine right Vox

The Bezzle

Courts rather than arbitrators to decide whether Dogecoin dispute goes to arbitration SCOTUSblog

Exclusive: The Atlantic, Vox Media ink licensing, product deals with OpenAI Axios

Publishing AI Slop Is a Choice Daring Fireball

Digital Watch

Google Researchers Say AI Now Leading Disinformation Vector (and Are Severely Undercounting the Problem) 404 Media. “If you didn’t want to go to Milwaukee, why did you get on the train?” –Father Emil, A Prairie Home Companion (from memory).

Google confirms the leaked Search documents are real The Verge

US judge makes ‘unthinkable’ pitch to use AI to interpret legal texts Reuters

Gavin Newsom warns against perils of over-regulating AI Politico


FAA appears poised to grant Boeing extension on safety report Leeham News & Analysis

The 420

K-Pop The Baffler. Ketamine.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Jeffrey Sachs: The Untold History of the Cold War, CIA Coups Around the World, and COVID’s Origin (video) Tucker Carlson, YouTube

Can The B-21 Raider Save America’s Shrinking Bomber Force? 1945. No.

Class Warfare

How Tens of Thousands of Grad Workers Are Organizing Themselves Labor Notes

Seattle isn’t claiming Tukwila’s migrant crisis. But it did start here Seattle Times

Antidote du jour, via JB:

“A little bird singing in the cold.”

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. Lena

      On May 30, 2024: The Moon in Pisces squares Venus in Gemini, creating a dreamy atmosphere. Our minds are elsewhere, perhaps preoccupied with romantic fantasies.

      (I’m doing laundry.)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, ‘The laundry you will always have with you.’ It’s in the bible you know.

        1. Jhallc

          Your dirty laundry… it knows where you been!

          Lyric line from 80’s New England band “Dirty Laundry” theme song.

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Walking France: Avignon to Pont-Saint-Esprit”

    Avignon is a very charming city to visit and there is plenty to see. But there is a caveat and it is called the Mistral. After a coupla days there, this very strong wind started up and it blew for a coupla days which can get on your nerves. I heard that that if you commit a crime after a coupla days of the Mistral blowing, that this will be taken into consideration when you go to court there-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Avignon is a beautiful city, and as the article says, one of the few genuinely great small European cities that hasn’t been disneyfied or otherwise degraded.

      But it has to be said that once you go outside the walls, its a different story (and a very different city). I stayed in a tourist campsite on the city outskirts for a few days and it had very high secure fencing for a good reason.

  2. Randall Flagg

    That bird. Pretty amazing the notes coming out like it’s blowing smoke rings. Is that to benefit the hearing impaired?

    1. .Tom

      It does that and helps in the visual medium of photography too. I haven’t seen many birds so considerate.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      I saw that photo without the “notes”. I suspect the fog-rings are real and the notes are added for artistic effect.

    3. juno mas

      Unfortunately, we only get to see what the approximate pitch and duration of the notes since the Treble Clef has no time signature and no scale notation to determine what note of the “C” scale/register is being sung.

      Pretty picture though. ;)

  3. zagonostra

    >Something Strange Happens to Wolves Infected by an Infamous Mind-Altering Parasite- Science Alert

    “Incorporating the implications of parasite infections into future wildlife research is vital to understanding the impacts of parasites on individuals, groups, populations, and ecosystem processes.”

    I suggest the parasite Toxoplasma gondii has infected more than wolves:

    Ambassador Nikki R. Haley who was the U.S.’s Representative to the UN and a member of Trump’s Cabinet, as well as the Gov of SC signs Israeli bombs with “finish them.”

    Jordan Peterson, the famous “conservative” Canadian psychologist who completed a BA in political science before switching to psychology tweets “Give’em hell…enough is enough.”

    Maybe rather than a “parasite” it’s an Archon or Egregore. Whatever has infected these people in justifying their savagery.

    1. The Rev Kev

      With Neocon Nikki, I seriously think that worms have eaten her brain. She was giving a press conference in Israel and now claims that the October 7th attack by Hamas was orchestrated by Iran, helped by Russian intelligence and financed by the Chinese. No, seriously. Listen for yourself- (1:07 mins)

      North Korea must be sulking about being left out of this Axis of Evil. Trump has now said that if he was President, that he would have bombed Russia when they invaded the Ukraine and would bomb China if they make a move on Taiwan. But the difference is that Neocon Nikki would actually do it.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a war fiend
        I met her in a hotel lobbying for killing off the Philistines
        She said, how’d you like to waste some of their kind?
        And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind …

        Lyrics: Prince, “Darling Nikki”

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        Why should I believe that Trump wouldn’t do it? Because he’s such a mile-a-minute serial liar? Is that a thick enough reed to lean on?

      3. Benny Profane

        Worms haven’t eaten her brain. As always, follow the money. She was broke or even in debt after she left SC, now she’s worth millions. She and hubby live in a huge tacky Macmansion on Kiawah Island that is probably 4 million. Paid off her million dollar parents debt.
        She went full on corrupt. Must have learned a lot from the other Trump cabinet people. She’ll be back.

  4. .Tom

    > Nato has just 5% of air defences needed to protect eastern flank FT

    To which I would ask 5% of air defenses needed for what kind of threat exactly?

    The core of the article is the following quote which answers my question.

    One senior Nato diplomat said the ability to defend against missiles and air strikes was “a major part of the plan to defend eastern Europe from invasion”, adding: “And right now, we don’t have that.”

    So it looks like more NATO alarms about Russia’s plan to invade and occupy western Europe. NATO should perhaps worry more about air defenses needed for the retaliatory strikes Russia has threatened if European countries strike inside Russia from Ukraine.

    Overall I’m starting to think the recent flurry of news about NATO escalation by shooting western long-range weapons from Ukraine might be an example of what Yves calls the west negotiating with itself. I’m trying to hope that those stories aren’t so much describing decisions that have been made but reflect ideas that are being tried out.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Soldiers in Ukraine say US-supplied tanks have made them targets for Russian strikes”

    Here is a link to the actual interview with these tankers. Unmentioned is that fact that they are targets for Russian strikes. The Russian Federation has put a bounty on Abrams tanks – along with other western gear – so a lot of Russian soldiers are watching for this tank to appear like a hawk- (3:20 mins)

    1. Enter Laughing

      That must be an Onion headline. I mean, who could possibly anticipate that driving a tank into an active war zone would constitute a risk to the crew?

  6. diptherio

    So is OpenAI going to offer The Onion a similar deal? It’s rather obvious they’ve already been training extensively using their content.

    1. digi_owl

      Why pay Onion when 4chan will do it for free?

      On a different note, i am seeing an increasing number of blog posts and such about Sam Altman. Seems to be quite the character…

      1. The Rev Kev

        So was Sam Bankman-Fried. Until he wasn’t. But yeah, I have noted more articles about Altman as well.

    2. Mikel

      It seems that those that have the reigns of the tech are of the “fintech” school.
      They don’t care about education and info as much as getting people to accept the algorithms to control their finances. Even Musk is essentially of the “fintech” school.
      That’s why the other day I was wondering about regulations regarding power of attorney.

  7. Patrick Morrison

    @lambert, today’s links appear to be a repost of yesterday’s links. Do you have any new ones for us?

  8. Eric Anderson

    No relevance to any particular link, but I thought I’d share a useful Covid-19 link.

    A friend of mine recently told me about her husbands struggle with cellulitis that turned necrotic. My brain always goes to Covid these days when otherwise healthy seeming people come down with rare maladies.
    Sure enough, the link between Covid-19 and cellulitis is there.

    If you think you might have Covid associated disease issues, this aggregation of research is a good place to begin:

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, i think that was speculated to happen as the Azov remnants would go after “the backstabbing traitorous west” once defeat was faith accompli.

      Heck, the uptick in violence in Sweden may a prelude as weapons from Ukraine gets smuggled to gangs there via Poland.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I will claim credit for having speculated that my own self . . . though others may have speculated it even before I did.

        If the Azovs ( and the Pravy Sector and Svoboda-adjacent militias and gangs of tough guys and etc. are being held back from the fighting at the front, so as to have them in reserve for deploying all over EUrope to bomb and burn and assassinate, that would lend credibility to the speculation.

      2. R.S.

        It’s not that they will need to specially go after “the traitors”. Basically you have military units that 1) allowed and even invited outright thugs; 2) are accustomed to treating civilian areas as their personal turf; 3) have serious training and combat experience; 4) and are infested with various versions of an openly supremacist ideology. It’s a potential ethnic mafia on steroids. What can possibly go wrong?

    2. OnceWere

      Propaganda for baby brains really has become the Guardian’s brand, hasn’t it. The Russian version of Operation Gladio is apparently best exemplified by the setting of a Polish paint factory and a Lithuanian IKEA store on fire, an anti-Israeli graffiti incident, and rocks being thrown through the Estonian interior minister’s car windshield. Not exactly the “Years of Lead”, is it. All I can say is, “Russian security services, if you’re listening, and you’re behind this, you should be deeply, deeply ashamed. Resign, give up the hybrid warfare, you’re just embarrassing yourselves”.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Part of it is the long term propaganda of the European Union. Not only are the leaders failures but they are simultaneously part of the new global citizenry. They are better than this. Failure is simply incomprehensible.

        On a primal level, you are seeing the “cool New Democrats” of the world finding out they aren’t cool, and they are reacting like Homer. Bill Clinton going on MTV isn’t going to make someone seem popular over 30 years later.

    3. Bugs

      In this vein, the Sachs interview with Tucker Carlson is really a great watch. He’s got so many contacts in the Blob. I don’t know if this was linked to but our boy king head of state has invited Big Z to the D-Day anniversary ceremonies. My wife said “they want to erase all the accomplishments of the Russians and replace them with this mad dog country”.

      It’s beyond maddening this total lack of insight, reflection, intelligence…

    4. bertl

      Fear not, Paul. Just more Guardian PR nonsense about arson and sabotage.. This is how the mighty warriors of NATO and Ukraine think (as one do – in Molesworth speak – absent weapons or even a pot to piss in, which they’d miss anyway and wet themselves however clear the shot).

      Russia will make it’s point by using missiles because, following President Putin’s little talk to the small, densely populated countries of Europe, Russian missiles are on the table now, not petty acts of arson.

      The ignorant, simpleminded, and even simpler full-of-holes war narrative-loving bums, stiffs and deadlegs misgoverning Europe and the US are frightened of their own shadows, forced to support a de-industrialised US with the most expensive and least capable MIC in the world, and are now able only to bluster and blame everything from hang nails to tripping up crossing the street on Russia’s sneaky and unfairly efficient war machine “because Putin”.

      The minds of the Western political élite are truly a Collective Wonderland, one half Disney fantasy and the other half either blank or filled with visions of themselves as Johnny Rambo: a pathetic combination of people in the grip of invisible devil mind worms and total dickheads thriving on ignorance, nonsense, stupidity and lies who have destroyed everything they have touched, be it their economies, education and welfare systems, healthcare, transportation networks, agriculture, and have manfully done whatever they need to do to lose wars which more sensible leaders would have avoided like the plague:

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese scientists cure diabetes using stem cells in world first”

    This could be a sinister plot by the Chinese this. They have an abundance of qualified researchers so what if they were tasked by their government with curing these long term diseases? That is in itself a worthy goal but what happens when they offer to sell these cures in the US? It could send the profits of Big Pharma into a tail spin as lucrative sources of people making endless payments for illnesses to them dry up as these cures from the Chinese actually cured them. Would Big Pharma demand that the White House ban these medicines on the grounds of “national security and mention the worry that there could be Chinese nanoprobes in these medicines to spy on ordinary Americans? A Biden White House would do so in an instant. Curing people instead of a life time of profits? That’s un-American that.

    1. Rainlover

      It’s done with a stem cell transplant — not exactly a walk in the park. It involves basically nuking your immune system before the stem cells removed from your body are reintroduced. I’m sure in China everything was paid for. Here in the US, these transplants involve a lot of upfront money and moving to the vicinity of the medical facility for 6 weeks to two months — more out-of-pocket $. Not coming to a medical facility near you anytime soon. I don’t have a link for this, only my own personal experience.

      I’m going to pass on before these kinds of treatments become ubiquitous, but IMO they will be of great benefit in the future.

      1. CA

        “It’s done with a stem cell transplant — not exactly a walk in the park…”

        Type 2 diabetes affects about 1 in 10 Americans or 37 million. *


        May 9, 2024

        Breakthrough by Shanghai doctors uses stem cells to cure diabetes
        By Zhou Wenting

        Shanghai – Doctors in Shanghai have, for the first time in the world, cured a patient’s diabetes through the transplantation of pancreatic cells derived from stem cells…

    2. CA

      Chinese research on the use of personalized stem cells to cure diabetes was conducted over 10 years:

      April 30, 2024

      Treating a type 2 diabetic patient with impaired pancreatic islet function by personalized endoderm stem cell-derived islet tissue
      By Jiaying Wu, Tuo Li, Meng Guo, Junsong Ji, Xiaoxi Meng, Tianlong Fu, Tengfei Nie, et al.

      Type 2 diabetes (T2D) typically starts with insulin resistance in peripheral tissues and proceeds with gradual loss of islet function due to the reduction in β-cell mass or dedifferentiation of β cells. More than 30% of T2D patients eventually rely on exogenous insulin treatment. Cadaveric islet transplantation is an effective treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes. Notably, improved metabolic control after islet transplantation is associated with better kidney allograft function and long-term survival. However, the application of islet transplantation is severely hampered due to the critical shortage of donor organs…

  10. Koldmilk

    For those interested in South Africa’s election results this site has a clean UI:

    The tab “2024 RESULTS PREDICTION” presents the forecast of a statistical model developed by the CSIR from past elections. It performed well in the previous election, but the usual caveats for a model apply.

    If the model holds up, the ruling party (ANC) is not going to retain a majority. It should be noted that both M.K. and EFF are splinter parties from the ANC and it looks like South Africa is experiencing a standard phenomenon of proportional parliamentary systems where a coalition party is splitting from internal tensions.

    I have no good sense of how this will impact geopolitics as most South Africans I’ve spoken with do not mention international affairs and are often surprised when I ask about BRICS as if they had forgotten that South Africa is the “S” in BRICS. This election is entirely about domestic politics with the common complaints about non-delivery of public services and economic growth, incompetence and corruption.

    1. Roger

      The Western states got to some of the ANC leaders in the run up to the handover from the apartheid regime, and suddenly the ANC went from socialist to neoliberal. For example, Mbeki who served as President from 1999 to 2008 (Deputy President under Mandela prior to that). Since the transition, a few ANC leaders etc. have become billionaires in cahoots with the white owners, amidst extensive corruption, while the vast majority of Black South Africans have not had their lives improved. Some of the white South Africans have also now experienced significant poverty.

      One of the splinter groups, the Economic Freedom Fighters is what the ANC would have been if it had remained socialist. The other group is lead by the ex-president Zuma, who became more left-wing during his period in office (2009 to 2018) but may also have been significantly corrupt (e.g. with the Gupta family). Unfortunately the EFF is only running at about 10% and the ANC will prefer right-wing parties as its partners for its leaders to continue their comfortable exploitation of their brothers and sisters. The current president, Ramaphosa is one of the successful Black businessmen, one of South Africa’s richest men, having magically risen from trade union leader to his current riches. A safe pair of hands for the capitalist ruling class.

    2. Aurelien

      When I was there a lot thirty years ago, there was a big debate about whether the ANC would split at some point, or whether it would continue as an effective ruling party in a one party state. The ANC leadership at the time was aware of this, and indeed fixed the results of the 1994 election such that the ANC would not receive the two thirds of the seats necessary to alter the Constitution. The problem is that since 1994 South Africa has been an involuntary one-party state, simply because the opposition parties have been so useless, and have had nothing to challenge the ANC’s enormous historical legitimacy with.

      The other thing to bear in mind was that throughout the decades of exile, the ANC was that most extraordinary institution, a liberation movement that never split. Unity was its secret weapon, and has remained a fetish ever since: Zuma was allowed to get away with things he should never have been allowed, because he was an old comrade, and had spent ten years in prison with Mandela. Ramaphosa, who did quite a bit to clean up the mess, has been criticised, rightly I think, for putting party unity above everything else, and not cracking down on corruption as he should have done. The problem, people like Zuma aside, is less with the old guard than the young ambitious politicians who joined the ANC after 1994, because it was a guaranteed route to the top, and have none of the liberation movement sensibilities.

      On 1994, a country which had, to a frightening extent, been organised entirely for and by the white minority population, suddenly had to try to provide the same level of services for ten times as many people, and it simply wasn’t possible. The country today is unrecognisable from what it was then, but it’s fair to say that the major change sociologically has been the growth of a black middle class. This is a good thing for political stability, but has left a lot of people behind. I’ve long thought (and people I’ve spoken to in the ANC sometimes agree) that the best thing that could happen would be for the ANC to lose its majority and to split. Normal politics would then finally be possible, and I think that would be greeted by a lot of people, even within the ANC, with relief.

      1. CA

        The comments on the election in South Africa are very incisive.,924,534,536,273,199,186,111,&s=PPPPC,&sy=1980&ey=2023&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

        April 15, 2024

        Gross Domestic Product per capita based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation for Brazil, China, India, South Africa, 1980-2023


        Brazil ( 4,812)
        China ( 307)
        India ( 532)
        South Africa ( 5,110)


        Brazil ( 20,001)
        China ( 23,332)
        India ( 9,3396)
        South Africa ( 16,140)

  11. britzklieg

    What part of “Russia never intended to take Kiev” did the INR miss?.. as if Russia could not decimate “keev” if it so wanted. I’d suggest they got that one wrong, seriously wrong, and leads me to suspect that, like everything else, the people behind this INR are now crapified partisan cheerleaders (USA!USA!USA!) who knowingly refused to understand exactly what Russia spelled out as its intention with the SMO. And, of course, the pro-Russia (civilian) parts of “eastern Ukraine” had already suffered years of bombardment from the Azov not-sees, never mind the NATO forever war mongers who had to take up the slack after Ukraine was defeated within months of Russia’s move.. Looking at a map now, sure seems as if that part is firmly in the hands of Russia – Russia’s openly stated intention.

    But I am as far from a military analyst as one can be and am ready to stand corrected if wrong.

    1. pjay

      Since this article was in Vox I assumed there was a propaganda angle. When I got to that paragraph I understood what that was. The statements on Ukraine are laughable. If that is what their “experts” believe then they must be career ideologues of the Tim Snyder type.

      I do think the State Department was more independent at one time, and I have read about the INR’s more positive track record in the past. But that’s the past. In my view State has been increasingly corrupted from at least the Clinton days. I’m sure this has affected the INR as well. And the author’s stark distinction between INR and other intelligence organizations is misleading. A number of CIA analysts questioned the Bush administration disinformation on Iraq, but Cheney and his gang set up shop at Langley to control information. A number of CIA analysts quit in protest. Conversely, the State Department has long been penetrated by the CIA, and I doubt if the INR is immune.

      I was a bit puzzled about the purpose of this article though. I thought there would be a big wind-up, and then the concluding pitch would be something about how the INR believed Ukraine could win with the right support. That didn’t come, at least not directly. But the concluding quote from Madeline Albright was touching – it probably revealed more that the author intended.

      1. Aurelien

        So far as I recall, INR has no independent intelligence-gathering capability, it just does analysis. In the Washington swamp where nobody trusts anyone else’s analysis, the State Department wanted to be able to produce their own. My impression, for what it’s worth, is that because INR doesn’t have the overt political/financial agendas of some of its bigger brethren, it’s less vulnerable to hype and is often inclined to be more sensible. But everything is relative.

    2. Wisker

      To be fair to INR, the West thought Russia was conducting an invasion according to Western standards–that is with overwhelming force. Russia’s approach was very different.

      Their Plan A–shock Ukraine into concessions with a quick attack over a massive front with inferior numbers–did fail and gave way to a protracted Plan B*. ‘But the West interfered!’ Did Russia or anyone else expect them not to?

      I don’t think it’s off base for INR to say ‘Russia was not prepared for the resistance Ukraine would put up’. It clearly wasn’t.

      Despite that, Russia is winning an attritional war thanks to its size, the dominance of its surviving Soviet military legacy, and the defeat of a Western economic war that seems to have astonished Russia only slightly less than it astonished the West.

      Russia will probably blunder its way through to success a bit like the Union in the Civil War: all sides making critical mistakes, the winner just making a few less.

      * Russia very charitably called it “Phase B” or something like that at the time, I can’t find the link ATM.

      1. Yves Smith

        Russia did not learn until later how the Minsk Accords were from the get go a big Western lie. And no one predicted the West would nix a deal, particularly since the Russian ask was only Minsk 3. So your comment has a huge dose of hindsight bias.

        1. yep

          I think Russians knew that all deals with The West are a lie, to a lesser or bigger extent, especially after closely following the events in Yugoslavia (which I consider to be a foreplay for this war). They went along with Minsk Accords, and many other things, because it seemed like the best option at that time.

          “And no one predicted the West would nix a deal, particularly since the Russian ask was only Minsk 3.”

          This is not true. I remember reading on SouthFront article about Russians sending their B team for negotiations, because they expect them to fail anyway. Many on the Internet were panicking that some Minsk 3 would be signed (which would effectively be a loss for Russia). I, personally, expected negotiations to fail.

          1. Yves Smith

            The normal way negotiations proceed is a lot of lower level back and forth before more senior negotiators meet and then the top dogs to ratify or very rarely to deke out final points. And all they had gotten to what in the private sector would be an advanced draft of a letter of intent. But some thorny points appear to have been settled. So I don’t buy the B-team contention.

      2. juno mas

        The West knew from ISR (recon.) that Russia was not ready/capable of a “shock & awe” invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022. While Russia made some miscalculations (trusting negotiations) at the start of SMO, they continue to proceed toward those goals with regular combat/economic/manufacture innovation that obviates any claim they are blundering into success.

    3. Louis Fyne

      (from a Machiavellian POV) Russia occupying Kyiv (unlike going into Odesa) is just plain dumb…as western Ukraine and Kyiv are the two anchors of pro-EU Ukraine and, post-war, security forces risk a permanent low-level simmer of anti-Moscow violence like the Northern Ireland Troubles—unless pro-EU Kyivans migrate west.

      The more logical tactic is just stop just short of Kyiv and stay on the east side of the northern Dniper and have any post-war border resemble the intra-Korean border…Seoul just 50-ish km from North Korean territory.

      1. Yves Smith

        They can’t do that. Major cities like Kiev, Dnipro, Zaporzhizhia straddle the Dnieper.

        Mark Sleboda has come to the conclusion, and I agree, that the better of bad options is for Russia to take most of Western Ukraine. They cannot have the US/NATO set up a rump Ukraine and install long-range missiles there.

        Young men are the doers of violence and Ukraine is obligingly getting them all killed.

        As I have said, Russia has an extreme solution of de-electrifying most of Western Ukraine. It would become like the Unorganized Territory of Maine: low population density consisting nearly entirely of men living off the land.

      2. yep

        “Permanent low-level simmer of anti-Moscow violence” was the USA plan for Chechnya too. It didn’t pan out quite as planned.

        How is Korean scenario better? They don’t even have post-war border, but still-at-war one. Such thing benefits only USA. Your “more logical tactic” is more logical only from USA POV. Russians (and most of the World) don’t view things from USA POV (Machiavellian or not).

  12. Mikel

    “Chinese scientists cure diabetes using stem cells in world first” NextShak. But if we cure it, what happens to our rents on insulin?

    Shouldn’t it be duplicated in other patients before “cure” is proclaimed?

    At any rate, nothing is going to happen to insulin rents on rentier economies. The cost of the stem cell procedure will be high enough to keep them making money on insulin. They’ll have both. Just have to keep the diabetes going.

    1. t

      Headline writers gonna write headlines. The actual case is T2 after a kidney transplant and the results are presented as preliminary and with caveats. Not like they rounded up a bunch of diabetics who’d been insulin dependent since childhood.

  13. Mikel

    “NATO meets as calls grow to let Ukraine strike targets inside Russia” France24. Mercouris, more recent than any of these, says striking targets in Russia is coming off the boil

    It’s an idea perculating as long as the pro-strike faction is being allowed the space to gain more support. That faction has support from powerful people or they wouldn’t continue propagandizing.

    1. Ignacio

      It looks like a meeting of beheaded chicken, Doesn’t it? Everything they do fires back. Any one there with a working brain? What they think they will manage now breaking the next red line? Any change of the course in sight? Behind this, fault lines becoming wider as apart from Hungary and Italy there may be many others thinking that enough is enough. With regards to the substitution of the US as logistic organizer I suggest… well… Kallas in the command of supplies?

      1. Mikel

        NATO and associates aren’t going to any negotiation with Russia until they show Russia that they can deal a devastating blow.
        It might not be wise, but that’s what they are thinking. They wan’t leverage of some kind going into any negotiation or temporary detente.

        1. Ignacio

          If they agree with the launching of missiles to Russia, how will they decide which country will be first to launch the missiles (from Ukraine of course)? Will some countries agree to the simultaneous launching of their missiles to avoid someone walking back?

          1. Mikel

            How much does it matter which country they are launched from with possibly the missles being provided by various countries, the launchers coming from various places, logistics support coming from various places, etc?

  14. Jason Boxman

    From Officials investigate unusual surge in flu viruses in Northern California

    A spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health told the Chronicle that they are investigating the surge, which is “not following human influenza trends,” as it is not reflected in general population illness reports.

    LOL. Imagine if they bothered to debunk the summer flu going around last year; But that might have required an admission it was SARS2. It’s heartening they understand that flu is seasonal, at least, I guess.

  15. yep

    Myanmar’s ethnic armies consolidate strongholds as junta weakens, reports say Reuters

    The country of 55 million people has been in turmoil since February, 2021 when the military ousted an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking widespread protests.

    Nobel Peace Prize
    1989 Dalai Lama
    1990 Mikhail Gorbachev
    1991 Aung San Suu Kyi
    1993 Nelson Mandela, shared with Frederik Willem de Klerk
    1994 Yasser Arafat, shared with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  16. steppenwolf fetchit

    In that ” Trees In Distress” article I noticed the following interesting sentences . . .
    ” But, after the introduction of dicambatolerant seeds, fierce debate about the chemical quickly exploded.
    Dicamba has long been notorious for its “volatility” — or tendency to turn into a vapor and drift, especially in hot conditions.
    And farmers across the country who didn’t immediately adopt the dicamba-resistant seeds began to blame the weedkiller for damaging their crops.”

    This reminded me of a theory I read recently, that the reason the dicamba-makers re-rolled out dicamba so fast and furious, along with the newest improved-est dicambatolerant seed; was to extort the dicamba-skeptical farmers into buying the dicambatolerant seed in order to save their operations from the deliberately fostered dicamba-death wafting and drifting all over the countryside. In essence, the dicamba-GMO-industrial complex took all the non-dicamba farmers and their livelihoods hostage to extort them into paying the dicambatolerant ransom to save their farming from deliberately fostered dicamba-drift death.

    It seems like a good theory to me.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Doesn’t sound so unlikely. Many years ago I was reading about GM crops in America and how it worked out for farmers. So you might be farmer that refused to use GM crops but if some seed drifted onto your farm from a neighbour’s GM crop farm and took root, the corporation that manufactured those GM crops would take you to court and sue you for using their products without paying for it. So I expect that a lot of farmers would have just switched to GM crops so they wouldn’t be sued.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        And not just in America. Canada too. Part of the Monsanto business model was to infect the seed of Franken-Free farmers all around the GMO emission sources and then send stealth-trespassers onto those farms to find traces of patented GMO genes in those farmers’ crops. They would then extort those farmers for significant shakedown-payments by threatening to sue them for unauthorized use unless those farmers paid a large extortion payment to “make the potential case go away.”

        Here is a wiki-thumbnail article about a Canadian farmer who stood up against Monsanto of Canada when it tried running that particular contaminate-and-then-shakedown racket against him.

        1. scott s.

          According to your link “However, by the time the case went to trial, all claims of accidental contamination had been dropped; the court only considered the GM canola in Schmeiser’s fields, which Schmeiser had intentionally concentrated and planted. Schmeiser did not put forward any defence of accidental contamination.”

  17. antidlc

    Meet The New Kingpin

    With the rise of Bowlero, private equity has come for bowling — will your neighborhood alley ever be the same?

    It all feels thoroughly American: In the interest of short-term profit, a corporation goes about methodically worsening a beloved national pastime. Do you sometimes ask yourself, why does it feel like everything is getting worse? Bowlero provides one possible answer: because somewhere, someone’s making money off the decline.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Did they install coin-operated bowling ball conveyors? Every time you start a new frame, insert coin to get your ball back.

    2. scott s.

      Around here, the only remaining bowling centers are on the military bases, run by the welfare and recreation departments. The “neighborhood alley” went the way of the “neighborhood drive-in”.

    3. Wukchumni

      Obama rolled a 37 in a game while on the campaign trail in 2008.

      Really difficult to have a score that low…

  18. Joker

    Delivery of US weapons to Ukraine helping stabilize frontline, Blinken says Reuters

    Blinken says, in Chisinau, Moldova. How long till he plays a guitar there?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      He’s a liar. Watching Dima and Weeb Union, Russia took the village of Kleeshevka back, and is steadily advancing in the South Donetsk front as well as west of Avdeyvka.

      They are all just liars. Lie, lie, lie. So deep in false statements that they cannot even figure out what the truth is.

  19. Jason Boxman

    Weird, I can’t even access militarywatchmagazine:

    Access Denied – GoDaddy Website Firewall

    Never had that happen before; Not on a VPN. Just the usual IP address from the consumer cable Internet provider.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Dozens of Alaskan rivers and streams turn orange, visible from space”

    I suppose that eventually all that zinc, nickel, copper, cadmium and iron will make its way down to the sea where it will cause chaos on the ecological food chain there. And if these metals are being released from thawing permafrost, then it may never end as more and more regions thaw.

  21. Joker

    Hundreds of Georgian NGOs pledge to defy ‘foreign influence’ law Al Jazeera

    Hundreds of NGOs in Georgia have decided to defy the country’s controversial “foreign influence” law.

    The NGOs said they planned to help anyone affected by the law by paying the fines and providing lawyers for those arrested.

    They are ready to pay penalties, with money they recieve from abroad.

  22. ChrisFromGA

    I guess this is a vanity post because it will add nothing of value, so Yves and lambert forgive me.

    I think Trump is going to get convicted in the NY case. Just a feeling. It’s a convoluted mess of a case, and it will likely be overturned on appeal. But things are going to get very interesting thereafter. Once the jury returns a verdict, assuming it’s a conviction on at least some of the counts, there will be a sentencing date. I don’t think this Judge, being obviously biased in favor of the prosecution, will spare Trump jail time. Trump will be sentenced and carted off to jail maybe right after the GOP convention, for maximum screw-age. Once he goes to jail, the appeal could take years.

    That will set chaos into motion. I predict that Biden will resign shortly thereafter, citing health reasons. They will want to do it before the Dem convention in August so that Kamala can be disposed of and Hillary installed.

    /tinfoil hat off.

    1. Louis Fyne

      IMO, Trump going to jail will be the best free advertising that any US politician has received in the modern media age and will be worth at least 2 percentage points of votes.

      (from a Machiavellian POV) What the Democrats should’ve is just ignore Trump—no charges, no media coverage, nothing.

      But the smug NYC-DC corridor can’t help themselves trying to get Trump—consumed by revenge just like Captain Ahab

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Agreed. And Trump will not be going to Rikers alone like some sort of carjacker. He will be going with his 24/7 secret service detail, in their suits, and sporting the ubiquitous, very-serious-situation ear pieces.

        Should make for quite the visual in the myriad of Trump political ads that will result, and not in a good way for all those bragg/merchan lovers screeching their “election interference” and “nation of laws” bullshit.

        It really doesn’t seem like this has been thought through, but there’s a lot of that going around these days.

      2. RT53210

        We’re not seeing many Trump election ads here in fly over country, but Biden ads tend to show Trumps’ face. Kind of like how Clinton was a no show in 2016.

    2. griffen

      With Trump potentially facing jail time and let’s suppose they get him on the false records claim. That is, it goes this route hypothetically…”hey these were expensed or recorded as a legal fee, and there sat the lawyer as the primary witness, for the prosecution, now truth telling certainly not a fraud, Michael Cohen…”

      Cohen can’t be credible, only and particular that when it’s only if the Democrats instruct it to be thus and so. Oh and a sitting judge enforcing these actions has nothing that might pose a conflict, there we said so! “Democracy Saved by Joe from Scranton”. Ok time to vomit.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I am not sure what would be worse:

        (1) A big outbreak of violence after it becomes apparent that the voters have no actual choice. Trump will be de facto removed from the ballot, although technically still on the ballot. The conviction and subsequent jailing of Orangeman will render him unable to campaign. And it will be too late for a replacement. Meanwhile, Genocide Joe steps down and is replaced with Hillary at a brokered DNC convention. Again, no choice, except RFK Jr.

        (2) A big collective yawn as Democracy dies to the sound of thunderous applause. The UniParty has its big coming out party, as Hillary appoints a cabinet of war pigs including the likes of Haley and Tom Cotton as “unifiers” to appease the neocons.

        Of course, taking the long view, climate change will kill us all anyways.

    3. Screwball

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he is convicted either. If your hypothetical comes true, we would end up with Hillary vs. Haley? The MIC would love that – perpetual war.

      I’m also entertained by the people who are on pins and needles over this verdict. Not much work is getting done in PMCville because they are all consumed by the trial. It’s almost like the OJ verdict when the world stopped for 5 minutes. Unreal.

      I can’t think of anyone in my lifetime hated more than Trump. These people eat, sleep, and breath Trump hate. Their life has been consumed by him. They have to go full outrage on every word, every action, and any piece of Trump news. I can only imagine the screaming if he gets acquitted, and the blame game will be epic.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Keep in mind that Trump is likely to line his administration with neocons like Haley, too.

        But, yeah, the hatred of Trump is astonishing when you step back and think about it.

        1. Screwball

          I think I read somewhere he said there should be a place in his admin for her. Gag! Tells me he didn’t learn much. I think I also read one of the VP shortlist people is Ben Carson. Another bad pick.

          I’m not sure what drew this unbelievable hatred. They say he’s a serial liar, an adulterer, a rapist, a con-man, etc. Show me a politician that doesn’t lie. Let’s count the lies he’s told compared to Biden. Adulterer – see Bill Clinton, JFK, and who knows how many others. Rapist, OK, let’s talk to Tara Reade.

          I’m finding a hard time finding what he did that many/most of the others haven’t. Other than beating “It’s my turn” Hills. For that I am grateful.

          1. griffen

            He violated the first rule, which is let HRC be anointed to the Presidential position which so rightfully belonged to Her.

            Nothing good followed after November 2016. Remember how the stock market crashed into 2008 level low closes and millions were thrown out of work into the streets? Yeah me neither but Orange man was very bad for America. Now I’m thinking and will later ponder, what Hillary Clinton would have provided as leadership during 2020 and once in 100 year global pandemic. Help for Wall Street and stawks might’ve likely been the same.

    4. dao

      My tinfoil prediction is that Trump is acquitted.

      After panic from the Dems, Biden steps down, but my tinfoil twist is Newsome is his replacement, not Hillary.

      Not sure what they’ll do about Kamala, but accidents do happen.

    1. bertl

      It really begs the question of whether the MIC as presently constituted in the US has the technical know-how and industrial capacity to turn out a pair of decent sandals for Johnny f*cking Infantry to even out the field.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “How to Win in Ukraine: Pour It On, and Don’t Worry About Escalation”

    And where is the Ukraine suppose to get the soldiers to do all this from? Already because of Russian EM warfare, a lot of the weapons mentioned in this article no longer work. But this guy’s idea is to keep on doubling down until Russia breaks because Russia is scared of what NATO might do to them. Yeah, whatever.

    1. yep

      This guy’s idea is to defeat Russia in a proxy-war of attrition. He probably gets casuatly rates from the horses mouth, i.e. Zelensky himself.

      To be sure, avoiding direct military conflict with Russia is of paramount interest. Caution must be exercised to avoid a slippery slope that leads U.S. forces into combat against Russia. The measures suggested above are not a call for the involvement of U.S. combat forces, but instead a means of incrementally stepping up U.S. policy on Ukraine.

      Russia cannot indefinitely sustain disproportionate losses in men and materiel. Removing constraints on U.S. assistance will enable Ukraine to attrit Russian forces and overcome its superior numbers, especially at a time when renewed Russian attacks are putting pressure on Ukraine. The United States and its allies should take advantage of Russia’s necessary restraint against NATO, and do more to help Ukraine defeat Russia. The Biden administration was understandably careful early in the war. There is now room for a far more intensive U.S. role.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Well, this guy is one of those who have convinced themselves (or they paycheck depends on them being convinced) that this is an existential fight for the neo-colonial rule-based order. And fighting an existential battle with the proxy’s other hand tied would be silly. Almost as silly as believing that one would use a proxy in an existential battle.

    3. CA

      “How to Win in Ukraine: Pour It On, and Don’t Worry About Escalation” RAND

      The point then of RAND has openly become taking control of American government and supporting an attempted destruction of Russia by starting a World War.

      1. hk

        Same logic as destroying democracy in US to save “muhdimocrucie (not yours),” ™ which has been de rigeur for a while….

    4. CA

      May 22, 2024

      How to Win in Ukraine: Pour It On, and Don’t Worry About Escalation – RAND

      March 18, 2003

      Good Reasons for Going Around the U.N.

      With the news that the United States was abandoning its efforts to get United Nations approval for a possible invasion of Iraq, yesterday looked to be a very bad day for staunch multilateralists and critics of American policy.

      That view is understandable, but incomplete, even after President Bush’s speech last night made it clear that America would be going to war largely on its own. By giving up on the Security Council, the Bush administration has started on a course that could be called ”illegal but legitimate,” a course that could end up, paradoxically, winning United Nations approval for a military campaign in Iraq — though only after an invasion…

      Anne-Marie Slaughter is dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    Thanks to kouros who posted a link to a William Hogeland article the other day. Reading it prompted me to check out whether Hogeland had written anything new recently. Turns out he has – just came out this month and it looks to be a very different take on Alexander Hamilton than the heroic musical portrayal this particular founder has been given in recent years.

    One more to add to the list – The Hamilton Scheme: An Epic Tale of Money and Power in the American Founding

    1. petal

      Thanks for the book link. Do you have the article link? I must’ve missed it.
      I read his book about the Whiskey Rebellion during the high times of the musical. It was all I could do to not scream at my PMC friends to read it while they were worshiping Hamilton, showing off their attendance at the
      musical, and when their kids dressed up as him for Halloween and school events. To them, the guy was a saint.

      1. Screwball

        I’m not familiar with Hogeland, but here is a similar article by Matt Stoller. I think it was posted here at the time (Mar 2017).

        The Hamilton Hustle – Matt Stoller

        I had the same experience. My partner and her daughters were just awed at the play. Her daughter spent many $ flying from Columbus, Ohio, to Chicago to see the play. Few years later it was on some pay per view or something and they had a huge party. Of course it had a connection to St. Obama so that made it even better.

        So what did I do? Sent them this article. Oh brother was that a mistake. My partner didn’t talk to me for a few days, and the others…well, didn’t matter. I don’t worship at the blue no matter who alter so they hated me anyway.

        I guess they don’t like it when they find out their emperor wears no clothes. Wait till they find out about St. Obama and the current gang who can’t shoot straight.

        Eh, never gonna happen.

        1. petal

          Thank you, lyman! Very grateful.
          Yeah WR was the first real exposure I had to Hamilton. He’s been coming up as a bit player(like a mention here and there) in the books I’ve been reading lately about the Revolutionary War. Nothing too deep-so far.

    2. Kouros

      Maybe this is why Gore Vidal started his series on the American Republic with “Burr” and not with “Hamilton”…

  25. Ghost in the Machine

    That Jeffrey Sachs Tucker Carlson interview is a real red piller. The real lead up to the Ukraine war, Nordstream, the assassination of JFK by the CIA, CIA coups, the Church committee , and the leaking of Covid from a lab! Sheesh! I sent it to some family members. I am curious about the response.

  26. djrichard

    > Would Returning to the Gold Standard Resolve Our Most Pressing Monetary Problems? Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds. No.

    CHS looks to be focusing on trade imbalances. Which makes sense since that is what got us off the international gold exchange standard. In theory, we could be on an international gold exchange standard and still have exactly the same trade imbalances we have now. All it requires is that mercantilist countries like China continue to use their surplus dollars to buy US assets like they do now. That is, don’t swap those US dollars in exchange for gold from the US’s gold reserves. And it all hangs together. Until a Charles De Gaulle type comes along and ruins the party ;-p.

    So at the end of the day, trade is not a monetary problem. It’s a policy problem. Where CHS says

    2. This need to serve international trade / geopolitical goals is fundamentally in conflict with the goals of the domestic economy: the currency cannot serve two masters equally well.

    I’d put ithe part in italics another way: US policy can not serve two masters equally well. And as we can see, US trade policy is all for maintaining the status quo if only China would not try to displace the US at the top of the value chain. If only China would keep to its position lower in the value chain, PAX TRADEUS would reign. Of course, that’s a losing proposition for the US work force that can’t find a home at the top of the value chain, but US policy doesn’t serve them. If US policy unexplicably shifted to wanting to server the domestic US work force, then we’d have to have a serious conversation about balanced trade. And going to the gold standard would not be part of it. But some kind of policy to limit FDI (foreign direct investment) would have to be part of it.

    Looks like CHS will have more to say on the topic of monetary sin in future articles. I hope he gets into how the float of the currency is used for fake growth and too much “creative destruction”. I.e. the basis for our bubble economy that goes from boom to bust. The ill effects showing up as bad debt masquerading as persistent high asset prices, all of which is propped up by the central bank. 100% reserve lending would solve that. Which could be construed as a gold standard. But gold standards invariably lose to Gresham’s law of bad money, where the gold is displaced by fractional reserve lending. So let’s make it unambiguous: 100% reserve lending.

    Even for all the ill effects of our bubble economy, there’s a pressing money related problem. The one which is where our politicians currently see monetary sin: Fed Gov debt load and Fed Gov deficit spending. I.e. the problem that MMTers are tackling: to get the our politicians to concede that the Fed Gov debt and deficit spending is not an issue and to get them to stop weaponizing that against us. Too bad one of the Ms in MMT stands for monetary because I think it muddies the conversation: the Fed Gov is not in the business of increasing or shrinking the float of currency (i.e. M1, M2, M3). That’s the central bank’s business. The politicians have muddied those two together and MMT in a way perpetuates that.

    1. djrichard

      edit: Even for all the ill effects of our bubble economy, there’s a more pressing money related problem.

      Trying to discriminate between monetary vs non-monetary but money related problems.

  27. Lefty Godot

    Re: returning to the gold standard (no), is any kind of retreat from a pure fiat monetary system possible without collapsing the whole thing? Could there be such a thing as a “partially asset-backed” currency, where the asset would not necessarily have to be gold or just a single asset type? Or perhaps an asset-backed “counter-currency” that acts as a partial brake on expansion of the main currency?

    1. Wukchumni

      Fiat raids by countries that went off the Au standard in the early 1930’s put paid to it, I’d imagine just the opposite would render fiat dead in the water, discredited.

      It would be an ugly scene, as money backed by nothing reverts to it’s true value.

      I’d prefer the system we have now where trillions are conjured out of thin air and nobody says nothing.

      1. Jessica

        The US dollar isn’t backed up by nothing. It is backed up the ability of the US government to collect taxes.

    2. djrichard

      You can do it with 100% reserve lending. I’d have to go back and look, but Zarlenga referred to other thinking on how to do that in “The Lost Science of Money”. If memory serves, I think it revolved around the central bank pushing out reserves (deposits?) out to all the banks to make them “whole” so to speak as if they were already running at 100% deposits to loan book. But the idea was to cap it there. No more fractional reserve lending from that point on.

      There was a big debate on this web site on something not quite the same but with similar effects: the Swiss referendum on vollgeld. I was one of several arguing for an in-elastic money supply (more or less). But there was a contingent on here arguing for the merits of an elastic money supply (on par with what we have now – I don’t think I’m doing them a disservice by putting it that way). I think at some point it would be interesting for this site to re-open that conversation, but I don’t this is that opportunity. Maybe when it comes up in the context of climate change – that would be interesting.

    3. NotThePilot

      To your wider question of retreating from a pure fiat system, if by fiat you mean state-backed, then it’s arguably doable. I think it’s less about unwinding how you value the token itself and more about the system of trust behind it. I see it as a pathological example of everything not to do, it’s overwhelmingly just a carbon-belching speculative frenzy, plus the network programmers are effectively a central authority, but Bitcoin can work (very poorly) as money without state-backing.

      Other more decentralized examples are company scrip (another pathology), local currencies (which seem to have a more positive history), ground-up credit networks like hawala, or community tabs where everyone periodically gets together & wipes circular debts from their books (I remember reading about that one in Graeber’s Debt)

      On asset-backed money though, Keynes actually had a really to-the-point critique of that, gold or otherwise (I think he used spot prices of grain as his example). Essentially, because the factors of supply and demand for money are so distinct from even commodities, all pegging money to an asset does is convolve the market for that asset with the money market. That in turn both distorts the underlying market and (like with the petrodollar) spreads the political issues around the money market into that commodity.

      1. Procopius

        Pfui. Fiat money has no less value than commodity-backed money and several advantages as well as disadvantages.

        And, of course, this is wrong—so so so so so so so so so unbelievably wrong. It is simply not the case that we can cheaply and easily buy things with money because it is valuable. It is, instead, the case that money is valuable because we can cheaply and easily buy things with it.
        — Bradford DeLong

        We accept money because if we don’t have any money we have to buy commodities with other commodities, and when we do so we are unlikely to receive the cost of production for what we sell. Have you ever tried to buy a latte at Peets with a copy of Ludwig von Mises’s Money and Credit? It does not go well.

        The fact is that your wealth is only worth its cost of production if you are liquid—if you can wait to sell until somebody willing to pay full cost of production comes along, which is not every minute. The use value of money is that it allows you to time your other transactions so that you can realize the full exchange value of what you sell, rather than having to sell it at a discount.

        Thus there is no paradox: no sense in which the existence of fiat money creates a situation in which society must necessarily think that it is richer than it is, with claims to total wealth valued at more than the value of total wealth itself. You think—correctly—that your fiat money has value, and that value is just equal to the discount from its cost of production that your other wealth incurs because it is illiquid.

        But what if the government prints more fiat money than the illiquidity gap in your other death? Well, then people will say: “I don’t need to hold all this extra money. I would be liquid enough with less.” Everybody will try to run down their money balances, and so the price level will rise until the real money stock is just what people think covers the illiquidity gap between their other wealth and its cost of production.We accept money because if we don’t have any money we have to buy commodities with other commodities, and when we do so we are unlikely to receive the cost of production for what we sell. Have you ever tried to buy a latte at Peets with a copy of Ludwig von Mises’s Money and Credit? It does not go well.

    1. Wisker

      Brian Berletic’s is updating his earlier work on this very subject which you may find interesting: here and here.

      He tends to focus on SE Asia b/c that’s where he lives now but does a good job pulling in other examples.

      You might be more familiar with his numerous recent videos on Ukraine. He’s a former Marine who saw the light a la Smedley Butler.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not to be cranky, but you don’t need to add a link when the same link is already in Links. Google already doesn’t like aggregations, and it really doesn’t like repeated links.

      1. CA

        Not to be cranky, but you don’t need to add a link when the same link is already in Links.

        [ Sorry, I did not understand the need to just reference a title. Foolish of me. Thank you for helping. ]

  28. tegnost

    I decided to go back and check bernie sanders 2016 policy positions to see if there was any overlap with the current democrat.It took to page 3 of the search to get to this hair on fire summary about the dire implications, one of which,m4a would be 18 trillion over ten years

    so off I wandered to check the cost to .gov of aca subsidies…just for laughs

    not seeing any savings there but I’m not very mathy.

    Didn’t see much in the way of overlap, either,

  29. Wisker

    Not really here nor there on the subject of how well Russia prepared, and also with the benefit of hindsight is David Hendrickson’s view on the Istanbul talks from this Janary.

    Hendrickson is still Western-biased of course, but I find his case more compelling than Mercouris’ more sanguine view or the more pro-Western view of Charap-Radchenko in Foreign Affairs last month*. I am still a Mercouris-appreciator.

    * Paywalled but it got picked up and repeated widely in Western media.

  30. Skip Intro

    Officials investigate unusual surge in flu viruses in Northern California
    So wastewater monitors are picking an uptick of influenza virus, which may include H5N1, that does not correspond to public health observations. This may point to virus particles consumed in milk products passing through to the waste stream, or, to significant asymptomatic human infections.

    We may not be able to test milk, but we can test its remains!

  31. Glen

    Sal of “What is Going on With Shipping” reporting on shipping rates, and shipping attacks:

    Red Sea Chaos: Freight Rates Soar As Port Congestions Worsen!

    It seems like the MSM has stopped reporting on the Houthis attacks, so my guess is that these attacks are continuing:

    Houthis Claim Attacks on Six Ships in Red, Arabian, and Mediterranean Seas

    I do still try to watch the MSM evening news, mostly to see what is being reported, and what is not being reported. Reporting on all the conflicts except for Israel/Gaza has gotten scarce, and I suspect if the MSM could figure out how to make Gaza reporting go away, it would stop reporting on that too.

    1. bertl

      Now I understand why so many of you Americans believe fervently in the Second Amendment

    2. Willow

      You’d have to think that if Trump does somehow end up being president again there’s gonna be a whole heap of court cases into former Democrat presidents. Lawfare cuts both ways. All this has done is increase the existential risk for the Democrat establishment which means they can’t afford Trump to win under any circumstance no matter the red lines cross and consequences.

  32. Willow

    European Parliament elections next week. Interesting for what the outcome may be but also whether Russia changes gears with no need to fear spooking the outcome.

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