Links 5/11/2022

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Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.

–Yves

P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

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Florida passenger with ‘no idea how to fly airplane’ lands safely after pilot gets sick New York Post (J-LS)

Powerful ‘Machine Scientists’ Distill the Laws of Physics From Raw Data Quanta (David L)

When Eyes Meet, Neurons Start to Fire Neuroscience News (David L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Study investigates antibody-mediated response against different SARS-CoV-2 variants News-medical.net

Asia

Macbook Pro workers storm through coronavirus barriers in China Metro

US

‘Significant uptick’ in California coronavirus outbreaks brings new warnings Los Angeles Times (David L)

Airline kicks over 100 NYC Orthodox Jews off flight over masks New York Post (J-LS)

Covid-19 Live News and Updates New York Times. Resilc flags this section, noting: “Like a week of military aid to the Ukiezzzzzz.”

A group of former heads of state and Nobel laureates are calling on the United States to immediately commit $5 billion to combat the global coronavirus pandemic, and activists are pressing President Biden to take a more forceful leadership role in the response as he convenes world leaders for a Covid-19 summit on Thursday.

Emergent Hid Evidence of Covid Vaccine Problems at Plant, Report Says New York Times (Kevin W)

Prophylactic warning! These links comes form a reliable reader who is politically and legally sophisticated…but the sites are clearly on the right wing cray cray end of the spectrum. But that does not mean they are wrong on this issue. But the reason to be skeptical is that the US is not agreement capable, so we’ll pretend we must must subordinate ourselves to the WHO when the Administration wants to and will ignore it other times. Biden Handing Over U.S. Sovereignty to WHO Breggin.com and WAKE UP and Smell the Burning of Our Constitution James Roguski

Climate/Environment

The looming climate-security crisis in South Asia Responsible Statecraft

Do you segregate garbage meticulously? Most of that plastic still ends up in landfills The Scroll (J-LS). In NYC, my building had bins for recyclables and general garbage. I always made an effort, despite lack of clear instructions and knowledge that the building just dumped stuff together, to put things in the proper receptacle (maybe just trying not to be part of the problem, maybe hope the building would be made to shape up). It annoyed me no end when neighbors would put regular trash in the recycle bins.

Man Swims Through Ocean Garbage Patch for Months, Finds Amazing Life Vice (David L)

China?

Chinese smart satellite tracks US aircraft carrier in real time, researchers say South China Morning Post (BC)

India

IMD predicts fresh heatwave spell in Delhi from Friday; max temperature today to hover at 40°C FirstPost (J-LS)

‘Speculative Media Reports’: India Denies Sending Troops to Sri Lanka The Wire (J-LS)

Sri Lanka

Today’s WorldView: How one powerful family wrecked a country Washington Post (furzy)

Marcos presidency complicates US efforts to counter China Associated Press. Ahem, so democracy exists only when we like the results? As if Philippine voters are unaware of the baggage of his parents? People are free to elect “bad” leaders the same way they can and do enter into bad marriages. The margin of victory was so large I have yet to see credible accusations that the election was rigged. The first sentence:

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s apparent landslide victory in the Philippine presidential election is raising immediate concerns about a further erosion of democracy in Asia …

Marcos wins Philippine elections in landslide; analysts say close China ties to remain Global Times

Old Blighty

Liz Truss ‘preparing to scrap parts of Northern Ireland protocol’ Guardian (Kevin W)

Euro to hit parity against the dollar within six months, Amundi says Financial Times (J-LS)

New Not-So-Cold War

Biden Wanted $33B More For Ukraine. Congress Quickly Raised it to $40B. Who Benefits? Glenn Greenwald

House Approves Ukraine Aid Package but No Deal in Senate Wall Street Journal

Sen. Tuberville Says US Risks War With Russia by ‘Poking the Bear’ in Ukraine AntiWar (resilc). OMG when the likes of Tommy Tuberville sees the danger and has reservations….but then again, as Lambert said, a football coach would understand power relations.

Sending Weapons to Ukraine Could Have Unintended Consequences Cato. Lambert: “From March. I hate to quote Cato…..Obviously, as in the Middle East, we should find the “moderate” Mafiosi and work through them….

According to the 2021 Global Organized Crime Index, Ukraine has one of the largest illegally trafficked arms markets in Europe, especially when it comes to small arms and ammunition. About 300,000 small arms and light weapons were reported lost or stolen between 2013 and 2015. Of these, only slightly more than 13% are recovered, while the vast amount remains in circulation in the black market. This says nothing of major weapons, such as radar systems and Javelin missiles also sent to the country.

Gazprom Doesn’t Understand. Andrei Martyanov. So Ukraine is sanctioning the EU but trying to make it look like Russia. Based on later posts on Russian sites, it appears Ukraine later submitted the force majeure notice, but I’m having trouble finding English language commentary/confirmation. This is as close as I have gotten as of this hour: Ukraine partially halts gas transit to Europe Global Happenings

U.S. retail gasoline prices hit new record, as refiners struggle to meet demand Reuters. Notice pressure created by need to refine more jet and diesel fuels.

Exclusive: Germany prepares crisis plan for abrupt end to Russian gas Reuters

Millions of UK homes face no heat this winter, power chief warns RT (Kevin W)

Energy bills to hit £3,000 in October, warns Scottish Power boss who fears 10M homes will be unable to afford heating this winter – as fire chief says spate of blazes is due to people burning wood to save money Daily Mail

Kevin W re this tweet: “Check the flag on the left and whose portrait is over it.”

Pentagon: Russian military continues to struggle with poor morale, refusal to obey orders The Hill. As Louis Fyne noted:

CIA assessment of UA RU war.

IMO, this is an unhinged interpretation of events, right from the Vietnam and Afghan playbooks of “victory is just around the corner.” YMMV.

bookmark the analysis, have it in the back of your head over the course of the year.

And Karma Fubar:

The Russians measure their military (as per Scott Ritter) by its combat effectiveness. The US measures the Ukraine military by its market cap. If the arena was Wall Street, Ukraine might have the upper hand. But if the arena is combat…

The Greatest Generation Raúl Ilargi Meijer. By Scott Ritter, hoisted from RT. Even linking to Scott Ritter now leads to newbie trolls trying to engage in thought policing.

Greek Shipowners Kill EU’s Russian Oil Tanker Ban Bloomberg

Ursula von der Leyen says unanimous vote on key areas of EU policy no longer makes sense News.am

Syraqistan

Al Jazeera Reporter Killed in Israeli Army Raid in Jenin Haaretz

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Follow the saga as my neighbor chooses to install 3 security cameras to monitor my property and I install countermeasures to defeat his cameras YouTube (dcblogger)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Army Deploys Infantry Squad Vehicles Amid Controversy Defense Post (Kevin W)

Trump

Elon Musk would reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter ban BBC

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey says he now AGREES with Elon Musk that Trump’s account should be reinstated and calls previous stance a mistaken ‘business decision’ Daily Mail. Coward

Pillen wins Nebraska governor primary, dealing blow to Trump The Hill

Biden

Biden Says Inflation Is His ‘Top Priority’ New York Times

McConnell tamps down chance abortion bill could pass GOP Senate The Hill

DeSantis signs bill mandating communism lessons in class, as GOP leans on education MSN

The Supremes

Your OB-GYN might miss out on critical training in a post-Roe world Grid (Dr. Kevin)

Period-tracking apps store users’ most private data. What will that mean in a post-Roe world? Protocol (J-LS)

Our No Longer Free Press

Why Biden is in Danger of Replicating Woodrow Wilson’s Propaganda Machine Politico (Kevin W). “In danger”? This is exactly what they hope to achieve. The Creel Committee succeeded in convincing many Americans that Germans were bayonetting babies.

Prices Are Going Up So Fast at This Restaurant They’re Using Stickers on the Menu MSN (resilc)

How Federal Student Loans Create College Rankings Scandals RealClearEducation (BC)

Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Review: Cheap Electric City Car Wired

Tech’s $7 Trillion Icarus Moment Spares No One Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Why car makers are trimming the variety and number of options AutoCar

US faces baby formula ‘crisis’ as shortage worsens BBC (resilc)

Watch: FT speaks to Elon Musk Financial Times (furzy). 38 comments and most moderately to very critical.

Class Warfare

Overworked and Underpaid Capital and Main (J-LS)

NYC Mayor Defends Controversial Arrest of Fruit Vendor Captured in Viral Video Eater NY (J-LS)

Antidote du jour (guurst):

And a bonus (furzy). A lot of work on skates! Hope the deers’ hips weren’t hurt by being stuck in that splayed out position:

See yesterday’s Antidote du Jour and Links here.

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194 comments

  1. digi_owl

    USA really insist on measuring everything in dollars and cents.

    Will the next war be measured in terms of enemy kills pr dollar spent on ammo?

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      Given that JRB’s ‘top priority’ (or perhaps that’s his ‘pop try-ority’) is ‘inflation’, I see opportunity for one of the funny ‘news’ outlets to create a story along the lines of ‘To tackle inflation, Biden proposes a modern-day potlatch — don’t send real objects to Ukraine, just send money and light it on fire there.’

      It would certainly work from the ‘physical objects demand’ side, and might work by reducing ‘supply’ of funds, especially if the expenditure was ‘paid for’ in keeping with the priorities of the D House leadership. Of course, this being a military expenditure, those rules would probably be relaxed.

      Reply
    2. Adam Eran

      It’s the Robert McNamara (Vietnam) way! Body counts! (See The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophy by Matthew Stewart for just how this MBA thinking pervades the neoliberal world). Turns out the “science” of management is founded on lies, and management is actually a liberal art. One example: Frederick Winslow Taylor, one of the founders and inspirations for the first MBA program in the U.S. (Wharton) “adjusted” the results of his “scientific” experiments in manufacturing management, by his own admission by as much as 200%. This was so they’d agree with his preconceptions. Harvard’s MBA program was founded by a similarly deceptive pseudo-scientist.

      Reply
  2. Louis Fyne

    —US faces baby formula ‘crisis’ as shortage worsens BBC (resilc)—

    This is real and unbelievable. staple food shortages in America!?!.

    checked the local MegaLo Warehouse: only 9 cartons for sale @ $22, when in the Before Times there would be 1/2 of an aisle of entire pallets in stock @ $15ish. And good luck finding speciality formula, like for easier digestion.

    “little” things like this are going to get DC Dems annihilated at the polls. (wonder if many workers left after a vax mandate and those jobs still haven’t been filled, the official explanation is an FDA-mandated plant closure)

    Reply
    1. Maritimer

      Why car makers are trimming the variety and number of options AutoCar
      ********
      Every week I drive by at least 8 dealerships, very few new cars, lots of used. Hard to believe that the Auto Biz can so easily be stood on its head. I suspect the Auto Oligopoly like the Big Pharma folk have finally figured that more profitable biz can be done in back rooms than on an amply supplied car lot. Gov regulators are either corrupted or revolving through the Door. Supply chain excuse seems too facile. Show me the Science!

      Any self-respecting CEO has got to look over at the unending BP Vax Raxet and say:
      “Why not us?”

      Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Passenger with ‘no idea how to fly airplane’ lands safely after pilot gets sick”

    ‘“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the Cessna Caravan passenger was reportedly heard telling air traffic control about 70 miles north of his final destination. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”

    “Roger. What’s your position?” a dispatcher responded, according to the outlet.

    “Well, I’m at the front of the plane sitting down.”

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      RK
      “Roger. What’s your position?” a dispatcher responded, according to the outlet.
      “Well, I’m pretty far above the earth”

      Reply
    2. Robert Hahl

      I avoid lone-pilot commercial flights as much as possible even though I know how to fly. The problem is they load the fatter passengers as forward as possible, and the lighter ones aft as possible, so I am usually not close enough to even keep the wings level if needed. A vey unpleasant feeling.

      Reply
        1. Michael Ismoe

          Yeah, but in case of a crash, the skinnies will bounce off the fat ones and survive – at least that’s the way it used to work in cartoons.

          Reply
          1. WobblyTelomeres

            The reward for judicious seat selection? Can see it now.

            “How do you know which seats to pick, Daddy?”

            “Well, honey, I try to get an aisle seat so that I can aim for one of those fat f###s up front.”

            Reply
    3. jonboinAR

      I guess, though, that he communicated perfectly to the tower that he knew nothing of flying, so that helped.

      Reply
      1. juno mas

        This is a truly amazing fete!

        While modern Cessna aircraft are very aeronautically stable, and the planes positional status is delineated graphically on the intrument panel, this particular craft has a landing speed of around 100+ knots. Getting that plane to the ground was do or die; the new pilot deserves his wings!!!

        Reply
  4. Stick'em

    re: A melanistic fox one of the rarest animals on the planet

    Many wonderful pics here:

    https://mymodernmet.com/cross-fox-sam-gaby/

    “Over the course of two months, photographer Sam Gaby gained the trust of a unique-looking fox in Newfoundland. Over time, they built a relationship that allowed the friendly photographer to capture some beautiful photographs of the wild creature in nature.

    Cross foxes are a fairly common sight to those who live in northern North America, where they’re more abundant. As a melanistic variant of the red fox, the beautiful creatures have an orange coat mixed with dark stripes that run down their back and intersect across their shoulders. They make up about 30% of the Canadian red fox population.”

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I refrained from saying “Communist fox”! But maybe you can just as easily say “Princeton fox” although Princeton orange is way more in the pumpkin range.

      Reply
      1. jonboinAR

        My local high school’s colors happen to be orange and black, so around here we would call it a “Scrappers” fox.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Different animal, analogous principal . . . . I once saw a skunk where the “white stripes” were expanded to an entirely white back, just like a hog nosed skunk. But I doubt it could have been that, unless it was someone’s escaped pet hog nosed skunk.

      Here is what it looked like.
      https://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/715973

      Reply
  5. Carla

    Re: BBC coverage of the baby formula shortage. The good news for both babies and moms is in the last sentence:

    “Studies have also found that consumption of infant formula has been declining in favour of breast milk.”

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      not saying this to be a jerk….but all breast milk has PFAS. “natural” isn’t always best. that is how messed up the environment is.

      Just saying.

      “…A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water.

      The findings “are cause for concern” and highlight a potential threat to newborns’ health, the study’s authors say….”

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/13/pfas-forever-chemicals-breast-milk-us-study
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35195447/

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        And for that it’s worth, for those who can’t go breast milk, I used the Kirkland-brand baby formula and very happy w/the results (or at least it didn’t do any harm).

        IIRC, Kirkland is made by Perrigo (don’t hold me to it) which makes many of the store brand baby formulas

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          Here in ND, even that is in short supply. The local facebook pages are loaded with parents looking for formula for their babies. Of course, breast feeding is better – IF parents can do it and have been doing it – but for parents who have been using formula, they can’t go back to breastfeeding now – they need that formula. But this is what happens when you allow one company to become a major supplier that is more interested in money than providing a safe product.

          This is just another tragedy in this country that our politicians, including Biden, are willfully ignoring. Exactly how much money are they supplying to Ukraine? Besides that latest $40 Billion? Guess killing people in Ukraine matters more to them than American babies.

          Reply
          1. Nikkikat

            And with the lend lease act they are now going to pass, thru Congress with pay back set at sometime in the future. Money that we will never get back. We will also not know what they are lending/leasing. Sneaky back door way to give shovels of money to Raytheon et.al

            Reply
      2. Alyosha

        Most likely the formula is contaminated with PFAS too. Everything is contaminated with PFAS. I’m to the point of refusing to submit proposals for PFAS sampling because it’s almost impossible and everyone chokes on the cost. I have to pay to have the lab analyze the collection jars before they send them because the “clean” jars are often contaminated. Then the requirements for collecting the sample range from what clothing the sampler is wearing to how long ago they washed their vehicle to what they are for lunch. Really the nitrile gloves should be analyzed too but that’s not possible since they’re disposable.

        And of course we’re only analyzing for a handful of the old formulations. All the replacement formulations are out there too. I spend 40 hrs/week dealing with materials that were made illegal or stopped being used when I was a toddler (almost 50). It’s impossible to keep up with the technological advancements of my lifetime. Carbon nano fibers are going to be as bad as asbestos, btw. Same mechanisms for impacting human health: microscopic fibers capable of deep penetration into the lower respiratory tract that the immune system can’t destroy, resulting in fibrotic scarring or a cancerous immune response. Indeed, I live a depressing existence!

        Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Just some more tools in the Jackpot Design Engineers’ toolbox.

            Pray the rich people contain just as many nurdles, nanofibers, PFAS, etc. as the rest of us.

            Reply
    2. Redlife2017

      There seems to be a presumption in a lot of media that women should obviously just not get formula and breastfeed. Like an underlying aspect is that somehow women are being selfish by not breastfeeding. There’s the obvious rejoinder that not all mothers can breastfeed or require mixed feeding (for lots of reasons, most of them physical and sometimes it’s because the child can’t breastfeed).

      But there is the other more practical problem. Babies can’t have cow’s milk until 1 year old. If you are a working mother and have to go back to work, say 12 week+ after your child is born, then you have a 3 – 9 month window where they need either breastmilk or formula. A working mother generally chooses to go with formula due to how difficult it is to organise pumping throughout the day and that most daycare don’t want to deal with the difficulty of breastmilk. And for mothers with working class service jobs, they aren’t exactly going to have access to a breastpumping station with the 15 to 30 minutes every 4 to 5 hours needed to pump. It’s not because the women don’t want to breastfeed – it just isn’t a practical option.

      So until these articles include a call for breast pumping stations / rooms to be included in all workplaces…then no. And quite honestly, having tried breast pumping at work, I wasn’t able to keep it up for very long – my body just stopped producing any milk at all. So I am very sympathetic to all the women who go with formula at whatever point in their child’s life.

      Reply
      1. BrianH

        When we had our children over a decade ago the nurses at the hospital gave us a pile of free formula and associated propaganda directly from the formula companies, even though we had made it clear we were only interested in breastfeeding. As soon as my wife had any difficulties with breastfeeding they were aggressively pushing a switch to formula. And I can definitely second the pumping issue. It was very difficult for my wife to pump at work. She was lucky enough to have a dedicated room at work, but the ignorance and discouragement she encountered made her insistence on continued breastfeeding nearly heroic. Yes, there are many benefits to the mom and child through breastfeeding, but those formula companies are a powerful force.

        Reply
      2. Medbh

        “There’s the obvious rejoinder that not all mothers can breastfeed or require mixed feeding (for lots of reasons, most of them physical and sometimes it’s because the child can’t breastfeed).”

        It doesn’t help that new mothers get practically no support on how to breastfeed. My sister was sent home from the hospital with a baby that wouldn’t nurse, and no one seemed to care. She asked me for help since I had nursed all my kids, and she said that I was far more helpful and supportive than any of the professional people (including a lactation specialist that charged hundreds of dollars an hour). My sister ended up pumping and feeding her daughter breastmilk by bottle, which added a ton of unnecessary time and work for the 1st year. She should never have been discharged from the hospital until the nursing relationship was established, or she was at least connected to some kind of at-home assistance.

        Reply
      3. Darthbobber

        And if I recall correctly, if the baby’s been on formula for any length of time changing over to breastfeeding is no longer an option because lactation drops off rapidly and eventually stops if the mother isn’t breastfeeding. Indeed, Nestle’s strategy of supplying free formula for a limited time was based on this. One of many things the boycott was about

        Reply
    3. Oisin

      The shortage of formula appears to be a fragile supply chain and panic buying from what I see. That’s always going to be the case when production is concentrated in limited hands. Random shortages are occuring in products here too due to wholesale outsourcing of manufacturing to China. Just like with Russia, it is not the smartest strategy.

      Reply
    4. Glen

      Really sorry to pick on baby food, but the bigger picture is grim.

      American industry has become dangerously monopolistic and concentrated. I seem to remember discussion of how a large part of medical supplies were being made in Puerto Rico years ago which may not be smart given hurricanes and what not:

      Medical manufacturing in Puerto Rico
      https://www.todaysmedicaldevelopments.com/article/medical-manufacturing-puerto-rico-market-resources/

      But at least it’s still being made locally rather than in China (unlike our free CV test kits.)

      Every decision made by American MBA trained PMC’s for at least twenty years has exacerbated this situation, and cannot be undone in any shorter period of time, but there has been no serious effort to undo this problem (other than the completely corporate driven massive handouts to the chip makers.) It should be a massive government program to revive and refresh America’s industrial base and infrastructure, but that effort has been blocked.

      The irony is the US government has understood the long term implications of off shoring of critical manufacturing since at least the 1980’s. Remember that Silicon Valley is largely the creation of the MIC’s requirement for electronics for weapons systems. The technology used to design and fab chips was restricted during the cold war to prevent Russia from developing similar technology. A classified study conducted by the DOE for the military about the long term implications of off shoring chip making concluded essentially “game over”.

      So, messed up industrial base, no serious effort to fix that, and a new cold war with your new adversaries now having both the R&D and manufacturing high ground? The DOD had the DOE assessment of this scenario in the 1980’s – game over.

      Better get used to shortages.

      Reply
  6. upstater

    re. Biden Handing Over U.S. Sovereignty to WHO Breggin.com

    Peter Breggin is a monster and quack. Nothing he says should be taken seriously. He comes from a school of thought that if there is no medical test for a mental illness, it doesn’t exist. His notion that schizophrenics do not need medication and blanket warnings about side-effects of all psychotropics is driven by his personal greed acting as an expert witness for lawyers suing Pharma. While there are profound problems with the treatment of serious mental illness, Breggin is a fringe character who harms his patients. And what kind of doctor prefers cash payments for 45 minute therapy sessions?

    We have personal experience with Peter Breggin and his “care” did considerable harm to our son. Had it not been for the traumas of hospitalizations after following his quack advice, we would have sued for malpractice.

    Fail to ignore Peter Breggin at your own peril. This man is as dangerous as any Fauci, Walensky or Watchler. Or the MK-Ultra “researchers”. Or worse when it hits your own family.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is ad hom and has nada to do with the argument at hand. And unfortunately, for the most part, only the right wing seems to see fit to criticize Biden. We now live in a world where Tucker Carlson is the loudest defender of Grayzone v. the Biden Big Brother operation.

      As much as you hate his other work, this has absolutely nothing to do with the WHO/sovereignity concern, which the right winger politically juiced up lawyer (who regularly deals with extremely dense opinions) thinks is real.

      Reply
      1. upstater

        Ad hominem, perhaps. My upset is with driving any clicks to Breggin’s website. Surely there are other web resources about WHO, sovereignty, etc whose purpose is to most prominently feature potentially life threatening “medical advice”. This is well beyond CDC rubbish. Supposing a person with serious mental illness stumbles over to find Breggin’s fee-based video courses encouraging people to get off meds. There are plenty of problems with psychotropics; we have 13 years and probably a dozen meds to get things semi-normal for our son. The damage still reverberates 13 years later.

        Reply
      2. flora

        One may hate Breggin. However, the data in this article about the US proposed amendments to the current WHO treaty is correct. It’s one of the best brief descriptions I’ve found of what the US is proposing and expects to have passed. If passed, countries individual laws and courts will have no jurisdiction when the WHO declares a pandemic. It’s very much worth reading, imo, for the data it contains, no matter one’s opinion of the author. (I tried to find a MSM report on this WHO treaty change and could not find one. Not surprising considering the money to be made by pharma if this passes and the financial influence pharma has on the WHO. I’m forced to the alt news sites for information. Taibbi once commented that (paraphrasing) while he was reporting from the old RU back in the day it paid to read the alt papers because he’d occasionally find articles of merit the standard RU MSM dailies wouldn’t cover. My 2 cents. (And, no, I didn’t submit this article for links. My thanks to whoever did submit it.) )

        Reply
    2. Art_DogCT

      “And what kind of doctor prefers cash payments for 45 minute therapy sessions?”

      When it comes to the provision of non-pharmacologic mental health treatment, in my patch of the planet (northwest corner of CT) a great many solo practice therapists find the insurance reimbursement rates so low that the administrative costs of billing dozens and dozens of different plans, complying with widely varying preauthorization regimens, et. al., leaves them effectively operating at a loss. This has led to some providers opting out of accepting assignment of benefits entirely.

      Peter Breggin may be a con, grifter, and/or fraud; I’ll take that as stipulated. However, a care provider doing business solely on a cash basis should not have that practice taken as prima facie evidence of bad intent. The fact of a cash-only practice is neither dispositive nor exculpatory in any question pertaining to professional standards, malpractice, civil liability, etc.

      Reply
      1. hemeantwell

        My guess is that in my zip code at least 40% of psychotherapists are no longer taking insurance for the reasons you cite. From a narrow biz standpoint it’s one of the big draws of M4A.

        Reply
    3. hunkerdown

      > And what kind of doctor prefers cash payments for 45 minute therapy sessions?

      Any therapist who deals in sensitive topics such as alt-lifestyles, for example, and doesn’t want the patient to experience problems by having sensitive diagnosis codes associated with their Permanent Record. What’s wrong with *you* that you didn’t think of sensitive populations before asking your question?

      Reply
      1. upstater

        You don’t understand… we have/had no aversion to paying by check and then trying to file with insurance or not. Breggin asked for CASH, as in green paper money. Checks were reluctantly accepted, but US currency was preferred. A “medical professional” asking for currency instead of a check is rather different from hiring a handyman or a haircutter and paying cash, isn’t it?

        Subsequently we dealt with small psychiatric or psychological practices and paid by check for years, as claims were rejected by insurance. Once our son qualified for disability and Medicare and receives services through NYS office of mental health this is no longer a problem.

        Back in the mid 90s I had depression and was unable to renew life insurance or obtain disability insurance. I have very personal experience with having red letters from insurers. I understand those matters completely. We are not fools. But were taken as such.

        Reply
        1. kareninca

          “A “medical professional” asking for currency instead of a check is rather different from hiring a handyman or a haircutter and paying cash, isn’t it?”

          I would love to find a medical professional who took actual cash/currency. That would be a big selling point.

          Reply
  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    Article on eyes meeting, the gaze, neurons firing: “Social gaze interaction likely serves a critical role in shaping social connectedness, he added, and the prefrontal-amygdala networks might make that happen.”

    Yesterday, Lambert Strether posted in Water Cooler a selection of the kitsch-o-ganza around smiles. Not so long ago, there was a plethora of postings by women on Facebook about how women are forced to smile.

    And as I have commented in the past, the Anglo-American world is terrified of eye contact. No one would bother flirting with an American–one cannot even make eye contact. Meanwhile, at the college level, students are force-fed essays on The Male Gaze and other such buncombe. Then they show up in the Mediterranean world and are shocked, shocked, I tell you, to notice statues of the Black Madonna, images of the goddess Juno, and icons of the Theotokos “gazing” at them.

    So the terror of eye contact is a horror of social connection. You’re on your own, darlings.

    But, please, let’s get rid of the masks, not that removal of masks means the end of hypocrisy. Removal of masks means unobstructed blab-o-mania.

    Reply
    1. hemeantwell

      I once read a short book, title forgotten, arguing that severe autism is is caused by an inability to experience direct eye contact as anything other than being scanned as prey. The authors made much of how binocular vision is part and parcel of being a predator. The autistic child looks away from the parent-Other and withdraws into self-stimulation, e.g. rocking, to escape a need for the Other who might eat them, or something.

      Re the male gaze, oh yeah. Any workup of the power of the gaze has to reckon with Sartre’s views, summed up in No Exit as the democratic idea that “hell is other people.” Anyone’s gaze threatens to reify their object, to take away their future, their possibilities. (Hard to understand how discussions of microagression never bring up Sartre.) Hell is a small room containing people who cannot close their eyes, always looking at and being looked at. The idea of a male gaze did pick up on a facet of male domination of women, but tended to lose track of how it was part of a larger reifying order in which anyone can go to hell, especially when social media is ready to play the devil.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I can’t really say as I do not live there but isn’t there something in traditional Hispanic culture where young girls for example are not supposed to look direct into the eyes of authority figures?

        Reply
        1. anon y'mouse

          First Nations cultures tend to view direct eye contact as confrontational and defying legitimate authority. you are supposed to engage your ears and listen to wisdom inherent in the aged.

          many traditional cultures also appear to have sex/gender based rules against direct gazes. instead they trade one looking while the other looks away.

          direct looking would have gotten a belting in our house, whereas i heard other people’s parents threaten them if they weren’t “looking at {me} when i’m talking to you!”

          Reply
          1. Soredemos

            A bit of true wisdom is realizing that there’s nothing inherently wise about just being old. There are a lot of very dumb old people who don’t have anything to say worth listening to, and the only difference between them and idiot youth is that the elders don’t have any excuses left.

            Reply
      2. digi_owl

        Gets me thinking of the claim that Putting up a poster with a pair of eyes on it, nothing more of a face, can make people behave themselves more.

        As for eye contact and autism, i’m not to sure about fear. But there is a weird sense of discomfort involved.

        Reply
      3. JBird4049

        >>>Hell is a small room containing people who cannot close their eyes, always looking at and being looked at.

        Sounds like retail and hospitality work, doesn’t it?

        Reply
    2. Maritimer

      “So the terror of eye contact is a horror of social connection. You’re on your own, darlings.”
      **********
      As anti-social media has grown and grown, there is less and less face to face contact and communication. If it could be measured I would suggest it is significantly less. I was at a social group the other day where people were communicating with each other by videos they would show on their tablets! Some could not even articulate their thoughts but had to show an influencing video.

      I would suggest this is all enhanced and encouraged by lockdowns, masking, much to the benefit of Big Tech. See you on Twitter.

      Reply
  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Lufthansa kicks big group of the Orthodox off the connecting flight.

    I suspect that there is more to the story, given that I have flown Lufthansa many times. Lufthansa’s cabin attendants take no guff, are fairly charming, enforce rules, and deliver Lufthansa’s uninspiring food convincingly. They are always polite, in my experience.

    I’d say that there is more to the story than accusations of anti-Semitism.

    File under: Americans leave the country and spread the joy of misbehavior across the globe. What could possibly go wrong?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Probably find that those Orthodox were refusing to wear masks as there have been incidents like this in the past which got quite aggressive. On a bizarre note, a Turkish jet was departing Ben Gurion airport when several passengers received images of crashed planes on their devices. So back to the terminal they go where those passengers who reported the images were closely examined and their baggage taken off and inspected. It did not take long to find that the source of all this were nine 18 year-old Israeli friends who thought that it would be a great prank. Certainly Israeli security will put a flea in their ears but really they should be forced to pay the airline and airport the full cost of the delays that they caused-

      https://www.timesofisrael.com/flight-grounded-at-ben-gurion-after-plane-crash-photos-sent-to-passengers-phones/

      Reply
      1. JohnA

        I suspect the air crew were unable to identify which specific individuals refused to wear masks as orthodox jews all wear the same outfit, and the men mostly have beards, glasses and hats. Unless the individuals fessed up, the only solution was a blanket ban. That used to happen at school if a teacher could not identify certain culprits and no confessions were forthcoming, everyone got the collective punishment.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          Interesting , collective “punishment” is exactly what is meted out to Palestinians by the state of Israel, and by its IDF, often without even knowing if the culprit is in the same town, or whether the “charge” is totally false. The state loves to,punish. And the orthodox support that punishment, of others, in spades.

          Reply
  9. super extra

    thank you for the melanistic fox!! I have a little black cat with stripes in the sun and I whisper to him that he is actually a tiny melanistic tiger and it is our secret.

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “‘Speculative Media Reports’: India Denies Sending Troops to Sri Lanka”

    ‘In a tweet on May 10, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy had said the Indian Army must be sent to Sri Lanka to “restore Constitutional sanity”.’

    Not sure that the Indian Army would be so keen charging into Sri Lanka. They did this back in ’87 to intervene in the Sri Lankan Civil War and ended up in their own vicious little war until they pulled out three years later with 1,287 killed and 6,000 wounded-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_intervention_in_the_Sri_Lankan_Civil_War

    Reply
    1. jackiebass63

      We used to have to separate all of our recyclable items. About 5 years ago it changed so everything is put into the same bin.That confused men for a short time until I figured out what was happening. Nothing was being recycled but buried in the land fill. This is probably the case almost everywhere.

      Reply
      1. smashsc

        Yep, we have single-stream recycling and the last I heard, only the metal was valuable enough to be separated out & sold. Everything else was bundled & landfilled.

        Reply
      2. mistah charley, ph.d.

        Here in Montgomery County Maryland there are two recycle categories: 1/paper 2/other – plastic, metal, glass

        I am willing to believe there is a use for the paper – and maybe magnets can get the tin cans out of the rest

        Reply
        1. dave

          I have read that paper (especially cardboard), metal, and glass are effectively recycled by most entities. There are just too many variables with plastics and it ends up getting smushed and put in a landfill.

          Reply
      3. Left in Wisconsin

        There are two different issues here. Single-stream recycling does not imply everything goes to the landfill, though of course it doesn’t rule it out. It isn’t too hard to find videos about how single-stream “sorting” machines work (and don’t work, as recycling involves large amount of human labor to remove contaminants and items that the machines don’t do a good job with). The other issue is markets for recycled materials. Aluminum and other metals, cardboard, and some glass have typically had pretty reliable markets (but maybe this has changed in recent years… I’m not up on the latest) but plastics and most paper recycling has mostly been a scam since the get go. This was hidden for many years by the willingness of Chinese shippers to take full shiploads of “recyclables” from the U.S. back to China basically as ballast for otherwise empty backhauls, allowing the recyclers to claim this material was being recycled when it was clearly treated as trash at the end of its long ocean voyage. Now that the Chinese have ended this practice, most “recycling” markets have collapsed.

        Reply
        1. jonboinAR

          In my little community we have what’s called “The Children’s Center.” I can’t tell you who started it, or when. I mean, my wife would tell me if she were here, but she’s not, and I ain’t looking it up. Anyhow, it helps take care of kids, initially, who have any sort of disability. There’s children there from all over. Some are here with their parents. I’m not sure about all that. They help care for these children, and continue doing so into adult-hood. The adults, IOW, are not kicked out. There’s a couple of different, decent project communities here. Some live in those. Other adults who have come up through the Children’s Center live in their own homes. I don’t know how they come by them, exactly. I know that the CC helps to maintain the practical business of these folks.

          Here’s the point: The adults who are still connected to the Children’s Center all work there. The Center maintains a recycling sorting facility. So these folks who might have great difficulty finding useful employment otherwise, have useful employment and are able to feel like contributing community members. Recycling, including that done at the Children’s Center probably isn’t profitable, and never will be, in the way that extracting the embodied energy in various ways from fossil fuels is. Recycling doesn’t need to be “profitable”. It needs to be supported and mandated despite it’s “unprofitability.”

          Reply
  11. LawnDart

    Re: Chinese smart satellite tracks US aircraft carrier in real time, researchers say

    That’s just a really friggin expensive artificial-reef, pre-loaded with plenty of nutrients for the fishies!

    But I’d like to see the Chinese sell a few of these to Russia for battlefield testing:

    DRONE WARS Terrifying video shows Chinese super drones hunting humans in PACKS – amid fears they could be primed to KILL

    https://www.the-sun.com/news/5278366/video-shows-chinese-super-drones-hunting-humans/

    Go long-pig!

    Reply
  12. LawnDart

    Off-topic, but should be keeping with the general theme of things around here (hopefully some may find this helpful):

    Social media break improves mental health – new study

    Press release
    Published on Friday 6 May 2022
    Last updated on Tuesday 10 May 2022

    Results of a study that asked participants to take a week-long break from social media find positive effects for wellbeing, depression and anxiety.

    For the study, the researchers randomly allocated 154 individuals aged 18 to 72 who used social media every day into either an intervention group, where they were asked to stop using all social media for one-week or a control group, where they could continue scrolling as normal. At the beginning of the study, baseline scores for anxiety, depression and wellbeing were taken.

    https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/social-media-break-improves-mental-health-new-study/

    Reply
  13. pck

    I first heard about symbolic regression when I got to grad school. It was used to uncover a relationship predicting the geometry of a catalyst based on the elements which make up the catalyst. Now I’m using for cell biology and a colleague is using it for protein engineering. It’s an incredible tool, love the quanta article. I’m going to send it to my parents.

    Reply
  14. ChrisRUEcon

    #COVID19

    Love how the word ‘surge’ has been replaced with ‘uptick’ … the rhetoric of willful and criminal negligence.

    Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #WHOProphylaxis

      We’re gonna need a new “Non-Aligned” version of everything … Jésus Francisco Cabral.

      Reply
    2. BeliTsari

      Up-tick in NYC, has ALWAYS meant, “only the HELP,” or “scvartzes” get it? MTA, PATH, Amtrak & Port Authority areas showing a tsunami of positive tests among Bridge & tunnel workers (testing, for holiday visits) had ALL media misinterpreting positivity rates, Midtown, Village & Financial District, when “essential workers” we’re infected by asymptomatic kids & testing where jobs were? Euthanasia euphemism: “nudging-up.”

      https://mobile.twitter.com/LinahAlsaafin/status/1524277634896646147

      Reply
    3. LawnDart

      Uptick is good, but I like rise too– it’s gentle and soft. Upswing and upturn aren’t bad either.

      But maybe we can swing to the fences and refer to the increasing numbers as positive growth?

      Reply
      1. Dave in Austin

        I’ve got a list of more than 1,000 words that are used to identify “good” or “bad” actors. I always try adjectives with pairs of nouns like Nazi and Progressive. Ever heard of a “Nazi activist”?

        And the “up or down” terms used for good-vs-bad are also easy to spot. Ever heard of a “down-tick”? Try the adverb “precipitously”. Can a good thing rise precipitously?

        I’d love to generate a computer progam to generate this sort of thing.

        Reply
  15. upstater

    The dogs don’t want to eat dog food any more, CSX railroad edition… recall massive Covid layoffs, coupled with PSR job cuts has created a huge problem with having enough crews to operate 3 mile long trains of 200+ cars, weighing 12-15,000 tons, powered by 3 or 4 locomotives totaling 12,000HP. The work is demanding, highly skilled, takes years to master.

    CSX’s Foote calls for fundamental change in relationship with union workers

    By David Lassen | May 10, 2022 Trains Magazine

    Post-pandemic hiring woes show a need to rethink the nature of rail jobs, CEO says

    KANSAS CITY — The 40 or so union rail employees picketing outside the site of the National Rail Shippers Conference, unhappy over their lack of a new national contract, might have been surprised by the message delivered inside by CSX Transportation CEO Jim Foote.

    They might have welcomed it, too, if not for the adversarial relationship that Foote himself says means employees don’t trust their managers.

    Railroads, Foote said, need to rethink the nature of their jobs. They need to fix that adversarial relationship. And they need to actually negotiate.

    “Lesson learned,” he said, having earlier related in detail the railroad’s long-running — and still ongoing — effort to reach the same level of 7,100 train and engine employees it had during the pandemic. (He now estimates it will happen in the third quarter of 2022.) “People don’t want to work in the railroad business any more. People don’t like to work weekends. People don’t like to work nights. People like to go to their kids’ birthdays. People like to be home for Christmas.

    Many good comments by railroad workers…

    Foote wants to get rid of the Railway Labor Act. Guess he wants CSX to run like Amazon.

    What is needed is de-Nazification of executive management.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I heard they have supply chain issues and can’t locate enough Rearden Metal as its all made in China now after Hank passed away and his kids sold out.

      Reply
    2. rowlf

      “People don’t want to work in the railroad business any more. People don’t like to work weekends. People don’t like to work nights. People like to go to their kids’ birthdays. People like to be home for Christmas.”

      In the past companies that had similar work forces tended to pay wages and have work rules that compensated for this type of work. No surprise that after some super geniuses could no longer carry a tune that nobody wanted to work for them.

      Reply
  16. britzklieg

    Florida, high school, 1971, required class: Americanism vs. Communism. I actually got an “A” on the “big” term paper arguing the benefits of the latter against the exaggerations of the former.

    Pinellas County had some intense race riots in previous years. School was on the southside of town, almost 50/50 black to white students and my teacher, African American sporting a magnificent afro, was clearly sympathetic to the SNCC narrative and a great teacher. In fact, part of the local Joe Waller (Omali Yeshitela) black power movement. He literally winked and smiled when handing the paper back to me. Different times then, despite the overtly conservative black community leaders rejecting anything that smacked of “socialism.”

    I don’t see that happening in DeSantis’ Florida. Despite some positive/populist moves, most recently against Disney (for the wrong reason, of course) he is seriously BAD news for the national polity. Activist teachers, if there are any, will likely be curbing their enthusiasm if they hope to keep the job. St. Petersburg now has its first black mayor, a former republican. One step forward, two steps back.

    Reply
    1. jr

      I’d love to see how communism is defined by them. I’ve seen Hillary, Joy Behar, CitiBike, CNN, the ACLU, and pretty much every tier of US education stamped as socialist, Marxist, or communist. Behar did actually declare herself a lefty on TV. The terms are nearly meaningless in the popular mind.

      Reply
      1. John

        I see one DeSantis move after another and wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop, or perhaps, it is to see who will trump ( the word not the guy) his act. I find him unsettling.

        Reply
        1. RabidGandhi

          It’s not just DeSantis. Both houses of the Legislature voted unanimously to pass the bill, including 56 Democrats, because Florida. Naturally, the linked MSN article omits this tidbit.

          Reply
        2. jr

          He’s the love-child of a threesome between Trump, Gotti, and a used car salesman. This is ‘Merica! We can make better proto-fascists than he!

          Reply
            1. jr

              None of them. I don’t like Team Purple. I never would “admire” a politician, seeing as the job attracts psychopaths, hustlers, and imbeciles. I’m with Dore, elect them then make their lives miserable. If you “admire” them, I’ve got this great blog you should check out that covers finance, economics, politics, and power.

              Reply
      2. Safety First

        Based on the quotes in the article, I am assuming they are just going to do a Black Book of Communism rehash of some sort. As in – totalitarian-authoritarian regimes killed 100 million people, ergo communism is evil.

        This actually isn’t all that new. I distinctly recall strolling out of the Times Square AMC in NYC about five or six years ago and being faced with a giant billboard proclaiming that “communism killed 100 million people” and so forth. Paid for something called the “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation”, and clearly funded by someone. To quote from their website:

        We have a solemn obligation to expose the lies of Marxism for the naïve who say they are willing to give collectivism another chance. New generations need to confront the reality of Marxism in practice. Socialism is not a kind, humane philosophy. Marxist socialism is the deadliest ideology in history.

        I mean, have to stop the Bernie Bros somehow, right?

        Reply
        1. jr

          “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation”

          I love the surreality of the idea that someone just up and said one day “You know, we cannot let another day go by without honoring the memories of those who fell to Communism! It’s time to act!” The boardroom erupts into righteous applause and, after carefully examining the tex exemptions available, begin their earnest work.

          I swear we are living in a Vonnegut novel.

          Reply
        2. Alyosha

          Much of that campaign sprung from the exfiltrated Ukrainian emigre groups associated with the OUN and CIA. It was part and parcel of developing the idea that Ukraine was oppressed by the Soviets (Russians). Never any mention that the Ukrainian communist party was the dominant political group in the USSR from 1954 until 1991. Three and a half soviet premiers were Ukrainian (Gorbachev was half Ukrainian) and Ukraine benefited from this with huge investments and technology. It benefited so much from the USSR that it left the union after the Russian federation. (Kazakhstan was the last to leave.)

          In 1991 Ukraine could build ICBMs (space X originally used Ukrainian tech), had a huge nuclear power industry (not always a blessing), and one of the largest military industrial complexes in the world. Ukraine was a tech and engineering hub of the USSR.

          Yes, “Ukrainian” is a misnomer but it’s how people were classed in soviet census counts even though there was no such thing prior to 1917 and millions a few years later.

          Reply
        3. hunkerdown

          Their enemy is “Marxism”, which probably means that the dialectical hermeneutic is an obstacle to restoring a “governable” world via an ontology of being and other structural(ist) ignorance. (1.6 billion were killed in the Indian subcontinent by private capitalists. I’m sure Zenz considers them “redeemed” under capitalist values or something.)

          Upshot is, they’re going to have a bunch of kids who are useless at engineering because they believe in a false cosmos of things “owning” powers and other such mysticism.

          Reply
          1. Soredemos

            “(1.6 billion were killed in the Indian subcontinent by private capitalists.”

            I’m gonna need elaboration on this. What are we talking about here? The entire time frame of British colonialism in India?

            Reply
            1. Bazarov

              Victorian Britain was responsible for tens of millions of famine deaths in the second half of the 19th century in Ireland, India, Egypt, and Sudan.

              See Davis’ “Late Victorian Holocausts”.

              I don’t know where 1.6 billion comes from, but tens of millions (per Davis, 30-50 million) starved by colonial capitalism in that 50 years alone is impressive in an eldritch horror sort of way.

              Reply
    2. lance ringquist

      hey was that in 1970-71 or so. lived there. can’t remember the name of the avenue, but i watched across the avenue as parts of st. pete burned. the rioters moved across the avenue to the gas station where i worked. they raided the liquor store behind us. we turned off the lights, and hid above the service racks.

      can’t remember the name of the store, they had their own brands of just about everything.

      there was four gas stations on that corner, ours did not get touched.

      they did not burn down the biff burger trailer, thank god!

      Reply
  17. allan

    I love the smell of stablecoins burning in the morning.

    Unintentionally hilarious thread explaining to `owners’ of Terra why it’s now not worth very much.
    But don’t worry,

    … The Terra ecosystem is one of the most vibrant in the crypto industry, with hundreds of passionate teams building category defining applications within. As long as these builders, TFL among them, continue to build – we will come out of this together. …

    Nature is healing.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      They need to explore options to bring in “exogenous” capital – bwaaaahahahahaaa! I guess when you’re broke and the jig is almost up, the last resort is to dazzle them with bulls**t in the hopes that some last sucker will pony up some more.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Ursula von der Leyen says unanimous vote on key areas of EU policy no longer makes sense”

    Well of course she would as it is how she rolls. Authoritarianism. Going with a majority vote is much easier for the Brussels bureaucracy, especially when she says that she is thinking in terms of health and defense. I can just imagine some of the things that such a new framework would have an effect on-

    Ursula von der Leyen: ‘Hey Bulgaria, we’ve decided that we are sending 700,00 Ukrainian refugees to you to take care of. France? You can get rid of your nuclear power plants as “we” have decided that the whole EU is going to be powered by windmills. After all, the Dutch have been doing it for centuries. Hungary, you are going to have to send half your gas to Germany or else BASF might go out of business and they need it more. And listen everybody – we want everybody to send their medical stockpiles to Brussels where we can dole it out in a dispassionate manner during the next wave of this pandemic. It will be more fair that way. So, are we all good?’

    Reply
    1. David

      I don’t know where Von de Leyen has been for the last thirty years, but ever since Maastricht, the Union has used Qualified Majority Voting on a whole series of issues. Her own organisation has a useful page about it. It’s hard to know what she had in mind, but if it’s membership, then I can’t see states giving up their veto.

      Reply
      1. Kevin Walsh

        I’m pretty sure it’s in reaction to Hungary saying they will veto sanctions on Russian oil.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Maybe she wants the word “Qualified” removed altogether. More convenient that way. In the past there have been nations/empires run by kings, priests, nobility, parliaments, dictators, military juntas, oligarchs, aristocrats, etc. Has there ever been one run by an unelected bureaucracy before like the EU is?

        Reply
        1. Polar Socialist

          Ancient Rome, or at least it’s Byzantine version. Old emperor, new emperor, no emperor, multiple emperors, emperor on a conquest, emperor imprisoned… didn’t matter, the empire just kept going as long as the bureaucracy run things.

          I doubt EU will last 1000 years, though. Byzantine probably had much, much better bureaucrats.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            I thought about them but that bureaucracy had an Emperor over them whose whim that they still had to abide by. The EU does not have that central figurehead to contend with in contrast to the way that the British Parliament has to consider their Monarchy.

            You know, a few months ago I saw a Star Trek TNG episode which referred to the “European Hegemony” of the late 21st century. At the time I thought it an unlikely development but am now not so sure.

            Reply
        2. Dave in Austin

          “Has there ever been one run by an unelected bureaucracy before like the EU is?”

          Try the US Supreme Court.

          Reply
  19. Jen

    Covid updates from my area of the world:

    1) VT will stop updating its COVID Dashboard next week. ““The widespread use of at-home tests has already made case counts much less meaningful, in addition to other data such as percent positivity,” he said. “Nor do the number of cases reflect the amount of severe disease in our communities, which is our main concern when it comes to Covid.” https://vtdigger.org/2022/05/10/vermont-will-stop-updating-its-covid-case-dashboard-next-week/

    2) Real world example of discrepancy between reported vs actual cases. The town to the south of mine currently has between 1-4 active cases according to the NH covid dashboard. The parish nurse at their congregational church is keeping track of active cases in town and in a post to the town list serve yesterday, reported that there are 30 active cases.

    3) Hospitalizations according to the NH dashboard: 21 being “treated” for covid. Hospitalizations according to the NH hospital association: 143

    Stay safe out there!

    Reply
    1. Art_DogCT

      Chiming in from Connecticut, the latest official numbers put us at a daily positivity rate of 12.39% – to say the least problematic given unreported at-home test results.

      COVID-19 Briefing: May 10

      The governor announced that in the last seven days 8,741 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 70,577 tested, bringing the total number of cases to 836,495. The statewide daily positivity rate was 12.39%. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by 80, bringing the total to 316. Another 18 COVID-related deaths were reported for the week ending May 5, bringing the total to 10,858. (Death statistics are provided on Thursdays.)

      From http://www.CTNewsJunkie.com

      Getting groceries yesterday, I’d estimate masking among customers and staff no more than 20% – most of that fraction alte kakers like me. I am more frequently looked at somewhat askance because I mask everywhere I go outside my household – even outdoors if I can’t be bothered with putting on/taking off a mask on my erranding walks when stopping in several places all within a few blocks of each other. I live in a HUD-governed senior housing apartment building with 85 units and ~90 tenants, and even there I’m seeing at best 50% masking in the common areas. It is to weep…

      Reply
    2. ArvidMartensen

      I have a different dashboard which might also work in other small towns.
      In our town we have five fine coffee shops which do good trade. Last week, all but one of them were closed. No staff.
      So am taking extra special Covid precautions at the moment.

      Reply
    1. Oh

      That family of looters has ruined Sri Lanka. The Rajapakshas came to power promising to wipe out the Tamils, Muslims and other ethnics which he pretty much did. Little did the people who voted for that devil know that would destroy their country! His administration was rife with nepotism, corruption and looting of the public coffers. I don’t know why India is providing more loans to that country instead of humanitarian assistance.

      Reply
  20. Lexx

    ‘Follow the saga as my neighbor chooses to install three security cameras to monitor my property and I install countermeasures to defeat his cameras’

    The neighbor installed three cameras and the escalation began.

    We were early adopters of Ring because we wanted to choose when to answer our front door without installing a more expensive security system. Husband worked at home and was often on the phone. Our neighbor also worked at home at the time (he’s retired now) and he too bought and installed the Ring, and over the years we saw more and more of them appear where the doorbells alone once lived.

    Over time we became aware that there were multiple parties interested in the information our camera might provide (like the police), including our neighborhood who wanted us to join their forum, in a kind of gossiping Neighborhood Watch. We declined the persistent invitations and when the Ring died, we replaced it with Eufy. The camera on Eufy was not very good, so this Christmas Husband bought an additional security camera that is also pointed at the front door so that we might better identify the person/people we wouldn’t be opening the door for. We couldn’t just not open the door without having a juicy rationalization for our irrational avoidance behavior… we’re adults after all.

    So far no one has chosen to take offense, but it’s early days. Follow the saga here on NC. (No, not really… joking.)

    Reply
    1. jackiebass63

      I live in the country. My neighbors aren’t very close. I installed 3 camera to monitor my property. It is amazing what you see on the cameras. All kinds of wild animals. I saw a bear go into and back out of my garage. For me it give me a sense of being more secure. With drones and cameras I see a need for local zoning laws to control abuses.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Now that would be interesting.
        I have access to security cameras where I work. And while I have used them to discover who to charge for breaking the common hall fixture for instance, and watched police find what they are looking for, I generally find them dull as dishwater. But this is in an urban area. The only reason besides actual security to watch them is to spy on people. A former coworker loved to watch the security cameras, I am just not that interested.

        Reply
      2. Lexx

        I imagined that initially the elderly couple installed the cameras for security. (We have no idea what occurred in the ramp-up to Youtube.) He’d go off for a week fishin’ and she made noises about feeling unsafe while he was away… or felt a sense of unease living next door to Turbine Man. Turbine Man took exception to the cameras and said things that furthered their unease. Nothing like an adult exchange of honest feelings and information between the two parties, or none that was received with soft eyes and ears… it could only end in tears.

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          Here in Hawaii you’re not allowed to surveil someone else’s private property, just your own or public areas like the street. It looks as though in Minnesota you can surveil any outdoor area because there’s no expectation of privacy. I welcome correction.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Please watch the series. Security is not remotely what is going on.

          Turbine Man shows the ONLY cameras they have are aimed at his property. None at the front door or the driveway or the neighbor on the other side.

          Turbine Man attributes it to being Turbine Man. He has a small wind device on the very top of his house. I can’t imagine it generates much power but I assume that is its purpose. It does not look to be large enough to be offensive, nor does it make meaningful noise (Turbine Man had to put the radio outside to create enough competing sound so as to create auditory privacy; if the turbine made enough sound to reach the cameras on the outside of the neighbor’s house, that would not be necessary).

          Apparently a lot of local opposition, he said you could find it if you Googled. I gather he prevailed.

          I can’t imagine it was his installation per se but the precedent it set. But some people ae jerks for the sake of being jerks.

          Reply
          1. Lexx

            I read the room before making merry… watched the beginning and the end of The Saga cuz I don’t do this for a living… saw the white hairs on the old couple… and yes, security (fear) is the motivator, not rationality.

            About five years after we moved into this neighborhood, we started to have a problem with our phone calls being dropped. Alot of people had moved into this end of town, but the number of cell towers hadn’t increased. NIMBY prevailed. Super annoying… Husband works by phone and computer. He couldn’t afford to have his calls dropped mid-meeting. Sometimes the participants were opposite sides of the globe and he’d scheduled the meeting!

            A lot owner half a block south saw an opportunity to make some money on his oddly shaped lot (that no one seemed to want to build on) by leasing it to Verizon so that they might put in one of those aesthetically-pleasing-fir-tree-looking towers (not!). A meeting was announced so that the neighbors could have their say, and have their say they did!*

            I read the announcement taped to our door, listing the reasons why a large group of our neighbors were so opposed to the tower being installed. The chief reasons were health related. They were afraid it would make them sick or sicker… the Big C. It’s a golf course community; there were (according to the local gossips) several neighbors dealing with cancer. I was one of them. I can think of four (all over 70 and all women) who died of breast cancer within a few years.

            I had other notions about why I had cancer (when it didn’t run in my family); ugly fake-tree cell tower wasn’t on the list. We declined attending the meeting but wished them well… sigh!… to their faces. Privately, we just agreed the giant ugly pine tree would look silly.

            * The politically-connected bunch of neighbors got their way. Their reasoning turned out to be irrelevant, but they did feel compelled to put on a show first. Come mid-terms their yards will be full of campaign signs for local Republican candidates.

            Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      They first discovered Mexican drug cartels growing ganja in Sequoia NP in the backcountry around 2001, an off-trail odyssey where typically 5 campesinos from Michoacán were tending a garden in the back of beyond, and the way to root them out was vis a vis their supply* chain, and well hidden motion detector cams documenting deliveries.

      It was an issue until the state legalized marijuana, but not so much as of late, thank goodness.

      * usually everything was delivered in the wee hours, except that one time we saw a Visalia taxi bringing a couple of dolled up Hispanic chicas to the Ladybug trailhead a decade ago, some items need a 3 pm delivery.

      A friend who works for NPS was part of the clean-up team of these gardens, and he told me that you’d see stacked up empty cardboard 48x egg flats 3 feet high, along with bags of fertilizer and other hard off-trail carries.

      Reply
      1. Lexx

        Had a friend (my maid of honor) who had friends down in your neck of the woods. Her kids were with her ex-husband one summer, so she drove down and spent several months trimming bud. When she returned she told me about the security set up around their crop… and the very expensive rugs carpeting the floor of the couple’s house. Investment pieces instead of sticking money in the bank or wearing their booty around their necks like red flags. For some reason, it was the rugs I’ve thought about for the longest time, not the cameras or the guns.

        Reply
    3. Screwball

      I put in 4 cameras a year or so ago. I have two in the front of the house, one that points directing down my sidewalk coming to the the front door, and one on the side of the porch that points toward the door. They are triggered by motion, and work day or night. When triggered they record the video and sound for 30 seconds. I put them right on the porch railing for all to see. No little sign in the yard or sticker in the window telling everyone the house has security cameras – as they are quite visible. Smile! You’re on Candid Camera.

      I have two more in the rear of the house. One looking at my back door, and the other mounted high on the garage looking straight down my driveway. It has a solar panel so I don’t need to charge the battery. The others I manually charge about once a month, depending on how often they get triggered.

      I live in a small rural town. Or crime has risen significantly over the last few years, and seems to be accelerating even more this year. I feel much safer knowing what is going on around my house, and I have neighbors I don’t totally trust – but they know I am watching – which is the entire point.

      About a year ago the police were banging on my door at 2:30 am one night. They were looking for someone. Not sure how they got my address as I live alone, but here they were. It was all recorded, both sound and video of me talking to the cop. I wonder what he thought when the LED lights lit up when he triggered the camera as he walked up the sidewalk and onto the porch?

      The ironic part, I didn’t hear him, and my phones volume was turned down and didn’t hear the alarm. But I was woken up by the best alarm I have – the CAT.

      Reply
  21. NYG

    Azov survivors under the Mariupol steel mill ruins are not unlike the stranded Japanese soldier who, for years after the end of WWII, hid out on a tropical island in the delusional belief that he was still fighting for his Emperor. It approaches cult like behavior.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      And now the Russians are there to tell them that the wheels of justice turn slowly but that they grind exceedingly fine.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Except they look to be running out of food nowish. And I believe they were and are being told not to surrender. One groups that left (not sure if soldiers who managed to slip out of Azovstal hoping to escape and were caught, or surrenders out of the Ilych factory) said they kept being promised that help was coming and they finally concluded they were being left to die.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Some footage was released today by the Azov defenders showing their wounded who were missing arms and legs for sympathy. They said that they lost those limbs in battle but if they are really that short of food….

        Reply
        1. NYG

          Two of the survivor’s wives went to Rome, and met with the Pope. The following account of their meeting is probably accurate’ and accurately describes the identity of the remaining civilians:

          https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/wives-of-mariupol-defenders-to-pope-you-are-our-last-hope/ar-AAX9EG9

          “Fedusiuk said her husband had recently asked her to research how to survive without water.

          “Water is running out. They have no food, no water, no medicine,” she said. “They are dying every day. Every day one or two injured soldiers are dying.”

          She said she understood some civilians, who were relatives of the soldiers, remained in the mill because they feared they would be identified at Russian-run “filtration camps” along the evacuation route and wouldn’t be allowed to enter Ukrainian territory.”

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Listening to BBC news on the subject offers a live-fire course in heartstring-tug detection and button-push detection. The BBC interviewer was interviewing one of the Azov tunnel-bunker heroes and whatever he said about how we must save and rescue and support them was translated as being ” we are fighting for LGBQT Rights and Animal Rights” among the other good things. And I wondered . . . . . did an Azov soldier really say that? Or was the BBC translator making it up? Maybe it was just too strange to make up so the Azovi really did say that? If so, do the Azovis and the BBC really expect us to believe that the Azovis really care enough about LGBTQ Rights and Animal Rights to where those are the rights they are holding out for? There in the Azov Bunketeria?

          Heartstring tugathon city. . .

          Why would a steel plant have so much bunkers and tunnels under it to begin with anyway? Was it designed with war in mind right from the start? Does the Russia side have all the architects plans and charts showing all the tunnels and bunkers? Can the Russia side simply pour a bunch of concrete into the relevant tunnels and bunkers and seal the Azov defenders inside their own Monument to the Azov Heroes?

          Reply
          1. Polar Socialist

            It was an important enough steel mill for the Soviets to build nuclear bomb shelters under it for the workers (and probably for their families, too) so that production could go on as long as possible.

            While the Russian Marines and DNR troops are not storming the factory area, they are gnawing their way into it slowly and avoiding casualties. Deducing from a few released videos they are using small quadcopters armed with grenades to hunt for defenders that come out to see the situation.

            The reports from inside the factory are saying there’s about 40 air sorties per day, nobody bothers to count the artillery strikes anymore. And yes, DNR has drawings and some of the employees of the factory fight for them, so they do know the place (some maybe better than the defenders). So I’m sure whenever the defenders release a photo, the DNR folks check where it’s taken in the factory.

            Reply
      2. Ghost in the Machine

        There has been speculation that the neonazis have threatened Zelensky with death if he negotiates with the Russians. If so, might it be in Zelensky’s interest (and Ukraine’s interest) for them to fight to the death. Every last one.

        Reply
        1. Polar Socialist

          There’s also the aspect that DNR (and LNR) procurators have for 8 years collected data about the illegal detentions, torture and killings by Ukrainian security forces in Donetsk area. They have long lists of perpetrators, and we can be sure many of those are currently hiding in the Azovstal cellars.

          As soon as they are captured and identified, there will be official charges and trials. Of course the West and western media will do all they can to delegitimize and nullify such trials, but the rest of the world will be listening to the evidence, one beat up victim after another, with some suspects disappearing completely.

          Doing the civil war laundry in public will not be good for Ukrainian propaganda and so far propaganda is pretty much what they have. So Kiev would prefer for the “heroes” to die like heroes so they would stay heroes.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Good point. What if the Russia side were to pipe in a mixture of sleeping gas and laughing gas? To make it easier to go in and take the live Azovis out?

            Reply
            1. Jeotsu

              On the alive – disabled – dead spectrum the “disabled” line is very thin.

              The Russians learned this the very hard way some years ago with a hostage situation in a theatre where they piped in incapacitating gas and killed many of the hostages.

              Reply
            2. ArvidMartensen

              Russians have to be careful not to trigger the “chemical warfare” booby trap that NATO has placed across Ukraine.
              Imagine if it was Russians trapped in one place, and no danger of nukes. It would be US shock and awe for as long as it took to obliterate them all, civilians and soldiers.
              I went into my local car insurers the other day. The lovely ladies have a big “We Support Ukraine” sign. I’d bet none of them could find it on a map.
              Ukraine has shown how thoroughly the neo-propaganda works against people. They have turned into bots as regards Ukraine. People wearing swastikas aren’t nazis!
              And also Covid. Covid is over, no need to wear masks! So dispiriting.
              Thank god for the few rational people left, and for NC.

              Reply
      3. NYG

        “said they kept being promised that help was coming”
        Perhaps that is the reason the Azov leader in his latest you tube post feels justified in DEMANDING that at least the wounded be extracted, although I suspect he believes that all survivors would be included in any such extraction attempt.

        Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    I’m halfway through whacking off weeds on the all cats & no cattle ranch, and this week has been perfect temps in the 60’s before hell sets in soon.

    As per CalFire regs, I have to do everything within 30 feet of buildings and whatnot, but as the orchard is just beyond, its more like 100 feet, along with weed whacking trails.

    Its a chore I look forward to in giving the lay of the land a butch haircut, and a much more inviting skip to milieu.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Oh you poor “Defensible Darling.”
      Come on down to the NADS and enjoy our daily temperatures in the nineties with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Summer has begun to start “early” Down South.
      It’s the late night temperatures we keep an eye on. As they rise, the daylight temperatures rise into the ‘hot’ zone quicker. More of the resultant day is “uncomfortable.” Down here, “uncomfortable” generally means that you fall out and seek shade for a rest, and some water. We often keep a garden hose primed and ready and hose ourselves down when body temperatures start to get high.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Oh you poor “Defensible Darling.”

        Its all good until aquagees from SoCal figure out what those squiggly blue lines on a map represent, and sqH20tters descend.

        Reply
      2. jr

        It has been bizarrely chilly and windy here in Brooklyn. My seedlings and plants don’t know what to do. Everything is kind of straggling along.

        Reply
  23. pjay

    Re turning to Tommy Tuberville and the Cato Institute for any sanity on Ukraine

    I also note that all 57 members of the House who voted against the $40 billion Ukraine package were Republicans, many of them real right-wingers. MTG voted against it; AOC and the rest of the “Squad” voted for it. Yea team!

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      $40 billion = ~$1,000 per Ukrainian. pre-war Ukrainian nominal GDP per person was $3,500 to $5,000, depending on who did the math.

      Someone is getting rich with all this US-EU aid, and it ain’t an ordinary Ukrainian

      Reply
      1. Screwball

        My thoughts exactly. I’m guessing this is just a huge money laundering operation that benefits war toy makers, politicians, bankers (as always), and not too many Ukrainians.

        While America is just tick, tick, ticking to more starvation, more homeless, more crime, and most concerning, more anger.

        Buy hey, maybe the Big Guy is getting 10% and talk to Nancy about the latest hot stock tip.

        Reply
        1. Glen

          I hope your last take is true because otherwise I want some of what they’re smoking or they are insane – take your pick.

          I’m internally debating if we’ve somehow ended up in Seinfeld’s Bizzaro world episode (yeah, I know a Superman rip off, but still funny):

          Seinfeld: The Bizarro Jerry (Clip) | TBS
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc_f-0DCGI0

          But I will have to revise my long standing statement that “Obama was to the right of Reagan” to “the current Democrats are to the right of W.”

          OK, I just give up – right/left, up/down, Democrat/Republican – I think between IDPol, and neolib/neocon, the system is trying hard to fragment everybody back to their individual sub atomic particles.

          Reply
  24. Marla

    Free community college for every American that wants it, meaning all the medical workers, plumbers, manufacturing workers we desperately need, or, the equivalent amount of our tax debt repayment dollars handed to the Offense Industry and Ukrainian oligarchs… gee what a tough choice.

    And, as a door prize, your children instantly burned to death in their beds when the first nukes arrive.

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      The U.S. government (with its unlimited ability to create dollars) could fund both if it wanted to. The choice of what to fund/not fund is entirely political. Whose politics I don’t know. As you imply, given the choice most Americans would pick free community college, so go figure.

      Reply
    1. flora

      It’s odd so many western country’s suddenly this spring acted like ‘you’re on your own’ after forcing lockdowns and such. This treaty proposal is, imo, their hidden Ace card to force global compliance to an unelected, unaccountable global organization’s diktat, a diktat the neoliberal (aka Corporatist – not capitalist) western pols approve of, coming as early as this fall. My 2 cents. (Can’t believe I’m writing this, it sounds so far fetched, but here we are.)

      Reply
  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: today’s Greenwald article

    Do take a look just to note the Pelosi photo op. If you thought the photo of the old white kneeling Democrats adorned in kente cloth was embarrassing, well they have really outdone themselves this time. She and a handful of other posturing politicos stand behind giant glossy metallic letters spelling out “YOUkraine”.

    I’m not sure what that even means, but that kind of semantic degradation deserves mention for the sheer buffoonery of it all.

    **french kiss** Democrat party, you’ve really brought out your A-game of pandering palaver!

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw an image of Nancy today and on her jacket she is wearing a small piece of jewelry showing a crossed American & Ukrainian flag. And this fawning is not limited to the US. In Europe they are holding the Eurovision Song Contest right now and you can see that they are really pushing for the Ukrainian group to win this year.

      Reply
      1. JohnA

        Boris Johnson and Sir Starmer, plus most MPs wear them in Westminster. Plenty of virtue signalling people wear tiny blue and yellow ribbons on the streets too.

        Reply
      2. Nikkikat

        Perhaps for Nancy it’s a Merit badge. An award from the defense industry for all she has done for them.

        Reply
    2. britzklieg

      I read somewhere that on 5/9, Russia’s Victory Day, Times Square had a giant “Russia Shame Day” message displayed in neon. NYC. I didn’t know, 11 years ago, how right my decision to leave that city was, after 27 years, going from Koch to Bloomberg (3 terms) by way of Giuliani’s 2 terms and the anomaly of Dinkins’ one term, now moving past the train wreck of DiBlasio to the DINO disaster of Adams. Ugly history that. First as tragedy then as farce.

      Reply
    3. Glossolalia

      In my very Blue suburb we have local elections this summer for school board, county executive, etc. I’ve noticed that many of the candidates’ yard signs are predominantly blue and yellow which I’m pretty sure has not been the case in the past…

      Reply
  26. Carolinian

    IMO the Greenwald is a must read appeal to common sense and is particularly aimed at a “left” that recently has more in common with Lindsey Graham than Noam Chomsky. Here Greenwald says what some of us have been saying forever

    One can believe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is profoundly unjust and has produced horrific outcomes while still questioning what legitimate interests the U.S. has in participating in this war to this extent. Even if one fervently believes that helping Ukrainians fight Russia is a moral good, surely the U.S. government should be prioritizing the ability of its own citizens to live above the poverty line, have health insurance, send their kids to college, and buy insulin and baby formula.

    Will the 40 billion be the “jump the shark” moment where the American people finally say enough already? Or will it be the $5 gasoline? Since the Dems are currently in charge one has to put the greater onus on them and conclude the Biden, Pelosi etc are either indifferent to public opinion or believe their enthusiastic embrace of information control and lawfare attempts to disqualify opponents will make the “democracy” they are constantly talking about irrelevant.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I think it will be the baby formula.

      The dems boasted proudly and loudly about their staunchly loyal, highly educated and credentialed suburban “mom” constituency, fearful and disgusted by Trump tweets.

      But even this group cannot be jaded enough to ignore an administration that diddles endlessly with ukraine while american babies can’t get enough to eat. Even the rich-born ones.

      There’s a reason wars are sold, when all else fails, with crimes against babies.

      Reply
    2. hardtoconceive

      Polls apparently show only 18% of Mericans question sending more military Aid to Ukraine.
      That does not bode well for your thought until say the lights go out, or nucular ash starts falling

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Please provide a link. Sounds like biased poll wording/question ordering.

        I see absolutely no Ukraine signs here and Jefferson County went 61% for Hillary in 2016. Tons of Doug Jones signs in 2020 (notably way way fewer Biden but still more than Trump in the nabe). That includes on lawns that once sported BLM signs.

        I was in NYC for a couple of days for a procedure last month. Admittedly I avoided doing anything more than what was absolutely essential. But I saw no Ukraine flag, signs, lapel pins, etc. Absolutely nada.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      When the Democrat Liberal dog returns to its traditional ” gun control” vomit, that could be its’ “jump the shark” moment. Or maybe its ” jump in the shark’s mouth” moment.

      Reply
    4. JBird4049

      >>>Will the 40 billion be the “jump the shark” moment where the American people finally say enough already? Or will it be the $5 gasoline?

      Thanks for the laugh. Five dollars would be a reduction. For a short bit the prices were flirting with six and I know that we will blow through that this summer.

      Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Got my cabin insurance bill yesterday, and thought i’d savor the days back when I was insured before I got canceled… with bated breath, pursed lips and a furrowed brow, that is before opening the damned thing and they only want 10% more than last year’s coverage~

    Great news!, but in a related story, I wrote the check so quickly or dare I say hyper-fast that I got 2nd and some 3rd degree burns on my fingers in my haste to pay before they thought better of the offer. The local health clinic thinks i’ll make a full recovery.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Wait till the day comes when you will be uncertain which is the bill total and which is their contact telephone number.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m not worried, Mutual of Tijuana will always be there for me, and those cute talking Chihuahua tv commercials of theirs where the cur barks & backs up at the same time, priceless.

        It certainly is more enticing that than Gecko with a Brit accent trying to sell me insurance, or that white guy we are led to believe is a maniac.

        Reply
    1. Alyosha

      If you look closely you can see one of them wearing a “kraken” badge. They weren’t just UAF soldiers, they were the militia types.

      Reply
  28. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Note, do not be an old person in this society that has both lost the genetic lottery and the social/economic lottery. Poor outcomes and consequences may be in your future.

    “The ‘five pandemics’ driving 1 million U.S. Covid deaths”

    https://www.statnews.com/2022/05/10/the-five-pandemics-driving-1-million-u-s-covid-deaths/

    “Important questions about Covid remain unanswered, but it is clear that we have entered a new phase of pandemic response characterized by a greater tolerance of risk and a greater desire to return to a sense of normalcy. The pandemic will settle into new patterns of harm, with inequities cast into even sharper relief. People with existing health complications, older people, and people who already face the challenges of economic and social vulnerability are poised to bear the brunt of society’s increased risk tolerance.”

    Reply
  29. Amateur Socialist

    Here in VT the daily Covid 19 updates (dropped on weekends and holidays after the first of the year) will stop effective tomorrow. Now we get data summarized only weekly on Wednesdays. Right as infection rates are crossing another 4-5 month peak and test positivity is over 14%.

    Seeing more masks every week these days in the stores though, especially among staffers… Maybe that will keep it in check this summer. Maybe.

    Reply
    1. Bsn

      Yep, same basic idea out here in Oregon. “Updates” now only on Mondays as cases climb climb climb. Must be due to orders from above.

      Reply
  30. SD

    The arrest of the fruit vendor in NYC could be filed in the “history rhymes” folder. Police abuse of a fruit vendor was the spark that ignited the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia. There’s something about persecuting people who offer such a humble treat for sale that really seems to ring that injustice bell.

    The only reason I know this is that I wrote a case study on a Tunisian airline for a professor at a fancy business school a few years ago. I had occasion to use the Wikileaks archive of leaked diplomatic cables during my research, which was extremely interesting reading. The dictator of Tunisia, Ben Ali, had a private zoo of exotic animals, and there was general agreement among US diplomats that one way to soften him up was to compliment him on his captive tigers.

    Reply
  31. Wukchumni

    A charming tale of a boy and his fort, worthy of 15 minutes of your time.

    When I was around 8 we built our first fort, followed by many others including a tree fort and our masterpiece 5 story fort, nearly all the materials ‘borrowed’ from new housing developments springing up all over my childhood.

    THE CABIN WW2 short film.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24kASuetQ9I

    Reply
    1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

      “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you’ll find you get that nuclear war that you need.” Or so it seems. Time to source out some extra strong spf sun protection cream, I suppose.

      “Two pulses of thermal radiation emerge from the fireball. The first pulse, which lasts about a tenth of a second, consists of radiation in the ultraviolet region.”

      But I am not sure that it is possible to survive the heat, “Temperatures of a nuclear explosion reach those in the interior of the sun, about 100,000,000° Celsius, and produce a brilliant fireball.”

      Perhaps , if there is no humidity along with it.

      Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      I did see today (in social media) an image of a big wall from Poland saying in yellow letters on a blue background (in Polish) “Stop Ukranization of Poland” and under that in huge letters “Wołyń 1943”. If it’s real and not a fake, more old ethnic grudges are being revived.

      Europe not having that many nukes, and if US and Russia can remain not nuking each other, it may be more likely the summer sees some good old score settling flash out in Eastern Europe. Last time the borders were redrawn was by Stalin, so it may time to restart certain nation building projects so drastically stopped at the end of the second world war.

      Reply
  32. Dave in Austin

    Anyone seriously interested in how the US defense establishment views the world should carefully read yesterdays’ 70 page, Defense Intelligence Agency Report to the Armed Services Committee of the US senate: https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Berrier%20Statement%20to%20SASC.pdf. Some important nuggets of new information are buried in there and two major international actors are not even mentioned, an indication of how complex the situation really is. Can you spot the two omissions?

    Of more immediate short-term interest, this mornings’ NYT on-line edition has suddenly changed its tune and is trying to downplay the economic crisis and turning much more cautions on the Ukraine war.

    First, this strange economics headline for the lead story (top left):
    “Inflation Pressures Remain Strong; Consumer Prices Rise Sharply (subheading) Inflation slowed last month, with an 8.3 percent annual increase in the Consumer Price Index, but a monthly price measure continued to climb briskly. It continues: “It was a slight deceleration from March’s pace of 8.5%”. Briskly?

    On the Ukraine, the top-left headlines are suddenly leading the readers toward caution:

    First headline: “German inflation sets a second consecutive record, driven by high food and energy prices driven by the Ukraine war”

    Second headline: “E.U. Falters in Bid for Russian Oil Embargo, Showing Risks of Prolonged War
    European Union ambassadors ended talks for the day, having failed to persuade Hungary, which could act as a possible spoiler to European unity. Follow updates.”

    Third headline: “Congress has provided more than $50 billion to Ukraine in two months of war, with few questions asked.”

    And the lead opinion piece also questions our long-term goals: Opinion Tom Stevenson
    America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t.

    Note that the usual NYT “You should be thinking about women, abortion and LGTBA+ rights” articles are conspicuously absent. You need to scroll-down to the 17th headline to get one of those subjects.

    So it seems to me that either the NYT is having its “Walter Cronkite on Vietnam” moment on the Ukraine crisis or the Grey Lady is sensing that the war and the inflation could lead to a Democratic 2022 Congressional electoral disaster six months from now.

    And of course if the Ukrainian government grows desperate enough to cut the gas pipeline shiping gas to Germany (as was reported today), we may suddenly see a “temporary” opening of NordStream two to replace the Ukraine-transit gas. The gaso-political world is so much fun to watch…

    Reply
  33. Matthew G. Saroff

    I do not think that the Apartheid Era Emerald Mine Heir (Musk) gets what he has done to himself.

    He’s had a legion of Stans who went after his critics like the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, but there were always hundreds of them for every critic.

    Now, the critics outnumber the Stans, particularly since the Trump announcement, and he is making the hero to villain.

    This will have the effect of neutralizing the effect that the Apartheid Era Emerald Mine Heir myth has on further endeavors.

    What happens when a person overestimates their own intelligence.

    Musk got removed as CEO of PayPal in the late 1990s because he wanted to stick with his “X.com” branding, and because he wanted to move the back end from *nix to Windows, 5 years before Microsoft would make it work on Hotmail. That is criminally stupid.

    Additionally, the success of PayPal was largely due to regulatory arbitrage: They function as a bank without having to spend the money to follow banking regulations.

    Reply
  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    New York City’s Mayor may be right. If indeed NYC is a boiling lava-lake of social and cultural pus barbarism under a thin and brittle crust of groovy coolness, not even the first crack in the crust over the lava lake can be permitted to form.

    If Mayor Adams’s “theory of the case” is indeed correct, it just makes me doubly glad all over again that I don’t have to live in the ” Big Sh*tty”. And it should give the authorities pause to consider the outbreak of mass violent resistance if attempts are made to force tens of millions of suburbanites into vertical multifloor Hong Kong style dwelling barracks in the name of radical conservation.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Not for nothing never take Adams as accurate on anything, most particularly regarding any police action. NYC has many problems, but Adams is not really addressing any of them. Biden managed to keep a positive polling position longer than Adams did, five months in he has less than a 40 per cent approval rating.

      I’m not saying that your leaving wasn’t right for you, just don’t use this. There is no if about it. Adams’justification isn’t right. It was a shakedown, and it matches similar shakedowns across the city. And even in a city that is crime scared right now, the reaction has been WTF are police wasting their time on things that make people’s lives better.

      Reply
  35. Glossolalia

    At my son’s private school they just went back to a mask mandate, mostly to try and minimize the number of kids who would have to miss end-of-year exams due to testing positive for covid (the school has mandatory weekly testing). We’re a very Blue county so I imagine mask mandates are imminent and possibly other restrictions.

    I’m sure the Republicans are relishing this, though, so that they can run on, “if you want masks, lockdowns, and virtual school then vote for Democrats.”

    Reply
  36. XXYY

    Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s apparent landslide victory in the Philippine presidential election is raising immediate concerns about a further erosion of democracy in Asia

    “Democracy” has a technical meaning in the Western political press. It means “takes orders from US elites.”

    You can have perfectly good elections yet not be “democratic” (or have “eroding” democracy as here). By the same token you can have a corrupt, authoritarian leader and still be a “fledgeling democracy”. Giving priority to the wishes of your own population, the usual definition of democracy, is actually frowned upon by US elites, and commonly puts you on our hit list.

    Reply
    1. Grateful Dude

      Democracy Now on Thursday(11th) interviewed Maria Ressa, a Phillipina who was given The Nobel Peace Prize last year. She asserted that since Cambridge Analytica did one of their test runs there before using their tools to help DJT here, the manipulation of fools on FB to clean up the Marcos reputation making FM Sr a hero out of his shattered reputation for power and corruption has been relentless. All the youngsters fell for it.

      Free speech and democracy FB-style eh?

      I’m surprised at the reaction to the election hereabouts

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        Did they run the extremely effective jesus will lend a hand ad?
        But seriously, CA invested 125,000 in FB ads, 40% of which were pre election, so 50 grand of fb ads brought down the clinton billion. It was ludicrous to me the first time I heard it, and remains so today.

        Reply
  37. LawnDart

    Scott Ritter Saying Some Darndest Things.

    [Two 2-3 minute videos]

    Obviously YouTube gets its noose tightened because, you know, “free speech” thingy, but Scott says here some really “darndest things”.

    And then, of course, when he speaks about loss ratio, it is the whole other story because…

    …obviously it never was about losses ratio but about “how you feel about it”, you know, what they teach you in Ivy League “social” studies. Just ask Brett Velicovich, he surely knows, as, I am sure, Sean Hannity does. I don’t even mention here DNC media machine because it employs primarily morons and inbred imbeciles.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/05/scott-ritter-saying-some-darndest-things.html

    Reply

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