The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

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Quick Takes: Hamas, China Semis and More

It seems that the US has figured out that when you’re genociding someone, that helps the organization resisting genocide recruit:

Biden officials have also become increasingly concerned that Hamas has been able to recruit during wartime — thousands over the last several months. That has allowed the group to withstand months of Israeli offensives, according to a person familiar with U.S. intelligence.

Imagine that. People wanting to fight back against those who killed their women and children. Who would have thought such a thing would happen? It’s so contrary to human psychology.

I’ve been saying for years that the China would catch up on Semis. Here’s Philip Wong, Professor of electrical engineering at Stanford and TSMC’s Chief scientist:

“Years ago we had technical conferences and we see papers from China. Ah forget it! Just… Quality is so bad it’s not even competitive. That was probably in the 80s and the 90s.

Now they’re better than us. They’re better than us! If you look at papers, publications, data from key conferences in the chips business. […] You basically flipped. Years ago the US had the majority of the papers. I remember there were roughly about 40 to 50% of the papers from the US. And China, maybe 20-30 years ago, they were nowhere to be found.

Today, China and Asia, the papers, are more than 40%, almost close to 50%. And the US has steadily declined from 40-50% to 30 to 40%. And the rest of the world, principally Europe and Japan has basically fallen off a cliff.

So the research and development, the research capability in Asian countries, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and so on have really become the strongest region. In terms of producing good quality research. I’m not just talking about quantity, it’s quality.

The only thing that I see… What the US is still little bit ahead is in coming up with the new ideas. What the Chinese always say: going from zero to 1. Namely starting from nowhere, nothing, and come up with this really new idea. And if I look at what I would call new idea that has not been discussed before, the US still is the principal place where these new ideas come from.

But once these new ideas become known, then… I feel it in my everyday research with my students. Any new ideas that we come up, once they become known… that this is a good idea. The next week it will show up in China. It will show up in China, only that they do it better than you. I can’t, cannot compete anymore. They have better resources, they have more students. They have more, more funding from the government. I cannot compete anymore. I have to get out of that field!”

Why anyone thought it would be otherwise is beyond me. China has more population, more engineers, more scientists and there’s no reason to believe they’re racially inferior. As for culture, China had the tech lead for about 80% of the last 2,000 years, so perhaps their culture doesn’t suck at such things.

Been a while since I wrote about climate. The news is all dog bites man–it’s getting worse.

By the way, if you want to see the coral reefs, don’t wait. This year or next. They’re dying fast and you’ll want to see them while there’s still much worth seeing.

Meanwhile it’s humorous to think of all the idiots whining about Russian influence, when the entire government of the US has clearly been captured by Israel. The political reaction to the ICC decision to indict Netanyahu is instructive:

Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

The best summary I’ve read of why Red Lobster (and a thousand other companies), went bankrupt.

All we did was force Red Lobster to sell its land to our other companies who rented it back at a mark up, force it to purchase marked-up supplies from our other companies, and then have it borrow a ton to pay c-suite bonuses, and boom, it went bankrupt just like that

So, yeah, it wasn’t the all you can eat offers. There’s no recovery for the US economy until PE is made illegal, along with all its practices.

If you wonder why I’m so down on England, take a gander at this. (And the France/Belgium numbers surprised me, at least.)

And, next, electrification progress by country:

So, basically almost ALL of the electrification increases come from China. India, of course, is still a third world country and that accounts for their numbers, but China’s numbers are part of a policy. When you combine that with the fact that China is installing most of the wind, water and solar energy in the world you should understand that China is the only country taking climate change seriously, though they’ve got a long ways to go and are using way too much coal.

This last chart is from 2022, not 2023, but if your eye is keen you’ll notice that China’s line has gone exponential.

Now, of course, per capita the US has more than China, but what matters is the acceleration: China has it and the US doesn’t. Give it another five years and they’ll be the per capita leader, and in ten they’ll be leave everyone else in the dust. Since this is government policy and since Chinese government policy tends to be effective and long term, this is close to a sure thing.

Quick takes are where I shake out everything I read which I thought was important but which didn’t quite rate an article.

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Quick Takes Nine

As usual, just some links with takes. I bookmark more than I can write articles on, and some things aren’t worth a full article but are still worthy of comment.

Note: There is one article on Long Covid and vaccines. No vax comments will be allowed thru. If you want to talk about that, comment in the last open thread and link. Otherwise the comments will be swamped by anti-vax.

Swedish Unions Taking On Tesla. What’s important isn’t the direct strike, it’s that sympathy strikes are legal in Sweden. That explains much of the decline of unions in other countries, and that they have stayed strong in Sweden.

The Tesla strike has attracted secondary action from eight other unions and is threatening to spread to neighbouring Norway

Since that article, more unions have indeed started sympathy strikes. As for Musk, he’s virulently anti-union, and needs to be broken

The Atlantic Meridian Overturning Current (AMOC) could shut down anywhere from 2025 to 2075. Consequences?

In their model of the AMOC, London cools by an average of 18°F and Bergen, Norway by 27°F…

Sea levels in the Atlantic would rise by a meter in some regions, inundating many coastal cities. The wet and dry seasons in the Amazon would flip, potentially pushing the already weakened rain forest past its own tipping point…

…it will severely disrupt the rains that billions of people depend on for food in India, South America, and West Africa. It will increase storms and lower temperatures in Europe.

Long term readers will know that I have been particularly concerned with changes in rainfall patterns and the end of monsoons.

Vaccination appears to lower prevalence of Long Covid:

A new study based on 4,605 participants in the Michigan COVID-19 Recovery Surveillance Study shows that the prevalence of long COVID symptoms at 30 and 90 days post-infection was 43% to 58% lower among adults who were fully vaccinated before infection.

This does not mean that vaccines may not also cause harm, calm down anti-vaxxers (and remember, no comments on anti-vax in this thread, put them in the open thread.)

Economic Damage to Israel As Of Late February:

Tourism in Israel decreased by 70-75%, 7% of citizens became internally displaced and 14% of dual citizens left the occupied territories.

Not precisely a surprise, and the internal displacement quantifies the damage Hezbollah is doing: that’s almost all from the norther settlements they are shelling and hitting with missiles.

How Much Damage Can Hezbollah Do To Israel In A War?

Well, according to Israel’s Haaretz (screen shot since they are subscription gated):

I’ve been saying this for a long time, but it’s good to put numbers to it. To go further, this means Israel will be hit as hard as Lebanon. Hezbollah has been very clear about this: if Israel bombs Lebanon indiscriminantly, Hezbollah will destroy as much of Israel as it can.

It should also be noted that Israel needs airfields, and they can be targeted by Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s missiles, on the other hand, are much harder to find and destroy.

Apparently China has rest station for delivery and sanitation workers.

This is interesting, because a couple years ago Beijing cracked down on abuse of delivery workers, forcing the delivery firms to increase wages and improve conditions. But apparently they didn’t just do that, the government stepped in to help them directly.

It’s both gladdening and dismaying to see that China can and will do things like this, and we don’t. Anyway, the thread is worth reading. Please do.

Understanding Chinese Ship and Naval Build Capacity

Not much to say. The Japan analogy is excellent. The US has, in many ways, a great military. But they can’t replace losses or even manufacture enough ammunition.

I made this criticism for the first time in the 90s, with regards to smart munitions. All very nice, but in a real war the US would soon be using dumb munitions. Nowadays, the US and NATO can’t even make enough dumb munitions to fight a real war.

It’s an oversimplification to say that oil sanctions on Russia had no effect. It’s not just about price, but quantity and a lot of price is determined in bulk deals. The Chinese did not pay Russia well for their bulk deal. Still, it’s clear that anti-Russia oil sanctions haven’t done what their creators hoped:

And that concluded Quick Takes, though I’ve still got a lot of saved articles, so there may be another one soon.

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Quick Takes 8: China Auto, Israeli Mass Murder, Covid Mass Murder & More

Time for another “quick takes” since half my readers are likely still recovering from Thanksgiving food comas.

One of the more extraordinary videos I’ve seen. Do take the time to watch it, it’s not that long

Two things beyond the obvious really stuck out for me: one is how Britain lost its car industry, which was actually pretty large. The second is Japan dipping back below the US, though I wonder how much of that is offshored production: Canada is listed as a big producer for much of the timeline, but it’s all foreign companies: American, Korean and Japanese.

The main thing, though, is the huge size of the Chinese lead. It’s very reminiscent of the US lead after WWII.

All of this is ludicrous, though, in the sense that even electric cars are massively environmentally stupid (too many resources, used up too quickly given how fast we replace cars.) We need to move off cars to a large extent, and those that remain needs to last for decades, not years.

***

The Electronic Intifada, admittedly a site with a pro-Palestinian POV has a roundup of evidence that Israel killed a fair number of Israeli civilians and military during the Hamas attack. I find this largely credible, Israeli troops are largely incompetent; Israel was taken entirely by surprise and Israel has the “Hannibal Doctrine” which instructs its own troops to kill Israelis rather than let them be kidnapped.

***

A reminder that it’s my annual fundraiser. This is a reader supported outlet and the work is impossible without your help. If you like the content and can afford to give or subscribe, please do. (A couple new rewards will be announced on Monday.)

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This chart shows the age breakdown of reported deaths in Gaza. The mode age is 5. Granted this is fairly close to the population pyramid, it shows that Israeli bombing is indiscriminate: they’re trying to kill as many civilians as possible, not to hit Hamas soldiers specifically.

***

Rishi Sunak is the current Prime Minister of Britain and was Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Covid pandemic. We now have some evidence, admittedly alleged, that he just wanted to let Britains die of Covid. Not a surprise, but the confirmation is needed by some.

***

For what is years now I have been saying that each Covid infection makes the next one more likely to be worse, and increases the odds of Long Covid. Another study comes in saying that.

***

While China has the most patents these days, in terms of scientific citations it lags behind. (This isn’t my favorite metric and never has been, but it’s not completely meaningless.) They still lag. The US in 2022 had 37.5%, down from 43.3% five years ago, and China had 17.9%, up from  7.9% five years ago. Britain comes in third. Even taken seriously (gaming of citations is an academic disease and English speaking nations have a structural advantage due to how the journal industry is set up), China is coming on strong.

***

And for our last piece, a study reports that UK forests are facing systematic collapse within 50 years. Bank on it being sooner, and probably much sooner.

***

That’s it for quick takes 7.

Quick Takes 7: RICO abuse against activists; Regulating AirBnB & Early Climate Change Flooding

RICO is a shit law, which criminalizes association and free speech. When it was passed, to take down the mob, far-sighted commenters noted it would be abused. Now it is being used to take down “Stop Cop City”.

It doesn’t seem a coincidence that this sprawling indictment is appearing when the Stop Cop City movement has reached its zenith of public support. Activists campaigning to put Cop City on the ballot have gathered over 100,000 signatures, well north of the number of votes Andre Dickens secured in his race for the Atlanta mayorship. Mainstream civil and human rights organizations, including the King Center, have come out in favor of the ballot initiative. Stop Cop City solidarity groups have popped up in at least twenty-one states, and progressive groups nationwide have leaned into support. The Stop Cop City movement stands a fighting chance, and so the state has exacted retribution.

***

As part of the negotiation of normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a formal alliance is being suggested. This seems misjudged: the Saudi regime isn’t just a terrible one, it’s a bad ally to the US; almost certainly part of the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, as Foreign Policy notes, normalizing with Israel may cost the Sauds their peace with Iran, and that could lead to war with Iran.

***

Thomas Neuberger, summarizing Hansen, notes that sea level rises are likely to happen much faster than standard models, and that means disaster for Asia (but not just Asia.) All of these won’t happen this century, I suspect, but plenty will.

This map (from NASA) is must viewing:

As is this one, where the dark green is low lying areas that will be flooded early.

Neuberger notes that:

Beijing is now a coastal city. Notice also that the North China Plain, the Chinese “breadbasket” and engine of Chinese growth, is now under water. In the image below, the green area south of Beijing is the North China Plain. Green shows how close it is to sea level today. It will flood early in the process. (my emphasis)

You’ll also notice that Bangladesh is on the “floods early” slate. Imagine how that will effect India, and notice that there’s plenty of early Indian flooding too.

***

So, New York has a partial AirBnB ban which has finally gone into effect.

New Yorkers are forbidden from renting out their residence. If they wish to rent, they must be present in the home, as a host. And they must prove that they’re not effectively running an illegal hotel by turning over all kinds of information to the city, which will then list them in a registry

What seems to have happened is a lot of short term rentals being moved to long term, with some drop outs.

The drop, recorded between August 4 and September 5, the day New York City began enforcing the new law, represents the disappearance of some 15,000 short-term listings from Airbnb. The figures are based on data provided by Inside Airbnb, a housing advocacy group that tracks listings on the platform.

In August, there were some 22,000 short-term listings on Airbnb in New York City. As of September 5, there were 6,841. But it seems some short-term listings have been switched to long-term listings, which can only be booked for 30 days or more. The number of long-term rentals jumped by about 11,000 to a total of 32,612 from August 4 to September 5. These listings do not need to be registered under the new law.

Additionally, Inside Airbnb estimates that around 4,000 rentals in total have disappeared from Airbnb since the law took effect.

So, all of a 4K difference. I suspect this law is not going to be enough, but if the long term rentals drop in price so that they are viable for true renting; if they can become homes, then fine, AirBnB has just become a central site for long term rentals.

We’ll see.

A lot will also depend on enforcement. Many, perhaps most of the remaining short term AirBnB rentals are likely illegal, and if New York doesn’t go after then and punish both the landlords and AirBnB itself, the law will not matter. An unenforced book is only a political stick to be used against citizens who cross the wrong person.

I also agree with NYDaily News that allowing people to rent their own homes, without being there, for say a month a year, would be ideal. If someone is on vacation and wants to rent their house for the duration of their vacation, that’s reasonable and not a threat to the housing market.

Chalk this one down as “good potential first step, but we’ll see.”

 

 

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Quick Takes: Covid, China, Environment & More

Another “quick takes” in which I make brief comments on pieces I think are worthy of note, but am not going to write a full article on.

One of the policies I’ve promoted is criminal charges for environmental crimes, rather than just fines, which are simply treated as a cost of business and don’t take money from the executives responsible. Seems at least one country is doing so.

Violating China’s environmental policies can lead to real punishment. In March 2021, four major steel mills in Hebei were caught falsifying records to evade carbon emission limits; the next year, dozens of executives responsible were sentenced to prison.

It’s worth remembering just how good the media is at making people hate and fear the enemy of the day. They did it to Iraq, to Russia and to China.

There’s been a fair bit of bad economic news out of China recently (which I intend do a fuller post on), but one piece cuts both ways. A huge decrease in exports means that China’s customers (the West, to a significant degree) are buying less and it’s not just because of sanctions. China is now the world linchpin economy, much as the US was in 1920s–the industrial power exporting to other countries. We all know how the 20s ended.

China’s exports in July were down 14.5% year on year, far worse than expected, to $282 billion, although it is worth noting that in July 2022, China recorded its highest monthly levels of exports in history.

Meanwhile, the Covid pandemic is not over. Our elites know this: they want us back in offices, but protect themselves.

“Anybody who meets with the president does indeed get tested. I do, we all do”

The problem with Covid isn’t so much the deaths, though that’s bad, it’s the damage it does to people, even to people who don’t appear to have Long Covid. This picture and article summarizes some of Covid’s sequelae.

Fun stuff.

Extra fun is that some school districts have a financial incentive to keep sick kids in school.

The superintendent also noted a financial impact. If the current 90% daily attendance rate rose to 95% — which it was pre-pandemic — the result, he said, would be $300 million more in state funding, which is largely based on attendance.

Carvalho spoke on a day when he took part in two home visits in North Hollywood with students who had poor attendance last year, including an eighth-grader who missed 40 days of school. Her mother, Marissa Garcia, said both of her daughters had trouble keeping up with studies during the pandemic and also adjusting once school resumed. But the single mother said she and her daughters would redouble efforts to get the most out of school.

 

Back early in the pandemic, when they wanted to send children back to school, I wrote multiple articles saying this would be a disaster, because children are illness sponges. Not only are they not immune to Covid damage, they spread disease, as all parents and teachers know.

In totally predictable news, we now have proof of the obvious. “More than 70% of US household COVID spread started with a child, study suggests.”

A fun article is the one claiming no one knows why working age people are dying more from “non Covid.” Perhaps you can figure it out.

No one knows precisely what is driving the phenomenon, but there is an inexplicable lack of urgency to find out. A concerted investigation is in order.

Deaths among young Americans documented in employee life insurance claims should alone set off alarms. Among working people 35 to 44 years old, a stunning 34% more died than expected in the last quarter of 2022, with above-average rates in other working-age groups, too.

Covid has all sorts of weird side effects. More car accidents, for example, which when you look at that Sequelae graphic, rather makes sense. A lot of damaged people are driving and driving badly.

The cost of auto insurance soared 16.9% from a year ago Car insurers lost on average 12 cents for every dollar of premium written in 2022, the worst performance in more than 20 years, according This is partially due to an increase in accidents

Enough Covid fun. Off in Britain, the UK continues its slide to 3rd world status. Start with this lovely list of Labour leader Keir Starmers continued retreat from his promises when elected leader of the party.

And “progressives” continue to slurp it up, ensuring Britain’s decline and the left’s irrelevance.

And that’s our week’s quicktakes. Mostly bad, but at least China is jailing some climate criminals. Remember, most importantly, that Covid is not over and that you don’t want to get it, and if you’ve had it, you don’t want to get it again.


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Quick Takes 5: The Year Climate Change Became Undeniable

Only someone ignorant, stupid or on the payroll could deny climate change before 2023, but this is the year where to remain in denial you have to be 5-sigma stupid or on the payroll.

So, boys and girls, let’s look at some of the highlights of what will be one of the coldest years of the rest of your life.

Let’s start with Antarctic sea ice extent. Remember, this is during WINTER.

For years I’ve said that marine inundation (sea level rises) would happen before most people expect it. And I’ll be right.

Next, we have more winter fun. 35 degrees celcius in Chile.

Well, that seems… bad.

Now for the lovely long-term view:

What’s super about the aboe graph, is that I’ll lay you 4:1 it is over-optimistic. By a lot.

There’s a vast amount of delusion about how bad global warming will be. People talk about 1.5 C, or 2 C, or 3 C.

How about +10C as the equilibrium? This is from a pre-print, but it’s not unreasonable:

Equilibrium global warming for today’s GHG level is 10°C for our central estimate

Now, the guys who made the above estimate are on the gloom side and as they themselves say, blackballed, but everyone who’s been paying attention knows that essentially everything has been coming in sooner and worse than expected. Are you going to bet on the consensus forecasts made for politicians that have consistently under-estimated climate change?

Yeah.

Next we have Farmer’s Insurance leaving Florida. The time when home owners insurance won’t be available anywhere unless the government underwrites it is withing sight.

Ocean water is warming up. In the more tropical areas it’s destroying coral, but it’s damn impressive in the north, too:

Spain, July 7th.

My guess is that most of the Mediterranean area will not be inhabitable during the summer in ten to twenty years. If you don’t have air conditioning, you will die.

Then there’s the whole “jellyfish future”:

Oxygen levels in the world’s oceans have already dropped more than 2 per cent between 1960 and 2010, and they are expected to decline up to seven per cent below the 1960 level over the next century. Some patches are worse than others — the top of the northeast Pacific has lost more than 15 per cent of its oxygen. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 special report on the oceans, from 1970 to 2010, the volume of “oxygen minimum zones” in the global oceans — where big fish can’t thrive but jellyfish can — increased by between three and eight per cent.

I for one welcome the ocean’s new Jellyfish overlords.

We’ll talk more about the implications of all this soon, including the implications for you personally.


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Quick Takes 4: Covid Mental Illness, IMF Admits Greed Sometimes Bad, & More

The sheer desperation of the US to halt China’s rise is on display with the news that America blacklisted fourty-four flight schools for teaching Chinese pilots.

Ain’t gonna work, sunshine, and it makes you look like petty fools. Also this whole extraterritorial law thing is now beyond tiresome and pissing everyone off. Ain’t anyone but your lackeys who doesn’t want this to end and to see America in the graveyard of empires.

***

In the sort of lovely Covid news we’ve become used to, it seems that about one-third of everyone who gets Covid gets short or long term mental issues:

delirium, agitation, altered consciousness, hypoxic encephalopathy encephalitis, dysexecutive syndrome, cerebrovascular complications (e.g., stroke), hypoxic encephalopathy, convulsions, neuromuscular dysfunction, demyelinating processes, or parkinsonism through several pathophysiological mechanisms.

Meanwhile, it seems Japan may have entered its’ ninth Covid wave. But remember, children, the WHO told us the emergency is over. Which is, I suppose, true. “The world burning down is now normal and not an emergency. Continue about your business, citizens.”

***

As long as we’re talking about the world burning down, it seems that tropical forests shrunk by 10% in 2022 – not just the Amazon, but Congo and so on. Chow down on those burgers, you might as well benefit from destroying the world!

And remember all that news you’ve been reading about how renewables are taking over the world! Well it seems that coal use is the highest its been since 2014 and fossil fuels still provide 84% of the world’s energy, because we keep increasing how much energy we use faster than expanded renewables can keep up.

It makes me so happy to see how seriously we’re taking climate change.

***

Everyone favorite foreign policy realist, Mearsheimer, now has a substack. His first piece is on how the Ukraine war will end (or, sort of, not) and who will win. I find myself in agreement with almost all of it, though this doesn’t mean I agree with Mearsheimer on everything else.

Measheimer notes, as I have, that everyone in the war considers this existential or nearly, and thus no one is willing to go to peace. End of the day, though, it’s an attrition war and Russia is winning it.

***

The IMF, rather amazingly, has published figures showing what everyone with half a brain and and an ounce of honesty was reporting two years ago, at least, that the largest contributor to inflation is companies taking huge profits. This is important because it indicates even part of the elite has decided that it’s too much: it matters that the IMF is saying it, but the actual content is a yawner.

On the other hand, they did make a pretty chart, so here it is.

***

Meanwhile, Delaware continues to lead in the important civil rights area of corporate personhood. All people should, after all, have the vote, and it’s simply unfair when they don’t, so Delaware has a bill to let LLCs vote in a municipal election pending. All right minding liberty lovers will no doubt support this extension of rights to society’s most discriminated-against people.

***

And that, dear readers, is the end of today’s Quick Takes. Remember that this blog is powered by me and I am powered by your donations and subscriptions, which I exchange for kibble, a roof over my head, a computer and some internet stuff which allows me to write. So if you want to give, that would be, well, nice, especially since some large donors decided that my writing that rape is always bad, mmmkay and that Israel is a shitty apartheid state and that supporting an apartheid state makes you bad, was a good reason to stop giving.

(Which is understandable and I don’t blame them, people who support rape and ethnic cleansing obviously don’t like being told these things are, y’know, evil. Though I’ll say that I didn’t expect the whole “how dare you say rape is always bad” freakout. Seemed pretty “mom and apple pie are good” when I was writing it, though I do applaud the level of self-acceptance required to admit you’re sometimes OK with rape.)

Oh, like everyone asking for your cash, subscriptions are great (though I almost never subscribe to anything, so I get it if you’d rather one-time it.) Also, if you’re skint, don’t give. I don’t want money from people who are having trouble paying the rent, affording food or buying medicine.

If you’re a billionaire, or even a deci-millionaire, feel free to give till it still doesn’t hurt. I promise I’ll use at least some of your money to help overthrow your class!

Quick Takes 3: Foreign Interference, Pandemic Deaths As New Normal, China-Brazil Trade and More

In Covid news:

1) CO2 levels below 540 are sufficient to stop exponential Covid spread.

2) The European Mortality Project will start using death numbers from 2020-2022 and late when calculating excess mortality. Meaning that they will make “people who died due to Covid or Covid related mortality” just part of the normal. An out of control pandemic is normal now.

Given the reduction in testing, I have no idea what current Covid death numbers really are. Last time I wrote an article a commenter kindly pointed out that the CDC’s numbers were much less than the numbers I’d posted (always check the most recent numbers, woops) and I adjusted them down, but how much of that reduction in Covid deaths is real, I just don’t know. I’m 100% sure it’s not, well, 100%, however.

We’re all just going to pretend the pandemic is over and if that means not testing and changing statistical indices to make a pandemic level of death normal, well that’s what we’re going to do.

Meanwhile, readers who were with me thru the pandemic will know I constantly said we needed filtering and ventilation. Turns out that if we’d done that, we could have ended the damn thing. What a sur…-well, ok, not a surprise. Complete common sense solution would have worked. Who would’a’thunk?

Who’s Interfering In Country’s Politics?

Every time I hear some idiot whine about Russian interference in the US I laugh my ass off, and chasing it down and bolting it back in place has significantly inmproved my fitness.

But what everyone knows is that the country that interferes the most in other countries’ politics is the US. I knew a senior aide in the Mulroney government of the 80s, and she said they confirmed that the US had the place wired for sound. Everything said in the parliament buildings, including in private ministerial officers were known to the Americans.

Anyway, the French are doing a witch hunt about foreign (read “Russian”) interference, and Francois Fillion (prime Minister from 2007 to 2012) told them the following

“Have I encountered foreign interference in my political life, and particularly when I was in government? Yes, I have encountered it. Most of the time they came from a friendly and allied country called the United States. I am not passing judgement: your commission is working on foreign interference. I am telling you that, for example, I was listened to with President Sarkozy for 5 years by the NSA. We found out when documents from the American secret services leaked, and everyone focused on the fact that the NSA was listening to Ms. Merkel, but they were also listening to all members of the French government and probably those of other European countries.”

You’d have to have a room temperature IQ and the judgment of a cabbage to think otherwise, but our journalists and pundit class are down with the requirements of their jobs.

That China Developing Country Trade Thing

So, if you were Brazil, which country would be more important to you, the US or China?

Brazil’s extreme, but the issue is simple: this sort of stuff is going on all through Africa and South America, though in most cases it’s less one sided: the Chinese sell a lot of goods. But whatever way you slice it, Chinese grade is more important than the US or the EU now to most developing countries. (France, in particular, used to be a big deal in a lot of Africa. China has eaten their lunch.)

Then we have US/Israel Blowback. It seems that when Israel decided to support Ukraine, and Iran not only sold Russia drones it needed but helped them build a domestic factory, Russia decided to reciprocate by giving Iran hypersonic missile technology, which, yeah, the Israeli “Iron Dome” is not going to be able to shoot down worth a damn.

Russia spent a lot of time balancing its Syria interests against not antagonizing Israel, but I guess Israel didn’t realize there were limits.

And remember, Iran hit a US base with missiles when the US assassinated one of its generals.

Enough for today, more in the future.


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