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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 2, 2023

by Tony Wikrent


The Darkness Ahead: Where The Ukraine War Is Headed

John Mearsheimer [via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

The real casualties of Russia’s ‘civil war’: the Beltway expert class 

Max Blumenthal [The Grayzone, via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]

FSB spooked the CIA on Prigozhin coup 

[Indian Punchline, via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]

THIS Is How NATO’s War On Russia Has FAILED w/ Scott Ritter 

[YouTube, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

[Yves Smith: “Worth the listen even though long. Revealing opening section on Iraq.” Ritter explains, for the first time to my satisfaction, why Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. And why no weapons of mass destruction were found: because the UN inspection teams Ritter had been a member of had found them and forced their destruction before the war. ]

Further thoughts on the lessons of the Prigozhin armed rebellion 

Gilbert Doctorow, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

All aboard the gravy train: an independent audit of US funding for Ukraine 

[The Grayzone, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]

The War Between My Two Words 

[Between Two World: The “Art” of an American Surviving in Small Town Russia, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]

The Americans were wrong about Russia militarily and politically. There is no qualified Russian expert among the advisors to President Biden. The sanctions and the war prove that. I know from watching the U.S. news. Their descriptions of the impact the war has had on life in Russia are so far from reality that I really cannot believe these people get paid to fabricate such news.

My fear, as I have expressed in many contexts, is that the powers-that-be in the U.S. will not have the moral courage to admit they were wrong and they were lying. These are not people of strong convictions and integrity at the helm in America. I had two friends who posted two videos on my Facebook “wall” yesterday. One was the testimony of an FBI official, whose name I did not get, in a congressional hearing. The two representatives questioning him under oath caught him lying and evading their questions time after time. He just could not muster the courage to admit they had lied in reports which had been filed and then concealed those non-classified documents from Congress and the American public.


Global power shift 

Africa to the west: you are not hearing us!

Alex Krainer, June 29, 2023

…France’s President Emmanuel Macron took the lead in bringing the global community together to develop a new financial architecture for the future and hosted the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact in Paris on 22 and 23 June. Among the attendees were many of the leaders of Western European, African and Latin American nations as well as the heads of the IMF, World Bank, US Department of the Treasury, the ECB and the European Commission….

South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa was more blunt still; recounting his nation’s experience with the western powers during the Covid 19 Pandemic, he said that “we were made to feel like beggars… That has generated and deepened disappointment and resentment on our part.” Ramaphosa reminded western leaders that the west had promised African nations development funds of $100 billion/year but these funds were never made available. He insisted that now, “we must see action from the west, not just talk.”

He proposed a concrete infrastructure project that urgently needed development funding. Ramaphosa said that to this day, 600 million Africans still have no electricity even though Africa has all the resources needed to have abundant electricity, especially from the Congo River. He said that the project of constructing the Inga Dam on the Congo would generate sufficient electricity for 12 to 15 African countries in one go, and called on western leaders to walk their talk:

US Congress plots to save dollar dominance amid global de-dollarization rebellion

Ben Norton [Geopolitical Economy Report, via Mike Norman Economics, June 27, 2023]

Titled “Dollar Dominance: Preserving the U.S. Dollar’s Status as the Global Reserve Currency”, the June 7 hearing was organized by the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions.

The tone of the two-hour event was deeply schizophrenic. Speakers would triumphantly argue that the dollar remained unbeatable, that its hegemony was inevitable and natural, before a few minutes later complaining that foreign adversaries are conspiring to undermine it.

A neoconservative political economist who spoke, Daniel McDowell, boasted of how the dollar is “the king of all currencies” and “a powerful symbol of American financial royalty”.

Michael Faulkender, who served as Donald Trump’s assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, declared in the session, “As assistant secretary, I told my team that the Treasury secretary proudly states that the dollar will never not be the world’s reserve currency, and our job is to make sure that’s true”….

All the participants in the hearing treated the hegemony of the US currency as desirable, arguing it must inevitably be maintained. The five expert witnesses who were invited insisted that there is no short-term threat to dollar dominance….

The idea that BRICS could develop an international currency (similar to John Maynard Keynes’ idea of the Bancor) was not even raised as a possibility.

China’s demographic doomsayers cite the wrong data

David P. Goldman [Asia Times, via Mike Norman Economics, July 1, 2023]

A meme popular among American pundits claims that China’s economy is doomed by a slowly declining population. More important than the aggregate Chinese population is the technically proficient Chinese population.

That has grown 20-fold, or by 2,000%, in the past 40 years. Other Asian countries, notably South Korea, previously achieved record-shattering productivity gains with similar enhancement of skills….

In 1990, just 35% of South Korean high school graduates went on to some form of higher (tertiary) education; by 2010, the proportion stood at a remarkable 100%. Seoul has more PhD’s than any other city in the world. The South Koreans invested impressively in plant, equipment and infrastructure, but most of all, they educated their people to world standard….

When Deng Xiaoping began his economic reforms in 1979, just 3% of Chinese high school graduates went on to tertiary education. Today, the proportion is 63%, about the same as most European countries. A third of Chinese undergraduates study engineering, compared to just 6% in the United States….

At the Tianjin Port, where AI-guided cranes linked by 5G wireless broadband pick containers out of ships and place them in autonomous trucks, large container vessels are emptied in 45 minutes, Huawei says. Before Huawei installed its 5G system, it took eight hours. Unloading a large container ship takes 48 hours at America’s largest port at Long Beach, California, according to reports.


“…the intrinsic wealth of a nation is to be measured, not by the abundance of the precious metals, contained in it, but by the quantity of the productions of its labor and industry….” — Alexander Hamilton, Second Report on the Public Credit, December 1790

“To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.” — Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures, December 1791


[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]


[TW: More on the historic role of the British empire: ]

The Hunt for Judah P. Benjamin, the Spy Chief of the Confederacy

[Tablet, via The Big Picture 7-1-2023]

Suspected of orchestrating the Lincoln assassination, the South’s most prominent Jew escaped to London to start a new life as a high-powered lawyer. The U.S. government secretly tried to bring him home to face justice….

He was a spy chief of the South and oversaw the Confederate Secret Service that was embedded in Benjamin’s own State Department. He ran agents into Washington, New York, Boston, and other Northern cities, as was expected. But he also produced an early form of fake news, ordering Confederate emissaries in Europe to plant stories about fatuous Southern military victories into British and French papers. He also engaged in financial warfare: using Northern bankers to try and devalue the U.S. dollar through the export of gold.

But it was in the final two years of the Civil War where Benjamin’s espionage operations took a particularly dark turn. Desperate to fend off the collapse of the Confederacy, the Southern secretary of state put in place an elaborate network of spies and soldiers in British-controlled Canada to seek to destabilize the North. Benjamin’s agents robbed banks, attempted to burn down Manhattan hotels and devised ways to conduct chemical warfare in Washington. They also sought to upend the 1864 Republican Party convention and swing the vote against the incumbent president, Abraham Lincoln, in favor of a peace candidate who sought an immediate end of the Civil War.

And Benjamin’s agents in Canada also hosted in Montreal a famous actor from Maryland, John Wilkes Booth, during the final months of the war, and provided him monies and contacts to conduct a plot that initially focused on kidnapping Abraham Lincoln. It was for these activities, among other business, that retired General George Sharpe went to London in 1867 to search for Benjamin. And it’s the story of this mission that remains one of the great secrets of the Civil War.

[TW: The planning and operations indicating a Confederate plot to assassinate Lincoln were detailed in Come retribution. The Confederate Secret Service and the assassination of Lincoln, by William A. Tidwell, James O. Hall, and David Winfred Gaddy, University Press of Mississippi, 1988.]


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

The Localist: Why did Chicago become the headquarters of free market fundamentalism? Adam Smith offers a clue.

Jonathan Levy, June 28, 2023 [Boston Review]

Adam Smith’s America: How a Scottish Philosopher Became an Icon of American Capitalism
Glory M. Liu
Princeton University Press, $35 (cloth)

For historians of ideas, it is commonplace, when recounting the Chicago school’s reading of Smith, to lament just how bad of a reading it was. Liu cannot resist this temptation, but by placing it in the longer history of Smith’s American reception, she shows that there is more to learn from the episode than just confirming that Stigler was not a very sophisticated historian of ideas.

Indeed, Liu demonstrates just how malleable ideologically the interpretation of Smith has been over time….

Chicago’s version of Smith led to a wave of late twentieth and early twenty-first century scholarship on his thought. Liu discusses this work in her last chapter, when the setting abruptly shifts from the Reagan White House and the pages of the Wall Street Journal back to university seminar rooms and academic journals.

Smith’s greatest teaching was that, if we only stop to look, we are all localists.

The Chicago school sought out a single, overarching insight of universal application in Smith’s writings, and they claimed they found it in his celebration of self-interest and the market.

Economic inequality cannot be explained by individual bad choices, study finds 

[PhysOrg, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

CHART Both revenues and spending are lower than earlier projections, meaning low revenues are responsible for persistent primary deficits

[Center For American Progress, via The Big Picture 6-25-2023]

CHART Corporate profits now account for nearly half of all Euro area inflation


Europe’s Inflation Outlook Depends on How Corporate Profits Absorb Wage Gains

[International Monetary Fund, via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]


Oil Prices, Oil Profits, Speculation, and Inflation

Carlotta Breman [Institute for New Economic Thinking, via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]

A number of observers have pointed fingers at the excessive flow of money into financial instruments tied to oil (Meyer 2018Verleger 2022). These money flows, they argue, have pushed the oil price up and away from its ‘fundamental’ value. It is well known that hedge funds are very active in the oil market and their activity, along with other speculators, has raised the volume of oil transactions far above the volume warranted by ordinary commercial transactions. However, other observers are skeptical that the oil price spike during 2020-2022 was speculative, arguing that the underlying (geopolitical) fundamentals of oil supply and demand changed significantly during this period (EIA 2023). Hence, and specifically focusing on the U.S. oil market, in our new INET Working Paper, we ask the question of whether the sharp increases in prices during 2020-2022 were due to fundamental shifts in supply and demand or whether they must be attributed (at least partly) to excessive market speculation….

…“Fundamentals do not matter to a new breed of oil speculator”, writes Gregory Meyer (2018). A new class of prominent ‘macro speculators’, mostly Wall Street money managers, is not necessarily reacting to news about supply and demand but instead may be buying and selling oil futures based on moves in currencies, interest rates, or the price of oil itself. Veteran oil analyst Philip K. Verleger (2022) agrees, arguing that “oil prices in 2022 are being driven not by fundamentals but by those betting that prices will soon exceed $125, $150, or $200/bbl”.

Our estimates would translate into an oil price increase of around $18-$36 per barrel and an increase in the U.S. PCE inflation rate by circa 0.75 to 1.5 percentage points during October 2020-June 2022. Oil speculation thus has been a significant systemic factor contributing to the recent surge in the U.S. inflation rate….

We find that merchants/producers of oil are outnumbered by Wall Street traders….

Higher energy prices have been a major driver of the surge in the U.S. PCE inflation, accounting for 21% of PCE inflation in June 2022. Under reasonable empirical assumptions and using the model of Knittel and Pindyck (2016), our analysis shows that speculative activity in the crude oil market has been responsible for 24%-48% of the increase in the WTI crude price during October 2020-June 2022. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that these estimates translate into an oil price increase of around $18-$36 per barrel and an increase in the U.S. PCE inflation rate by circa 0.75 to 1.5 percentage points during October 2020-June 2022.

Pinning the Rise of Neoliberalism on Ronald Reagan Lets Democrats Off Easy 

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism 6-26-2023]

Acting out of ignorance: the new logic of central bank inflation-fighting

Adam Tooze, June 27, 2023 [Chartbook, via Mike Norman Economics, June 27, 2023]

…what actually is the base rationale for action? A particularly searching answer was offered in mid-June by ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel in a talk she gave in the financial center of Luxembourg….

Her characteristically lucid assessment of the limits of central bank knowledge when faced with the problem of stubborn inflation, smacks less of heroism or technocracy than nihilism. And yet this does not lead Schnabel to put in question the central bank and its instrument as a means of inflation control, or even their ability to specify “optimal policy”. It leads her, instead, to double down. In Schnabel’s logic, admitted ignorance, failures of foresight and profound uncertainty become an argument for forceful counter-inflationary action.

Schnabel’s point-by-point exposé of the limits of central bank knowledge when it comes to the basic question

Japan’s monetary policy experiment is working

William Mitchell [Modern Monetary Theory, via Mike Norman Economics, June 26, 2023]

I have noted previously how the mainstream economics media has hardly commented on the global experiment that is now clearly underway courtesy of the stark difference in monetary policy approach to the inflationary pressures in Japan compared to the rest of the world.

There is a near consensus of central banks that sees interest rates being hiked at present and the officials are claiming they are ‘winning’ the war against inflation, when the latter has already peaked and is falling for reasons quite apart from what the central banks are doing.

Clearly, the Bank of Japan is running in an entirely difference direction to the New Keynesian macroeconomic consensus, which I consider to be an experiment as to the veracity of the mainstream approach….

Japan has experienced all the global supply shocks that other nations have endured that imparted the inflationary pressures.

Japan imports almost everything!

Yet, the Bank of Japan has not increased its policy interest rate and has held the line on the yield targetting for the 10-year Japanese Government Bond.

The Curious Incident of Elevated Profit Margins

[GMO, via The Big Picture 6-27-2023]

Why have U.S. profit margins remained elevated for the last 10 or so years compared to history? Expectations for a return to normal profit margins have not panned out. I blame fiscal deficits as the culprit.

Will the Biggest Tech Merger of All Time Go Through? 

Matt Stoller [BIG, via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]

Railroad safety standards have gotten so bad the NTSB is beginning to question the whole concept of self-regulation 

[Fortune, via Naked Capitalism 6-26-2023]

The Biotech Edge: How Executives and Well-Connected Investors Make Exquisitely Timed Trades in Health Care Stocks.

[ProPublica, via The Big Picture 6-25-2023]

Secret IRS records reveal dozens of highly fortuitous biotech and health care trades. One executive bought shares in a corporate partner just before a sale, and an investor traded options right before a company’s revenues took off, netting millions.


Predatory Finance

Familiar tale of private equity and debt lands Instant Pot, Pyrex maker in bankruptcy 

[Chicago Business Review, via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]

Tragic Death of JPMorgan Board Member Adds to the Bank’s String of Unusual Deaths

Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 29, 2023 [Wall Street on Parade]


Restoring balance to the economy

Measure to cap Los Angeles hospital executive pay will head to voters 

[Becker’s Hospital Review, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

For Workers, Unions and Public Pressure Get the Goods 

Ryan Cooper, June 26, 2023 [The American Prospect].

“In December last year, a looming freight rail strike was forbidden by the federal government. After months of negotiation, Congress passed and President Biden signed a measure imposing a contract drawn up by a government arbitration panel, which granted substantial raises but no paid sick leave (instead of forcing management to accept the key worker demands, which he could have done). That paid sick leave had been the central demand of the unions….

After the December defeat, the unions kept the pressure up. As Andrea Hsu reports at NPR, after losing in December union workers at CSX immediately brought the subject back up to management, demanding again and again some movement on paid leave, which led to reopened negotiations and media coverage. Sure enough, in early February CSX gave in to two unions, granting some 5,000 workers four days of paid leave, as well as the option to convert up to three personal days into sick days.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont had previously helped put together a bipartisan coalition behind a bill to give rail workers seven days of paid leave that (remarkably) got seven Republican votes, including Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Braun of Indiana, though not enough to overcome a filibuster from the rest of the GOP caucus.

On February 8, immediately after CSX caved, Sanders wrote an open letter to the executives of the other rail companies, urging them to follow suit. At a press conference with Braun, Sanders said, “Guaranteeing 7 paid sick days to rail workers would cost the entire industry just $321 million—less than 1.2 percent of their profits in a single year.” The next day, the White House added some pressure with a series of calls to executives from economic adviser Brian Deese and then-Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

On March 10, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reached a similar agreement with Norfolk Southern, then with CSX and Union Pacific on March 22, and then BNSF on April 20. Over the following months, the rest of the Norfolk Southern unions came to similar bargains, with the last one on June 5. The same day, Union Pacific struck a deal with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, covering 5,600 workers, putting the running total of rail workers at 60 percent.


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

A thawed rat organ frozen for 100 days was successfully transplanted in game-changing world first 

[ZME Science, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

Iron Fuel Shows Its Mettle 

[SpectrumIEEE, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

The high melting points of metals make them useful components for machinery, electronics, and furnaces. But even metals can burn if you grind them into fine powders. What’s more, metals can burn without emitting toxic or planet-warming emissions, making them a potentially attractive fuel for producing clean power—one that can be easily stored and transported.

RIFT (Renewable Iron Fuel Technology), another spinoff out of Eindhoven, recently demonstrated that it could heat five homes using its iron fuel technology. In Canada, meanwhile, startup Altiro Energy, launched by McGill University researchers, has run a prototype 10-kW iron fuel plant that they now plan to scale up….

Iron is one of the most abundant metals on Earth, and the most produced. It has an energy density of about 11.3 kilowatt-hours per liter—better than gasoline. Burning iron powder produces heat that can be used directly or converted into electricity by a steam turbine, leaving behind iron oxide, or rust. This can later be reduced—that is, the oxygen can be stripped away—back into iron powder. “You can think of iron fuel as a clean, recyclable coal,” says Bergthorson.

China scientists turn to ‘Terminator’ liquid metal in alloy breakthrough

[South China Morning Post, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

Semi-Politics: Intel and the future of US chipmaking

Susannah Glickman [Phenomenal World, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

Nuclear fusion reactor in Korea reaches 100 million degrees Celsius 

[Interesting Engineering, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]


Climate and environmental crises

Earth’s thermosphere reaches highest temperature in 20 years after being bombarded by solar storms

[, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

Arizona Is Running Out of Cheap Water. Investors Saw It Coming

[Bloomberg, via The Big Picture 6-25-2023]

The state just moved to restrict housing construction around Phoenix as groundwater demand outstrips supply. But fast-growing towns are already buying water from elsewhere — and investors’ bets are paying off.

Cities ask their residents to conserve water as drought deepens across the central U.S. 

[Harvest Public Media, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

Texas farmers are worried one of the state’s most precious water resources is running dry. You should be, too.

[The Texas Tribune, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]

On the heels of Texas’ worst drought in a decade, a report from the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District shows water levels in the Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, have dropped consistently in the region over the last five years. More than 1,300 wells were measured earlier this year, including ones from the smaller Edwards-Trinity Aquifer, all of which show varying degrees of decline. The biggest decrease was in Parmer County, which sits on the New Mexico border in between Lubbock and Amarillo, where there was a decline of 1.30 feet in the water levels.

Ohioans Keep Paying for Republicans’ Dirty Energy Scandal

Sarah Stankorb, June 29, 2023 [The New Republic]

Former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder and former state GOP leader Matt Borges will be sentenced this week for a racketeering conspiracy that traded $61 million in campaign donations in exchange for a $1.3 billion bailout for two Ohio nuclear plants, one Ohio coal plant, and another coal plant in Indiana, while also reducing energy efficiency standards across the state. Householder and Borges were convicted in March, when a federal jury found that the two took and offered bribes using money from FirstEnergy Corp, a powerful regional utility and owner of the nuclear plants, and others as part of a broader dark-money scheme involving a piece of legislation called House Bill 6.

It is the largest public corruption case in Ohio history—and Ohioans are still footing the bill for the crooked legislation to the tune of $130,376 per day in coal-power subsidies, according to the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. Ohioans have already paid out over $400 million to subsidize the coal-fired power plants, according to a report commissioned by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, with a total of $850 million anticipated by 2030.

Texas GOP Offers Workers the Freedom to Boil Alive

Kate Aronoff, June 30, 2023 [The New Republic]

A new bill rolls back city-level rights for workers to take breaks during hot days—as Texas swelters through a punishing heat wave.


Information age dystopia / surveillance state

Today’s AI is unreasonable 

Anil Dash [via Naked Capitalism 6-29-2023]

Today’s highly-hyped generative AI systems (most famously OpenAI) are designed to generate bullshit by design. To be clear, bullshit can sometimes be useful, and even accidentally correct, but that doesn’t keep it from being bullshit. Worse, these systems are not meant to generate consistent bullshit — you can get different bullshit answers from the same prompts. You can put garbage in and get… bullshit out, but the same quality bullshit that you get from non-garbage inputs! And enthusiasts are current mistaking the fact that the bullshit is consistently wrapped in the same envelope as meaning that the bullshit inside is consistent, laundering the unreasonable-ness into appearing reasonable.

Now we have billions of dollars being invested into technologies where it is impossible to make falsifiable assertions. A system that you cannot debug through a logical, socratic process is a vulnerability that exploitative tech tycoons will use to do what they always do, undermine the vulnerable.

AI-Generated Books of Nonsense Are All Over Amazon’s Bestseller Lists 

[Vice, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

…A second Tweet on Tuesday posted a screenshot of the bestseller list at that time. Out of the 16 books in the screenshot, two appear to be real.

Though these books are no longer on the bestseller list as of Wednesday morning, they are still searchable on the site, and users can even read samples of the books. Apricot bar code architecture, for example, begins with, “Black lace pajamas, very short skirt, the most important thing, now this lace pajamas are all wet.”

An Amazon spokesperson told Motherboard in an email, “We have clear content guidelines governing which books can be listed for sale and promptly investigate any book when a concern is raised. We invest heavily in funds, time, and company resources to provide a trustworthy shopping experience and protect customers and authors from abuse.”

Attorney sues Microsoft for $1.75M, claiming his email has been useless since May 

[The Register[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]

From “Heavy Purchasers” of Pregnancy Tests to the Depression-Prone: We Found 650,000 Ways Advertisers Label You

[The Markup, via The Big Picture 6-26-2023]

A spreadsheet on ad platform Xandr’s website revealed a massive collection of “audience segments” used to target consumers based on highly specific, sometimes intimate information and inferences.

Why Julian Assange Must Be Freed 

Matt Taibbi [Racket News, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]


Collapse of independent news media

Paul Farhi [The Washington Post, via DailyKos]

Paul Farhi of The Washington Post reports that National Geographic Magazine has laid off all of its remaining staff writers. All. Of. Them.

On Wednesday, the Washington-based magazine that has surveyed science and the natural world for 135 years reached another difficult passage when it laid off all of its last remaining staff writers.

The cutback — the latest in a series under owner Walt Disney Co. — involves some 19 editorial staffers in all, who were notified in April that these terminations were coming. Article assignments will henceforth be contracted out to freelancers or pieced together by editors. The cuts also eliminated the magazine’s small audio department.

The layoffs were the second over the past nine months, and the fourth since a series of ownership changes began in 2015. In September, Disney removed six top editors in an extraordinary reorganization of the magazine’s editorial operations.

Calls Grow for a New Investigation Into the Mysterious Death of NYC Anti-Corruption Crusader 

[Scheerpost, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]

Meta Goes ‘Nuclear’ Over Canadian Online News Act That Ignores Root of Journalism Crisis 

[Common Dreams, via Naked Capitalism 6-25-2023]


Disrupting mainstream politics

Third-party candidate would drag Biden down in Trump rematch: poll

[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-26-2023]

“A third-party candidate would drag President Biden down in a rematch with former President Trump in 2024, according to an Emerson College national poll released Thursday. In a head-to-head matchup, polls show Biden and Trump in a dead-heat, at 44 percent to 43 percent among voters. Nine percent said they would vote for someone else, while 4 percent said they are undecided. However, if third-party candidate Cornel West appears on the ballot alongside Trump and Biden, he pulls in 6 percent of support, dropping Biden’s support to 40 percent, 1 point below Trump’s 41 percent. Seven percent say they would vote for someone else, and 6 percent say they are undecided. ‘When West is added to the ballot test, he pulls 15 percent of support from Black voters, and 13 percent from voters under 35, two key voting blocs for President Biden,” said Spencer Kimball, the director of Emerson College Polling.’” • Democrats had better give those voters what they want, then.

Trump’s Kryptonite: How Progressives Can Win Back the Working Class

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-28-2023]

“The Center for Working-Class Politics (CWCP) sees its work as part of this larger project. We aim to provide research that will help progressives expand their appeal among working-class voters, in the hope of achieving our shared political goals. In November 2021, together with Jacobin and YouGov, the CWCP published findings from our first original survey experiment, designed to better understand which kinds of progressive candidates, messages, and policies are most effective in appealing to working-class voters. Among other things, the survey found that voters without college degrees are strongly attracted to candidates who focus on bread-and-butter issues, use economic populist language, and promote a bold progressive policy agenda. Our findings suggested that working-class voters lost to Donald Trump could be won back by following the model set by the populist campaigns of Bernie Sanders, John Fetterman, Matt Cartwright, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, and others. Yet our initial study left many questions unanswered and posed many new ones. Which elements of economic populism are most critical for persuading working-class voters? Would economic populist candidates still prove effective in the face of opposition messaging and against Republican populist challengers? How do voter preferences vary across classes and within the working class? Can populist economic messaging rally support from working-class voters across the partisan divide? To address these questions, we designed a new survey experiment in which we presented seven pairs of hypothetical candidates to a representative group of 1,650 voters. We assessed a vast range of candidate types (23,100 distinct candidate profiles in total) to better understand which candidates perform best overall and among different groups of voters.”

What Running on a Jobs Guarantee Could Mean for Democrats

[The Nation, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-28-2023]

“In fact, one of the clearest findings from a new survey launched by the Center for Working Class Politics (CWCP) is the persistence of support for progressive jobs proposals as part of a broader economic strategy. In our first study, titled ‘Commonsense Solidarity,’ we found that candidates who run on bread-and-butter economic issues like jobs policies fare better with working-class voters than candidates that do not. In the survey we just launched, ‘Trump’s Kryptonite,’ respondents were given the choice between candidates with a variety of demographic characteristics and policy positions, including two jobs policies: one a more moderate and mainstream jobs proposal, and the other advocating a bold federal jobs guarantee. Both policies were broadly popular across the group of respondents, underscoring the continued importance of jobs policies for American voters. Democrats, regardless of class, overwhelmingly supported the federal jobs guarantee in our survey by a margin of nearly four to one, signaling the popularity of this proposal across the Democratic base. But our results revealed important differences in support for these policies based on the party and class of respondents. First, and most significantly, while both policies were popular across the pool of respondents, the progressive jobs guarantee was most popular among working-class respondents—and not just those who identified as Democrats but also working-class independents and Republicans as well. Importantly, working-class people from either party were more likely to prefer progressive economic policies than their middle- and upper-class counterparts. Working-class independents were also much more likely to support a jobs guarantee than middle-class independents by as much as 20 percentage points. Not only did some Republicans and independents respond favorably to this policy, but the jobs guarantee was also the only economic policy proposal viewed positively by respondents across all parties, which could indicate that it is less likely to generate electoral backlash for a political candidate in a competitive district. In fact, we found that even in the face of Republican opposition messaging, broad support for a jobs guarantee actually increased slightly. The power of the jobs message surprised even us.”


(anti)Republican Party

The Right’s New Post-Dobbs Panacea: The Baby Safe Deposit Box 

Maria Laurino, June 29, 2023 [The New Republic]

To the right, it’s a “clean” alternative to abortion—mothers can just drop their babies off in fire station boxes. And it’s spreading across the country. How did a desperate and once criminal act get turned into a good thing?

….“It is so easy to use,” she explained. “All parents have to do is come in, open this lever here and place the baby inside an environment that is temperature-controlled, and there’s air flowing. Now once this lever over here is pulled, 911 is immediately dialed, and law enforcement comes here to this location to pick up the child and take it to the area hospital.”

….maternal filicide falls low on the register of reasons for infant death. Far more pressing and less sensational causes—low birth weight, preterm birth, and pregnancy-related disease complications—did not receive as much enthusiastic attention from impassioned legislators. (Nor has the death of children from gun violence, along with its profound psychological toll….

In Nazi diatribe, Trump calls for mass deportations of socialists and communists 

[WSWS, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]

GOP Targets Researchers Who Study Disinformation Ahead of 2024 Election

[New York Times, via The Big Picture 6-26-2023]

A legal campaign against universities and think tanks seeks to undermine the fight against false claims about elections, vaccines and other hot political topics.

It’s almost like the House GOP never cared about deficits after all

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 6-28-2023]

Unlike most kinds of government spending, each dollar spent on the IRS leads to much more than a dollar flowing back into government coffers, especially when the IRS would use that funding to collect unpaid taxes. Which this spending would: The GOP-proposed cuts specifically target IRS enforcement efforts. The Treasury Department projects that this latest GOP proposal to siphon resources away from IRS enforcement would result in an $8.6 billion loss of revenue, by limiting the agency’s ability to audit high-income and corporate tax dodgers.

GOP Congress Shocking Disgrace!!! House Armed Services Committee Passes Amendment to Make it ILLEGAL to Communicate with MRFF!!! — With New Video from Mikey Weinstein 

[Military Religious Freedom Foundation, via Naked Capitalism 6-28-2023]


The (anti)Federalist Society Infestation of the Courts

John Roberts Begs the Liberal Justices to Stop Criticizing the Court

Matt Ford, June 30, 2023 [The New Republic]

The most striking portion of the Supreme Court’s student loan relief decision isn’t the decision itself, as significant as it is…. Nor is it the majority’s questionable analysis of standing that let it hand down the ruling in the first place….

What really stands out is the final paragraph of Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion. Ever the institutionalist, he takes issue with criticism of the court by some of its own members who fault it for overstepping its powers. “It has become a disturbing feature of some recent opinions to criticize the decisions with which they disagree as going beyond the proper role of the judiciary,” Roberts laments….

“Reasonable minds may disagree with our analysis—in fact, at least three do,” the chief justice concludes, referring to the court’s three liberal members who dissented from Friday’s ruling. “We do not mistake this plainly heartfelt disagreement for disparagement. It is important that the public not be misled either. Any such misperception would be harmful to this institution and our country.”

….The 6–3 ruling fell along the court’s usual ideological divide. In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan writes that “in every respect, the court today exceeds its proper, limited role in our Nation’s governance.” She castigates the majority for concluding that Missouri and a coalition of other Republican-led states had the legal standing necessary to challenge the order.

“[The court] declines to respect Congress’s decision to give broad emergency powers to the secretary,” Kagan wrote. “It strikes down his lawful use of that authority to provide student-loan assistance. It does not let the political system, with its mechanisms of accountability, operate as normal. It makes itself the decision-maker on, of all things, federal student-loan policy. And then, perchance, it wonders why it has only compounded the ‘sharp debates’ in the country?”

….Perhaps the area where Kagan expresses the most frustration is on the court’s invocation of the major questions doctrine, a newfangled legal doctrine where the court claims it can block executive branch actions if it thinks Congress did not speak “clearly enough” on a matter of “vast economic and political significance.” Kagan and the doctrine’s many other critics see it as a vehicle for the court to ignore broadly written statutes and substitute its own policy preferences for those of the elected branches of government.

The Supreme Court May Preemptively Ban a Federal Wealth Tax

[The New Republic].

“In Moore v. United States, the justices will consider whether a provision of former President Donald Trump’s tax-reform law in 2017 violated the Sixteenth Amendment, which allows Congress to collect federal income taxes. As part of a complex restructuring of federal corporate tax laws, the 2017 law imposed a one-time ‘mandatory repatriation tax’ on American taxpayers who owned more than 10 percent of a foreign corporation. Charles and Kathleen Moore, the titular plaintiffs, owned 11 percent of an Indian farm-equipment company when the 2017 law went into effect. Thanks to the provision in question, they paid roughly $15,000 in additional taxes the following year. The Moores filed a lawsuit against the federal government and argued that the tax was unconstitutional because their partial ownership of the company did not count as ‘income’ under the Sixteenth Amendment. The lower courts rejected that argument, however, and ruled that the tax had essentially targeted years of deferred foreign income. That prompted the couple to ask the Supreme Court to intervene. While the case hinges on a tax passed by Trump and a Republican-led Congress, the petition invited the justices to use it to prevent Democrats from imposing a federal wealth tax in the future. ‘This is no idle threat,’ the Moores said in their petition for review, referring to a federal wealth tax. They cited proposals by the Biden administration and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden to tax billionaires based on their assets, none of which have passed Congress. ‘There is every reason for the Court to resolve the pivotal constitutional question of realization now, when its judgment can inform lawmakers and stands to head off a major constitutional clash down the line,’ the couple told the justices. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in 2021, two of the Moores’ lawyers also declared unambiguously that the lawsuit ‘stands to slam shut the door on a federal wealth tax like the one Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to enact.’ They made a direct pitch to ‘the courts’ to hear the Moores’ case ‘now’ to make it easier to block a wealth tax in the future.”

Alito Could Deliver Another Ruling For Billionaire Benefactor 

David Sirota & Julia Rock, June 23, 2023 [The Lever]

The hedge fund of Justice Samuel Alito’s billionaire benefactor has been using a recent Alito-backed Supreme Court ruling to try to pressure federal regulators to back off new financial rules designed to fight fraud, according to documents reviewed by The Lever.

The hedge fund, Elliott Management, has been arguing that the rules are unconstitutional, and could ultimately try to bring a case before Alito to strike down the new regulations if they are enacted. The high court is currently considering a petition to hear a separate case involving the same firm.

ProPublica this week reported that Elliott Management founder, president, and co-CEO Paul Singer provided an undisclosed private jet flight to Alito, and has been a major donor to the Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that has funded campaigns to install conservative judges throughout the judiciary — including Alito. The justice has declined to recuse himself in past cases involving the hedge fund.

The Supreme Court’s Next Gift For Its Billionaire Benefactors

Andrew Perez, Julia Rock & Rebecca Burns, June 29, 2023 [The Lever]

The Supreme Court just agreed to hear a case next term that could preempt Congress and the Biden administration from instituting a federal wealth tax — another potentially lucrative gift for conservative justices’ billionaire benefactors and the super rich. A think tank affiliated with some of those benefactors recently pressed the court to accept the case and outlaw such taxes….

The new case, Moore v. United States, is tailored to try to block Democrats’ promised agenda by defining what can — and cannot — count as taxable “income” under the Constitution. It specifically challenges a one-time levy on some shareholders for their foreign corporate earnings that was included in the 2017 Republican tax law….

A host of powerful interests, including the nation’s top business lobby, pressed the Supreme Court to take up Moore. So did a conservative think tank with financial ties to two of the central names in the Supreme Court’s recent ethics scandals: Elliott Management hedge fund chief Paul Singer and Texas real estate magnate Harlan Crow. Both billionaires could benefit if Supreme Court justices were to preemptively declare that taxes on wealth are unconstitutional.

Samuel Alito’s Revealing Temper Tantrum

Steven Lubet, June 27, 2023 [The American Prospect]

Compare that with Justice Samuel Alito’s frantic reaction when he learned that ProPublica had obtained information about his 2008 Alaska vacation with a group of Republican donors and activists. As the CNN reporters had done in Barrett’s case, the ProPublica reporters contacted Alito for comment ahead of publication, sharing with him the details they had discovered. Rather than answer or ignore them, however, Alito took advantage of his connections at The Wall Street Journal editorial page to publish a lengthy prebuttal, beating the ProPublica article into print by a matter of hours.

Alito conceded the basic facts in the ProPublica report. His three-day junket at a luxury fishing camp, arranged by Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo, had been hosted by Republican donor Robin Arkley II, with private jet travel courtesy of hedge fund CEO Paul Singer, also a mega-donor to conservative causes. Alito did not include any of this on his annual disclosure form, and he did not later recuse himself from cases involving Singer’s business interests.

Sheldon Whitehouse was right all along: The Supreme Court is corrupt

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 6-29-2023]

The best argument for court reform comes from Alito, whose arrogant, slipshod and unconvincing defense makes him the poster boy for serious court reform.

It’s Dark Money’s Court, We Just Live Under It

Joel Warner, June 30, 2023 [The Lever]

….the group is funded by Leo’s sprawling network of opaque nonprofits that are all trying to roll back protections deemed antithetical to a conservative way of life. In 2020, Students for Fair Admissions received $250,000, more than a third of its total revenue that year, from the 85 Fund, an organization steered by Leo.

Several other Leo-backed interests filed Supreme Court briefs backing Students for Fair Admissions’ fight to overturn affirmative action. That included Speech First, a nonprofit that received $700,000 from 2020 to 2021 from the 85 Fund, as well as 19 Republican attorneys general. Leo’s network has long been the top donor to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which helps elect GOP attorneys general across the country.

An Aggressive Supreme Court Reshapes the US as Its Standing Erodes

[Bloomberg, via The Big Picture 6-25-2023]

A conservative supermajority is remaking US laws on the environment, health and firearms, even as public confidence declines and ethical questions grow.

US Supreme Court’s radical conservative agenda, explained [YouTube] 

Noah Feldman [Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]


The Supreme Court’s latest opinion means innocent people must remain in prison

[Vox, via The Big Picture 6-25-2023]

Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion ensures that innocent people will spend years behind bars.

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 7-1-2023]


How We’ll Defeat the Federalist Society and Take Back the Supreme Court

Michael Tomasky, June 30, 2023 [The New Republic]

…In future terms, this conservative majority is going to do damage on all kinds of fronts. Already on the docket for the 2023–2024 term are cases that will revisit the question of racial gerrymandering; will consider an important point of criminal due process; will determine whether the funding mechanism for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, is constitutional; and most important of all, will seek to strike down “Chevron deference,” which grants executive agencies broad authority to interpret and implement laws passed by Congress. (Striking down the deference, which the conservative majority is widely expected to do, will vastly constrict the federal government’s ability to enforce aggressive regulatory laws.)

So imagine sitting here one year from today. It’s entirely possible, I’d say likely, that the court’s conservatives at the very least will have thrown the existence of the CFPB into doubt and opened the door to endless lawsuits from people and organizations looking to cut the federal government down to size. On the Chevron challenge, captioned Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo,…

Biden has named more federal judges to the bench in his first 28 months than the previous three presidents—a total of 136 “Article III” judges (federal judges nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate). And more meaningful than the number is the type, as two-thirds of those nominees are women and two-thirds are people of color. Many are from plainly progressive backgrounds in the law.

New Jersey County Drafts Right-Wing Legal Movement Into Anti-Wind Fight

Kate Aronoff, June 28, 2023 [The New Republic]

To fight an offshore wind project, the county has hired a law firm with extensive ties to a national right-wing legal movement determined to put a halt to climate policy….

Last week, the entirely GOP-controlled Board of Commissioners of Cape May County called in the big guns, voting to bring in the Washington D.C.–based Marzulla Law Firm to help stop the project, with a focus on challenging federal regulatory decisions. Like other members of the fight against offshore wind, the firm has extensive ties to a national right-wing legal movement less concerned with the aesthetics of the Jersey Shore than with putting a halt to climate policy more generally. (The County Board of Commissioners did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

Big Changes to a Little Form

David Dayen, June 28, 2023 [The American Prospect]

The premerger notification form is mandated under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. Every merger above a certain dollar threshold, currently set at $111.4 million, must be disclosed to the antitrust agencies. But the form required only a modicum of information from the companies, thereby forcing the agencies to collect more data to determine whether or not to challenge the merger.

Per the proposed changes to the form, which will have to go through a public comment process, companies will have to offer a rationale for why they are merging. They will have to disclose what investment vehicles will be used in the transaction, including private equity investments. They will have to explain what products and business lines the two companies share in common, and what other business relationships, like suppliers, would be consolidated in a merger. They will have to hand over internal documents that project the merged firm’s market conditions and potential revenue streams. They will have to give an analysis of the relevant labor market, and a rundown of research and development activity. The acquiring company will have to disclose previous acquisitions. And per congressional mandate, they will have to provide information on subsidies received from certain foreign entities.

These are all pieces of data that the antitrust agencies previously had to collect themselves, but which the companies already had in their hands. By requiring that data to be provided in the premerger form, the antitrust agencies can spend less time running down basic facts and unwinding a complex deal, and more time analyzing whether or not it’s legal.

Heather Cox Richardson,  June 30, 2023 [Letters from an American]

Taken together with yesterday’s decision ruling that universities cannot consider race as a category in student admissions, the Supreme Court has highlighted a central contradiction in its interpretation of government power: if the Fourteenth Amendment limits the federal government to making sure that there is no discrimination in the United States on the basis of race—the so-called “colorblind” Constitution—as the right-wing justices argued yesterday, it is up to the states to make sure that state laws don’t discriminate against minorities. But that requires either protecting voting rights or accepting minority rule.

This problem has been with us since before the Civil War, when lawmakers in the southern states defended their enslavement of their Black (and Indigenous) neighbors by arguing that true democracy was up to the voters and that those voters had chosen to support enslavement. After the Civil War, most lawmakers didn’t worry too much about states reimposing discriminatory laws because they included Black men as voters first in 1867 with the Military Reconstruction Act and then in 1870 with the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and they believed such political power would enable Black men to shape the laws under which they lived.

But in 1875 the Supreme Court ruled in Minor v. Happersett that it was legal to cut citizens out of the vote so long as the criteria were not about race. States excluded women, who brought the case, and southern states promptly excluded Black men through literacy clauses, poll taxes, and so on. Northern states mirrored southern laws with their own, designed to keep immigrants from exercising a voice in state governments. At the same time, southern states protected white men from the effects of these exclusionary laws with so-called grandfather clauses, which said a man could vote so long as his grandfather had been eligible.

It turned out that limiting the Fourteenth Amendment to questions of race and letting states choose their voters cemented the power of a minority. The abandonment of federal protection for voting enabled white southerners to abandon democracy and set up a one-party state that kept Black and Brown Americans as well as white women subservient to white men. As in all one-party states, there was little oversight of corruption and no guarantee that laws would be enforced, leaving minorities and women at the mercy of a legal system that often looked the other way when white criminals committed rape and murder.

Many Americans tut-tutted about lynching and the cordons around Black life, but industrialists insisted on keeping the federal government small because they wanted to make sure it could not regulate their businesses or tax them. They liked keeping power at the state level; state governments were far easier to dominate. Southerners understood that overlap: when a group of southern lawmakers in 1890 wrote a defense of the South’s refusal to let Black men vote, they “respectfully dedicated” the book to “the business men of the North.”

In the 1930s the Democrats under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt undermined this coalition by using the federal government to regulate business and provide a social safety net. In the 1940s and 1950s, as racial and gender atrocities began to highlight in popular media just how discriminatory state laws really were, the Supreme Court went further, recognizing that the Fourteenth Amendment’s declaration that states could not deprive any person of the equal protection of the laws meant that the federal government must protect the rights of minorities when states would not. Those rules created modern America.

This is what the radical right seeks to overturn. Yesterday the Supreme Court said that the Fourteenth Amendment could not address racial disparities, but today, like lawmakers in the 1870s, it signaled that it would not protect voting in the states either. It rejected a petition for a review of Mississippi’s strict provision for taking the vote away from felons. That law illustrates just how fully we’re reliving our history: it dates from the 1890 Mississippi constitution that cemented power in white hands. Black Mississippians are currently 2.7 times more likely than white Mississippians to lose the right to vote under the law.

More than 100 U.S. political elites have family links to slavery

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-27-2023]

“In researching the genealogies of America’s political elite, a Reuters examination found that a fifth of the nation’s congressmen, living presidents, Supreme Court justices and governors are direct descendants of ancestors who enslaved Black people. Among 536 members of the last sitting Congress, Reuters determined at least 100 descend from slaveholders. Of that group, more than a quarter of the Senate – 28 members – can trace their families to at least one slaveholder. Those lawmakers from the 117th session of Congress are Democrats and Republicans alike. They include some of the most influential politicians in America: Republican senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton and James Lankford, and Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan. In addition, President Joe Biden and every living former U.S. president – except Donald Trump – are direct descendants of slaveholders: Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and – through his white mother’s side – Barack Obama. Trump’s ancestors came to America after slavery was abolished. Two of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices – Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch – also have direct ancestors who enslaved people.”



Open Thread


Utilities As Mutual Companies


  1. Curt Kastens

    Maybe this cooment belongs in the open thread. But it is short. I recently read or heard a comment about the size of the Iranian Natural Gas Reseves. It was said that Iran’s reserves were 16% of the world’s total. Now I certainly have no way of knowing if the figures are correct. But assuming that they are in the ball park the figures helped answer a question that I have had for quite a number of years. That question is will the collapse of industrial civilization happen as a result of a lack of fossil fuels to meet the demands of industry and agricultural? Or, will the collapse happen as a result of a climate changing so rapidly that industrial scale agriculture become impossible.
    Well the answer seems to be the later. That the collapse of the environment will cause the collapse of industrial society.
    But that brings up a new question related to the US led NATO war against Russia and China and Iran and Cuba and South Africa, and Mexico and Brazil, and potentially against India and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Hungary, and South Africa and Egypt. Will this war end in such a way as to cause the collapse of industrial society even before it collapses due to environmental problems? Or, will global environmental changes bring an end to the war by collapsing industrial society when industrial agriculture becomes impossible?

  2. JBird4049

    The link on the Chicago School’s hero worship of Adam Smith merely reinforces my belief that too many economics have had a very selective reading and understanding of the man’s writing. Whatever else he was, he was not a free trade or market absolutist.

    It is like someone writing about the benefits of water, which someone else reads, and somehow comes to believer that drowning is good for you

  3. Purple Library Guy

    On that “baby safe deposit box”–it says 911 is immediately called. What a terrible idea! What if the cops shoot the baby inside because they thought it was threatening their lives?

  4. VietnamVet

    It is understandable, with its English roots, that the current Western Empire would warp the world back to political/economic philosophy of the 18th and 19th century. The Progressives of the late 19th and 20th century have disappeared. Upper-caste individual and family wealth is infinite. Their belief is that only money-based markets exist. Except with deregulation, the basic contradictions of the ideological money cult are becoming very obvious. Humans suffer and die with impunity, once again. 1.1 million Americans died because the politicians and the deep state are unwilling to spend money on public health non- pharmaceutical interventions. Likewise; public education, public transport, public utilities and public safety are being privatized.

    Since the Elite operate as if there is no human society, culture, or emotions; they are divorced from reality and are enabling the disasters that are engulfing the world. The air in New York and Washington DC this summer, at times, is the most polluted in the world from the wildfires in Canada which are not being addressed because mitigating them costs too much money. Disaster after disaster flows in their wake.

    The escalating proxy WWIII in Ukraine has really only two outcomes, 1) nuclear war or 2) an armistice and DMZ separating the combatants like Korea in 1953. John Mearsheimer’s article linked above is quite clear that the current political military incompetence exceeds the levels of WWI. Millions more humans have already died in the lost wars fought for profits from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

    At some point, humans will destroy the resources that keeps the earth livable. Global debt (including derivatives) is something like $300 trillion dollars. Global wealth is around 13 trillion dollars. This means that servicing student loans will keep Americans in debt-slavery for the rest of their lives. Global resources will be continued to be extracted and pollute the earth to death to pay off the unpayable debt. Global coal use is on the rise again.

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