Link 6/1/2021

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Random factoid: Remember our cross-posted article a few days back on how American conservatives are promoting carnivore-ism as an ideological marker, and putting the right to eat red meat up there with the right to own gunz? Oh, and then further depicting Team Dem as about to take your beef away? This is a real meme.

I was puttering along on the site with the TV on (a concession to my mother; she is good about turning it down on phone calls and when I need to concentrate) and an ad for Impossible Meat came on. The aide volunteered that she’s tried it and it really did taste astonishingly like a juicy beef burger. She then added that Biden was going to ban beef as if it were a well-known fact.

I disabused her of that idea. But I wonder where she heard this. She’s black so she would not listen to right-wing talk radio, which is yuuge down here and the big propagator of conservative cray cray. But she might listen to religious stations (she has made clear she is a very devout Christian). They work in conservative commentary in with the Christian songs and moral exhortations. Will probe and get back to you.

Dog Carries His Bowl Full Of Food To Eat On The Couch Animal Rescue

California’s $1M plan to revive its monarch butterfly population in ‘catastrophic decline’ Audacy (David L)

Send in the Bugs. The Michelangelos Need Cleaning. New York Times (furzy, Dr. Kevin)

Since the nose doesn’t know pot is now legal, K-9s retire Associated Press (resilc)

Destination Moon: Is it time for us to send astronauts back? PhysOrg. Kevin W: “The article is better than the title.”

Space Debris Has Hit And Damaged The International Space Station Science Alert (David L)

Weird Electromagnetic Bursts Appear Before Earthquakes – And We May Finally Know Why ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

Futuristic Portal ‘Brings Unity’ to Vilnius and Lublin Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

Transplanted coral retains resistance to heat in new environments New Atlas (David L). A rare bit of good news on the corals front.

Worst Sandstorms In A Decade Engulf Mongolia And China NPR (David L)

There are more than 8 million empty homes in rural Japan, and local governments are selling them for as little as $500 in a bid to lure residents Insider (Kevin W). Waiting for them to offer permanent residence if you also make a big prepay for medical/social services. Most wealthy countries do not like old people since the governments believe the old critters plan to suck off their safety nets.

Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open, citing anxiety over media interviews after $15k fine NBC (furzy). I hope mental health orgs rip these greed, promotion-driven sports officials a new asshole. Independent of Osaka’s depression, why should athletes who are struggling to reverse sub-par results be required to deal with confidence-deflating reporters?

Quelle surprise:


Covid-19 variants to be given Greek alphabet names to avoid stigma Guardian (Kevin W). I can’t believe the officialdom doesn’t even see how bone-headed it looks to worry about issues like this.

On the Covid Front Lines, When Not Getting Belly Rubs New York Times (David L)

I am envious of those that live in countries that can have headlines like this:


The Covid-19 Lab Leak Theory Is a Tale of Weaponized Uncertainty Wired


Malaysia teeters on edge of Covid-19 catastrophe Asia Times (Kevin W)


Ministers urged not to ‘threaten’ NHS staff over mandatory Covid jab Guardian (Kevin W)

BBC Covid distancing sensor devices beset by noise and fire safety issues Guardian (Dr. Kevin)


US is chasing China’s tail on 5G Asia Times (Kevin W)

Anti-China Trade Bill Is Big Boost for Big Tech Intercept


Israel-Palestine conflict at crucial inflection point Asia Times

‘No longer afraid’: Palestinians vow to fight Jerusalem evictions Al Jazeera

Facebook’s popularity plummets as users suspect censorship during Israel-Hamas conflict NBC (Kevin W). Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

Pakistan: Taliban donations, recruitment on the rise DW

Pakistan leans towards giving US military bases Asia Times. Resilc: “Kicking the Afghani can down the road south.”

New Cold War

It’s a Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi world Pepe Escobar, The Saker (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Drone Autonomously ‘Hunted Down’ Human Target, UN Experts Say Gizmodo (BC)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Space Force Seeks Major Increase in Funding for 2022 Budget Antiwar

US nuclear weapon bunker security secrets spill from online flashcards since 2013 The Register (vlade)


Op-Ed: Did Stormy Daniels’ $130,000 break campaign finance laws? The FEC is too dysfunctional to decide Los Angeles Times (furzy). This is not quite correct. The long standing practice at pretty much every level of government is that campaign finance violations lead to fines only. So this fulminating is out of proportion given the givens.

Michael Flynn Calls for Myanmar-Style Coup in the U.S. Daily Beast (resilc)


Is the Biden Administration Proud of its Pentagon Budget? Defense One

Colleges look to Biden for visas to bring back international students Politico. Resilc: “Chinese cash cow is DOA.”

GOP Civil War

Bare life notesfromdisgraceland. Resilc flags key section:

What on the surface appears as a consolidation in the ranks of the post-Q-anon Republican Party, from Hawley’s clenched fist and Lyin’ Ted’s escapades, the psychotic trailer-park vitriol of Boebert and Taylor-Greene to the full immersion of Stefanik, the disoriented and stunningly myopic maneuver devoid of any logic and common sense, is not an ideological realignment, but the fight for bare life – a desperate attempt to secure a financial bloodline necessary for their short-term survival.

Texas Gov. Abbott says he’ll target legislator pay after Democrats block strict voting bill NBC (furzy). If the Ds were half as ruthless as the Rs, they might occasionally get something done.

Our Famously Free Press

How did I miss this disgraceful defenestration? I don’t always check in on Twitter, but where was the press/blogosphere/CJR reaction? I gather NC’s own comment section picked this up and I must have been too overloaded to check in.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Karen Calls Cops on Michigan Black Woman for Talking Too Loudly, Cops Entertain That White Nonsense by Fining Black Woman The Root (Dr. Kevin)


San Jose shooting: Guns, petrol and 22,000 rounds of ammunition found BBC

An Arms Race in America: Gun Buying Spiked During the Pandemic. It’s Still Up. New York Times. Resilc: “We have a neighbor, who gets via ups, thousands of dollars of ammo all the time…”

Trump loving church that uses guns in holy rituals buys compound near Waco, Texas Independent (resilc)

General Motors, Best Buy, PayPal Talk Up Voting Rights, Then Fund Effort to Restrict Them Newsweek (furzy)

Times Of Fraud, Mania & Chicanery Investor Amnesia (resilc)

In SE Minn., legal dispute over an old cemetery raises questions about who owns the past MPR (Chuck L)

Amazon, Google, and Big Tech Want to Eat Health Care Next. New Republic. Private equity got there first. I would bet on PE. They are huge SOBs with much greater ownership of top legal talent and Wall Street. And they have the advantage of being sort of incumbents.

How a Wave of Corporate Takeovers Ushered In the Gospel of Shareholder Value Promarket (Kevin W). This is very good except it has one bit of causality wrong. In 1976, the Department of Labor liberalized its interpretation of ERISA to look at risk on a portfolio basis, rather than on an investment by investment basis. That allowed for more investment in stocks and made “alternative investments” like venture capital fair game. It was VC industry, not the funds, that pushed for the rule change. Public pension funds are not governed by ERISA but still follow its principles. The reasons the funds liked higher return investments was it allowed them to lower current contributions.

Intel reiterates chip supply shortages could last several years Reuters (resilc)

Who Are These Economists, Anyway? James K. Galbraith, Levy Foundation (Chuck L). From 2009, still germane.

Class Warfare

Where have all the workers gone and will they ever come back? Financial Times

Meet Nigeria’s child apprentices Al Jazeera. Resilc: “Kids in USA USA dont know what side of a screwdriver to use.”

The Social Life of Opioids Scientific American

North Minneapolis renters wage a fight with private equity landlords – StarTribune. Chuck L: “North Minneapolis has been heavily minority, especially African American, since before World War II.”

Chris Hedges: “Dying for an iPhone” Scheerpost (Tom D)

Antidote du jour (Wayne W):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John Siman

    Thank you, Yves, for republishing James Galbraith’s beautiful 2009 essay “Who Are These Economists Anyway?” — in which we read:

    “Leading active members of today’s economics profession… have formed themselves into a kind of Politburo for correct economic thinking. As a general rule—as one might generally expect from a gentleman’s club—this has placed them on the wrong side of every important policy issue, and not just recently but for decades. They predict disaster where none occurs. They deny the possibility of events that then happen. … They oppose the most basic, decent and sensible reforms, while offering placebos instead. They are always surprised when something untoward (like a recession) actually occurs. And when finally they sense that some position cannot be sustained, they do not reexamine their ideas. They do not consider the possibility of a flaw in logic or theory. Rather, they simply change the subject. No one loses face, in this club, for having been wrong. No one is dis-invit- ed from presenting papers at later annual meetings. And still less is anyone from the outside invited in.”

    Having accepted Galbraith’s exhortation to find the truth outside of this corrupt consensus, I began Memorial Day in a conversation with Richard Vague, who actually understands “the long history,” in Krugman’s words (as quoted by Galbraith), “of financial crises that had devastating economic consequences.” I’ll have a finely edited transcript of Vague’s wisdom for Naked Capitalism by tomorrow, I hope.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Minsky distinguished between economists and court economists. I believe JKG writes of the latter.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        I recall watching Ferguson’s Inside Job & being very annoyed at the interviews featuring economists, particularly the one whose name I have forgotten, who not liking the home truths which I think featured Iceland, stormed out on his.

    2. Glossolalia

      “Leading active members of today’s economics profession… have formed themselves into a kind of Politburo for correct economic thinking. As a general rule—as one might generally expect from a gentleman’s club—this has placed them on the wrong side of every important policy issue, and not just recently but for decades. They predict disaster where none occurs. They deny the possibility of events that then happen. …

      You could replace “economics” with just about any discipline. This is why we’re seeing a world-wide rejection of the so-called “expert class”.

        1. hunkerdown

          Unfortunately, so do the Marxist-Leninists. They think the unpalatability of elite society and absentee rule is just a messaging problem…

        2. ambrit

          Thus, they’ll have to suffer the traditional fate reserved for dysfunctional elites throughout all of history; destruction and replacement.

        3. Chris

          The Dunning-Kruger effect writ large.

          (Spoken by a soi-disant ’expert’ in a very narrow field, albeit with a light sprinkling of insight).

      1. Jesper

        That reminds me of an old accountancy joke:

        A businessman was interviewing job applications for the position of manager of a large division. He quickly devised a test for choosing the most suitable candidate. He simply asked each applicant this question, “What is two plus two?”
        The first interviewee was a journalist. His answer was, “Twenty-two”.
        The second was a social worker. She said, “I don’t know the answer but I’m very glad that we had the opportunity to discuss it.”
        The third applicant was an engineer. He pulled out a slide rule and came up with an answer “somewhere between 3.999 and 4.001.”
        Next came an attorney. He stated that “in the case of Jenkins vs. the Department of the Treasury, two plus two was proven to be four.”
        Finally, the businessman interviewed an accountant. When he asked him what two plus two was, the accountant got up from his chair, went over to the door, closed it, came back and sat down. Leaning across the desk, he said in a low voice, “How much do you want it to be?” He got the job.

        At times it does seem that experts have the opinion of whoever pays them.
        If given the choice of getting paid or not then the rational economist might decide to have the opinion that gets paid and then work backwards to find data and models to justify that opinion. I don’t think that it happens, however, I do believe that economists who have certain opinions might have an easier time to find people and organisations willing to pay them a living wage and more.

        1. Louis

          When I took accounting the version I heard was a bit different: basically a CPA versus a non-CPA acccountant are both being asked what 2 + 2 is.

          The non-CPA gives a precise answer and the CPA says “What do you want it to be?”

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I read a version of that joke several decades ago in Acres USA. The editor-owner told it this way . . . . the Mafia was interviewing accountants for an accounting job. Each applicant answered the ” what is 2 + 2 ” question with ” 4 ” , till finally an applicant said ” what would you like it to be”? and he got the job.

          Charles Walters told this joke in the context of what he called ” Gangsterism in science” , namely the practice of scientific researchers at Land Grant Universities taking money from particular input-sellers to design experiments designed to produce results in favor of the donor’s product. He said a high-ranking Iowa State University person once told him that ” for a hundred thousand dollars, we can prove anything”.

      2. Jack Parsons

        The difference is that court economists have massive backing from rich people. They are a priesthood whose job is to convince the rest of us that what rich people want is a good idea.

  2. zagonostra

    The Covid-19 Lab Leak Theory Is a Tale of Weaponized Uncertainty – Wired

    Concluding paragraph:

    Did SARS-CoV-2 escape from a laboratory? Did human scientists modify it to be more deadly, to spread further and faster? Maybe…those questions won’t get answered for years…in the meantime…congress will attract TV cameras and power…commentators and writers will get attention…—that’s your doubt, commodified and packaged for resale.

    I don’t think this is about “commodifying doubt.” I don’t think you can reduce every sin to avarice and desire for mammon. In a sense isn’t the article doing what it purports other players are doing?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its a very confused article.

      There has been an unfortunate tendency in science to reduce everything down to what can be ‘proved’ (according to the definition of ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ used by the particular power players within that branch of science) and what is not proven, and can therefore be ignored. Nicholas Naseem Taleb at the very start of Covid pointed out that many medical authorities were fundamentally getting the risk profile of the disease wrong, by acting as if there was no such thing as long tailed risks. There are of course many approaches to establishing ‘facts’, from risk assessments, cost benefit analyses, precautionary principles, or just using good old Occam’s Razor. As we are finding out, just because someone is a very good scientist, that does not mean that they have any understanding of epistemology or how to apply that knowledge to real-world action.

      Pretty much by definition, there can be no proven conclusion as to the origin of Covid. Even if a panel of virologist were to proclaim an absolute consensus, someone will still see able to say ‘ah, but the US/China has faked the evidence!’ And they could well be right.

      But that doesn’t mean its not a question worth asking. And it doesn’t mean it isn’t reasonable to use deduction and critical thinking to coming to a preliminary conclusion.

      1. cocomaan

        There has been an unfortunate tendency in science to reduce everything down to what can be ‘proved’ (according to the definition of ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ used by the particular power players within that branch of science) and what is not proven, and can therefore be ignored.

        Absolutely agree. You saw this in March of 2020. “There is no evidence that Covid 19 is aerosolized, therefore don’t bother wearing a mask.” When anyone with half a brain would know that an upper respiratory disease that causes coughing probably spreads via the air.

        Ivermectin is in the same rut right now: there are no significant studies so therefore you shouldn’t use it.

        The byproduct of this phenomenon (is there a name for it?) is that it turns entrenched systems of scientific research – the university, the government research lab, the corporate R&D labs, etc – into a priestly caste of expert advice givers. Unless an expert has given advice on X, you should not do X. The problem being that these institutions have glaring blind spots in their knowledge and their resources, and often pursue profit-driven, career advancement, or otherwise political agendas.

        The scientific method begins with an observation and makes its way to a hypothesis that is tested and tested again. At no point is there a step saying, “If an authority hasn’t researched this, it shouldn’t be pursued any further”.

      2. Chris

        There’s a priceless (tongue in cheek) article in the BMJ about the use of parachutes:

        Long story short, there’s no objective evidence that they work, and their use should be abandoned. From the Abstract:

        Conclusions: As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.

    2. hunkerdown

      No, indeed one can’t and one shouldn’t. But I can’t think of any sins that are not reducible to assertions of priority over others.

    3. Ignacio

      Commodification of the doubt. I think that was the best point made in the article. The doubt is served to the public without any little scientific analysis, may be with support from ‘intelligence reports’ that nobody has read. But even if the article tries to be… balanced it seems to me nobody in the US is ready to start with the right question. So biased and primed we are with movies, stories and narratives that we tend to think that what was usually the product of human imaginations is now the reality that replaces all what we know of the evolutionary biology of ANY known virus.

      I know that a story of small viruses trying to jump host here and there occasionally, and mostly failing to do so, but succeeding from time to time only by repetition and their ability to generate diversity is not sexy. Nobody to blame, not bad communists or capitalists implicated. Miners infected in a cave aren’t sexy, a civet harbouring bat viruses isn’t attractive, and unknown peasant that got unadvertedly infected doesn’t make it to novels.

      So, even the first question that the article makes is made in a deceptive way, it is not scientific: was the virus originated in nature or was it a lab leak? The first hypothesis deals with the origin of the virus whilst the second bypasses the question of origin and goes directly to the question of the vector. Note that the difficult question of what is the origin of the virus MUST necessarily bypassed in the lab-leak hypothesis and it has to be assumed that it is human creation from something found in nature.

      If you have had any experience, or let’s say any basic knowledge, about the studies on the molecular biology of viruses and the tools available for genetic manipulation that allow us to understand the functions of viral genes and proteins and typically through function loss, you would find the hypothesis of ‘human creation’ as extremely unlikely even with the support of AI, models and all the in silico tools you can imagine and after extensive trial and error. But this is attractive, this has novelistic merit. Now we can blame someone which is something that apparently our minds demand tirelessly.

      1. barefoot charley

        The challenge to your narrative–to all of them–is our continuing state of evolving ignorance, teeming within contending career silos. The opposite of what’s so obvious to you is equally obvious to, for example, the 1200 scientists challenging the previously unimpeachable narrative. It’s worth acknowledging that the counter-narrative began not with science at all, but with glaring and continuously building evidence of cover-up at the Wuhan institute (soon spreading to the WHO and lately from the maw of Dr Fauci), from before the epidemic went global. Sometimes a narrative is just a narrative . . .

        1. Ignacio

          Please, tell me who those 1200 scientists are and exactly what are they saying. So far, scientific research shows that the origin of the virus is not Wuhan, that was only the first outburst but there have been strains, even a couple of strains identified and sequenced in the US, that did not evolve from the strain in Wuhan but from other common ancestor who knows where and when, though possibly around October according to genetic clocks, please tell me what those 1,200 scientists say about this and what are their explanations (scientific, please stop about glaring cover ups and other idiocy. Besides, why so many scientists claiming lab, lab, lab! Is there indeed a scientific clamour saying this is lab creature? Nope.

          Ah no, yeah, because ‘cover up’. Let me tell you I have a different theory of what you call cover up in Wuhan. There were two reasons: 1) fear and hysteria in the midst of the outburst 2) cover up, but not the kind you are thinking about. It has probably to do with the sense of responsibility/guilt, Chinese authorities that had been, for years, promoting the industry of wild animal meat and farms all around China, a good environment for the appearance of SARS Cov 1 and 2. This is probably what they wanted to hide. They could easily be blamed for following policies that have resulted in breaking barriers emerging zoonotic diseases. This is why they burned them all, thousands of facilities/farms. This is the most serious theory that aroused very early during the pandemic. But messy American politicians first Trumpian, now liberals find more marketable the lab leak and I can see the reasons everyday.

          You guys really are avid to buy the theory.

            1. Ignacio

              And that is a simple a call for research that doesn’t declare this or that is possible or not and that would be signed by any sensible researcher. Every possibility has to be checked thoroughly. What the letter does is endorse the conclusions of WHO director general: the team was not allowed to do the needed research by Chinese authorities. That is all. No analysis of likelihoods (which are otherwise impossible to assess). Now the fact that the authorities were not collaborative is not an indicator of lab escape. It only indicates they are not willing to let anybody draw any conclusion. They don’t want any foreign commentary on how they manage their resources. They don’t want any report saying this or that resulted in virus barriers being broken. The authoritarian Jinping doesn’t want anything that may undermine his celestial leadership. Much less if it is done by pesky foreigners.

              Yet too many are ready to buy a theory without any proof.

        2. Aumua

          for example, the 1200 scientists challenging the previously unimpeachable narrative.

          True, but you can always find a scientist who’s particular viewpoint seems to support whatever conclusions you want to draw. Witness the 1000 scientist or whatever petition against climate change consensus.

          but with glaring and continuously building evidence of cover-up at the Wuhan institute

          Citations are definitely needed in a discussion like this, where there is obviously a lot of speculation flying around.

    4. Jack Parsons

      Part of the job of the “lab leak” meme is to distract from an important fact: if Covid had broken out in the US, the death toll would have been far higher. It broke out in a country that due to recent history (SARS), and ideology (police state), was able to squash it like a bug internally.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Michael Flynn Calls for Myanmar-Style Coup in the U.S.”

    Hmmpphh! Michael Flynn should read more history. If he did, he would realize that he is precisely the sort of people that will be first up against a brick wall when a coup comes.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Michael Flynn is a nutjob loose cannon. I watched his speech at the RNC convention and he was off his rocker with the wars he wanted to start.

      That being said, the Daily Beast is taking an short offhand answer to a question that he didn’t expound on, and trying to turn it into a story to get clicks from Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers.

      The press needs to get their act together and cover these clowns properly. Trying to turn every minor utterance into some major news story is just stupid and turns them into sympathetic figures.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Oh for crying out loud – all this story did was give Congress another excuse to waste more time and money –

        Last I checked Flynn, as dumb as he is, did not have a position in the US government and is a private citizen entitled to his own opinion.

        But half of Congress calling for the ouster of the president based on made up BS for four straight years is just A-OK.

  4. Larry

    Regarding athletes and the press, there is a reason leagues enforce interaction. It’s free marketing and exposure. There is a sense in successful leagues that the press is a parasitic apppartus that provides nothing of value. I counter it builds narratives and provides the raw material for discussion and public intrigue. Lest certain sports wish to end up like horse racing, engaging with the press is part and parcel of being a professional athlete. And it is Naomi’s right to withdraw from the match if she can’t meat those terms. I’d argue it’s quite healthy to take an extended absence from competitive play while seeking help.

    1. griffen

      It’s a shame and I’m not an avid follower of her or tennis in general terms. Its tough to manage that spotlights, especially if one is quiet and introverted. I wish her well.

      Yesterday someone conjured up the classic response “we’re on to Cincinnati”…not bad way to respond to press questions.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The only good athlete interviews were given by the O’Donovan Brothers in the last Olympics. They just didn’t take it seriously. A lot of soccer players apparently have dares where each player is supposed to insert certain words into their interviews, leading to some surreal moments depending on what word they’ve been given.

      Before the Osaka thing I was thinking about this while listening to some Gaelic Football on the radio. Irish radio GAA commentators are often hilarious to listen to (they insist on giving the full family background story to every player in mid flow) ‘And Jim O’Meara, who came back from Australia 2 years ago when his grandmother fell ill and whose mother Orla was a great runner in her day races down the inside left channel and takes a shot‘… always somehow manage to spoil things with horribly banal pitch side interviews. Its not just a professional thing, its just really how sports journalists fill time, radio and TV journalists just seem to hate silence.

      I gotta say though, I’ve little sympathy for Osaka. She’s a professional and she’s well paid to deal with this. But then again, I’m deeply cynical about professional tennis as a sport, especially when it comes to some of those – shall we say – very well muscled female athletes who seem perpetually on the verge of ‘roid rage. When cycling clamped down on doping after Armstrong a lot of the ‘doctors’ in those teams founded tennis clinics. Just sayin’.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The players who are established on the tour are well compensated, but they are indie contractors. I imagine a bunch of quality of life stuff that you don’t put up with in other jobs isn’t there. Osaka may not have had anyone explain they are playing in characters, a woman will have a harder time playing a curmudgeon which men do. Harrison Ford and Bill Belichick spring to mind. Bill’s smaller, less publicized presses are entirely different than his mid week ones where he’s admitted he gets overwhelmed, hence he relies on a character, well characiture.

        Boxing went behind a pay wall and disappeared. Access is part of the game. Mickelson went to every dopey tournament and became huge before he broke through. Tiger Woods is fairly dignified in his own style, but he wears that goofy motion capture suit for a few pictures to hawk video games. I don’t know if they do more than that, but getting the suit on seems like a big deal.

        1. Alfred

          “Osaka may not have had anyone explain they are playing in characters, a woman will have a harder time playing a curmudgeon which men do. ”

          Oh, I assure you, she knows

          The model she is using to bring awareness to press abuse is incomprehensible to abusers. But the woman players understand perfectly.

      2. SteveW

        She is too polite, modest, and respectful to do a frivolous act. She could simply attend the press meeting and say nothing or berate the press (as per Marshawn Lnych and John McEnroe). She is simply not a prima donna, queen bee or me first type.

    3. Darthbobber

      But don’t most sports have enough hot dogs who love to do the interviews that the handful who don’t wouldn’t be missed?

      Did Steve Carlton’s refusal to do interviews really have any effect, given that the bulk of stars treated the press as a means of expanding their own celebrity good?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The players union does create better work environments, and the press had access to the locker room. Carlton simply didn’t speak to them, but a bunch ofreporters in the locker room is a bit much. The reporter in this story was banned from ESPN and fired for aggressive reporting another time, so my guess is he isn’t getting press credentials to many leagues to avoid an owner/union conflict.

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks) answered ?’s at pressers with “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”. Tennis is a tough sport if you are shy. It’s being in the spotlight, probably more so than an actor. Actors have cast members and the stage crew as part of the team.

        1. Alfred

          Is it so freakin’ difficult to be respectful and intelligent(well, that last one, maybe)? “Shyness” has not one thing to do with it–don’t abuse the players with personal questions you would not want to be accosted with yourself in that position–it’s personal, yes, they are. Meanness and gotcha questions are not something a player should have to tolerate–they are not there to elevate the popularity (?) of the press.

            1. Alfred

              If I started feeding the raccoons that go past my house, I soon would be trapped inside.

      2. CanCyn

        ‘Zactly! That’s movie still resonates today, coincidentally just watched it the other day.While I have some sympathy for Osaka, pro sports are entertainment above all else and she is expected to help with the promotion. She may be only 23 but still she knows this. We had a thread about this the other day, I’ll repeat here some of what I said there. If the athletes want to talk about the sport and technique and strategy then that is what they should talk about … to the reporter wh asks inane questions about clothesline or tan lines or tries to provoke an emotion …the athlete should just ‘answer’ the questions they’d prefer to be asked e.g. “I’d rather talk about how I came back in the second set. You know, I saw my opponent tiring….” Maybe the press would figure it out eventually.
        In the end, though, the press, sponsors, athletes and the pro league associations are all partners in a big money making scheme I.e. a business. You’d think they could all get on the same page and give fans who pay the bills what they want without exploiting anyone.

        1. Bruno

          It ain’t the fans what pays the bills. It’s the “family blogging” advertisers.

          1. CanCyn

            Technically true Bruno, but, no fans, no advertisers. Point is just that pro sports are businesses, I don’t know why anyone pretends otherwise.

    4. Arizona Slim

      I’m old enough to remember Duane Williams’ taciturn interview after some big game. I think it was a Super Bowl.

      Any-hoo, Williams didn’t have much to say, other than using the word “evidently” more than once.

      That, kids, is how you handle the media.

      1. norm de plume

        Famously testy soccer coach Gordon Strachan was once asked by a passing reporter for a quick word.

        Strachan said ‘Velocity’.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    There are more than 8 million empty homes in rural Japan, and local governments are selling them for as little as $500 in a bid to lure residents Insider (

    One of the striking features of travelling around rural Japan is coming across what seem like perfectly nice houses, well maintained, and then realising they are not just empty, but often used just for storing junk. You can find entire streets like that. Many surprisingly large towns and villages won’t even have the otherwise ubiquitous convenience store there are so few people left. But I guess its a Japanese thing that they hate to see things rot away, so someone (neighbours? family?) will keep empty, largely worthless houses maintained. For those who love rural decayporn, Spike Japan is a wonderful blog.

    Its not a bad thing if they did reduce the numbers. The sprawl around Japan is heartbreaking when you realise how many beautiful places were covered with houses over the years. There is a huge contrast with South Korea, which has very strict zoning laws, meaning that towns and villages are very compact, with farmland going right up to the edges. A Japanese guy I met in Korea said that he hated that, as the high rises blocked the views of the beautiful mountains, whereas all I could see in Japan was beauty hidden by sprawl.

    There is a lot to be said for accepting that some places just don’t have the need for the population they once had. Bastide towns (built for long forgotten military needs in the medieval period) in France are often half empty, but at least the lovely small terraces make good holiday homes. Some have been given new life by non-French people settling in for retirement (in the EU, retirees are encouraged in poorer areas, as EU laws means that their home countries still have to pay for their healthcare – this is why hospitals in southern Spain and Portugal are so very good, they are basically funded by the Germans and Dutch). The British are now finding that post-Brexit, this is one reason why their retirees are not so welcome.

    The big problem in Japan for getting people to move out is the surprisingly poor internet. Not as bad as rural US, but much worse than South Korea or China in my experience. At least for now, it may be that good internet connections is the key to keeping small semi-empty settlements full, there are enough people who can now work from home to make those viable, at least if they are in beautiful places. Maybe we have to accept that many should simply be left to nature to reclaim. Its not a bad thing that birth rates are plummeting worldwide.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      “…Maybe we have to accept that many should simply be left to nature to reclaim. Its not a bad thing that birth rates are plummeting worldwide…”

      Several places I used to frequent growing up (back/side roads off the tourist trail on the North Coast of Oregon, along the Columbia, and some places in SW Washington) have been showing a somewhat similar decline. Not quite to the extent of being depopulated, but you see it in perspective from (say) 20-30 years ago:

      Dilapidated houses, store closed, barn burns down when a wire falls – never rebuilt because noone lives there anymore. Kids moved to Portland, or Seattle, or even just Astoria, and not interested in participating in whatever (close to subsistence) farming, dairying, logging, or commercial fishing used to keep people there.

      Been watching the changes long enough to see at least some benefits from the return to nature: Trees growing, little natural streams returning to a wilder state. Animals and critters extending territory into fallow fields, diked off pasture returning to wetlands…either ‘just because noone has done anything for 20 years there’, or on purpose – land prices decline, friends-of-nature State and regional orgs can afford to buy and protect it.

      So yeah – if they are ‘declining’ for one use, a lack of such previous historic value — allows a rise in other values.

      Still, though – can be heartbreaking to watch:

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would hazard it’s less the aide heard “Biden is banning meat” than she has heard democrats are going to force use to eat bugs for some time now and now Biden becomes the Democrat banning meat. Biden could give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Joey Chestnut, actually deserving of the award, and would wind up being perceived as whatever Fox News says Democrats are.

      Then there are weird pop up ads. Obama was always buying groceries and helping with mortgage relief…

      1. a different chris

        I’m embarrassed to say – well first, I can only stomach maybe 1/2 dozen hot dogs with buns, can’t eat more than half a pie – that I suspect I can’t match but could give a good chase of Mr. Chestnut in his gallon-of-milk drinking.

        I just love milk for some reason. I finally forced myself a few years back to stop going thru a 1/2 gallon a day, and now treat it like other people treat dessert.

        1. Alfred

          I used to be able to put away a whole sheet cake with lard icing when I needed that special anti-depressant. I have totally lost my chops–not one bite will make it to my tummy now.

          1. wilroncanada

            Some time in my barely-remembered past, late teens-early 20s, I sat with a friend while we shared a gallon container of ice cream. I can’t even remember a reason why we did it. My two failings still: ice cream (or frozen yogurt) and peanut butter by the spoonful. My heart has one time, 7years ago, told me of this failure.

        2. Anonymous

          I used to eat 1 kg. baklava in one visit to my favorite bakery in Istanbul, when I was seventeen.
          On my last visit five years ago, the young cashier, upon seing my sampler(!) tray, said no more than four pieces are needed to satisfy one’s taste buds.
          Now, wised up at 67, I really enjoy two pieces with my morning coffee.

      2. tegnost

        My macro view of the biden reign is that they have worked really hard to starve the news flow. You can see it in links and water cooler at NC, there’s just not much food for thought as it were.
        They’re giving us precious little to talk about. The flip side is they are not driving the message, possibly as they think their “base” will thrive on what the stupid people are talking about (My most liberal friends have all visited the conservative sites, parler when there was one for instance, probably enough to show up in the ratings numbers..) Still not a peep about infrastructure, and likely to me just caving everywhere hoping to not have to actually take a stand on something as coming up with a public position to justify their, once again very likely to me, unwholesome private position is hard work and takes a lot of craft and skill, while all they have is an idpol hammer that relies entirely on othering the poors and dumbs who populate the non expert class…

        1. CanCyn

          Hmm, I think this is a feature not a bug. The press talked incessantly about Trump’s latest tweet while the Republicans quietly went about their business, stacking courts, making the rich richer, etc. Now we’re hearing about the Whitehouse dogs and smiling because Kamala wished us a nice long weekend….everything is calm while the Democrats go about much the same business as the republicans- not so much stacking the courts because the republican picks are just fine and dandy with them, but making the rich richer. Oh and and talking about all kinds of halfway progressive things but actually doing little of any of it. Sigh.
          Have to disagree about not much food for thought here on NC – there is always food for thought here.

        2. jsn

          It’s a much more carefully and laboriously crafted nothing than the one Hillary offered, but it’s still nothing.

          There was that astonishing lapse with Covid relief through Reconciliation that for that brief moment was indeed something, but whatever intent was behind that, the lesson learned was “with this one act we have restored the New Deal, so nothing else is necessary.”

          Since then, more and more messaging effort has gone into nothing, which next year as the one-off spending fades shouldn’t be too hard to beat. The Democrats really are desperate to not govern.

    2. Phacops

      No mention that the slavish desire for babies is the thing that is killing our planet. As long as this defective thinking prevails I do not care to change what I am doing and look upon the human population as a mere geologic agent driving a modern extinction event.

    3. RockHard

      Seems to me that the GOP policy is to stoke up a culture war, using a succession of all kinds of issues: it’s gone from civil rights and religious freedom (or rather, the power of religious institutions) through abortion, guns, gasoline, now meat. I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Basically a steady devolution from substantive issues to the ever more trivial. Sometimes things like BLM/Blue lives matter pop up but it feels like the stupider and more basic the issue, the better it sticks.

      1. Alfred

        The “hook” is wherever you find it. There’s still a sucker born every minute.

    4. Pelham

      Is it true that a very large fraction of the world’s arable land is suitable only for growing grasses? If that’s the case, aren’t certain herd animals the only way to take advantage of that grassland to produce food that human beings can digest?

      1. Copeland

        Yeah, except the the CAFO thing [family blog]s it all up twelve ways til Tuesday.

    5. Aumua

      I think there was a big rise in this sentiment during the higher points of COVID when meat packing factories were the sites of big outbreaks. I seem to recall a lot of “they’re coming for your meat!” stories back then from the right.

      Of course the commercial meat industry is an atrocity in so many ways, as has been well known for at least a century.

      1. Procopius

        Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle” in 1906. For some reason Mrs. Ruth Cowen, my English teacher several semesters through high school, assigned “The Octopus,” by Frank Norris instead. Good counter to the jingoism of the McCarthy years.

    6. Juneau

      When they threaten to take guns, sales go up.
      When they threaten to take beef, do beef sales go up? Then I wonder if the Cattlemen’s Association has a hand in this. Of course this is pure speculations. If the great reset is behind this they are doing a poor job of convincing people to stop meat.

  6. Rod

    that Bonus–
    compassion has its rewards that exceed any expectation with so much to appreciate

  7. cnchal

    > Chris Hedges: “Dying for an iPhone” Scheerpost (Tom D)

    We will not save ourselves through the perverted individualism, sold to us by our corporate masters and a compliant mass media, which encourages our advancement at the expense of others. We will save ourselves by working in solidarity with workers inside and outside the United States. This collective power is our only hope. Amazon workers from the Hulu Garment factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Global Garments factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh, recently led a global day of action to make Amazon pay all its workers, no matter where they live, fair wages. This has to be our model. Otherwise, workers in one country will be pitted against workers in another country. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels got it right. Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

    Too late. The inhumane working conditions in China and elsewhere are institutionalized at Amazon, and being replicated everywhere else so as to not fall behind. Greshams dynamic writ large.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    . . . and your IPhone is the whip.

    1. Geo

      “Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist”

      Most people I know wouldn’t be caught shopping at a WalMart for all the reasons that comparably make being an Amazon shopper the equivalent of a war crime. Yet, they still use their Amazon Prime memberships all the time with seemingly no regard for the impact that has on local economies, our environment, etc.

      My only guess as to why is because, unlike box stores which are a large blight on local communities, Amazon is invisible. Just vans and boxes with that happy little “smile” logo. Guilt free crimes against community and humanity. Like consumerism as drone warfare.

      “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

  8. Max "Toast the Most Ghosts" Stirner

    First dead kings, now dead billionaires. THE HITS. JUST. KEEP. ON. COMIN’!

  9. griffen

    The article about investor amnesia is worth it to learn about a scheme I don’t recall seeing previously. Investing in an uninhabitable island near the coast of Honduras in the 1820s. What could go wrong !?

  10. Tom Stone

    That San Jose shooter was Bi Polar with a history of alcohol abuse ( Self medicating?) and violence.,
    And if you want an indicator of future violence alcohol abuse likely tops the list, it is a very dangerous drug.
    Put someone like that in a high stress abusive environment and they are very likely to snap.
    And no, mentally ill people are not allowed to own guns and haven’t been for longer than I have been alive.
    There’s almost no tracking and enforcement of these laws or the laws prohibiting felons owning guns.
    California FINALLY passed a law requiring the CA DOJ to match felony records with gun registration a few years ago, one of the few States that has dome so.
    However funding has been almost non existent and there is no enforcement.
    We know who all the felons are and who a significant number of the mentally disturbed are, enforcing these laws would be a trivial matter ( But dangerous for cops) if there was any real interest in reducing violent crime.,

    1. a different chris

      >However funding has been almost non existent and there is no enforcement.

      Hmmmm and this just happened in a vacuum, of course. The librul gun-grabbers simply forgot to follow thru as their thoughts turned to brunch, maybe?

      1. Tom Stone

        Why Chris, I suspect Ross Mirkarimi might be embarrassed if the Firearms laws were enforced.
        He was was the admitted wife beater and SF Sheriff who committed a felony by wearing a sidearm.
        Repeatedly, on live TV, with no consequences except a little tutt tutting.
        Think he surrendered his personal gold plated Glock with American Flag stocks as he was legally required to do?
        Laws are for little people in the USA.

        1. Wukchumni

          The guns won again as is their penchant in our country as we try and figure out what made the latest hand cannon assassin tick, and while its nice to claim the latest mass murderer had mental issues as a way of not blaming the ease of ownership of vast personal arsenals instead, why did he have approx 21,948 more rounds than he needed to kill 10 people including himself, and at least a dozen guns in his house?

          1. a fax machine

            because, obviously, he was a crazy person. Normal people don’t spend that sort of money on those sorts of things.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        “ and this just happened in a vacuum, of course.”

        Thank you for highlighting the critical point.

        Gun cultists have worked for decades, throughout the nation, to defund and inhibit enforcement of laws restricting gun ownership for felons and the mentally ill. (If you are the right race of man that is.) The result is they are used primarily as downpunching tools, and only applied against already designated “losers”.

        Illegal ownership is used by the cops and DAs after the fact, as an add on charge, when felons are charged with news crimes. Gun violations are handy to tack on when an accused is arraigned on a primary charge that wouldn’t merit felony status in its own right. They are used to beef up stats and as bargaining chips in the plea bargaining process. Lax enforcement is handy for the criminal justice status quo in this regard.

        Asking law enforcement to proactively enforce these laws would make all the tough blue lives matter types really unhappy, so it’s not going to happen any time soon. Also, solid, 100% enforcement of these laws might depress sales of firearms and ammunition. And it would blunt their actual, current use in maintaining the once-convicted as a lifetime underclass. Can’t have that, can we?

  11. a different chris

    The visual portal is so cool. And I am sad to find my reaction to reading this was…

    > the team aims to eventually connect many cities, with the goal of highlighting global collaboration and harmony.

    …”yeah and they said that about McDonalds”. I already envision the smashing of such portals in the future as a pre-war statement by the masses.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Fresh COVID breach in WA hotel quarantine system after guest is infected by man in adjoining room”

    ‘I am envious of those that live in countries that can have headlines like this’

    You don’t need to be. The Health Department confirmed the virus was transmitted between two guests in neighbouring rooms at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Western Australia so likely aerosol transmission. The State of Victoria is presently in a 7-day lockdown which stemmed from a guy in a South Australian quarantine hotel who got it from aerosol transmission when his door was open after the door of a guy in a nearby room who was infected opened his. And this aerosol transmission also happened about a month or so ago. In other words, they have not learned a bloody thing about how to avoid this happening. And I don’t think that staff on those quarantine floors even wear N95 masks at all (slaps hand over eyes). But wait, there’s more.

    I mentioned Victoria. I believe that four aged care homes are under lockdown at the moment and this State lost several hundred people dead in them during last year’s outbreak. How did this happen? Why a staff member was working in different homes on different shifts taking the virus with them. Didn’t they create a rule that said that during a pandemic, that you can’t do that? Yes they did but unknown to most people, the federal government dropped that rule last November. Why did they do that? Because they said that they could only do that in an actual outbreak (bangs head on keyboard). It is complacency and this refusal by the governments to learn the lessons and apply them that is killing us. They say that Victoria will lose $1 billion for that one week because they could not learn the lesson of staging when doors can be opened in those hotels. Here is an article talking more about this complacency going on down here-

    1. Robert Hahl

      But, but, but: What about toilet plumes as the source of the aerosols? These discussions focus on open doors and lack of masks as the problem; but I worry most about poorly ventilated bathrooms.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > But, but, but: What about toilet plumes as the source of the aerosols? These discussions focus on open doors and lack of masks as the problem; but I worry most about poorly ventilated bathrooms.

        I think it depends on the Australian building code. If the plumbing is properly trapped, and ventilation from one bathroom isn’t sucked into another bathroom, things should be OK. I’m too lazy to find the links, but I believe both Amoy and Covid went through a chase that was common between bathrooms/apartments.

  13. Tom Stone

    Autonomous Killer Robots are here to stay and the Kargu-2 mentioned in this article is a long way from the cutting edge of this technology.
    Drones are cheap and the tech is widely spread.
    Oh, shit.
    And I saw a recent estimate that you could build an FGC-9 for $350, including the 3D printer and materials.
    In your apartment without disturbing the neighbors.
    It’s a 9MM carbine that works well, your choice of self loading or full auto.
    For $350 if you go the the cheap route, for one.
    Democratizing the tools of violence.
    What could go wrong?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Huh. Say one were to use polylactic acid (PLA or cornstarch plastic) in that 3d printer to build that gun. Then, after some nefarious use, toss the gun in a body of water, the gun would dissolve leaving no evidence. After some time passes. Perhaps if one found a slightly acidic river, perhaps downstream from an industry, the thing would rapidly dissolve? Sounds like a job for Lincoln Rhyme.

    2. The Rev Kev

      These things are so cheap that any country could deploy them. I guess that Libya was just a testing ground for Turkey who I would guess deployed these things. So imagine an American patrol finding themselves under attack by a swarm of these drones and targeting individual soldiers in Iraq or Syria or Africa. An enemy would only have to launch them in a designated direction and it would be something like out of those future terminator films- (45 secs)

      The genie is well and truly out of the bottle on this one.

      1. jhg

        “They sent a slamhound on Turner’s trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair. It caught up with him on a street called Chandni Chauk and came scrambling for his rented BMW through a forest of brown legs and pedicab tires. Its core was a kilogram of recrystallized hexogene and flaked TNT.” Count Zero, William Gibson, 1986.

        I guess the technology is now here that Gibson predicted in his Sprawl series in the 1980s. I can certainly see this being used as a means to assassinate someone you don’t like.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I kind of wonder though if that example is exaggerated. There have been weapons that make ‘decisions’ for decades, long before AI. For example, in WWII and earlier there were many types of mines designed to only explode according to pre-set criteria (e.g. the weight of the contact, the presence of metal, etc). The Russians famously trained dogs to go to German made tanks where they would detonate mines (according to probably unreliable sources, some argue that the dogs got confused by the gasoline smell of German tanks and instead retreated to the diesel smelling Russian tanks they were familiar with, causing havoc).

      The real issue will be when we get to things like facial recognition software, or weapons with complete decision making autonomy. I suspect (hope) we are a long way from this, and i wouldn’t be surprised if they turned out to be very easy to spoof.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Those drones might have been set to attack anyone with a rifle or a certain shaped helmet but as you said, the real worry is when they do facial recognition software.

        1. Tom Stone

          Rev, they are already using facial recognition software in tests and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those were live tests.
          With a self destruct mechanism how could you tell?

          1. JBird4049

            Facial recognition software has been really unreliable; there are continuing problems for autonomous cars; these drones are like mobile mines; put out a shoal of this things to hunt down the enemy. Can’t wait for the first wedding party, school, hospital, market, neighborhood, village, or town to get decimated by these things and probably by accident.

            This is like gain of function research; just because you can do it, it does not mean you should especially without serious thinking; thinking? Hah!

            This is going to really interesting to watch.

    4. t

      Always ask myself why Boston Dynamics is forever showing of robotic K9s and robotic warehouse workers and not exoskeletons.

      Didn’t expect jetpacks but exoskeletons, we could have them.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Futuristic Portal ‘Brings Unity’ to Vilnius and Lublin”

    I love elegant engineering ideas like this. In concept it is simple and the execution relatively simple. And it certainly beats just a flat screen. Of course down the track, they could give a different form to that simple basic ring- (1:00 min)

  15. Geo

    Just wanted to say thank you to NC for this great article about US meddling and media propaganda toward Mexico. A must read for the day in my humble opinion.

    Seriously, if you switched “America” with “Russia” in this article MSNBC, CNN, and all the major papers would be running headlines about election interference. It’s no wonder America is the reigning champion for decades now when polls are done about which nation is the greatest threat to world peace. Yet, in our deluded and propagandized perspective we still see ourselves as heroes, as a mythical lone cowboy gunman saving the world from evildoers.
    The rest of the world sees us more as Yosemite Sam.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yes, that was a good write up. There’s not a lot of Mexico coverage these days and AMLO has been an interesting mixed bag. He knows he’s got to tread carefully, but he seems to be moving things in the right direction, albeit slowly.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Karen Calls Cops on Michigan Black Woman for Talking Too Loudly, Cops Entertain That White Nonsense by Fining Black Woman The Root (Dr. Kevin)

    The comments on this article are entertaining, disturbing and even informative. I learned, for example, that Eastpointe, MI used to be East Detroit, MI, but “white” residents didn’t like being associated with Detroit so the name was changed in the 90’s. There was some comment speculation that the “e” at the end of “Eastpointe” resulted from “Grosse Pointe envy.”

    But one particular comment stood out to me, from a commenter named Cedric:

    I’d be calling the cops on that white woman from now til she moves. I’d have the page bookmarked with all the ordinances she can be charged with open and on my kitchen table. She would never see a moments peace.

    Is it just me, or does it seem that ever since big tech conquered the planet promising to “unite” humans worldwide into like-minded “communities,” the actual, on-the-ground version of “community” has been disintegrating faster than the speed of light?

    1. Alfred

      Hah! That tidbit about Eastpointe (lol) reminds me of new development in Vermont that does not want to be “associated” with Rutland, so they want to call it ‘West Killington’ or ‘South Killington’ or something. Killington is a big-time ski resort, and Rutland, well…

    2. a fax machine

      Instead of giving people reasons to come together and unify, most websites encourage individual success and more importantly individual punishment. Consider the expanded use of “Report” buttons – while website have every right to define their own rules and every right to selectively enforce them – in how they’ve evolved from simple compliance devices (ie, no child porn or bomb threats) into larger “bad behavior” cancel buttons. This is especially notorious on online games where report buttons are more prominently displayed than mute buttons, and rules concerning “bad behavior” expand into pretty much everything including disallowing players that refuse to play a game competitively (in our current era of computer-defined matchmaking, this is a huge problem for competitive players that will just hammer report buttons to eliminate non-champ players from their team).

      I think there was a Star Trek episode about this where they went to an “evil” alternative universe where all the Star Fleet badges were not badges of honor, prestige or respect but instead personal punishment devices designed to inflict pain for minor infractions. That’s what I’m getting at.

      In real life, such pain just leads to demands for vengeance and justice which compounds the existing hate until it consumers everything. Much like fascism.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Friends Don’t Let Friends Become Chinese Billionaires”

    This is terrible this, just terrible – even though they get the hot sports car and the hotter seven women. How can China treat their billionaires so badly? They should learn from the west where our oligarchs, errr, billionaires live on and on and on until they are in their nineties and are still controlling everything while they change laws, buy judges & politicians and set up think tanks to help make the country to believe in the things that they believe in. You know, just like the Kochs. And Bill Gates is only sixty-five so we could get to listen to his wisdom and counsel for another thirty years. And Jeff Bezos was only born in 1964 so can you imagine him still running things in the 2060s? Hmmm.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t recall the Greek Philosopher who said it, but when asked ‘what is the smartest animal?’ replied ‘the one we don’t know’.

      The smartest Chinese billionaire is the one nobody realises is a billionaire. There are lots of them – most have spread their wealth thinly through family connections, and are a major reason for property bubbles from Sydney to San Francisco. Its one of the reason why there are lots of rich women in China – its because their husbands/brothers/uncles don’t want to be too visibly rich. The stupid ones are the ones who have allowed themselves to be too visible, they are the tall poppies who will be the first to feel the scythe.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Krystal and Saager

    Looks like they’re starting their own independent show next week. You can subscribe to it to get it sent to you by email early and ad-free, but it looks like it will also be available on youtube, presumably with ads.

    I do applaud them for going independent – The Hill never seemed like a good fit for them anyway – but I tell you, this subscription model is tough if there’s more than one journalist you want to follow. $100 bucks or so annually for each of them starts getting pricey real fast.

    Speaking of the subscription model in general, I refuse to subscribe to mainstream publications like the NYT etc. The empire already has enough money and doesn’t need mine, especially when there are so many ways around their paywalls. Since I don’t subscribe, maybe I’m missing something, but they seem to be double dipping – you need to pay to access articles, but presumably once you do, you are still being shown ads, which is where they make their money from to begin with.

    At least with subscriptions to Tabbi, Krystal and Saager etc, your subscription allows you to read ad-free, making them less beholden to sponsors.

    1. Dirk77

      Tough week: Yves is to be out from surgery, I find Gabbard is no longer a congresswoman and Krystal is leaving the Hill. All these good looking women in transition. What is a guy to do? Better check that Briahna Joy Gray still has her podcast. Yes, praise the lord.

    2. Pelham

      Agreed about the pricey subscriptions. I can afford to read only a tiny few of the journalists I respect.

      Separately, re Krystal and Saagar: I viewed their last episode and the generous introduction offered by their replacements, and it would seem on the surface that this was an amicable parting. I’m skeptical. Until 2010 I worked for a major newspaper that was (like so many others) going through an endless series of layoffs. For dozens of low-ranking schmoes like myself an unambiguous ax was sufficient. But for higher-ranking reporters and editors, there was always a supposedly face-saving explanation. They were taking “early retirement” (in their 40s and 50s) or embarking on an exciting new career as an “independent journalist” (at a time when the market for such journos with no name recognition was already saturated). In other words, they were VOLUNTARILY giving up six-figure incomes plus benefits to try to support their families on nothing more than a hunch.

      One giveaway was the suddenness of these decisions — a feature of Krystal and Saagar’s departure. I personally knew two barely middle-aged editors who just up and decided on the gig route in the space of 24 hours without the slightest hint beforehand that they were considering any such move. Apparently the die was cast in a brief meeting with their supervisors when it instantly occurred to them that this was a crackerjack idea. Yeah, right.

      Yes, I sound bitter. I and people better than me got relatively rough treatment while our superiors at least got a tissue-thin story to preserve their dignity and make it a bit more likely they might find employment somewhere down the line. So, yes, I rather resent that as it defines the bucket into which so many people who do real work are classified, as commodities, while their PMC overlords retain at least some acknowledgment — however tenuous — that they are indeed human.

      That said, I wish Krystal and Saagar all the best.

    3. campbeln

      Agreed! $10/month is expensive. With that plus Taibbi, Netflix, NakedCapitalism (donation drives!)… I quickly get back to the bad-old days of high cable and newspaper costs :/

      Then again… if the Fed has anything to say on the matter, $10 isn’t going to be worth much shortly, so… winning?

      1. HotFlash

        re Krystal and Saagar, your remark, “They were popular, but free. No longer. Want some truth in your news? Pay up.”

        Not accurate. This is their email from this morning, with the refuting passage bolded by me:

        INTRODUCING: Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar

        A fearless anti-establishment YouTube show and podcast hosted by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti debuting MONDAY JUNE 7TH, 2021

        CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are ripping us apart and making millions of dollars doing it. We don’t have soulless billionaires or corporations backing our high end TV production, but we do have YOU. We took a big risk going independent and we need your help to fulfill our mission of making everyone hate each other LESS and the corrupt ruling class MORE!

        In return for your support you get:

        AD-FREE UNCUT Breaking Points Show Delivered 1 HOUR EARLY To Your Inbox (Video + Audio) beginning JUNE 7, 2021

        You’ll also get to hear Krystal and Saagar RESPOND to each other’s monologues

        EXCLUSIVE premium content like weekly Ask Me Anythings

        Two Monthly Long Form interviews with the best guests anywhere!

        All premium content is powered by Supercast!

        The First 1,000 people to become premium members will get an EXCLUSIVE walkthrough video of the set and get to meet the entire Breaking Points production team! AND If you’re able become a LIFETIME member today to enjoy all premium benefits PLUS your name in the credits section forever and carved into a plaque that will forever be on the Breaking Points set

        If you can’t become a premium subscriber today, ITS OK! We will post every episode free as clips on YouTube AND as audio with breaks on public podcast channels like Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
        SUBSCRIBE TO Breaking Points YouTube Channel
        SUBSCRIBE to Breaking Points Podcast

        Clips from Saagar’s podcast The Realignment with Marshall Kosloff and Krystal Kyle & Friends with Kyle Kulinski will be featured weekly on the Breaking Points Youtube Channel!

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  19. tegnost

    Space, the final garbage dump…
    “To continue benefiting from the science, technology and data that operating in space brings, it is vital that we achieve better compliance with existing space debris mitigation guidelines in spacecraft design and operations,” said head of the ESA’s Space Debris Office Tim Florer last year.”

    Did I see starlink mentioned? The tech bros will be the ruin of us all…

    1. Alfred

      Your remark about “tech bros”–you said it, thank you. What is that saying? “Just because you can does not mean you should.”
      It makes me crazy when they send organisms into space for some f*cking purpose without thinking about consent from the organism–it is maybe not on board with your project, Bro! It does not give a sh!t about you, Bro! It was just minding its own business, maybe we should scoop you up and shoot you out into space without letting you get your affairs in order, and not tell you damn thing about what, why when or where. F*cking arrogant b*sterds,
      And yes, I am serious

    2. Maritimer

      “Let us send Garbage where no Garbage has gone before.”

      Next up, Space Cleaning Contracts. See your local Gongressperson. Garbage, of course, being a huge, conglomerate racket here on Earth and ripe for stellar expansion.

  20. diptherio

    “…the psychotic trailer-park vitriol of Boebert and Taylor-Greene…”

    Using “trailer-park” as an insult, a synonym for ignorance and malice. How enlightened.

    Here’s a pro tip, if liberals, or the left, or anyone else is interested in making inroads with low-income white voters, try not to turn our affordable housing options into a code a for crazy and dumb. Would you insult a Black politician by referring to their “housing project” rhetoric? No, no you would not. If you want to draw us po’ white folks towards your political camp, and away from that of your rivals, maybe try keeping your disdain and bigotry a little more under wraps. Because when I read this, and I just want to slap the author, even if I might agree with whatever point they’re trying to make.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      I felt exactly the same way when I read that.

      Before I dismiss the trailer trash I’d dismiss the trasher, and he/she can take their “opinions” with them.

      1. meadows

        Many decades ago I was in a town meeting in a tiny NH town. A local hippie chick stood up and made some statement about how terrible it would be if the town “filled up with trailers”… half the folks in the room lived in trailers. You could’ve heard a pin drop and she still didn’t get it.

    2. Alfred

      Consider the source–who is the Disgraceland person? I can’t tell from the site–maybe a lot of people want to slap them. Took a lot of creative writing classes, otherwise? Living in a world of colorful metaphors, signifying a need for attention.

      1. diptherio

        I couldn’t get past the first four or five paragraphs. Sounds like a bunch of pseudo-political psycho-babble to me. But then, I’ve lived in several manufactured homes in my day, so I’m probably just not smart enough to dissect her scintillating prose.

        1. fresno dan

          June 1, 2021 at 11:36 am

          Trump had no political record, and had a history of vagueness or flip-flopping on many issues. He lacked deep roots in the Republican Party, while few party insiders—of whatever background—backed his candidacy. Unlike, say, Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz, Trump did not receive the backing of any party faction. Trump’s nationalism proved to have much appeal to Republican voters, but lacked sources of institutional support, such as from think tanks that might have formulated policy ideas for his administration. Trump’s campaign often lacked focus, and certainly did not put a priority on policy development. Many political figures may have assumed Trump was going to lose, and did not bother trying to pin him down on issues. The same could be said for much of the media.
          Trump used to be pro-choice, but Trump follows more than he leads. He is pretty much a standard republican in what the party wants him to do. BUT no one does a better job of owning the libs and MSM
          If getting one’s heartrate up due to outrage instead of exercise was good for you, we would be the healthiest nation on earth…

      2. Lambert Strether

        > who is the Disgraceland person

        I think they’re right that the Republicans need to keep their particular grifts going for the cash flow, especially if corporate contributions are cut back. As Republican direct mail has shown for years, and the Democrats learned with RussiaGate, the cray cray is a money gusher.


        Republicans’ desperate gasp for air is an attempt to answer the existential question forced upon their party: How to respond to a confrontation with the reality of failure — an absolute failure, which one cannot fail to recognize?

        This is simple, naked triumphalism. 2020 was a close election; IMNSHO, Trump would have won but for Covid. The Republicans are doing just fine at the state level. And the national Democrats seem determined to repeat 2010. Despite the whining and Never Trumping at the national level, at the state level the Republican party is feral, determined, and knows how to seek and exercise power. Very much unlike Democrats, I might add. Absolute failure my Sweet Aunt Fanny!

        1. Alfred

          I don’t see the naked power grabs in state leges having permanence. It’s mostly Repubs in power having been able to cheat in private now having to legislate an advantage, and I don’t see general acceptance for that. If they want to spend all their time rigging the election process, maybe. It’s already getting old.

  21. Mikel

    RE: “Amazon, Google, and Big Tech Want to Eat Health Care Next” New Republic.

    Silly Con Valley has pulled off a bigger con than the financial sector. They have people thinking no skill anyone else has learned or experience they have is important to society.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, you have this wrong. You are twice as likely to become a billionaire in asset management than in tech. And those PE guys have far more heavyweight allies than tech…and most people don’t even know! Basically owning the white shoe law firms and consulting firms is yuuge.

  22. Alfred

    These are my favs in this genre by Meredith Bull. Now I want her hair–I know I could rock it:
    sick of this empty cup

    many more by this same artist–they touch a cord in this long-time cat slave.

    I grant you I don’t get out much. I went to the bank today to use their new fancy-dancy ATM to deposit some cash. Now it’s called “Mixed Media Deposit.” I dove in. It told me to put my cash or checks into the machine. I was paralyzed because it did not ask me if I wanted an envelope. I stared and watched the graphic of cash or a check going directly into the machine, shrugged and shoved my pile of cash in. It was counted, and I confirmed and got a receipt. Why am I so overwhelmed?

  23. Tom Stone

    I laughed at that crash test dummy video because I taught my Daughter to drive.
    On Sundays, at a subdivision under construction with wide paved streets and zero traffic.
    On the second lesson she took out 12′ of fence after forgetting the pickup was in reverse and because she was nervous she punched it.
    I looked at her sadly and said “That’s how I learn too”.

    1. fresno dan

      Tom Stone
      June 1, 2021 at 11:12 am
      And that’s pretty much how every US foreign policy maven has learned as well.

      1. Alfred

        And they never ever learn from “history.” That alone makes me suspicious of their motives.

    2. Wukchumni

      My 16 year old nephew missed 17 out of 49 questions on his written driving test a few months ago and is going to take it again next week, and I asked if he studied, and he gave me a ‘like why would I do that?’ kind of reaction…

      Why bother though, mom will still drive him everywhere and you don’t need to know how to drive to get around a smartphone that is practically embedded into your hand, do you?

    3. Late Introvert

      @Tom Stone,

      I’ll be teaching my 15-year old this summer*. We’ll start in a big parking lot first, just like my dad did with me at the K-Mart. That parking lot was huge.

      *Gov. Reynolds and the Iowa GOP removed the requirement to pay a professional driving instructor, and gave it back to parents. They also removed permits for gun owners. I plan to take advantage of both. We need more leftist gun-owners, it’s not like the 2nd amendment is going anywhere, or the pigs are getting any nicer.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “In SE Minn., legal dispute over an old cemetery raises questions about who owns the past”

    This guy is using the modern business method of grabbing commons and then saying that he owns it now – so pay me. Got just the defence for this here in this case. They are already talking about giving rivers and the like legal rights. So why should people lose their rights just because they happen to be dead at the moment? What are you? A ‘deadist’ or something? Then the dead would have standing to challenge this guy, especially the members of the Whitewater Cemetery Association. This guy could have just made an agreement with each cemetery but trying to pretend that he owns it? I think that that is why they have sheriff departments. To arrest people who are trying to illegally bury dead people in a public graveyard.

    Great video that ‘First time driving with dad and he dressed-up like a crash-test dummy’ by the way.

    1. tegnost

      you gotta pay the rent , rev.
      They’re just lyin’ around there and you can’t evict them?
      And how did they wind up where they are?
      Probably booze.
      Expensive booze most likely…
      What is wrong with these people……..

      1. Alfred

        ya gotta pay the rent

        yeah, well. revisionist “landlord” says, “You thought you were buying Real Estate?”

  25. TimH

    On ammunition stashes… anyone who goes to a range often (which you should, if you own a firearm that you keep at your house) stocks up on ammo because the supply has intermittent since pre-Obama, and when plentiful it’s good to take advantage of the bulk buy deals.

    If I go to a handgun range with a friend or two, we typically use 800 rds .22 LR plus 300 rds 9mm.

    1. ambrit

      The .22 is doable. The 9mm is now pushing a dollar a round. That’s a serious cost associated with firearm ownership, (unless you are a C&R [Curio and Relic] collector.) {One thing I had not considered before was the fact mentioned by one of the Assistant District Attorneys to the Grand Jury that many (as in a high percentage) of the stolen guns recovered from criminals were stolen from out of vehicles. So, lesson for today; do not leave your firearm in the car overnight! that’s just sloppy, lazy, and you’re asking for trouble.}

      1. TimH

        Lawks a mussy. I bought a pile of the Rusian steel 9mm ball at 17c or so a round, about 3 years ago. Works very nicely. Lucky timing.

    2. Alfred

      Gun ownership/ammo/practice range IIRC is right up there with car ownership for me–can’t afford neither. I do have some Mean Green mace foam though, and plan to get a stun gun. That’s for the End Times…

  26. sam

    Re random factoid: just a note that the current US manual of style requires capitalizing ‘black’ when used in reference to a person of African descent (but oddly not other colors or genealogies).

  27. Tom Stone

    Tim, you forgot to mention that Ammo prices have skyrocketed, partly due to the millions of new gun owners who buy a box or two with their purchase.
    Almost half of new Gun Owners are Women and Minorities, some people are paying attention to what’s going on and coming to the realization that their world is not getting safer.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Great. Now let’s teach them how to reload. If all these alleged neo-warriors would learn squat about actually looking after themselves…. the factory made stuff might stay on the shelves.

    2. Glossolalia

      It’s funny that you say their wold is not getting safer because I think that by just about any measure (disease, car accidents, food safety, etc.) we’re safer than we’ve ever been before. The exception of course is that we’re probably at a higher risk of being shot than ever before (although for most of us that still admittedly still pretty low probability).

      I’d wager that for the vast majority of these newly sold guns if they ever are discharged in a non-practice range scenario it will either be a suicide, an accidental shooting, or in a robbery by someone who’s stolen it. Look at your average driver on the road and you can probably translate the same absent-minded and careless behavior to gun ownership.

  28. robert lowrey

    My nit-picking OCD: “Kicking the Afghani can down the road south.” An Afghani is a unit of currency, like a dollar, not a person, like a Pakistani or Iraqi.

  29. Michael Ismoe

    California’s $1M plan to revive its monarch butterfly population in ‘catastrophic decline’

    Let me guess: California is giving you $10 for each one you catch.

  30. Phil in KC

    Concerning Stormy Payout and FEC fines: If the gain exceeds the cost of the fine, then it’s not a penalty but a cost of doing business. And sometimes a bribe. If I didn’t learn this from reading NC, then I should have!

  31. fresno dan
    A retired FBI agent is accused of conning a Texas woman out of more than $800,000 by convincing her she was under “secret probation” for drug crimes, federal prosecutors said.
    The term retired is used instead of former so I am assuming that he was a career G man. Maybe he worked on Russiagate – great training to find crimes that don’t exist…
    If it weren’t for Trump, a good portion of the media would be able to see that the FBI is a rather dubious organization with an inordinate number of employees of suspect moral character.

  32. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Chris Hedges: “Dying for an iPhone”

    “What they describe is an Orwellian dystopia, one where global corporations have perfected the techniques for a disempowered work force. These vast worker cities are little more than labor penal colonies.”

    Low cost to manufacture, high retail mark up, items; hyped as 1st world consumer must haves, using the latest consumer behavioral and consumer psychological research and techniques [ “Due to our increasing knowledge of decision mechanisms and the increasing efficiency and outreach of communication means, marketing techniques are becoming both intrusive and powerful.” “It’s the meta-message that you can solve all of life’s problems by purchasing the right products that’s having the most profound effect,” Kanner explains.” “Driving teen egos–and buying–through ‘branding'” ] need low cost global manufacturing facilities in order to maximize profit.

    The revelations of Chris Hedges are hardly novel and the offered ‘insight(s)’ are unlikely to change consumer behavior; where, “consumerism is a belief system and culture that promotes consuming as the path to self- and social improvement.” [ “Ego in the Shopping Cart” ]

    More than a decade ago the same reality was ‘exposed’ [ ]
    and very little, if anything, has changed in the intervening years. For the consumer class, in the first world, it is all meaningless background noise and empty words that distracts from the ultimate goal in life, as determined by the first world advertisers and marketers, more pointless consumption, conspicuous or otherwise. at any cost.

    [ “Moreover, we cannot bypass the environmental challenges that have emerged with the trade of second hand clothing. The same issue of not being able to sell of all the imported garments in retail stores in the West is also happening on local markets in African countries. Unfortunately, being at the end of the chain, the only way of solving the problem for the merchants is to dump the clothes on dumpsites. It is not a surprise that the African continent has up to 20 out of 50 of the world’s largest dumpsites.” ]

  33. Wukchumni

    If we were smart about things, we’d return the Sequoia groves to pre-American times when lightning strike caused wildfires would hit them every 17 years on average, never allowing lesser species of trees (and that would be all of them) to compete.

    I see various 50 to 150 year old pine trees all the time too close to Sequoias that are essentially fire ladders, allowing flames to get to the branches of Sequoias that are almost always 30-40 feet from the ground, the lowest ones.

    The solution is simple, just cut down everything else within a few hundred feet of the groves, and they’ll be back to as they were in the early 19th century before we showed up.

  34. Alfred

    about all this covid “it’s over” stuff
    Where I live in a small town, it went from Masks off! if you’re vaccinated and seeing a lot of people with masks off, to most people wearing masks again a few days later. I never considered unmasking. It was interesting–the small shops never let their masking requests slip, but the liquor store and grocery did, although I notice after the holiday most employees and customers are still masked. People are still thinking for themselves–let us be a bit encouraged.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is fascinating. I was out only a few times with people in stores. I saw about 80% masking still, and nearly all of the maskless were men.

  35. Harold

    The beef-eating carnivore as an Anglo-Protestant marker of yeoman manliness was not new even at the time of Shakespeare. who has the French musing on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt: “give them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils.”

    Later, the association of British beef eating with bellicose patriotism (as opposed to French effeminate decadence and refinement) became even more diffused through the engravings of Hogarth, and novels, such as Fielding’s Tom Jones:

    “Three pounds at least of that flesh which formerly had contributed to the composition of an ox was now honoured with becoming part of the individual Mr Jones.”

    According to the Guardian‘s John Mullan, reviewing Ben Rogers’s culinary history of Britishness, Roast Beef, John Bull and the English Patriots (2003):

    “It was during continual wars against France, that the English learned to contrast their supposedly hearty diet with the elaborate and artificial cuisine of the French. Even such an urbane essayist as Joseph Addison, himself a Grand Tourist, mocked Frenchified epicures. By the mid-18th century the eating of beef in huge quantities became a kind of patriotic duty. ‘Beef and Liberty’ became synonymous. In the eyes of French travellers, we had become les rosbifs.”

  36. Mikel

    RE: “Times Of Fraud, Mania & Chicanery” Investor Amnesia

    Saved the link to this site. Good find. thx

    Read the link above and then I scanned through another blog on the site “An Age Old Game”:

    “…investing and financial markets have been thought of as a game since time immemorial. The question, therefore, should not be how do we stop markets being “gamified”, but rather how do we ensure that the game is fair, and that all participants know how to play.

    I’ll end this section with one of my favorite quotes from an 1864 book on the market as a “game”:

    “This fresh phase in the great game of speculation terminated in 1837, the lessons of the past were evidently altogether forgotten…”

    All of this historical information has another question popping in my head.
    “Why do we think it is “rational” to have retirement/pensions/etc in a “game”?
    Are people’s lives and what they have saved for just a “game”? Is your retirement a “game” to you?

    But lots of thought provoking info on the site. Will read more.

    1. Mikel

      Scanned some more and maybe one day the creator of the site will be willing to believe what the history is showing them…

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        If you think we haven’t covered this terrain well, and more, you apparently only read Links and/or are a newbie. Go read our posts on public pension funds (CalPERS but more) and private equity, oh and while you are at it, the financial crisis.

  37. Maritimer

    “World’s largest food company, Nestlé, has acknowledged that more than 60% of its mainstream food & drinks products do not meet a “recognised definition of health” & “some of our categories & products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate”.”
    To all those Epidemiologists and Public Health Mavens: what effect does poor nutrition have on human health? How many lives would have been saved with better nutrition? Would there have been a redefined Pandemic at all? Etc……….

    For years, I have only seen this topic, Poor Nutrition, discussed and studied at alternative medical sites. Modern Industrialized Medicine is oblivious to the topic.

    Just another omission by the Covid Vaccine Promoters. Get your Vax and 2 (Yes indeed 2!) free Krispy Kreme donuts:

    1. pasha

      from what i’ve read, obesity was a major risk factor from day one of the pandemic

  38. square coats

    I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to learn someday that aliens capable of advanced (by our standards) space travel have been passing by our planet for years because when they’ve gotten close enough to see how much trash we’ve surrounded ourselves with, they’ve decided we’re probably not worth visiting/befriending/observing/even conquering or destroying and have hurried on, eager to put as much distance as possible between themselves and our unbearable boorishness.

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