Links 6/26/2022

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.

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Jerri-Lynn here. Compiling today’s Links  reminded me of the warning I received when I first arrived at MIT in autumn 1979: keeping up with my studies would be like trying to take a drink from a fire hose. Alas, lots of worthwhile links ended up on the cutting room floor today. Some of those – pertaining to Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization – I’ll discuss in a post to be launched later today.

As for all the links that did make today’s cut, enjoy! If readers think I missed anything Link-worthy, please mention my oversight in today’s comments. I always try to read the Sunday comments before I post Monday’s Links, so as to pick up on anything I may have otherwise overlooked. Thanks!


Good God, I can’t publish this… The Critic

From aardvark to woke: inside the Oxford English Dictionary New Statesman

Frozen baby mammoth discovered in Yukon excites Canada BBC

‘C.L.R. James’ Review: From Trinidad to Trotsky WSJ

The Victim Cloud Harper’s

Three cheers for booing in the theatre The Spectator

Iconoclasm of the Vanities: Why We Are Destroying Statues American Affairs

The End of the Art-Baby Problem The New Republic

Ada Calhoun comes to terms with a neglectful father in ‘Also a Poet’ WaPo of Inefamyens

Bob Stanley’s pre-history of pop breathes life into a lost musical era New Statesman

A Brief History of Women’s Eyebrows in Art Hyperallergic

The resurgence of Venice’s prized dorona grape BBC

19th-century letters between two sisters reveal early records of avian life in Madras Scroll

Queens of Infamy Longreads

The Ultimate Summer 2022 Reading List Literary Hub I’m posting this for its list of lists, as I don’t think much of the compiler’s prime recommendations,  other than the recommendation of Mohsin Hamid’s latest, which is on my to-read pile. I’ve enjoyed many of his previous novels, although some I found not as fine as touted. These lists will prod me to get serious about this summer’s reading. Curling up with a good book is one of the only ways I’ve found to escape being overwhelmed by the flood of contemporary bad news.


Biden officials to keep private the names of hospitals where patients contracted Covid Politico. So, exactly is that personal risk assessment supposed to work?

How hiring the wrong medical “expert” derailed US pandemic response Ars Technica

“In the Worst Case, It Could Take a Few More Winters” Der Spiegel

Covid-19 ‘magic mirror’ reflects widening fissures in Chinese society  South China Morning Post (re Šilc )


New Not-So-Cold-War

Fall of Severodonetsk is Russia’s biggest victory since Mariupol Al Jazeera

An Iron Curtain descends on Europe and the USA Gilbert Doctorow

Swiss customs say Russian gold import arrived from the UK


EU candidates Ukraine, Moldova face long road to join the bloc Deutsche Welle

Italy’s PM Says EU May Convene Extraordinary Summit On Energy As Russia Reduces Gas Supply Republic World

No, We Can’t Afford €100 Billion for Rearmament Jacobin

G7 face battle for unity as cost of Ukraine war mounts BBC

What would a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine entail? Deutsche Welle ((re Šilc)


SCOTT RITTER: The Fantasy of Fanaticism Consortium News

Russia Is Running Out Of [Whatever The Media Claim] Moon of Alabama

Old Blighty

The Pointless Keir Starmer Craig Murray

‘What have we done?’: six years on, UK counts the cost of Brexit Guardian (re Šilc )


​Iran and EU agree to restart nuclear deal talks on Borrell visit Al Jazeera


The Supreme Court’s Gun Ruling Yesterday Shows It Isn’t Pro-Life Jacobin


Climate Change

Let Them Eat Fermented Protein Literary Hub

Global CEOs urge G7 leaders to step up climate action FT

Unusual early-season threat in Atlantic’s main development region Yale Climate Connections

‘They Own the Ocean’: Gwadar’s Struggle With Illegal Fishing The Diplomat

The Mexican Energy Option Consortium News

Woke Watch

The most pressing diversity issue in publishing? Groupthink Prospect

Groves of Academe

The Hysterical Style in the American Humanities Chronicle of Higher Education

The Supremes

The shame of the Supreme Court (furzy)


A Piece of Pizza and a Beer London Review of Books

The Dobbs Decision Unleashes Rage and Revisionism Jonathan Turley

‘Crossing the Line’ to Get an Abortion Capital & Main

Roe v Wade: The world reacts to US abortion ruling BBC

Trump privately called a Roe v. Wade reversal ‘bad’ for his party NYT. Really depends largely on whether the DNC Democrats do anything more than ‘fight for’ restoring abortion rights in no choice states.

HIPAA won’t protect you, if prosecutors want your reproductive health records Stat

Spurred by Roe overturn, senators seek FTC probe of iOS and Android tracking Ars Technica

Class Warfare

Why Are So Many Firefighters Still Struggling to Afford Housing? Capital & Main

Summer travel misery ahead as industry workers in revolt France 24

‘I’m grateful I got anything’: Burger King worker, 60, who got movie ticket, candy and pens for 27 years of service without missing a shift says he’ll pay for his grandkids to go to college as GoFundMe soars past $130,000 Daily Mail (re Šilc)

The Fall and Rise of the U.S. Top 1 PercentBarry Ritholtz (re Šilc)

UK rail strike live coverage WSWS

Waste Watch

Harley Davidson Now Won’t Void Warranties Over Third-Party Parts or Repairs Jalopnik. Turns out that all that was necessary to get a company to allow for a right to repair was for the FTC to do its job and regulate. Bravo Lina Khan et al. Ordinarily, I’d post on this development, if I didn’t have posts planned on the abortion ruling, and the Supremes decision not to hear Bayer’s glyphosate appeal.

FTC Takes Action Against Harley-Davidson and Westinghouse for Illegally Restricting Customers’ Right to Repair FTC

FTC Chair Says Right to Repair is a ‘Top Priority’ Aftermarket News. From two weeks ago; still germane.

Imran Khan challenges NAB law amendment in Supreme Court Dawn


River Reflections: Impermanence, Erosion, Migration On The Brahmaputra India Spend

Inside the Fight To Decide How Pure India’s Drugs Need To Be The Wire

Centre gets NHRC notice on report that air pollution shortens lifespan of Indians by five years Scroll

PM Modi issues departure statement ahead of his visit to Germany and UAE on 26-28 June Firstpost

Gujarat Police Arrest Teesta Setalvad, Activist Who Pursued 2002 Riots Case Against Modi The Wire

From miniatures, manuscripts to textiles and photos: Art comes alive in BN Goswamy’s Conversations Scroll Essays written by a lovely, gracious man, whom I once had the pleasure of meeting.

Drowning: A silent killer Dhaka Tribune. Bangladesh moves to launch a network of community-based early childhood care facilities, in order to stop children from drowning: the leading cause of death for youngsters in this very wet country. I’ll watch this proposal with interest, as I know a Bangladesh NGO drastically reduced death from childhood diarrhea by widely distributing – and showing people how to use – measuring spoons for salt and sugar, to add to clean water, to make homemade rehydration solution. See Naked Capitalism here. The latest initiative raises an obvious question: if Bangladesh can afford to launch a nationwide plan for community-based early childhood care centers, why can’t the U.S. do the same?


How’s the China-India economic relationship changed 2 years on from the deadly Galwan Valley border clash? South China Morning Post


Mass actions against President Kais Saied’s rule intensify in Tunisia People’s Dispatch


Earthquake poses test of US resistance to the TalibanResponsible Statecraft

Click on full thread in the following tweet, including embedded video.

Antidote du Jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. timbers

      Minimum wage and Obama.

      Unless I mis-remember…one of the simplest ways to deliver a point to my Team Blue friends the true nature of the Party they support – is noting Obama never even proposed raising the minimum wage while he had a huge majority in Congress to do anything he wanted. Yet once he lost control of Congress, he fairly quickly proposed raising minimum wage, knowing full well it would never pass Congress because he knew Republicans could now block it.

      Just one of many issues, but easy to use as an example to deliver a point.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In 2007 they excluded waiters, and despite promises never got around to it.

        My favorite bit was one of the 2008 elected congress critters in a strategy meeting said they should run on the minimum wage increase. Pelosi had to tell him he wasn’t in Congress when it was passed.

      2. Procopius

        Errr… Timbers, Obama never had a “huge” majority. In 2009, for a period of about six weeks, the Democrats had 58 senators. Two “independent” senators caucused with them. One of those was Weeping Joe Lieberman. After Senator Kennedy of Massachusets died, in August, 2009, the combined Democrats and Independents numbered 59. Now, you may think 59 is a “huge” majority, but invoking cloture (i.e., ending debate and bringing a bill to a vote) requires 60. Except for those six weeks from the beginning of July until half-way through August, the Democrats never had 60.

        1. dermotmoconnor

          Thanks for that Mr. ‘well actually’. So those poor dears only had 59 seats out of 100? No wonder they couldn’t do anything.

          Tell me, how does that kind of power dynamic work out when it’s the GOP on the other side of the equation?

    2. griffen

      It’s like the ACA and healthcare debates. Everyone should have access to the best healthcare, which may also mean most of the rabble has access to the crushing debt that may accompany that healthcare. Unless you have a wonderful family, and great friends or a really good round of fund raising. And you probably will need all three categories.

      America in 2022. I am reading the article on HIPPA and trying to wrap my head around the implications. Good grief.

      1. Dandelion

        I have never understood the value of a party that allows their party elected representatives to not hold with the party platform. If the platform actually means nothing, then why is there a party in the first place?

        Because they allowed that, they had to capitulate to Bart Stupak and explicitly ensure that the ACA never covered abortion as any other healthcare treatment.

        Oh, silly me — I do know why the party exists: donation-laundering into insider trading.

        1. Aaron

          There also has to be sides for average Joe’s to root for. We all know the Dems and Republicans are very similar, one just yard more foul language than the other. But to keep us divided they have to have teams for us to root for. I’m glad that people are walking up to how shitty the Dems truly are

    3. Jason Boxman

      I remember that; Then after OpenLeft wrote about Obama’s cabinet pickets for his upcoming administration after his election in 2008, I knew we were all screwed and that liberal Democrats suck. I’ve loathed Democrats ever since, and they haven’t disappointed!! At least Republicans cut my taxes.

  1. King

    Our old AC unit is leaking refrigerant so we’re looking for a new one. Being environmentally minded I started looking at air source heat pumps. Both the technician and guy giving me quotes said ‘gas is cheaper’. Historically they’re correct. Gas is so cheap in fact that in February of 2021 two weeks of very cheap gas came with a five-year monthly installment plan. The gas companies promises not to do it again, cross their fingers, 30-year freak storm, etc.

    Doing more research, has plenty of per kWh or Mcf data. However I suspect the required connection charges and various fees are included in both gas and electric per unit averages, making it look like both, especially gas, gets cheaper in the winter.

    If historic pricing holds and I alternate usage between a heat pump and high efficiency gas furnace based on which is cheaper at the time, I might be able to save as much as I spend now on adding the heat pump within the next ten years. Note for the unfamiliar; heat pumps are more efficient the warmer it is outside.

    But historic pricing seems very unlikely to hold. The big players are looking to exert pricing power and I think the recent trends in gasoline are likely to be a good example, along with our government’s response. Also, the fire at the LNG export facility, temporarily closing it, dropping spot market prices dramatically, has me expecting rising prices again once it’s back to exporting LNG.

    So the scenario where sticking solely with a furnace makes financial sense is the one where politically we force the gas suppliers to stop price gouging but don’t deal with climate change. For now it’s being managed so that people in my situation and running the numbers see that it’s marginally cheaper to stick with gas for heating. I think this was the main consideration in the five-year plan mentioned earlier instead of a shorter one. But if we really are in a situation where supply of natural gas is limited current heat pumps will almost always (in my climate) get more heating, even with the losses of electricity generation and transmission, per unit of gas used.

    I’m just here trying to decide on my basic housing needs and having to consider more than a decade of forecasts in politics, energy markets and, the weather.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Heat pumps tend to fail a lot and then often need to be totally replaced. I would budget for a new one every 12 years. Gas furnaces are basically maintenance-free.

      1. lambert strether

        When I looked at heat pumps I saw complexity, as in circuit boards, and thought “Nope!”

    2. Louis Fyne

      Heat pumps do not work below a certain temperature…which is fine if you are in south Florida, not necessarily optimal in other parts of the Sun Belt.

      It all depends on multiple factors. If you already are paying for a gas hook-up (for hot water, cooking), local costs, etc.

      If money is your #1 issue, heat pump + a spare space heater for very cold snaps sounds like the best. In my neck of the woods, it costs $30/mo for natural gas just for the hook-up even if I don’t use hot water or cooking gas.

      And I’m guessing Russia sanctions will not go away for at least 4 years no matter who is in power. In that case, we will never see $0.30/therm natural gas and be luck to see $0.50/therm natural gas.

    3. chris

      If you go with a heat pump, make sure you have a back-up option for heating if your area experiences temperatures below 20 F. Make sure you have a good maintenance contract option post installation too. And make sure you know how it works! It’s awful to need one of those in the winter and have the condensing unit freeze up.

    4. Heating degree days

      It depends on where you live and the local climate. # of heating degree days.

      There is a lot more energy embedded in natural gas / propane so its generally cheaper in cold climates and then you have a gas stove as well vs an electric. The heat pumps I think are good for climates that do not get below freezing consistently or have another heat source like a wood stove for primary heat or passive solar. Too bad we do not build houses as a system but just assemble parts as cheaply as possible without solar orientation etc. Fail to plan, plan to fail or something like that.

      One other thing the last decade has seen a generally low and stable price for nat gas.
      We have been building LNG terminals along the gulf coast so gas producers can access world markets (Asia and now Europe) We have enjoyed comparably low gas prices as we have produced more gas than we need (along with Canadian Gas) . As more export terminals are built prices will rise and probably get closer to the prices in the rest of the world.

      1. Solarjay

        #1. Heat pumps come in 2 varieties. Heating to about 40°f which is the standard vararity and low temperature ones. The one at my house goes to about 0°f at reasonable efficiency. It will work below that but efficiency drops off.

        2. To know how to figure out which is best for you depends on what you want.
        Variables would depend on cost of electricity vs NG, do you need AC which seems like you do as you already have one, where you live: ie how cold for how often vs AC requirements.
        3. As to environmental aspects, would depend on where your electricity source comes from, again how much heating you want.

        4. While I know that everyone is on the HP band wagon, if you live where it’s cold it’s a hard sell.
        I’ve got 45,000 btu which is pretty tiny for my house. Normally you’d have about 120,000 BTU. Which means it will keep it warm but if it gets cold and windy it’s hard to keep up, just not enough BYU’s.
        So you install a bigger HP, and it’s a lot more money vs a high efficiency 95%+ NG unit.
        And for most people it’s still quite a bit cheaper to run NG than electric HP.

        1. Adam Eran

          This echoes the advice of an HVAC technician neighbor.

          I’d add that the *really* big difference we experienced occurred when we upped our insulation.

        2. l

          In 2008 I replaced our gas furnace with a mini-split heat pump. That winter we had a horrid ice/snow/freezing rain storm. My memory says it got sub-zero but I wouldn’t trust that. It did get cold, and I feared the loss of power. That heat pump kept our little house warm throughout without an issue. Under normal circumstances a heat pump will produce multiples of heat output per energy input (it’s call a Coefficient of Performance, COP). In the summer it cools and dehumidifies.

          I am fully behind this technology. We’ve had NO issues since installation.

  2. timbers

    An Iron Curtain descends on Europe and the USA Gilbert Doctorow

    “It is sad that Western leaders are destroying with their own hands the underpinnings of democracy at home through this censorship. The only likely result will be total shock and surprise throughout the Western world when the Russians complete their liberation of Donbas, take the Ukrainian Black Sea coast including Odessa and declare victory over what will by then be an utterly destroyed Ukrainian army.”

    Maybe some upstart reporter – while noting in passing the American regime of censorship and if reporters are still allowed at the events of Public Officials in the USA – can ask Senator Biden or Nancy Pelosi what they think of abortion being legal in Russia since the days of Lenin having been one of the first leaders in the world to legalize it. And might Democrats be willing to use the money they raise on abortion to fund trips to Russia for those in need of help getting abortions?

    1. Michaelmas

      It’s not just abortion.

      ‘Overview of healthcare in Russia
      The Russian healthcare system

      ‘Healthcare in Russia is free to all residents through a compulsory state health insurance program. However, the public healthcare system has faced much criticism due to poor organizational structure, lack of government funds, outdated medical equipment, and poorly paid staff.

      ‘Because of this, many expats in Russia choose to take out private medical treatment which is widely available in many areas. Patients access doctors, dentists, and medical specialists through the state system or privately. In recent years, some state facilities have begun to offer private treatment to those with insurance. Some private providers also offer some public healthcare services.

      ‘The Russian Ministry of Health (министерство здравоохранения in Russian) oversees the Russian public healthcare system, and the sector employs more than two million people. Federal regions also have their own departments of health (e.g., Moscow Department of Health) that oversee local administration. ‘

      1. Michaelmas

        Even Brazil — arguably, the nearest equivalent to the US, since it also began and has continued as a colonial kleptocracy — has a state healthcare system.

        ‘Healthcare in Brazil is a constitutional right. It is provided by both private and government institutions. The Health Minister administers national health policy. Primary healthcare remains the responsibility of the federal government, elements of which (such as the operation of hospitals) are overseen by individual states. Public healthcare is provided to all Brazilian permanent residents and foreigners in Brazilian territory through the National Healthcare System, known as the Unified Health System (Portuguese: Sistema Único de Saúde, SUS). The SUS is universal and free for everyone.’

    1. griffen

      I put them odds pretty low. Maybe just slightly higher than the plans she had in 2006, when she first became Speaker.

      Has that ever occurred in the history of the US Supreme Court….inquiring minds and all.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        So none. She was part of the Gang of Eight. If Shrub did it, Nancy approved of it. The threshold for impeachment is just a popularity contest. In most cases, the Supremes were picked by people more popular than the current batch or knew to shut up when the time came given they are protected by voters. Biden is possibly the weakest President since Buchanan. It’s being overlooked, but Thomas knows most democratic senators would have destroyed his confirmation 30 years ago. But Biden is back.

      2. doug

        There was an unsuccessful push to ‘Save our republic. Impeach Earl Warren.’ back in the day.

    2. Jackiebass63

      100%. This is a possibility that is rarely mentioned in main stream media.If the process is the same as impeaching the president, it won’t happen.

    3. Louis Fyne

      If only Democrats had the White House and congressional supermajorities in the past—we would be living in a land of milk and honey, right? (/sarcasm)

      Pelosi, Schumer should impeach themselves.

      Once I thought I was being too cynical for thinking that Democrat office holders didn’t want to solve problems. I was wrong.

      In Biden’s Pelosi’s eyes, Battle for Roe II is the best thing that happened in 2022, as it distracts from 8% inflation and 50,000+ dead Ukrainians.

      1. timbers

        “Impeach. What is that, a new ice cream flavor? I think have that in my freezer.” – Nancy Pelosi…….Abortion is supposed to distract us from the war we’re losing which was supposed to distract us from inflation which was supposed to distract us from the other war we lost which was supposed to distract us from Covid which was supposed to distract us from…..I can’t remember.

        1. BeliTsari

          That, is the most succinct synopsis of post RussiaRussiaRussia, Resistance, WMD… echo-chamber hive-mind CAP, WEF, Atlantic Council, CFR, Ukranian oilgarchs will tell us what we believe, what to FEAR, and why Communism, race-mixing & being uppity is behind it all? PS: that ArsTechnica article is HILARIOUS. Nobody’s going to dare ask the OBVIOUS question, begged?

      2. John

        Why actually pass legislation when a juicy issue is so much more profitable both in dollars and votes? That seems to be the wisdom of the democratic … for some definition of democratic … party.

        I can think of not reason to vote for anyone who accepts the label of either wing of the one big party. To do so is to fatally compromise your principles … assuming you have such.

    4. none

      Again, what are the odds of Nancy P impeaching Gorsuch and Kavanaugh?

      Nancy P says it’s off the table.

  3. JohnA

    Re booing in the theatre

    I am an avid theatre goer but I have no idea what the writer means by:
    “That would certainly put an end to most of the conceptualist drivel in our subsidised theatres.”

    I suspect, as the Spectator magazine is very right wing (B Johnson was a former editor), it is an attack on ‘subsidised theatre’, a frequent complaint from neoliberal factions.
    Leaving at the interval is a far more polite way of showing a production is not to your taste, and something I have resorted to from time to time. One American habit I hope will never invade Europe is the disruptive clapping when the lead actor first appears that I have seen in American theatres. Clapping should be saved for the interval and end of show.

    1. Pat

      My high school chorus teacher once said “I stand for God and Handel” about standing ovations. He made it clear he thought they were too common. Audiences have always gone their own way.

      I even made my living in the theater. There were shows that were obvious turkeys, where you knew you wouldn’t have a job for long. And many times the crew shared the more amusing audience responses. What no one wanted is for people to boo. It actually does nothing but make people doing their best feel hopeless. The target of the boos, usually are mere cogs and rarely have any say about decisions that shape the major aspects of the show.

      I gotta agree about clapping for an entrance. It is disruptive and makes everyone’s job harder. Now finding yourself so moved or captured by a theatrical moment you react is different. You know those things in musicals known as showstoppers.

      And sadly if more theater were government subsidized, I bet the author would see more of the obviously traditional fare they are probably seeking. It is actually easier right now to get funding for some experimental works because of the passion behind them fuels the pitches.

    2. Milton

      The equivalent of booing is refusing to stand during the cast bows. A show has to be pretty shitty for an audience to remain sitting until it’s time to hit the exits.

      1. JohnA

        Audiences in Europe tend to clap at the end, rather than stand. Clapping can be more or less vigorous, and last for shorter or longer periods depending on how enthusiastic/moved the audience is. I find it embassassing when someone does stand, especially if they keep shouting ‘bravo’. Another American import I suspect.

  4. flora

    re: Turley

    The comment reflects the view of many that the legitimacy is now lost because a majority follow a narrow constitutional interpretative approach rather than the preferred broad interpretative approach.

    It’s hard to see how he finds the court followed a narrow approach when the Dobbs case was a narrow technical question about whether the 15 (?) week limit is allowable under Roe and the Justices decided to simply overturn Roe. That is not a “narrow…approach” to the question of the case before it under existing precedents and law, it is the epitome of judicial activism. The fig of their “this only applies to this case” doesn’t mean much when they swept away earlier precedents to arrive at their decision.

    1. John

      Broad? Narrow? The five saw their opportunity and they took it. Will they do the same to scratch all of Thomas’s itches? Wait and see.

    2. Robert Hahl

      How about this for a constitutional amendment? Additions in ALL CAPS and deletions in [[double brackets]].

      Article III, Section 2 shall be amended as follows:

      In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the [[supreme Court]] CONGRESS SHALL ESTABLISH ONE OR MORE INFERIOR COURTS WHICH shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    3. Fraibert

      The Court followed its own procedures. The Petition for Writ of Certiorari in _Dobbs_ presented three questions for the Court to consider, but the Court agreed to hear only the first, which reads as follows:

      “1. Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

      Having accepted the question, that’s the question the Court did answer. However, the Court could have, per its own Rule 14(a), accepted that broad question and then adjusted what is constitutionally protected under the “right to abortion” rather than overruling _Roe_ and its progency, because “[t]he statement of any question presented is deemed to comprise every subsidiary question fairly included therein” and “[o]nly the questions set out in the petition, or fairly included therein, will be considered
      by the Court.” I do not know the intricacies of Supreme Court practice (it’s a specialty area) but the phrasing of the rule seems to preclude the opposite–seeking narrow review of the specific law and resulting in the Court overturning _Roe_.

      Given the nature of the rules, it seems to me that only a direct, on the nose question presented guarantees that a previous case can be overruled. Compare, for example, the third question presented in _Lawrence v. Texas_ (striking down sodomy laws): “Whether _Bowers v. Hardwick_, 478 U.S. 186 (1986), should be overruled?”

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Fall of Severodonetsk is Russia’s biggest victory since Mariupol”

    I think that we are now at the beginning of the end. The Russian and Allied forces have about cleaned out the Donbass and eliminated the top line, NATO-trained forces that the Ukraine had. Logic would dictate that the Ukraine husband their remaining forces for the defence of western Ukraine. So of course Zelensky is sending some of the remaining formations that he has left from as far away as Odessa to keep the fight going in the Donbass. For the Ukrainians it won’t be so much the Donbass campaign but the Dumb-a** campaign. Meanwhile the Russians are now taking care of business. The Russian Ministry has announced that they nailed 80 Polish mercs as well as a score or more of heavy vehicles. That will cause a lot of heart ache in Warsaw but those guys would never have been there without Warsaw’s blessings. As a guess, I think that soon we will see more a war of maneuver like happened when the Allies broke out of Normandy back in WW2-

    1. Sardonia

      Along with the National League this year, Zelensky has also followed the American League and is now allowing Designated Hitters.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did you say ‘now allowing Designated Hitters’ or did you mean ‘now allowing Designated Hitlers?’ :)

    2. Samuel Conner

      granting that the information visualized at this site,

      is accurate, it looks like the balance of “heavy” (tank and mechanized) combat units is now overwhelmingly in R’s favor. U still has plenty of notional units, but the proportion of them that are recently mobilized “territorial defense” units is high, and most of the rest are foot or air-mobile infantry, which under present conditions are likely to have very low mobility.

      I suspect that the people who, earlier in the conflict, were ragging on the Rs for not achieving a grand Manstein/France 1940-style breakthrough may soon have to cover their mouths.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I doubt that it will be that kind of break out. There may be turkey shoots, but too much of the fighting is being done by the new republics’ forces to break out like that. The collapse of the Eastern Uke army will be a major emotional event when it’s official.

      EU governments are in trouble. Biden is just a bumbling oaf who has real domestic issues. Running to Ukraine isn’t going to fly anymore. Moscow will wait and see for the most part. They may have Odessa plans, but movement there is the most that we will see.

      1. John Wright

        One can imagine Obama now pointing to his previous statement about Biden as an example of Obama’s great wisdom and understanding.

        “According to Politico, the former president said: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f… things up.””

        Of course, knowing Obama’s lack of respect for Biden should point out that Obama helped Biden get into office, despite Obama’s obvious reservations about Biden’s value to the nation.

        While things have worked out well for Obama, for the USA/World, not so much.

        Thanks Obama,.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama was well into dictating his memoirs by that point. Remember when it seemed like a slam dunk for Biden to be a better President than Obama? Obama knows what his legacy is. Hillary and Biden types are the only way to protect his image.

          1. John k

            Always thought Obama was promised major financial support to get rid of Bernie and install anybody but, but imagine the ding on Obama’s legacy if Bernie had shown what a real progressive could do with such a bully pulpit.

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            I knew Biden was going to be a disaster when Obama got behind him. There was no way he would push anyone with the potential to outshine him.

            Well…I knew Joe Brandon was going to be a disaster with or without Obama’s endorsement. His history speaks for itself. Obama being there just sealed the deal.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Initially though Obama tried to stop old Joe from running and told to not do this. I guess that other factions wanted old Joe as President as they knew that they could achieve their own agendas and old Joe would be too weak to stop them. So then Obama went along with it and used his influence to get the other Presidential candidates to drop out and thus leaving the road clear for him.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Yeah, but O’Rourke didn’t go anywhere. In 2016, Obama could rely on that doofus Hillary.

    4. Lex

      And the 10 days leading up to it were full of faster than previous expansions of Russian held territory. Sometimes 3 villages a day and significant changes to the tactical positions. I think some of this is once dislodged from original defensive positions the Ukr military losses a lot of effectiveness through both direct losses and less secure positioning following a tactical retreat. So the next town falls. The domino effect. I agree, we’re getting close to the time where it’s reasonable to talk about rapid collapse of the front. I’m really not sure how much the Ukr military can take before local front collapses create their own domino effect.

    5. Andrew Watts

      You could be right about the Normandy comparisons incidentally. The Ukrainians could find themselves in a Falaise pocket where any retreat from the Donbass is just as costly as an actual battle. A Russian westward advance after such an event would only be limited by their fuel and supplies.

      What the military “experts” are ignoring is the fact that Russia can suffer multiple setbacks and defeats without it negatively impacting their strategic plans. Ukraine has to be perfect about absolutely everything with little to no margin of error.

  6. flora

    one more, then I’ll stop. really. / ;)

    re:Trump privately called a Roe v. Wade reversal ‘bad’ for his party

    I guess that depends on what voters he or they want to keep. From Michael Tracy:

    A significant percentage of conservative Evangelicals who organize and vote in GOP primaries believe Trump was chosen by God as an imperfect vessel for His will, and overturning Roe is a fulfillment of divine prophecy. I’m not being glib, this is a real and widespread belief

      1. flora

        Maybe surprising even T, (who knows), he managed to keep the promise he made them about Roe. He did nominate judges committed to overturning Roe. And the Dems passed them with no serious objections. (Lots of hand waving, though.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Minor quibble. The imperial religion was formed well into antiquity. Very few Christians aren’t practicing the imperial religion in one form or another.

        I would argue the alliance was the union of Billy Graham and George HW Bush. Evangelicals and old WASP power, involved in oil, and aligning with the old slave power. They can be beaten. It’s just they are riding high with a black man dunking on Biden who clearly just wants to have lunch at the country club. It’s why they waited to launch these challenges. They needed to see how Biden would react. Roberts is a little more aware of where things could go for the GOP and his pals. I

      3. marym

        The use of right-wing christianism and its adherents to achieve right-wing political power goes back a lot further than wokesters v Trump, as does overlooking the “sins” of their elites.

        Liberal/left divisive identity politics is a failure in many respects. However, far right rank-and-file cultural grievances are endless and their exploitation by far-right economic and political elites has a long history. The believers, the manipulators, and the elites they empower are responsible for the evil consequences of their agenda.

        1. Wukchumni

          Lets face it, the evangs are the only cohesive political voting bloc in the country, everybody else is hopelessly divided.

        2. flora

          I agree. However, the GOP is willing to accept a large and unified voting bloc – conservative christians – and a candidate none the the GOP elite wanted (T). They won. They win.

          The Dems could make a successful counter move if they would accept a large and unified bloc of New Deal Dem economic voters; policies including financial re-regulation, anti-monopoly, unionization, domestic manufacturing, progressive taxation, strong safety nets, health and education. The Dems would likely peel off a lot of voters from the christian conservative and other blocs if they did this, but they refuse to do this. Thomas Frank made a point of this in his book “What’s the Matter with Kansas.”

          Instead, the Dems feed us id-Pol, as your ‘wokester’ term implies, and refuse to address Main Street economic issues and safety net issues. (Id-Pol keeps us all divided into tiny blocs of personal interest against the personal interests of others. That forestalls a larger voting bloc around economic issues common to most from getting traction.) My 2 cents.

          1. flora

            adding: I should have said a larger Dem voting bloc of Main Street issues did come together in the 2016 campaign around Sanders. The Dem party not only dispatched him by hook and crook, they refused to run on any of his strongest issues in the general. “Never, ever, ever….”

            1. John

              The Democratic Party as manifest in officeholders and the DNC has clear goals: election and re-election, fund raising, do the bidding of its owners donors. For those focused on identity-politics, purity of motive and of action comes first. Theirs is a ‘moral’ crusade. Moral crusades succeed when mated with down and dirty politics. Thus the Democrats are divided into factions which do not overlap sufficiently to insure electoral success.

              Neither appears especially interested in such tedious topics as Medicare for All, re-industrialization, infrastructure repair and maintenance. Successful parties pay at least passing attention to the “General Welfare.”

            2. Jeremy Grimm

              Didn’t some guy in the Dem party run on policies like you enumerated — policies including financial re-regulation, anti-monopoly, unionization, domestic manufacturing, progressive taxation, strong safety nets, health and education — except he bundled them all together in a promise of ‘Change’? Dem ‘talk’ is cheap. The Sanders run shows where even hint of Dem ‘walk’ the ‘talk’ will take a Dem candidate.

          2. LifelongLib

            FDR had to soft-pedal civil rights to hold his Democratic Party coalition together. Arguably that coalition started to break up when the party included a civil rights plank in its 1948 platform. Holding together the economic coalition you suggest would mean putting cultural issues on the back burner. That would be OK with me but probably not with a lot of people who call themselves Democrats, to say nothing of people who might feel alienated if the party went more “blue collar”…

        3. Henry Moon Pie

          My point, implied if not explicit, is that these groups–especially if you throw in the Neuhaus/Benedict Catholics–have historically been at each other’s throats. The “Christian Right” managed to unite these groups at least in Washington, but perhaps they really coalesced around Mellon Scaife money more than anything else.

          The Christian church may be a dying institution across its many manifestations, but it still has the capacity to serve as social glue for some people.

          And then there’s the crazy fact that Trump–and McConnell–delivered on a very old promise, while Democrats failed to deliver on theirs despite the advantage of holding the high ground legally, i.e. the benefit of precedent.

          1. CaliDan

            Maybe by the numbers, but I’m not so convinced that it’s dying. Rather, what remains is markedly more fanatical, monied, and instutionalized thus politically outsized, hence the row about Roe in a society that overwhelmingly supports it. A good and, as always, frightening read on the very topic today by Chris Hedges at Substack.

            1. Wukchumni

              Evangs* are incredibly likely to be owners of a certain precious metal more than anybody else in the country as they are really fruity about anything in the good book, in which that 4 letter word appears 419 times.

              Should our monetary system fall apart, they’ll be one eyed kings in a country full of financially blind people.

              * they were preyed upon almost exclusively by the bullion industry in the 80’s and 90’s, an easy mark.

    1. expr

      Josh Hawley thinks it will be good:
      “I would predict that the effect is going to be that more and more red states are going to become more red, purple states are going to become red and the blue states are going to get a lot bluer,” Hawley said. “And I would look for Republicans as a result of this to extend their strength in the Electoral College. And that’s very good news.”

      Read more at:

      1. super extra

        I think it may end up being a pyrrhic victory, or a temporary high tide. Let me explain…

        the GOP is fractured and neither faction is powerful enough at this point to hold the coalition long term. I believe there are at least 2 major factions – probably more like 4 – that make up the national GOP: Patrician pre-Trumpers of either/and/or private equity and Koch providence heavy into oil/resources, MAGA/Trump, the remains of the libertarian tea party, and non-patrician never-Trumpers. This split is much easier to see at the state level. In Oklahoma we have our Patricians and Magas in struggle for what were historically safe patrician seats. The Magas explicitly state in their political ads they do not represent the ‘good old boys networks’ (code for the patricians). I think Hawley falls in the remains of the tea party camp, maybe blessed by the patricians. (Trump himself doesn’t seem to like him though I can’t remember exactly why)

        Trump has a single genius: sensing weakness. I wondered how he’d react to this since something about it seems like a movement based on inherent weakness rather than from a position of strength (“let’s get this done now while Biden is weak and everyone is distracted”). It’s just not a popular move outside of this very narrow slice of actual constituents. It is also a position favored by the religious patrician faction, strongly backed by the Kochs, who Trump has identified as an enemy. It is also against Trump’s entire vibe in reality; yes, he is a bully and an a**hole, but he simply isn’t a real holy roller and he comes off as an insincere idiot when he tries. The evangelical faction is not as large and cohesive as it was even 3 years ago.

        So combining these two feels, when I watch the final week of our GOP primary here in Oklahoma, it is really just constant Patrician vs Maga contenders duelling for the open state and federal congressional seats. The Patricians lay heavy on the christian sharia shit in their ads, and they’re polling very low. The Magas have been rapidly iterating through different culture war red meat topics trying to find what resonates. They don’t have a cohesive message yet beyond ‘MAGA, and we’re not in the good old boys’ insider clubs so we can work for YOU’. Trump himself is probably trying to figure out if he can build a coalition without certain aspects of the evang coaltion without dumping the entire thing overboard. The patricians in Texas are trying to extend the overstep by the supreme court by designating gays as enemies and rolling back contraceptives. I think if Trump is saying this is bad for the party publicly then he has already decided to make this the defining wedge between his Maga faction and the Patricians. I think he’ll probably wait until after the state primaries at least so he has a better idea of how much cavalry he’ll have in congress in 2024.

        1. griffen

          I like the take here, and the varied factions that comprise the R party as it stands. Still lot of division I think, under the surface as it were. Texas may serve as a testing ground for just how far they can push before the governed start asking real tough questions.

          Like, for example, what has ERCOT and the Abbott administration done to prevent blackouts during the next and inevitable heat wave or ice crisis. That’s tangible for many reasons.

          Republicans do have a problem when posturing on the Good Book and for the bedrock of family values. Just ignore those skeletons.

          Or, there is also Florida to beat when it comes to such governing and general practices for how to insult your citizens. I mean lead them.

      1. flora

        I haven’t wanted to say anything about the Court’s conservative Catholic majority, but that comes to mind more often these days. I can’t be the only one thinking this. If so, the blowback could be against more than the 2 parties. Not a good thing, I hope it doesn’t happen.

        1. flora

          adding, in keeping with the Hedges article :

          “When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

          attributed to both Sinclair Lewis and Upton Sinclair

          1. flora

            One interesting thing is the organizational attributes he lists for his CFs can also be applied to the neoliberal thought collective, imo. See for example the Law and Economics movement.

    2. fresno dan

      flora I guess that depends on what voters he or they want to keep.
      I don’t have access to the NYT, but I assume what I read basically is the same thing in Rolling Stone. The problem is, that saying what Trump privately says is not a direct public quote. One doesn’t know what ANY politician REALLY thinks, and then to have it filtered through a reporter’s “background” sources makes it even more dubious.
      There are two things that matter – the minor thing is what Trump actually says:
      “God made the decision,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “This brings everything back to the states where it has always belonged,” Trump also said. “This is following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago.”

      The major thing is that the republican appointees on the Supreme court made a decision reversing a prior Supreme court ruling. I really don’t think the Dems are in much of a position to utilize the overturning of Row to advance their electoral prospects. It seems to me, time after time after time, many Dems did not oppose Repub Supreme court nominees when it was BLATANTLY obvious that the nominee would oppose Roe. Dems are simply a day late and a dollar short.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Swiss customs say Russian gold import arrived from the UK”

    Lots of funny things are happening with gold this year. So right now ‘New exports of Russian gold will no longer be allowed to be enter the UK, Canada, US and Japan thanks to tough new measures to be announced at the G7 Summit starting today [Sunday 26th June] designed ratchet up the pressure on Putin’s war machine….Given’s London central role in the international gold trade and parallel US, Japanese and Canadian action, this measure will have global reach, shutting the commodity out of formal international markets.’

    Yeah, I don’t think that markets work like that. Russia can sell their gold if they wish to other countries like India, Iran, China or whoever. It is like living in a town with two supermarkets and once announces that you are banned from their store. So you would shrug your shoulders and take your money across the road to the other supermarket-

    1. Wukchumni

      I wonder if this silly move will signal the end of the London Metal Exchange, which has manipulated prices for donkey’s years…

      ‘We are the people’s glitter front!’

      1. The Rev Kev

        Gasp! Are you saying that we may now find the real price of gold by it being in a free market?

        1. ambrit

          Well, I’d argue that the “price” of gold is in no way “free.” It is hostage to lots of competing interests.
          If we were to consider the “value” of the Old Yellow Dog; that’s an entirely different subject.

    2. Anonymous 2

      Where gold is deposited is important. It used to be London and New York were the sites where most internationally traded gold was deposited. If your gold can’t be deposited there it may mean you have to accept a discount on the price.

      Note – gold is very heavy and expensive to transport and store safely.

    3. paul

      Every political initiative over the last half century has been obligatorily described as both ‘tough’ and ‘new’.
      The combination of these words in a press release means only that the same things that have failed will be undertaken with even greater public vigour.

    4. playon

      The funniest thing happening to the price of gold right now is its non-response to inflation. It should be well over $2k at this point, but…

  8. Tom Stone

    Learning that Monkeypox is no longer an airborne disease is unbelievably good news!
    And the Nobel committee is about to announce a joint award of their “Peace” prize to Volodymyr “Hero Saint of Ukraine” Zelensky and Joseph ” The new FDR” Biden.
    There’s nothing but blue skies and good times ahead for the Greatest Country on Earth!

    1. Samuel Conner

      For a snicker, we could use new lyrics to the tune “Happy Days are Here Again.” The new working title for the song would be “Nothing will fundamentally change again”.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “EU candidates Ukraine, Moldova face long road to join the bloc”

    As others have pointed out, the selection of candidates for the EU is now strictly political and the way that you can get yourself nominated is by how much you oppose Russia right now. Look at who is missing. Where is Georgia? They fought a war not that long ago against Russia and lost provinces as a consequence. Should they have not been nominated? As it turns out, the Georgians have announced that they are sitting this war out and are not interested in all the crazy stuff. So now the EU is punishing Georgia by not nominating them but is nominating Moldova. The way that things are going with the EU however, down the track Georgia may regard this as a bit of a bullet-dodge.

    1. Darthbobber

      Turkey became a candidate in 1999, I believe, and is farther away from actual membership than it was then.

    2. Kouros

      Moldova could re-unite with Romania and eschew the process of admission. The longer it will appear to last, the more chances will give re-unification.

      And if Russia moves west on the Black Sea coast and occupy Odessa and Transnistria, then all that weight is lifted as well, freeing the re-unification.

  10. Regis II

    “In the Worst Case, It Could Take a Few More Winters” Der Spiegel

    Mike Osterholm has pointed out on a number of occasions that the idea that Covid is “seasonal” is not supported by the evidence.

    The person being interviewed bears this out, I think, when he says that the increase in cases over last summer did not do anything to stop cases in the winter.

    If it’s seasonal, why would there be a surge of cases in the summer?

    Osterholm also points out that there have been surges in Florida in the summer.

    1. flora

      I have so many questions about all this. The first year – 2020 – it did seem to be seasonal. Cases fell off dramatically in the summer. In 2021 the vaccs were introduced, and cases still fell off in summer but not as much. Now cases seem to not be falling off at all in summer.
      Then there’s the apparent higher reinfection rates among the vacc’d compared to the un-vacc’d.
      This doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not a medico. Still, something doesn’t add up in the standard MSM reporting. I’m beginning to wonder (can we ask this question?): Is the immune system of the vacc’d being altered in a negative way that makes them more likely to be infected? There’s some term for that but I don’t know what it is.
      I don’t know what’s going on.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Are you thinking of “original antigenic sin”?

        TL:DR (and assuming that I have understood the concept at this basic level) – the presence of memory cells activated by prior exposure to an antigen can preclude naive memory cells from subsequently responding to a slightly different antigen, but the antibodies generated by those previously activated memory cells may not be highly protective (or may be; the “may not” is the problem) against the slightly different antigen. SARS2-nCoV mutates rapidly and so future exposures may present antigens sufficiently different from prior exposures that antibodies generated in response to the prior exposures are not neutralizing. But because of OAS, new antibodies reactive to the new antigens may not be produced. The immune systems says “been there, done that” and doesn’t rouse itself to do something different from what it did in response to the prior infection, but the prior response may not be highly effective against the new challenge.

        I think that both infection and vaccination can cause this. Vaccine skeptics have, I think, argued this point to claim that vaccination is in principle worse for you than infection, but I think that they overlook that infection can cause the problem, too.

        Keep using N95s, and keep handing them out.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        I think it is quite simple really. What we have been told by FDA, NIH, US government and all the Pharma entities, was always false. They made it up from thin air. The reasons are partially known. The FDA, NIH got payouts by Pharma to promote something for a profit without regard to the health of those that are taking it.
        This will become more clear when we find out most of these same people weren’t drinking the coolaid and didn’t take a vaccine that they know wasn’t, that they knew didn’t work at all, and that it would destroy a percentage of participants with life threatening diseases due to the collapse of their immune response.
        It was a fraud, as always, done for money. But when it crossed the line due to mandates and propaganda about actual treatment, they continued to lie under the color of authority.
        It was sponsored by our government to kill people. When everyone finds out, our government will fail.
        I know from my 70 years of experience that the government never tells the truth. I used to believe they were trying to help. But I looked for evidence they tried to help and could not find it anywhere.

        1. Procopius

          You’re too young. Back when I was a kid there were still government agencies that told the truth. The Department of Agriculture published excellent recipes on how to use unpopular cuts of meat (tongue, brains, etc.) to fight inflation. The McCarthy years cut that back some, but even as recently as Jimmy Carter’s administration you could rely on Cost of Living numbers.

      3. CheckyChubber

        To me this suggests that the various non-pharmacological interventions that were around in 2020, whilst inconvenient, were more effective at keeping cases down than doing nothing, and letting the virus spread everywhere. I’m not a medico either, but that seems like a simpler and more likely explanation, doesn’t it?

        1. playon

          Yes mask mandates were removed or relaxed in the summer of 2021 which of course resulted in a spike of infections. 2022 will probably be worse.

    2. LifelongLib

      “Seasonal” might equate to being in poorly ventilated indoor spaces when it’s cold outside (winter) and when it’s hot/humid (summer). Although here in Hawaii we now have the highest number of covid cases per 100,000 in the U.S. even though you can leave your windows open and be pretty comfortable outside year-round…

      1. LifelongLib

        My bad. It looks like Hawaii has dropped down to near the lowest in cases per 100,000 in the U.S. which is where it has generally been.

    3. Ignacio

      In biology, being chequered doesn’t help. If you define ‘seasonal’ as strictly limited to some season there is nothing seasonal. Flu wouldn’t be be seasonal. A pattern is emerging in which winter waves are the largest even if the pattern was somehow displaced by delta arriving to the liberal order last summer.

  11. Lexx

    ‘HIPPA Won’t Protect You…’

    “If I was giving my sister or best friend some advice, the first thing I would say is to be very careful about what data in general you’re generating,” Shachar said. “We think about medical records, but our phones collect an amazing amount of data. It’s not a good idea to send texts about your intent to seek an abortion. It’s not a good idea to use an online payment app to buy these services. You might want to leave your phone at home as opposed to taking it to the clinic. You may not even want to search for abortion providers on your phone or computer.”

    You might want to leave your phone at home period. Everyone – women and men – just say ‘no data for you!’ It may be women’s’ uterus’s today, but maybe its scrotums tomorrow. ‘That’s some pretty racy porn on your phone, Bob. You’re not wasting your seed are you? There’s a national shortage! Where’s you sense of duty, soldier! Please step outside the door. We have a warrant to investigate the contents of your waste bins and laundry basket.’

    My phone lives on the end of the kitchen counter. Sometimes when it rings I answer it, while still standing right next to the counter. The only time the phone moves is if its being charged or deemed necessary to travel with, then it goes back on the counter.

    ‘Is that her phone there on the screen, the red stationary dot?’

    ‘Yep, she’s home.’

    ‘It hasn’t moved… like for days. Are you sure she’s home?’

    ‘Well, yeah, her phone’s there.’

    ‘Any calls?’

    ‘One, to Susan across the street, making plans for dinner. They’re having poke bowl.’

    ‘Nothing discussed of a sexual nature?’

    ‘Not unless that was code for having a three-way with tuna.’

    1. chris

      That would be an interesting wrinkle. I do wonder what the possible correlation would be for a similar infringement on bodily autonomy in men. My wife always had a horrible reaction to BC pills and other options so as soon as we decided our family was big enough it was an easy decision to make the call to the urologist for a vasectomy.

      1. griffen

        Taking certain pills off the market. Like say, Viagra?

        Cue the lamentation and hand wringing. And some laughs.

        1. chris

          Yep. I don’t see any reason why we need those pills. Especially since most of the damage causing ED is due to choices made by the people suffering from it.

    2. Skip Intro

      That would be scrota…

      I think this one ruling is going to crush both parties, and clear the way for Jesse/Tulsi indy ticket. The democrats have fatally betrayed their main constituency with abject and predictable failure, and the GOP is the dog that caught the car. I think the unintended consequences of their insane state laws may free the GOP from the grip of the religious right, or rout them from control of the state. You can’t turn back the clock, and wide ranges of medical procedures will be become lawfare battlegrounds.

      Already there are blue states making noises about the non-cooperation with red-state laws, and boycotts, (no longer legally-protected speech, I might add) are sure to follow. The fracture lines sketched by obamacare and etched by covid responses will now face the jigsaw.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Think both parties have now popped the cork on genie bottles that they will long regret.
        The d’s with russisrussiarussia
        The r’s with the other r word, roe

        This is going to be one interesting summer.
        The new normal is going to be anything but.

      2. super extra

        I think this one ruling is going to crush both parties, and clear the way for Jesse/Tulsi indy ticket

        Yes, I think that is one very big possibility (which will also destroy the duopoly’s hold on who gets on each state ballot). I think it is also possible that Trump’s Maga faction displaces the old Patrician/Koch/oil/evangelical faction as the main components of the GOP by explicitly turning against the religious-tinted stuff (depends on how the midterms go for them). I think both of these things could happen simultaneously!

        I don’t see the Democrats lasting in any real form though. I can see some form of US Labor type party (Worker’s Party?? Please oh please, the ‘Don’t take the L… Vote with the W’ party slogans absolutely write themselves) emerging from the wreckage of this decade. I think the nascant beginning forms we have need to get battle-tested before making any real big moves. I think the next decade is going to be all about the rise of a viable 3rd party in the independents which, if the duopoly is preserved, will take over the formerly ‘left’ position on the political overton window and begin racheting society back out from the neoliberal hellhole.

        I don’t know how to call the civil war/breakup stuff. Honestly it seems like posturing by blue elites whistling past the graveyard of the rise of the independents. Housing value/cost of living plays nearly the same inciting role in the blue areas as abortion does in the red.

        1. LifelongLib

          At least the first U.S. Civil War was about real issues like slavery and federal authority. Today it would be about stuff like how many genders there are or how big a magazine you can snap into your AR-15. Count me out.

          1. ambrit

            A heretical thought. The overturning of Roe v Wade is about the extent of Federal power. Roe v Wade, being a National Supreme Court ruling, was an assertion of the primacy of the national government. By sending the rule making back to the States, the Supreme Court has just resurrected State’s Rights.
            Second, as I iterated in another thread, Abortion Rights is a slavery issue. Nothing can be as coercive as forcing a woman to carry an unwanted fetus to term. This is all about Power, not just legal power but social power.

      3. ACPAL

        Until now I thought the Democrats had destroyed their chances in 2022 and 2024 because of the economy and the idiot in the White House. But the Republicans have unleashed a monster in the Supreme Court that is obviously politically oriented and willing to reverse previous decisions, and not just RvW. This is going to rally the democratic voters like nothing else could.

        1. Yves Smith

          I disagree. From the Washington Examiner:

          Abortion, the No. 1 concern in today’s media and politics, ranks nearly dead last among areas voters care about as they struggle with paying daily bills, soaring inflation, and interest rate hikes, according to a just-released survey.

          I have a second hand but detailed report from a retired ag industry executive that food shortages this fall will be somewhere between “epic” and “biblical” which I take to mean apocalyptic. He was referring to the US, not globally, and he ventured that before the sanctions on Russia.

          Since this inflation is not caused by a wage price spiral but by shortages and supply chain issues and now the sanction, the Fed will have kill the economy stone cold dead to get rid of inflation. So by the fall, the odds favor inflation over 10%, gas as high as it is now, conceivably a lot higher if Israel continues to get ugly with Iran and food shortages.

          Plus the Dem inclinded as opposed to diehards are just as likely to see the abortion fail as proof of Dem failure and to have no reason to trust them to do anything. We have one reader, flora, who changed her registration from Democrat as a result of this ruling.

          If the Dems were serious, they could fix this right now, suspend the filibuster for just the vote on abortion. A bill already passed the House. But no, they’ll fundraise off it rather than do anything to help women.

          1. Fraibert

            I don’t think the Democrats can suspend the filibuster in this case.

            I was curious enough to poke at this and, from what I can tell, it appears that a 2/3s of a quorum is required to suspend a Senate rule.

            Interestingly, it only requires a majority to amend the rules entirely, and since the Senate rules are standing rules, that change would endure until amended again. However, the motion to amend is subject to filibuster itself.

            Source here is _Riddick’s Senate Procedure_:


            1. Yves Smith

              OK I had the procedure wrong but the one you describe is in some ways more favorable.

              A new poll says that there’s a 20% spread in polling against this ruling.

              Across demographic groups, younger people are especially likely to disapprove; most moderates disapprove along with nine in 10 liberals; two-thirds of Hispanic Americans disapprove, three-fourths of Black Americans and just over half of White Americans disapprove.


              Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski would now likely favor a vote for Roe v. Wade.

              The question is you can get enough grass roots pressure to vote for suspending the filibuster. Senators could have it both ways by voting for what would be one time suspension but voting v. the bill.

              But it would take organized noise-making directed at key Senators, as opposed to a lot of performative unhappiness.

            2. Lambert Strether

              > Senate Rules

              There’s a lot to unpack here. First, the Senate does indeed have standing rules:

              The legislative process on the Senate floor is governed by a set of standing rules, a body of precedents created by rulings of presiding officers or by votes of the Senate, a variety of established and customary practices, and ad hoc arrangements the Senate makes to meet specific parliamentary and political circumstances. A knowledge of the Senate’s formal rules is not sufficient to understand Senate procedure, and Senate practices cannot be understood without knowing the rules to which the practices relate.

              So, arcane. Nevertheless, when a new Congress begins:

              The Senate follows a well-established routine on the opening day of a new Congress. The proceedings include… adopting administrative resolutions, adopting standing orders for the new Congress….

              In other words, the standing rules don’t simply carry over, as if they were defaults (see also Senator Byrd below at “dead hand”). They must be explicitly adopted at the start of a session. (I would speculate that’s one reason why the Manual of the Senate is often updated..)

              There are, then, two occasions on which the filibuster might be altered or abolished. (Riddick’s Senate Procedure, to which you cite, is from 1992. In what follows, in quoting Senate rules, I will cite to the “Senate Manual” from the 116th Congress (2019 – 2020), found here).

              (1) When a Senate session begins, by majority vote (the “Constitutional Option”). From a history of the filibuster by the Congressional Research Service:

              The Senate, exclaimed Senator Byrd, no longer had an effective Rule XXII [the filibuster rule]. He set about to revise Senate procedures on the opening day of the 96th Congress (1979-1980).

              On January 15, Senator Byrd introduced a resolution, S. Res. 9, that proposed general reforms (e.g., the installation of an electronic voting system in the chamber), as well as others focused on post-cloture procedures. However, many Republican Senators believed that the changes proposed by Senator Byrd would reduce the role of the minority in the legislative process. To promote bipartisan collaboration and compromise, the two party leaders (Byrd and GOP leader Howard Baker of Tennessee) created an ad hoc committee to develop a mutually acceptable way to consider Byrd’s reform proposals. The key recommendation that emerged from the discussions was for the Senate to consider separately the post-cloture reforms embedded in S. Res. 9. On February 7, Senator Byrd submitted a resolution (S. Res. 61) that dealt only with post-cloture procedures.

              Noteworthy is that on January 15, Majority Leader Byrd had made clear to his Senate colleagues that it was imperative for the Senate to deal with the postcloture filibuster because it thwarts “the will not only of a majority but of a three-fifths majority of the Senate, which, having voted for cloture signifies its will that the debate shall come to a close and that the pending matter shall be acted upon one way or the other.”315 If a unanimous consent agreement to address changes to the post-cloture filibuster was unattainable, Senator Byrd said that he would employ the constitutional option—”in essence upholding the power and right of a majority of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate at the beginning of a new Congress.” Moreover, he dismissed the view that the Senate’s rules continue from one Congress to the next unless they are changed in accordance with those rules. “That [Senate] rule was written in 1959 by the 86th Congress. The 96th Congress is not bound by the dead hand of the 86th Congress.” He went on to state:

              The Senate of the 86th Congress could not pretend to believe that all succeeding Senates would be bound by the rules that it had written. It would be just as reasonable to say that one Congress can pass a law providing that all future laws have to be passed by a two-thirds vote. Any Member of this body knows that the next Congress would not heed that law and would proceed to change it and would vote repeal by a majority vote.

              I am not going to argue the case any further today, except to say that it is my belief—which has been supported by rulings of Vice Presidents of both parties and by votes of the Senate—in essence upholding the power and right of a majority of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate at the beginning of a new Congress.

              [I]t is my belief—which has been supported by rulings of Vice Presidents of both parties and by votes of the Senate—in essence upholding the power and right of a majority of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate at the beginning of a new Congress.

              Note that this procedure was not carried out; Byrd’s threat was enough. I believe that Byrd’s mastery of arcana would make his views authoritative even today.

              (2) When the Senate is in session, by creating a new precedent (the “Nuclear Option”). Fortunately we have a method translated into lay language, together with proof that this technique has been used successfully twice. From the Brookings Institution:

              A more complicated, but more likely, way to ban the filibuster would be to create a new Senate precedent. The chamber’s precedents exist alongside its formal rules to provide additional insight into how and when its rules have been applied in particular ways. Importantly, this approach to curtailing the filibuster—colloquially known as the “nuclear option” and more formally as “reform by ruling”—can, in certain circumstances, be employed with support from only a simple majority of senators.

              The nuclear option leverages the fact that a new precedent can be created by a senator raising a point of order, or claiming that a Senate rule is being violated. If the presiding officer (typically a member of the Senate) agrees, that ruling establishes a new precedent. If the presiding officer disagrees, another senator can appeal the ruling of the chair. If a majority of the Senate votes to reverse the decision of the chair, then the opposite of the chair’s ruling becomes the new precedent.

              In both 2013 and 2017, the Senate used this approach to reduce the number of votes needed to end debate on nominations. The majority leader used two non-debatable motions to bring up the relevant nominations, and then raised a point of order that the vote on cloture is by majority vote. The presiding officer ruled against the point of order, but his ruling was overturned on appeal—which, again, required only a majority in support. In sum, by following the right steps in a particular parliamentary circumstance, a simple majority of senators can establish a new interpretation of a Senate rule.

              I think this is the relevant section:

              292 § 644. Extraneous matter in reconciliation legislation

              (e) General point of order

              Notwithstanding any other law or rule of the Senate, it shall be in order for a Senator to raise a single point of order that several provisions of a bill, resolution, amendment, motion, or conference report violate this section. The Presiding Officer may sustain the point of order as to some or all of the provisions against which the Senator raised the point of order. If the Presiding Officer so sustains the point of order as to some of the provisions (including provisions of an amendment, motion, or conference report) against which the Senator raised the point of order, then only those provisions (including provisions of an amendment, motion, or conference report) against which the Presiding Officer sustains the point of order shall be deemed stricken pursuant to this section. Before the Presiding Officer rules on such a point of order, any Senator may move to waive such a point of order as it applies to some or all of the provisions against which the point of order was raised. Such a motion to waive is amendable in accordance with the rules and precedents of the Senate. After the Presiding Officer rules on such a point of order, any Senator may appeal the ruling of the Presiding Officer on such a point of order as it applies to some or all of the provisions on which the Presiding Officer ruled….

              Since at least for the moment, the Presiding Officer is Kamala Harris, the Democrats are good on this. Here is the rule on points of order:

              RULE XX

              QUESTIONS OF ORDER

              1. A question of order may be raised at any stage of 20.1 the proceedings, except when the Senate is voting or ascertaining the presence of a quorum, and, unless submitted to the Senate, shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate. When an appeal is taken, any subsequent question of order which may arise before the decision of such appeal shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate; and every appeal therefrom shall be decided at once, and without debate; and any appeal may be laid on the table without prejudice to the pending proposition, and thereupon shall be held as affirming the decision of the Presiding Officer.

              1. Fraibert

                I just saw this a few minutes ago and wanted to reply.

                From what I can tell, the Manual encompasses not only the Senate rules but other related legal provisions and resources. As a result, since these change from time to time (e.g., it includes the laws relating to various economic sanctions), it makes sense to compile everything for each Senate.

                However, I don’t think there’s a decisive resolution of the standing rule issue. Rule V(2) has for decades stated that: “The rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress unless they are changed as provided in these rules.” Since this is consistent with longstanding actual practice, I don’t know (and the Senate probably will do its best to prevent us from having to find out) whether this rule can actually be binding. Even Senator Byrd didn’t want to push it too far.

                I’m also not clear (and not a Senate expert) that the reform by precedent approach works here. It appears that both motions to suspend and amend the Rules are treated as “debatable” motions (and hence subject to filibuster). It seems the trick with the nuclear option was to raise a point of order relating to “non-debatable” cloture.

                Unfortunately, I have to get started for the day, but wow…this is complex!

                1. Fraibert

                  Just to elaborate on the final point, as I have a few minutes. If a motion to suspend or amend the Rules is made, it appears a point of order could be raised either to the effect that the motion is not “debatable.” (Though the effect of Rule VIII(2) may be to make motions to amend always debatable–I’m honestly not certain here and don’t have the time to research.)

                  If this hypothetical motion is decided in favor of “non-debatability” and an appeal is taken, it’s not clear to me that the appeal itself is not “debatable.” From the Brookings link, it seems the crux of the nuclear option was that the non-debatability of the cloture made the appeal of a point of order relating to cloture also non-debatable.

                2. Lambert Strether

                  > It seems the trick with the nuclear option was to raise a point of order relating to “non-debatable” cloture

                  Yes, that is the trick to get the matter to the Presiding Officer, who then creates the precedent.

    1. skk

      Yes, the link for the article on the purity of drugs manufactured in India for sale inside India and not for export was a gem. So detailed. I’m going to reread that several years tines.

  12. griffen

    Article on the worker after 27 years of loyal service to Burger King, and the low bar goodie bag he received for his efforts. Well good on the people that donated, and the headlines as well, but it’s pretty sad and stark commentary on how low things can go.

    Which reminds me of this nugget from Trading Places. This gets to the point about the 1 minute mark. The Duke brothers make an easy target.

      1. griffen

        I like to think the better comedic films of that era just had an angle to them, something like, let’s write whatever we want and not give a real darn if it makes much money but does make people laugh. And bonus, the rich brothers lost it in the end!

  13. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept: Empire Mine aerial tramway in Mineral King

    Mineral King was built on failures, all the signs were there that silver & gold were around, which started a mining boom in 1873 which lasted about a decade. As far as I can tell not one thin Dime in profit was ever gained from mining activities-not from a lack of trying though. The main culprit was what was termed ‘rebellious ore’ they couldn’t separate out zinc and lead from the ore with precious metals, rendering it worthless @ the time. With modern metallurgical methods it wouldn’t be a big deal, but there isn’t any mining activity allowed in Sequoia NP, so potential riches from Mineral King isn’t ever gonna happen.

    Yesterday’s 10 hour hike took us to the end point of what was kind of similar to a modern day ski lift with triangular log pylons every 100 feet or so, with an endless rope wire cable (hundreds of feet of it lay on the ground) and ore buckets in place of ski chairs, to bring the largess down from the Empire Mine. It lasted a year before an avalanche took it out and a fair amount of the iron apparatus is sitting there rusting away @ 10,000 feet, and we had the NPS archaeologist along, whose penchant is Mineral King. It was designed by the same fellow who came up with the cable cars in SF.

    Square nails from the era are ever present along with a number of ore carts rusting away hidden from most prying eyes, but not our eagle eyed archaeologist. Views of Mineral King Valley and the surrounding cirque were our treasure, astounding!

    Also constructed in 1879, was the Empire Mine tramway used for transporting ore from the mine to the Mineral King valley floor. It was designed by Andrew Smith Hallidie, who had designed similar cable tramways in Nevada’s Comstock mines and the cable car system in downtown San Francisco six years earlier. Unfortunately, the tramway and a bunkhouse were destroyed in a spring avalanche in 1880. Disintegrating remnants of the bunkhouse and cable system can still be spotted off the Empire Mine trail. Few miners returned to the area, which never produced enough valuable ore to justify the expense.

    The lay of the land…

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Earthquake poses test of US resistance to the Taliban”

    It’s not very hard to work out what to do. The US could, like the UK, EU, India, Pakistan, Iran, etc., send aid to the earthquake stricken areas of Afghanistan and it would cost them nothing. It could be paid for by the money that Washington swiped from them. It would be good publicity for the US and might serve to ease tensions with the Taliban. Instead, ‘Washington continues to further “assess” its aid options.’ Now where have I seen this approach before? (1:58 mins)

    1. c_heale

      Well the situation would have been better is Biden hadn’t stolen $7bn from Afghanistan. He is a really disgusting person.

  15. chris

    Stephen Marche is selling his book about the much desired US Civil War with statements that could only be taken seriously in the Guardian.

    My favorite parts of the article are when he says that “democrats fighting to end the filibuster are fighting for their own future irrelevance”, also, when he praises Trudeau for using “tech” to defeat the convoy. The claims that the left wing areas of the US are the educated and productive ones are also fascinating. If you want insight to the mind of someone whose mind has not progressed one second from Hillary’s loss in 2016, read this article.

    On the other side, I find his attempt to describe what’s happening with the “nascent” leftwing resistance is risible. The fact that surprised every LEO and security professional that I know and train with is how quickly the left aligned groups became organized for violent counter response post 2016. The idea that this won’t turn violent fast is a suggests that Mr. Marche is an idiot. But his conclusions related to where and how this kind of Civil War would start proves he’s a fool. Exactly how are these educated, productive, people in the good clean parts of the US supposed to stage a resistance when they hate truckers, plumbers, farmers, industry, and can’t even handle all the trash they create without shipping the mess out of state? The much shared map of red vs. blue counties makes it look like tiny islands of blue are under siege in a sea of red. Who in their right mind would propose a Civil War when you can’t guarantee any kind of supply line?

    The statements in that article also bring to mind why people outside of the “good parts” of the country are coming to hate their masters. I was driving south on 95 outside of NJ the other day, and before everything started merging to align traffic flow with the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the traffic going northbound had stopped. The cause of the stoppage was a line of highway patrol vehicles blocking all traffic from progressing north. The cause of the blockage wasn’t shown on any signs or flashed on any roadside alerts. I didn’t see any updates on my map apps. Traffic was just stopped and there was no information about when it would start again. Traffic was backed up for miles and miles and miles. On a Friday afternoon. At 3 PM. Imagine being a trucker stuck in that traffic. Imagine being a parent trying to get home early to see your kids. Imagine trying to head north for the start of a vacation. Imagine sitting there, in endless traffic, with no idea why there is traffic, burning gas that costs $5/gal. Imagine how you’d feel about your government after experiencing that. Then imagine reading this article by Marche claiming that using tech to increase surveillance so that the people who have anti-government opinions will have a harder time living their lives.

    I sincerely hope that no one who is currently in office takes anything this man says seriously. The best option for Democrats is to end the filibuster so that they can do something to show there’s a reason they should be in office. Otherwise, all the “non-productive” people, all the peons stuck in traffic for no reason, all the servants of the ruling class, all the people whose livelihoods were ruined by the tech Marche praises, all the people who couldn’t see the “truths” that were hidden behind NYT paywalls, will cheer when people like Marche are taken down.

    1. Altandmain

      Quote: “The best option for Democrats is to end the filibuster so that they can do something to show there’s a reason they should be in office.”

      With Manchin and Sinema, ending the Filibuster is of limited value.

      Then there are the widespread predictions of the Democratic Party losing big during these midterms.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Who in their right mind would propose a Civil War when you can’t guarantee any kind of supply line?

      Looking at the situation the US has at its ports and the congestion at seas, do we really believe anyone proposing a Civil War has a clue about supply lines or what would be required to make them work in a war? Better yet, in a computer outage that lasts say two weeks.

      And that’s before we look at electoral map which aren’t the actual maps that would be used in a Civil War. Cities aren’t “blue” or “red” they are purple. Pick an urban area and do a thought experiment to see how it might break down.

      Looking at the article, I guess I’d start by asking:

      What’s the deep schism among the PMC and the Regional Kingpins? What would the top 10% in a city or a regional area go to war with one another over?

  16. Terry Flynn

    I’ve seen quite a few comments questioning why there’s an outbreak “now” in our summer. I’ve seen enough studies (often due to NC) which don’t make me surprised.

    I’d just like to raise another issue that in UK/USA etc will become pertinent come September: covid + flu jabs. In case Northern hemisphere people didn’t know, it takes 3-6 months to ramp up production to immunise against “the most likely flu strains”. How have we historically guessed (mostly) correctly? We just see what flu strains are causing havoc in Australia in previous May/June etc – they tend to be the ones that then go north. It didn’t work early pandemic – there were virtually no cases down under to work from.

    Now the “let er rip” policy has also led to flu resurgence – nasty “A strain” is dominant so those of us who are old or vulnerable will get a vaccine for winter 2022 with this as one of the 3 or 4 strains. But excess deaths have already been appearing in oz. So masks ahoy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good comment. The ironic thing is that when we were all masked up here in Oz not that long ago, the flu was almost driven to the point of extinction. But since they decided to go with “let er rip” for the good of the economy, this opened up the door for this nasty strain of flu as well as Coronavirus. And now our hospitals are getting slammed but good. Might be a good time to stay masked up this winter in the northern hemisphere for when this flu comes your way.

      1. Vandemonian

        “…our hospitals are getting slammed…”
        You can say that again, Rev.
        Our daughter works in a local (mid-sized) public hospital. I asked her yesterday how the hospital was doing. It’s not looking good.

        – On Friday afternoon the emergency department had 26 admitted patients, with no empty beds in the rest of the hospital, and no discharges planned over the weekend.
        – Twenty COVID patients (primary diagnosis) waiting for beds in the COVID ward.
        – Nursing staff had 25 gaps in establishment, with no spare staff in the nursing pool who could be called in.

        It’s all good though. It’s rare to see people masked when they’re out and about (1 in 20 to 1 in 50, mostly crusty old fogies like me….

        1. norm de plume

          One of my brothers has been in a large public hospital since Thursday evening having broken an ankle. When I spoke to him on Friday he was shell-shocked. He said it was ‘third world’, ‘worse than the Philippines’ where his wife comes from and where he has used the local system. The treating doctor issued instructions to nursing staff to give him a certain medication; he had to raise hell in order to get it administered, which finally occurred at 2am. It was two days before someone had the time to help him shower. He doesn’t blame the staff and has been sure to let them know that, but if he exhibited to them a fraction of the frustration he indicated to me, they could not have enjoyed the interaction. Multiply that by however many. A large spike in admissions has coincided with severe staff shortages.

          No-one will admit it of course but the staff shortage is down to (a) the loss of so many unvaccinated staff, plus (b) the high numbers either suffering from Covid or isolating because a house-member has it, (c ) the perhaps even higher numbers who are suffering the very widespread flu the Rev refers to above, and (d) the former staff who’ve left because they have simply had a gutful. The ambulances are even worse apparently; they are talking of using taxis and Ubers to ferry patients. What could go wrong?

          As for the admissions spike, no-one will admit that it may be down to ‘adverse ‘events’ such as ‘immune exhaustion‘. But hang on, says there’s no such thing, so I guess I’m wrong there, because that organisation is completely trustworthy, right?

          The reason the brother is still there is that when they checked him prior to the surgery to insert a plate they found he had pneumonia, which needed ABX to clear it before they would operate. This at a time when another brother was nearing the end of 3 weeks of flu so bad he has had 3 ABX courses, before testing Covid positive on Saturday. His daughter has it too, and my parents (in their 80s) who had come up to visit the broken ankle bro, managed to pick it up as well. Mum has been suffering from arrhythmia ever since her first vaccination last year (she has now had three) and is feeling weak, so there is real concern.

          Yet another brother’s wife has had a chronic throat swelling condition which has been in remission for years suddenly re-appear and their daughter has yet another of her fairly constant (at least since last year) URTIs. My wife has a sister-in-law who likewise has been cancer-free for years, but recently found she had a large, aggressive breast cancer appear, requiring surgery. Meanwhile, a family friend – a fit, non-smoking outdoors council worker – has in the last few months had to visit emergency or outpatients depts almost weekly. Friends in other areas report similar tidings.

          Every one of these people are vaccinated.

          Could there be a fire under all this smoke?

      2. Aljay

        Mate it’s not good hey. I’m a very healthy 36 year old and the flu flattened me for all of May. Still have a cough…

    2. Ignacio

      The only good thing about that is that we would at least and at last abandon the boost like crazy every coupla months policy with something that was designed against variants long time no circulating. Some progress would it be. How can you be up to date with a vaccine that is outdated?
      With flu they tried to be current on strains (not always managing because surprise changes).

    3. chris

      Not a doctor and I won’t weigh in on the possible reasons why the seasonal factors are either being asserted or questioned now. I will say that in recent episodes of TWIV, Dr. Daniel Griffith talks at length about how many things we thought we knew about viruses should now be questioned. One of the details he says should be questioned is the assumption of seasonality in flu and other virus. That maybe something else was going on that caused that and the reservoir populations were different than previously assumed. Also on TWIV, the virologists have been explaining how much our understanding of viruses will be changed by the kind of data we have access to now. Things like variants were much harder to study in large populations before COVID.

      All that suggests to me that people in authority may be squashing any conflicting data for reasons of control. It’s one thing to deny the facts so that people can return to normal. It’s a completely different thing to force a society back to a normal that didn’t exist. I’ve heard the seasonal claim so many times now that I can accept most people believe COVID will become the flu. But if the flu we thought we knew was never really that seasonal, then what does it mean to say that a new disease will change to become like it?

  17. John Wright

    Re: The Victim Cloud

    I read this article and thought the writer missed a great opportunity to explain how the scam worked and how others can avoid being scammed.

    How did the scammer initiate the (presumably valid) set of texts from Chase bank?

    Apparently the scammer never claimed a lost debit card and the texts from Chase were sent to confirm the scammers wire transfers from the victim’s account.

    Did the scammer only have the victim’s checking account number?

    Did the scammer have the victims’ pin or online username/password?

    Did the victim have online access set up?

    Apparently the scammer needed to have the victim relay the verification codes back to the scammer, so the scammer could relay them to Chase. because only the victim would receive them from Chase.

    In my view, the article was a great opportunity to explain the scam, how it worked and how others could protect themselves.

    But this opportunity was abysmally lost.

    1. Mildred Montana

      From what I understand, here in Canada, a bank will NEVER ask for personal banking information over the phone or via email or text and banks advise us NEVER to answer such questions.

      If they think you have a problem with your account they might contact you by phone, give you the details of the transaction(s), and ask if everything is okay, WITHOUT requesting account details. My one and only experience with this was when her bank called my elderly mother questioning a large check she had written. She assured them it was intended, she wasn’t being scammed, and she was in her right mind. End of issue, with no account information given or asked for.

      So to the best of my knowledge, do or don’t do the following:

      1. Release no details on the phone or otherwise.
      2. This might require a visit to your branch. So be it.
      3. I’m not sure if this applies to transfers (the subject of the article) but talk to your bank about reducing your daily limit.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Couldn’t read this article but I know last year there were a lot of real estate wire transfer fraud. What I don’t understand is why any of this is handled in plain text across the internet email communications or why the financial institutions aren’t talking directly to each other while getting final approval from the individuals involved.

      The scam works like this: A fraudster gains access to an email account involved in the home sale — a real estate agent, a lender, a title agent or even the buyer — usually through some sort of phishing attempt. They then monitor emails, watch the transaction progress, and insert themselves at just the right time. That’s when they ask the buyer — using a very legitimate-looking email — to wire funds to an alternate bank account.

  18. antidlc

    RE: How hiring the wrong medical “expert” derailed US pandemic response Ars Technica

    Although there was obvious confusion about whether Atlas had gotten herd immunity adopted as official policy, the committee uncovered evidence that he managed to get policies enacted that were consistent with it—at least temporarily. This included undercutting efforts to limit infections through public health measures like testing and mask use.

    So how is the Biden administration any different with its “let ‘er rip” policy?

    Atlas isn’t the only one to blame.

  19. Ignacio

    RE: ‘They Own the Ocean’: Gwadar’s Struggle With Illegal Fishing The Diplomat
    Same old sad story in several coastal places. I found a little bit weird the distribution of competences among Pakistan authorities: sovereign waters managed by the provinces and exclusive exploitation zone managed by state authorities. With a region between 12-20 nm unmanaged or ‘neutral’. I don’t know if there are many more examples of this.

  20. Carolinian

    Re The Hysterical Style in American Academe–tell it

    This politicization is also an epiphenomenon of the slow slide of academe into oblivion, in the face of which scholars desperately grasp for relevance. As academic humanities departments shed undergraduates and lose both prestige and funding, professors sensing their own obsolescence seek different venues for recognition and regard. The professors of “academic Twitter” have by and large subordinated their work as professional intellectuals and historians to the news cycle, yoking their reputations to the delirious churn of outrage media.[…]

    This kind of tribalism has less in common with “politics” properly understood — involving electioneering, coalition-building, and on-the-ground action and organization in the world, motivated by a concern for justice — than with far more recent social phenomena unique to the digital age. The writer and cultural critic Katherine Dee has argued persuasively that our age’s political culture is more often than not a species of fandom, made in the image of postmillennial internet culture and forged in the furnaces of LiveJournal, Tumblr, and other early experiments in internet community-formation. “What motivates someone to spend 10 hours a day on Twitter,” Dee suggests, is similar to “what motivated people to camp out in front of theaters to see the next installment of Star Wars, or dress up in costume for the release of the latest Harry Potter book.” Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t the fruit of serious reflection and study.

    Those of us who grew up regarding libraries as temples of inquiry are now confronted on entering the local version with a sign saying “this is a safe space.” While the sign may be intended to ward off the verbally belligerent one has to ask, in the larger sense, why you would want a library, or a university, to be a “safe space” when it comes to ideas. Isn’t opposition to free thought one of the hallmarks of those rightwing regimes the profs seem to be so paranoid about? One has to ask why parents are spending all those thousands of dollars to have their children’s horizons narrowed. It didn’t used to be like this.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Thank you. I worked for 25 years in (mostly university academic) social medicine. I mostly avoided the terrible fandom and cancel culture phenomena – partly because my teaching role was small, focused on professionals who wanted to learn how to use my methods to accurately PREDICT stuff and had better things to do than scream “micro aggression” and since my “proof of the pudding is in the eating” judged outcomes (and hence my salary and uni funding) pretty much headed off that nonsense at the pass I largely escaped.

      However those in the “professorial teaching” branch got increasingly desperate. (I was in the research professorial branch so only taught high level executive education courses).

      I saw which way the wind was blowing, however, and this was PART of my decision to exit. I’m increasingly glad I escaped…… Even if “IDPOL” wasn’t the largest reason…… I knew it would become that. Though I had some awful stuff causing me to leave the field, IDPOL is something I often think as “an even worse bullet I dodged”.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Apologies for missing your comment and starting my own thread down below. I’ve never seen a sign proclaiming that the public library is a safe space. The only unusual signs I’ve seen was a “The FBI hasn’t visited us or asked for our records” posting after the Patriot Act was passed.

      That sign disappeared a year or two after it was put up.

      1. Aumua

        I don’t think that safe space libraries are even a real thing. But also, the term “safe space” is pretty vague and can take on a wide spectrum of different meanings. I think the original intention of it was to create spaces where historically oppressed minorities might be free to express points of view that might otherwise be shut down because of bigotry through violence, intimidation and/or bullying. So that’s kind of the opposite of the free speech suppression that the term has come to imply to many today.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “The resurgence of Venice’s prized dorona grape”

    This is an amazing story this. A grape variety that was once so prized going to the brink of extinction only to be brought back. Not the first time that a plant that was extremely well know in older times now no longer exits. Can recommend reading this article.

    1. petal

      Agree-definitely worth reading. It made me mad at myself for not ignoring my parents and changing my major to viticulture while at Cornell. Such a wonderful story about the dorona grape.

  22. RobertC

    LINK: How’s the China-India economic relationship changed 2 years on from the deadly Galwan Valley border clash? South China Morning Post

    My interpretation is India says Border First then the Rest without saying what the Rest is. And China is looking at India’s history of (over-weening pride in) non-alignment and its refusal to join regional economic agreements and is deciding to move on. China holds the superior position in every regard (geographic, agricultural, industrial, healthcare, education, civic stability, military, etc) and pinning down a non-trivial portion of India’s military in an obscure border conflict has tremendous ROI. I think India’s politicians are refusing to understand this.

  23. petal

    I know more people now with covid than during the rest of the pandemic time combined-by far. Oldsters, early 40s, cancer patients, and survivors. It’s hitting everybody, and these people live spread out all over the US. No mixing, no crossover amongst them.

    1. Tom Stone

      Petal, I have had the same experience ( From1 to 16 in 3 weeks) and given the almost complete lack of masking and the number of potential superspreader events that have recently taken place and are continuing to take place July and August are going to be horrific.

      1. petal

        Agree with you, Tom. I am worried about losing some of them. Summer is going to be a bad one, I think, for many reasons. They have been very careful throughout, and it’s getting to them anyway. Take care.

    2. antidlc

      Same here. And sadly, my relatives have learned nothing — they go maskless, eat in restaurants, attend events with large groups of maskless people. I guess they feel they are immune and can’t get it again. I’ve given up.

      I find it unbelievable that the Biden administration is just allowing mass infection.

      I think Chris Turnbull is right.

      Be better if Covid just killed everyone who got it actually: it would quickly be contained I think and people wouldn’t play games with: 100% fatality with an RO of 15 and no immunity: people will either not get it or die: done—be better all around ironically.

      How are we going to function as a society with all of the brain damage caused by COVID?

      1. Pat

        My neighborhood was a zoo today with thousands of unmasked and largely lightly dressed young people in the heat and humidity yelling, screaming, singing, drinking for Pride Day. I rarely use the subways but with buses diverted from my neighborhood I also ended up there. I also was on the platform for over half an hour actively avoiding overcrowded subway cars. There were people on the platform but not cheek to jowl like the cars. The car I ended up on was still too crowded for my taste but I did need to get home and there was still some open space on it. I was in the half that was masked.

        The bigger shock was at my stop.My platform was active but the platform going uptown was packed shoulder to shoulder with unmasked people. As I exited hundreds more were entering, many fare jumping and mostly unmasked. I did the betadine thing upon arriving home and will up my vitamin numbers for the next few days just in case.

        Today in the news it was announced that despite Hugh Jackman’s return, The Music Man was still going to be without a name lead as Sutton Foster would be out for the second time because she has Covid. My school contacts are telling me that they still have had significant numbers of staff and students out for the last days. Yet NYC is not on alert and our numbers are not supposedly on the rise. Uh huh, sure. I fully expect that to be changing between this weekends festivities and next’s. That is if the truth is told. Of course if the hospitals back up they may not be able to keep it quiet.

        (No, I don’t trust Hochul or Adams to be upfront about NYs numbers anymore than the CDC can be trusted. They both have too much riding on “the return to normal”.)

    3. Jason Boxman

      I know of a person that recently traveled to Brazil on vacation; came back (past week) and seemed fine, but a few days later was out sick at work. I suspect COVID, but not confirmed. I guess this is “livin’ your life”. If it is COVID, it is this person’s second infection since January (travel again). Smoker, too, hope person recovers.

      Here walking the lake a few days ago, at the auditorium, there was a religious singing event; I could see easily 50 people on stage singing from outside. Couldn’t see audience size, parking wasn’t that heavy, so probably not huge. Possible spreading event?

      At a company I know of last week, a group of employees were all eating at work, a dozen of them from the same team. No masks. All smiling in photo on Slack. Company required vaccination before recently rescinding that, because I guess the pandemic is over. So everyone there was vaccinated, for all the good that will do. Perhaps they think they can’t get it if vaccinated?

      It’s beyond insane out there; Stay safe!

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      The last week has been quiet (thankfully) but in the last two months I’ve known more people with Covid than in the prior two years.

  24. timbers

    Alex Mercouris commented that the supposed reason for Brexit, was to get away from the bad policies and ideas Europe has and is doing and would impose upon Britain, and yet here we are at the very first opportunity to side step a really very bad EU policy (sanctions/Ukriane), Britain is out front going along with the EU which it didn’t have to do and is now paying a very heavy price for it’s policy mistake in joining the EU.

    1. c_heale

      On this Alex Mercouris is completely wrong. The people organising Brexit didn’t want the City to be subject to EU transparency rules as well as the threat to UK tax havens. And friends of mine who are on Facebook, said nearly every Brexiteer on there was basically get the foreigners out and bullshit about sovereignty at the time. There were no subtle arguments about the bad policies of the EU.

      It’s no surprise the UK (really England) is anti Russia, it has been for a long time (although many of the elite like oligarch money).

      It wasn’t a policy mistake to join the EU, when the UK joined, it was in a desperate way back in the 1970’s and had no other option. The mistake was leaving without having any other alternative.

      The UK consistently supported anti-worker and anti-democratic policies while it was in the EU.

  25. Lee

    TWiV 912: COVID-19 clinical update #120 with Dr. Daniel Griffin (45:55 minutes)

    “In COVID-19 clinical update #120, Dr. Griffin discusses outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection, CDC recommendation for vaccines in young children, neurodevelopment outcomes in infants of mothers testing positive for COVID during pregnancy, efficacy of monoclonal antibodies and antivirals in hamsters, rebound phenomenon after PAXLOVID in high-risk persons, hospitalization for infection after PAXLOVID treatment, and risk of long COVID with different variants.”

    Some highlights:

    The pandemic is not over and Omicron is not mild. Two thousand a week still dying in the U.S.

    Initial infection does not confer does not confer protection and in fact increases of adverse outcomes from reinfection. The underlying mechanism is not fully understood.,

    Children are at risk from Covid. One thousand children have died, forty-three thousand have been hospitalized, with instances in some of Long Covid persisting at least eight weeks subsequent to recovery from acute phase.

    Some doctors are still screwing up and not providing appropriate medications at the proper time during the progression of the disease.

    Dr. Daniel Griffin’s COVID-19 treatment summary for 06/23/22 (PDF)

  26. marym

    There’s been a twitter flutter among left-leaning elected Democrats, liberalish journalists, and anti-establishment left activists calling out the Dems for fund-raising and telling people to vote instead of acting; and saying Dems in Congress and Biden/Harris have say specifically what they intend to do and under what circumstances.

    Who knows if it’s a potential harbinger of something, but here’s video of a nice chant to enjoy with your coffee.

    “Crowd chants “Voting blue is not enough — Democrats, we call your bluff!” as
    @BetoORourke forces his way to the front of the rally in defense of abortion rights.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Two key issues:

      -Joe Biden’s record. He can’t be trusted.

      -the promise Team Blue elites was they kept the forces of darkness at bay. They’ve simply failed.

      -clear betrayals during the previous administration which is linked at the hip to Biden. He’s not simply a new Democrat, a major benefit to Obama as he could pretend he wasn’t a warmed over version of the Clinton years. Hillary backers pretended she had to support her husband but would be different if she was president. BIden on the other hand has a clear record, and he just betrayed everyone with BBB.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Peloi and Biden can’t conceive what is coming down. Trump isn’t on the ballot.

        1. Wukchumni

          Weren’t the Peloi in The Time Machine and subsisted on gelato in being fattened up for the Mortal Locks, come November?

          1. ambrit

            Yeah, but the Peloi didn’t look like the recently disinterred mummy of Princess Anck-Su-Namun.

    2. Harold


      Kamala Harris is going to fold like wet cardboard box the first time she ever has to debate someone intellectual and a real lawyer like DeSantis, Hawley or a veteran and elected house member like Gabbard.
      Maybe the Democrats could run Pelosi for President or Vice president?
      Oh, how about Feinstein? The gerontocracy, the identitypoliticrassy with Harris, what else do they have?
      Can’t Fix Potholes Pete?
      Warren, America’s shushing librarian?

    3. Aumua

      It’s good to see various leftists calling out Democrats over this, including some who are Democrats like AOC.

  27. Wukchumni

    Bark beetles back on tour in a limited engagement…

    130 million pine trees died in the Sierra Nevada in the 2012-16 drought as the baums couldn’t produce sap to ward off the beasties and i’m afraid they are back in this new & improved drought doing a rendition of their greatest hits including ‘Trees please me’, ‘You’ve lost that living feeling’ & ‘The end’.

    Did a walk around of our community in Mineral King this morning and there are about 50 within the ‘city limits’ and on the periphery on National Park land, and the summer is young.

    They are all dying from the top down, as the beetles compromise the vascular ability of the trees to transport water to the upper reaches.

  28. Reaville

    Wuk; one big reason I left California’s foothill country is because it was like watching a never-ending funeral for nature. We lost a tree to the beetle several years ago. I’m up in the Pacific Northwest near Tacoma now. The gentle rains, flourishing plants, and clean air have done wonders for my day to day mood. With a couple of dogs that demand multiple daily walks, I am plunged into the local environment and am much the better for it.

    I enjoy your posts immensely.

    1. Wukchumni

      Thanks for the compliment, I enjoy torturing words in such a fashion…

      I hear ya on the never ending funeral for everything in the underground movement that makes a living in the Sierra, its such a stark contrast to the 666 million nut & fruit trees in the Central Valley that all look vibrant and full of life.

  29. .human

    Covid-19 ‘magic mirror’ reflects widening fissures in Chinese society

    I was adjusting some new tin foil headgear in anticipation of hectoring the article, but, what a well written, informed, lucid, opinion piece by a young Chinese national. If only more were self-reflective of their nurturing and history.

  30. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Hysterical Style in the American Humanities

    Doesn’t that speak to the kind of people who are entering the social sciences as a profession? One would think that these type of intellectuals would be detached from the petty realities of the news cycle. Nor would they be enamored or starved for validation to the extent they spend hours on Twitter.

    I can’t help but think this phenomenon is the result of the hyper-individualism of the West and the treatment of professional credentials as a brand. I’m unfamiliar with any of the people listed so I’m not comfortable with speculating about how their beliefs and attitudes affect their work.

    1. RobertC

      Money quote for me “However, peace is a long way off — several months away, perhaps. In the speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week at the SPIEF in St. Petersburg, he made no references to peace negotiations. Putin hardly referred to the fighting.

      1. Kouros

        From a military perspective (Russian that is), the only way to end it is when the Ukraine military is ended. If people will end up deserting on mass, the target will be the equipment. If the military runs into Poland, it will be able to come back only as civilians, unarmed.

        And then the peace will be entirely at Russia’s mercy.

        Remember General Yamamoto:

        “Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it would not be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians [who speak so lightly of a Japanese-American war] have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.”

        While one can contemplate Russia occupying Kiev and dictating peace terms, the idea that Moscow, or Russia could be occupied and having terms dictated to it by Ukraine is ridiculous.

          1. Yves Smith

            China is not remotely as serious a military power as Russia. China doesn’t even have a history of winning wars. It has instead turned/assimilated conquerers.

            1. Procopius

              China doesn’t even have a history of winning wars.

              This is not quite true. The Chinese won many wars with neighboring peoples in the 2,000+ years since the Ch’in dynasty. We just never hear about them, because we don’t study Chinese history, and they’ve had so many civil wars. The Chinese are ambiguous about war. One quotation attributed to Confucius, “Do not use good iron to make nails, do not use good men to make soldiers,” is contrasted to The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. I don’t know about the current generation of Chinese (the Romance was discouraged for a while during the Cultural Revolution), but everybody a lot of people in Thailand have read it.

          2. RobertC

            I only proposed an end. I intentionally avoided proposing means because this conflict has become increasingly global in nature with attendant complexities, force of arms being the most visible but, as this site has repeatedly demonstrated (Thank You), not the most significant national actions that have been and will be taken. It appears to me Mackinder’s (and Kjellen’s) Heartland is in our foreseeable future.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Agreed about Bhadrakumar as he writes well and gives accurate descriptions of what he is talking about. Here in the article he may be holding back on the financial consequences of the west’s attacks on the Russian economy though. Already several governments have collapsed in Europe while it is still summer. By winter, there will be mass riots in the streets and whole governments will collapse and be replaced.

  31. RobertC

    The destruction of the middle class

    LINK: No, We Can’t Afford €100 Billion for Rearmament Jacobin

    BLUF: Germany’s middle (and below) classes lost the US/NATO war with Russia

    This is a disheartening albeit not surprising article.

    The Bundestag has voted to make Germany the country with the highest military budget after the United States and China.

    …Already in 2021, the military expenditures of the NATO states exceeded Russia’s almost twenty times over. Already today, 1.9 million soldiers of the European NATO states (i.e., without the United States) are compared with only 0.9 million Russian soldiers, who, by the way, are distributed over the entire area of what is easily the world’s biggest country. In terms of weapons systems, the European NATO states already have at least a twofold superiority over Russia when it comes to combat aircraft, artillery, battle tanks, and armored vehicles.

    …They want to tell us that they can’t do anything about galloping inflation of 7.9 percent (May 2022), even though it plunges every third student into poverty, and every second pensioner already has to get by on under €803 a month. They want to tell us that for the poorest of the poor, who have to live on Hartz IV unemployment benefits, an additional €8.33 should be enough to get by on, even though already in pre-inflation times the money never lasted till the end of the month.

    …The outcome was clear from the outset when Minister Lindner, the free-market zealot in the government, negotiated with the free-market zealot in the opposition, Merz. Lindner’s chief advisor, Lars Feld, already emphasized in advance on ZDF’s heute-journal that there would be massive cuts in the social sector in the next few years as a result of the €100 billion, and explicitly brought pensions into play, as if there weren’t already far too many poor pensioners lining up at soup kitchens and looking for deposit bottles to cash in for a few cents. Green deputy chancellor Robert Habeck attempted to prepare us for the fact that “we will become poorer” and pleaded for a “voluntary” pension to begin at age seventy. Merz, in turn, has openly declared that “the times of our prosperity are over.”

    …The €100 billion in special debt to fund the Bundeswehr is a scandal in terms of distribution and social policy. It is a climate policy scandal. And last but not least, it is also a scandal in terms of democracy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      This is not the Germany that I knew. It is a good thing that when a government breaks the social contract that they have with their people, that there are never any serious consequences that result. I cannot see his government lasting as all they are promising for their voters are poverty, cold showers and freezing apartments where you can see your breath in the air. At a minimum, I would expect to see a lot of young people decide to move overseas and away from this insanity. And maybe fringe right wing parties will take huge chunks of power, surprising the main political parties as they learn that There Is An Alternative (for Germany – AfD) after all.

  32. jr

    I hesitate to promote Ben Shapiro but here he is interviewing Matt Taibbi:

    Strange days, once again the Right demonstrates more open mindedness than the “Left”. Taibbi discusses the new authoritarianism on the liberal Left as well as their lack of humor and censoriousness. Both discuss the seeming flip-flop of either sides attitudes towards law enforcement, the intel community, and the corporations. It hearkens to that quote from Johnny Rotten about living to see the Right become cool and the Left jerks.

    1. Aumua

      Well there you go. Taibbi is on Ben Shapiro now. Such open mindedness there on that show. Way to go, Matt.

  33. Tom Stone

    Sonoma County has decided to reduce its Covid response by laying off 1/3 of those hired during the time of the pandemic.
    Because the pandemic is over!

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