Links 8/6/2022

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.

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

–Yves

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

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

* * *

Meet world’s richest dog that is selling a Shs114 billion mansion, travels by private jet and owns a yacht Matooke Republic (Dr. Kevin)

A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is? New York Times (David L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

Study identifies broad-spectrum antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern News-medical.net (Kevin W)

First global tracker of animals who caught COVID has gaps — but is still helpful NPR (David L)

Long Covid symptoms affect one in eight, study suggests Agence France-Presse (resilc). Lower number than other accounts.

North America

Monkeypox

After repeating early COVID mistakes, US now has the world’s biggest monkeypox outbreak USA Today (resilc)

The mystery virus that protects against monkeypox BBC (Dr. Kevin)

Climate/Environment

Europe and UK pour 17,000 tons of cooking oil into vehicles a day Guardian (resilc)

The promise and danger of Scotland’s bog BBC (David L)

Unprecedented’ rain, flooding shuts Death Valley National Park Los Angeles Times (furzy)

China?

Code Red: The Human Cost of China’s Rural Banking Crisis SixthTone (resilc)

Pelosi Aftermath

Explained: How is China’s military drills affecting key shipping routes near Taiwan? Republic World (J-LS)

Pentagon chiefs’ calls to China go unanswered amid Taiwan crisis Politico. Yours truly hoped Xi would reject Biden’s request for a call. That would have sent the most powerful message possible that China was not on with the Pelosi visit.

China cuts dialogue with US on military and climate issues and SANCTIONS Pelosi over Taiwan trip Daily Mail (resilc)

Report: White House At Odds With Lawmakers Over Taiwan Policy Act Antiwar.com (Kevin W)

On Japan’s Yonaguni island, fears of being on the front line of a Taiwan conflict NPR (David L)

Old Blighty

NHS 111 expects delays after cyber-attack causes system outage Guardian. Kevin W: “They are presently back to pen and paper.”

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine SitRep – Casualties Leak – Ukraine Admits Russian Breakthrough – Southern Front Paralysis Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Note the Torygraph ran this story:

Mozart Group: the western ex-military training Ukrainian recruits Guardian (resilc)

* * *

Council of EU adopts regulation cutting gas use by 15% Interfax. Note voluntary.

Germany needs to slash gas use by more than any other EU state: Analysis Economic Times

Norway Considers Limiting Electricity Exports To Prevent Domestic Crunch OilPrice (Kevin W)

Note To Myself… Andrei Martyanov. See embedded video on Spain.

* * *

Report on a three-week visit to St Petersburg, July 2022 Gilbert Doctorow

Russia allows parallel imports of some L’Oreal brands Interfax

* * *

I don’t write these stories….and wonder why this is a talking point now:

Orban at CPAC brings the ‘far-right international’ into focus Washington Post (resilc)

Syraqistan

Client states rejoice: Arms spigot reopens for Saudi Arabia, UAE Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

On the Legality of the Strike that Killed Ayman al-Zawahiri Lawfare (David L)

Al Qaeda’s Zawahiri Would Have Made a Great American Pundit Intercept (resilc)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Amazon buying iRobot to see inside your home The Verge (Paul R)

AA chief says keep keyless car fob in a pouch, in a box, in a microwave after thieves stole his car Daily Mail (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Rise and Fall of Empires in the Industrial Era: A Story of Shifting Comparative Advantages NBER (resilc)

New York Health Department says hundreds of people may be infected with polio virus CBS (GM)

U.S. Lawmakers Demand Federal Scrutiny of How US Tech got into Turkey’s Drones Juan Cole (resilc)

Details on F.B.I. Inquiry Into Kavanaugh Draw Fire From Democrats New York Times (furzy)

Abortion

Indiana passes near-total abortion ban, the first to do so post-Roe Washington Post (furzy). Eeek. Not the Deep South….

Democrats en déshabillé

Are Democrats Really Settling for Joe Biden? Atlantic (furzy)

Democrats add stock buyback tax, scrap carried interest to win Sinema over The Hill

Prescription drug prices are high. Can the new Senate bill lower them? Grid. Resilc: “100 bil over ten yearzzzzzzzz? Joke. To be pissed away by DoD in a month.”

How the battle over the Democrats’ climate, tax and health bill will play out The Hill

GOP Clown Car

Trump rallies in Wisconsin, where Republicans are embattled The Hill

In new ad, Dick Cheney slams Trump as a liar and a ‘coward’ MSNBC (furzy). Resilc: “Hi, I’m war criminal Dick Cheney, vote for my kid.”

Greg Abbott says Texas is now busing migrants to New York City Texas Tribune (furzy)

Musk accuses Twitter of deliberately miscounting spam users in countersuit Guardian (resilc)

High court upholds life sentence for Mississippi man convicted of marijuana possession KLPC (resilc)

Counterfeits, fraud, and theft: Why Silca changed its return policy CyclingTips (Randy K)

Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $42.5 Million in Punitive Damages to Sandy Hook Parents Wall Street Journal

Guillotine Watch

Having Trouble Flying With Your Dog? Charter a Private Jet for Princess Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

17,000 Costco Workers to Strike – 4,500 Member Columbus Teachers Union Issues 10-day Strike Notice – Cop Unions Gets Armed Patrol Back at University of Washington Mike Elk

Amazon deliveries ‘are hit by delays’ as strikes spread to FOUR sites including Coventry and Bristol Daily Mail (resilc)

UPS Is Installing Surveillance Cameras in Our Trucks, but Not Air Conditioning Jacobin (furzy)

How the Elites Use Identity Politics to Wage Class War CounterPunch (resilc)

Synthetic drugs will fuel the next wave of illicit drug use STAT (Dr. Kevin)

Antidote du jour. ChetG:

Since you have kindly used one or two of my snowberry photos, I thought you might enjoy the complement, snowberry’s larger “cousin”: the hummingbird clearwing moth.

I regret that I don’t have any of them side by side (which does happen but thus far those photos aren’t sharp enough), but as a rule of thumb to tell the two apart: Snowberry has dark legs and a black cummerbund; hummingbird clearwing has a red cummerbund and light legs.

And a bonus:

And a second bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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219 comments

  1. korual

    “A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is?”

    A.I. is not alive, not conscious, not let’s-think-of-another-word-for-conscious sentient. A.I. can’t even do logic or mathematics, let alone language. It’s all just 1s and 0s. Anyone who can count to 2 will always be smarter than a computer. File under The Bezzle.

    Reply
    1. Stephen V

      Look closely. They don’t even walk properly. (Lift, carry, place…) What does that say about the designers?

      Reply
    2. MapleLeaf

      Paraphrasing John Searle:

      It could only ever hope to be a computational model of consciousness, a computational model is not the thing itself. Computers only perform symbol manipulation, at the end, the entity doing the true interpretation is still the human.

      Reply
      1. Chris Smith

        Ugh, Searle. Searle of course never bothers to explain what he means by consciousness in his “Chinese Box” essay. An essay, I note, that is often called a ‘thought experiment’ where it is really an intuition pump. It amounts to Searle saying, “look a computer is just moving symbols around according to rules. That’s doesn’t seem like consciousness does it?” Except his essay depends on the term ‘consciousness’ being undefined, so you just fill in your warm fuzzy intuitions about consciousness without every considering that our brains may be nothing more that meat engines that move around symbols according to rules (with the symbols and rules provided both by nature and nurture).

        In short, Searle’s essay relies on vagueness and ignorance to do its work. Ultimately his position is computers can’t be intelligent because they can’t be intelligent.

        I have far more respect for Alan Turning, who in his Turning Test essay straight up gives a behavioralist definition of intelligence. He’s not hiding the ball, he states his bias up front. That is, there is nothing more to “intelligence’ then the sort of behavior you observe. Agree or disagree, you know where he stands and how his argument works.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          CS
          does an amoeba remember? is it concious? is it thinking Who is smarter – a group of amoebas or a group of (insert political party you don’t like)
          https://ukrant.nl/magazine/walking-with-amoebas/?lang=en
          our brains – maybe just billions of amoebas…
          And one thing about definitions – what is the definition of one, that really doesn’t amount to providing synonyms for one?

          Reply
        2. jr

          Searle states rather clearly what he thinks consciousness means in relation to his essay:

          “quite obvious . . . I do not understand a word of the Chinese stories. I have inputs and outputs that are indistinguishable from those of the native Chinese speaker, and I can have any formal program you like, but I still understand nothing.”

          (my bold)

          https://iep.utm.edu/chinese-room-argument/

          The processing of the Chinese symbols in his example has no meaning for the operator, be it a human or a computer. There is no experiential state in which an “I” holds the concept of those symbols in it’s consciousness, in either case. The computer because it simply cannot be a “I” and the human because it’s “I” doesn’t have the necessary experiential states to link the experience of meaning with the experience of the symbols. Consciousness consists of experiential states; meaning consists of specific experiential states that can be reliably linked to other experiential states. To be clear, meaning isn’t static or easily reducible, but what is certain is there a correlation of one or more experiential states to another. Further, meaning is fluid but it is viscous and has a pace, which helps to explain why the post structuralists are a bunch of !diots.

          In fact it is Turing who fails to explain himself, more accurately he explicitly dodges the question completely:

          “I propose to consider the question, “Can machines think?” This should begin with
          definitions of the meaning of the terms “machine” and “think.” The definitions might be
          framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is
          dangerous, If the meaning of the words “machine” and “think” are to be found by
          examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the
          meaning and the answer to the question, “Can machines think?” is to be sought in a
          statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a
          definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is
          expressed in relatively unambiguous words.”

          (My bold)

          https://www.csee.umbc.edu/courses/471/papers/turing.pdf

          I’ll give you this, he was at least up front about his straw-manning of the question. It’s not only not absurd to try to discover the definition of thinking by asking a lot of people what they think thinking is, it’s actually a pretty good way of going about it. I mean, wouldn’t that be a scientific approach? Going around to things that a. can think and b. can communicate that experience and see what it is they are experiencing? But that would be a lot harder than sitting in an office and pretending to address the question.

          And it occurs to me that Turing in fact simply drew up a “Chinese Box” scenario of his own and then proclaimed it a “closely related” question to that of what it means to think. Like some modern-day Gepetto who slaps together a Pinocchio of an argument, then declares all little boys are made of wood and string. Typical ham-fisted materialist thinking. Bunko.

          Regarding the posted article, it’s good to see that some of those wizards in AI are coming around to the fact that no matter how fast, how complex, or how convincing they get, AI’s are still just abacuses on steroids. There still seems to be a lot of confusion between notions of intelligence, or problem solving, and consciousness, comprehending experiential states.

          As to why people are in such a rush to create consciousness, well, perhaps because it is the central mystery of our existence and in the current era there are those who seek to reduce all mysteries to easily digestible Pop-Tart! style notions because they challenge their ideology of the mastery of Nature. And, in part, for commodification purposes. The trans-humanist abominators always seem to have an angle on a buck…

          Here is the AI researcher and metaphysician Bernardo Kastrup on why creating consciousness is a fool’s game:

          https://youtu.be/kU_RJF2194U

          Reply
        3. brian wilder

          Talking of “consciousness” seems to me to be skipping a few steps in the evolution of our shared understanding of “cause-and-effect” in the context of information processing. A lot of philosophers do not seem to have grasped that this is not the billiard table of Newtonian physics, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction and the determination of travel by the forces involved follow a predictable geometry.

          Computers are engaged in an activity where the analysis of cause-and-effect cannot proceed on strictly deterministic lines, can it? Decisions are made on the basis of information, not momentum. That implies models, learning and if not the fanciful notion of “free will”, at the very least some degree of indeterminism in the determination of what will be decided and done. I do not think we have come to terms philosophically with the peculiarities of “cause-and-effect” in the domain of information and control.

          Technically (so to speak), the basic theory of information was worked out by Claude Shannon and cyberneticians (is that a word?) mastered the most basic concept of control. That the structure of life itself is encoded was realized a while back.

          But the “philosophic” implications of information and control have not been well-worked yet, and I wonder if skipping ahead to the vaguely spiritual notion of consciousness is not a dodge, a way to avoid confronting these preliminary and foundational problems.

          One of these is the concept of a “machine”. A piece of analog machinery can be analyzed in terms of Newtonian physics and its close offshoots. A digital machine processing data from sensors against a dynamic model of some process it has been set to control is a different case. We should be asking what makes the second (or third?) case different from the first, analog and mechanical case. Instead, we are being distracted by the shiny object, “consciousness” (which is surely far down the road from even evolving systems of control processing information.)

          Reply
      2. Acacia

        Ah yes, John Searle, the guy who drove around Berkeley in a bright red Porsche 944. His wife was a landlord. Taken to court by a friend over a rental dispute (she lost). The Searles were very much against rent control in Berkeley, and John used to write articles in the Daily Californian, calling rent control “communist”, explaining how it “spreads like a cancer”, etc. In a famous debate, Derrida mocked him as “Sarl” (Société à responsabilité limitée), a.k.a. Limited, Inc.

        Reply
          1. Acacia

            Yeah, sorry, it’s just difficult for me to take “thinkers” like John Searle seriously any more.

            For the purposes of this thread, Searle is hardly to go-to on the subject of A.I. — that would be his former colleague at Berkeley, Hubert Dreyfus, whose arguments are actually still relevant on this topic (ergo unwelcome to the proponents of A.I.); see, for example, What Computers Still Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason. Unlike Searle, Dreyfus engaged with “other” thought like Heidegger, Foucault, etc.

            Searle was a critic of the free speech movement who hitched his wagon to analytic philosophy. In the larger scheme of things, the Anglo-Analytics rather painted themselves into a corner long ago by focusing on a very narrow set of questions that are increasingly irrelevant to other researchers in the Humanities.

            If you look at the Humanities as a whole over the past four or five decades, it’s evident that the discourses that have been truly transformative are mostly aligned with Continental thought — not the Anglo-Analytic tradition to which Searle belongs. Researchers in history, literature, art and media have engaged far more with concepts from the Continental tradition.

            These are bold claims, of course, but feel free to browse Google scholar and compare the number of citations to Searle’s work with those of Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, et al. Like it or not, the latter have simply had a far greater impact on research in the Humanities, and for solid reasons (e.g., they are actually engaged with questions concerning history, politics, society, power, economics, media, etc., whereas the analytics are off in their ivy-encrusted tower pondering ‘deep’ questions like whether “the morning star is the same as the evening star”).

            Full disclose: Searle himself once told me that G.W.F. Hegel is “all bullshit” and he had no shame whatsoever about never having studied German.

            Reply
            1. Acacia

              Almost forgot:

              As the English novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch put it, analytic philosophy explores a world where ‘people play cricket, cook cakes, make simple decisions, remember their childhood and go to the circus, not the world in which they commit sins, fall in love, say prayers or join the Communist Party.’

              And kudos to NC for linking to the source of that quotation:

              https://aeon.co/essays/after-jacques-derrida-whats-next-for-french-philosophy

              Reply
              1. witters

                With Bernard Williams I think the Analytical/Continental divide itself a peculiar beast – the former term refers to method, the latter geography.
                Rather, as he said, as though one divided cars into front-wheel drives and Japanese.

                I myself once met Searle but he was on his best behaviour. Perhaps because Richard Hare was there.

                Reply
    3. RockHard

      I’m reading The Selfish Gene and he makes that point about genes in the first chapter. Genes aren’t sentient, they just do what they do. We talk about genes “wanting” to do something but they don’t actually want anything.

      Funny thing, no?

      Reply
    4. Jessica

      I don’t know. That chess computer in Russia that got angry at that kid and broke his finger, that seemed pretty human to me. Not saying intelligent, but human. You know, teach it some anger management and it will be intelligent. :)

      Reply
    5. The Rev Kev

      There is one test that will determine if an IA is sentient or not. If you tell an AI a joke and it laughs because it understood the joke (and not just canned laughter) then you can consider it sentient. Of course at that point it might be wise to reach behind it and pull the plug on it before anything happens.

      Reply
      1. griffen

        You can also watch the excellent Ex Machina to see what happens when the obedient machine chooses and decides it does want out.

        Reply
      2. Skip Intro

        An AI will learn the patterns and cues that indicate a situation requiring laughter, and laugh, much like half the audience of some of my best material, and non-fluent speakers.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          It’s the Turing Test at the Comedy Club!
          Q: “How do AI comedians spend their time?”
          A: “Turing.”
          Oh, boo hiss!
          [The North American Deep South is not known for the sharpness of it’s wit.]
          I often search for a meta pun, but must admit that Zuckerberg has beaten me to it.

          Reply
        2. Count Zero

          Reminds me of a quip by the English comedian Bob Monkhouse. “My family laughed when I told them I wanted to be a comedian. Well they’re not laughing now!”

          Reply
      3. Vodkatom

        This is a blatant self-serving attempt to push the assumption humans are “sentient”. Like the super-rich taking success as an objective measure of talent. “We have all the jokes, we must be the superior sentient beings”. The computer aren’t laughing…

        Reply
        1. Mel

          :/ Somehow this added one more to my list of Lines I’ve Never Heard on Star Trek:

          “It’s Ignorance, Jim, but not as we know it.”

          Reply
        2. ChetG

          Thank you, Vodkatom, for saving me from attempting to write a comment that wouldn’t have been half as good or accurate as yours.

          Reply
      4. Louis Fyne

        if your AI tries to kill you when you reach for the plug (or tries to create offspring), then it’s sentient…..or maybe it was just programmed that way.

        Reply
        1. Young

          A sentient AI would sense that the next instruction to execute would put it in an infinite loop and refuse to execute.

          So, the choice is to hung or stuck🤔

          Like, to be or not to be.

          Reply
      5. cfraenkel

        Jokes (and all such other cultural artifacts) are a poor test. Wasn’t it just yesterday there were all those comments on how unfunny 100+ yr old jokes are to us today? Or the flip situation – do you laugh at the ‘jokes’ of the kids these days? Does that make you ‘un-sentient’?

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          well there’s “jokes”, and then there’s jokes…I still think the whole “appear before the Queen cross gartered” is pretty funny along with “the wyf was swiven and the daughter als” and those jokes are hundreds of years old. Some jokes are only funny in a limited time frame or context, but others are really funny like “They call it the american dream because you have to be asleep to believe it” or “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”
          And then the phalli…
          http://winjah.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-importance-of-comedy-phallus.html
          FTL…
          “There’s no need to get high brow about it: the Greeks and Romans loved a good comedy penis as much as anyone.”
          I of course don’t know how relevant any of this is…I’ll stick it into my algo and see if anything comes out of it…

          Reply
          1. Bart Hansen

            What about ‘why does the chicken cross the road?’, an old classic but perhaps no longer funny.

            On the surface it could be simply a child’s question with a logical answer.

            Reply
      6. GramSci

        I like that test, Rev. It tests what i’ve been calling “free will”: is the being sufficiently “sentient” to imagine an alternate interpretation?

        But sentience isn’t always a virtue. You should want your translators to be dumb like Google: don’t invent any interpretation!

        Reply
        1. witters

          Good ole Coleridge put it this way (roughly): “Punning is wrongly thought to be the lowest form of wit. But to know words have meaning is to know they have more than one meaning.” I think Wittgenstein was exploring this idea in Pt. II of the Investigations with his talk of “seeing as”.

          Reply
    6. jsn

      “A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is?”

      Because saying, “l have a faster, more opaque algorithm I don’t understand and can’t control that will probably mess things up worse, faster” won’t get you a grant or investors.

      Debating conscious is a well known nebula to distract the credulous. If you bring them in through that window you know they’re rubes. It’s like telemarketing preying on the elderly.

      Reply
  2. griffen

    I’ve long thought that storm chasers are performing a noble yet horrifying duty in their chosen profession. That is an incredible picture.

    To borrow a scene from the somewhat corny “Twister” any storm that can move a 2,000 lb cow is not to be trifled with. I remember video of a lot of mostly empty trailers being tossed about while in the Dallas / Ft Worth region.

    Reply
  3. Lexx

    ‘Meet World’s Richest Dog…’

    Tax evasion? There have to be some tax advantages to leaving your estate to the perpetual lineage of a pet (and caretakers), yes?

    Reply
    1. griffen

      That is a hard knock life, is it not? The rich and uber-rich are just simply not the same. I’d bet he gets some killer write offs just like the rich for having a foundation, and investments that are registered offshore as well.

      Miami and south beach…so it could be a legit thing, and Florida also has the homestead law on the books. So perhaps the handsome Gunther is a mostly year round citizen.

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon chiefs’ calls to China go unanswered amid Taiwan crisis”

    The Pentagon is in the habit of flying aircraft at the Chinese border to probe and test them like they do at the Russian borders in Europe. Maybe it might be wise to knock it off for awhile until things cool down again. US aircraft doing so might find Chinese fighters warning them off not with maneuvers but with missile locks on their aircraft instead.

    Reply
  5. digi_owl

    “How the Elites Use Identity Politics to Wage Class War CounterPunch (resilc)”

    Odd seeing Counterpunch pick up on this, as i had them figured for being all in on the identity thing.

    “Norway Considers Limiting Electricity Exports To Prevent Domestic Crunch OilPrice (Kevin W)”

    This is turning into something of a political quagmire. In particular as it is mostly one part of the nation that is suffering, thanks to it all not being interconnected yet. That said, the swedes are having a field day by buying cheap Norwegian power up north, and selling it at a premium down south, by having the grid to do so.

    Reply
    1. Jesper

      Not too long ago there was not enough grid-capacity to transport all the electricity generated in northern Sweden to southern Sweden. Things might have changed but I can’t find the story about Sweden buying electricity from Norway and transporting it south.

      The current situation:
      https://www.svk.se/om-kraftsystemet/kontrollrummet/
      Seems to be Sweden exporting to Norway and Norway exporting to UK.

      Reply
        1. Jesper

          Thanks for the link, no problem about it being in Norwegian. The headline is more than a little clickbaity…. The third line in the article:

          Men det er ikke bare svenskene som tjener på ujevne strømpriser.

          loosely translated: it is not only Swedes making money on the situation.

          And then this quote from the article might indicate why I think it is clickbaity:

          De deler Norge og Sverige på, fordi det er de som eier overføringskablene. Dette kalles flaskehalsinntekter.

          The gist is that the power-grid owners are charging a fee for transmitting the power, not quite sure why it was seen as important to mention ownership and even more surprising to omit to mention that Norwegian power-grid owners are also charging a fee. I suppose it is only bad if foreigners are charging a fee for the use of their power-grid….

          If someone from UK had written an article using the same data in the same style as that Norwegian journalist then the headline might have been:
          Norwegian power-companies are buying cheap electricity from Sweden and then selling it on (price-gouging!) to UK consumers at a premium
          I am not a fan of that kind of headlines.

          Blaming foreigners rather than blaming the capitalist class? I thought that public tv in Norway would be better than that.

          Reply
          1. digi_owl

            Yeah sadly NRK, in particular their online news side, seems to have been losing it in recent years.

            Not sure what the cause is, though i am tempted to claim that it is partially related to a new generation getting their feet wet here before moving on to TV or radio.

            As well as more of them seeming to have had a year or more studying in USA and picking up how things are done over there.

            Reply
  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    The mystery virus that protects // BBC story

    Interesting from beginning to end. So just how did this mystery virus trick its way into being so beneficial? (And you thought that the god Hermes was unemployed because of so-called Christianity.)

    A reminder: Science is the accumulation and use of knowledge, and this article is more about what “science” really is than about “follow the science.” There is no “follow the science,” because so much is still unknown and so many actions and effects aren’t what is expected.

    How to mess up this wonderful process of never knowing completely? Just add power. Or money. Or hierarchy. Or all three.

    Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      > So just how did this mystery virus trick its way into being so beneficial?
      Apparently, it mootated.

      Reply
      1. Revenant

        I read the article and the referenced 1938 paper which it alleges first states the discrepancy between vaccinia and cowpox. The article was interesting but it overstates the significance of the paper. The paper just reports there are some observable differences in activity etc differences in what were then known as cowpox and vaccinia viruses and sera. It does not state they are different viruses! It would have been impossible with the methods at the time – that’s what drove me to read it….

        Reply
  7. JIG

    Love the idea of a tax on stock buybacks. As a small shareholder, I would much rather receive excess corporate cash as a dividend and make my own decisions on how best to allocate that capital.

    Reply
    1. Earthling

      Yes. Or, just ban them. I don’t even want to have to investigate which of my stock picks has a history of buybacks, or might embark on one tomorrow. They are inherently senseless. If a company can’t bear to either invest in labor or capital improvements, it should put the money in a rainy day fund to get through slumps or disasters, or pass it to shareholders. It shouldn’t be an option to ‘jack up our own share price’. Who knows, we might even get some long-term planning and research, or a better compensated workforce.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      It should be mentioned that stock buybacks were largely illegal until 1982 until Ronnie Reagan brought them back again. Since then, god knows how much has been spent by corporations on stock buybacks and a 2018 article said ‘Over the last 15 years, firms have spent an estimated 94 percent of corporate profits on buybacks and dividends.’ If that money had been spent on more mundane things like research & development, training, installations, etc. I am sure that the US would be a very different country indeed. And I don’t think that it would have hurt shareholders either.

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        Thanks for noting this essential point. From my admittedly limited perspective, it appears buybacks are simply a form of fraud. Is there any justification for allowing them?

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah. how does such self-dealing gel with all the bootsrap, self-made-man rhetorical effluent i’ve been sprayed by all these years?
          i mean, bumping the stock price by buying your own stocks just seems like as far away from productive activity as i can imagine.
          like they’re trolling us, or something.
          its even worse than the proverbial “doing each others laundry” or “buying each others houses” as an “economy”.
          what’s next? “selling debt”?…in “tranches”, or something?
          lol

          Reply
      2. nippersdad

        “If that money had been spent on more mundane things like research & development, training, installations, etc. I am sure that the US would be a very different country indeed.”

        Case in point, we have been having problems with our AT&T internet and phone lines. We called about it several weeks ago, and the guy who came out today was from Virginia. It looks like they, literally, have a regional phone line repairman. That is a system that could only have been designed by MBA’s.

        Reply
    3. JTMcPhee

      As opposed to having the corporation re-invest in the business? Like rebuilding home-country industrial base? Instead of just paying looted wealth, often from corruptly gained “government contract” and public largesse, to a slightly larger set of monied people?

      Why the many will never have nice things.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Because corporate agency is sacred, and making corporations bigger and self-important is a human duty? While I may not agree that an investor may have a better idea of what to do about an institution and its surplus than others who are not invested in that institution, to believe stock buybacks would ever go to “self-improvement” in the corporate sense is PMC mythology.

        Reply
    4. tegnost

      I am admittedly quite cynical but interest rates rising above the 0% that it’s been since ’09 will put a damper on stock buybacks if not kill them outright… this move will allow the stenographers to “look at the data” and find that “hey look! Our tax on stock buybacks Worked!” when the reality is that it’s not as great an idea now as it was then. Yet another fake win to cover up the real loss concerning carried interest. And as to the “small stockholder” theme. You may well be a small stockholder, but you don’t have much company…

      https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/18/the-wealthiest-10percent-of-americans-own-a-record-89percent-of-all-us-stocks.html

      Supporting my contention is the banner at the top of the article “Fed governor Bowman sees similarly sized rate hikes ahead after three quarter point moves.
      They’re shameless grifters.

      Reply
      1. ArvidMartensen

        Somewhere recently I read the idea that Central Banks might keep QE going in some form to stop the rich from losing money on assets.
        So you will have wages being eaten up by inflation, but assets at least keeping their value because of QE.
        A perfect win-win.

        Reply
    5. Oh

      Tax options that are given to the executives; they are the reason for stock buybacks since it allows the execs manipulate stock prices

      Reply
  8. Carla

    Re: Europe and UK pour 17,000 tons of cooking oil into vehicles a day

    I thought this would be USED cooking oil. And in fact, used oil is powering diesel engines of various kinds in trucks, jet planes and industrial equipment:

    https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/used-cooking-oil-as-biofuel/

    While it seems unethical to use food-grade oil for fuel, and also to discard as waste used cooking oil that could fill some gaps in energy needs. But then in this world, ethics are so not a thing…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      In Brazil, drug dealers found a different use for vegetable oil for vehicles-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_g_uQ2GHmQ (14 secs)

      But this whole idea of taking away farmland meant for growing fuel and instead to grow fuel for vehicles is just nuts. It is nothing more that a government supported way to virtue-signalling and just creates more problems than it solves and now it is becoming unsustainable. Going forward you would hope such things would be dumped and maybe this whole gimmick of eVehicles is a way of ending this practice. Not a fan of either idea obviously.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        wouldn’t be possible without billions in welfare payments for ADM, et alia.
        negative EROEI, hands down.
        stupid, wasteful effort in service of infinite greed and the economic model of hydraulic despotism.
        frak big ag
        https://grist.org/article/the-butz-stops-here/

        one of the stops on my future “Piss on Their Grave” Touring company.

        Reply
      2. Carla

        Seems to me there’s a big difference between using fresh vegetable oil for fuel and using cooking oil that is otherwise waste, and has to be disposed of somehow. Former really bad for people and the planet; latter maybe good for p and p. Waste not, want not and all that.

        Reply
  9. Hugh

    Been a reader for a couple years, but as I’m working poor, I’m not yet a contributor.
    Hopefully, with a couple of skillfully selected lottery numbers, that can all change.
    In any case, (and with much embarrassment) can someone please explain what “resilc” means?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are so kind to offer to support the site!

      The names in parenthesis are handles for people who provided them. “resilc” is derived from the e-mail address of that sender. Others are more obviously people, like Chuck L and Kevin W and David L.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘resilc’ is the handle of a guy who does a remarkable job of finding links from all over the net and submitting them to NC. But for yourself, if you have a good comment or idea then go ahead and type one up. You don’t have to log in to leave a comment on NC like on some other sites.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ya don hafta be rich, either.
        i think the class mix, here, is one of the most interesting things about NC.
        (mostly inferred)

        Reply
        1. BobW

          I was unemployed and homeless when I first began reading NC years ago. On a Social Security pension now, and in an apartment, and still reading it.

          Reply
    3. Mark Gisleson

      Hugh, I’ve been wanting to ask that since the 2000s. Googled many times trying to find a Resilc publication or website!

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        Have seen this question a few times. It is like an NC right of passage. I was confused for the longest time too. Is it re SILC? What is it? The. One day the penny dropped. Always afraid to admit it. Gotta love the person who asks the question we all want to ask. Sincere, not sarc.

        Reply
  10. Lee

    “New York Health Department says hundreds of people may be infected with polio virus CBS (GM)”

    The polio vaccine is non-sterilizing but is highly effective in preventing illness and death. Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t this mean the polio virus can still be circulating in vaccinated populations while not causing illness? CDC
    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/polio/hcp/vaccine-derived-poliovirus-faq.html

    Also worthy of note, as opposed to inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), which is delivered by injection, the oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) uses a live weakened virus that can revert to its original form, be transmitted and cause disease. Even so it is still being used in some countries as it is easier to administer to large numbers of people more quickly.

    “Since 2000, only IPV has been used in the United States to eliminate the risk of vaccine-derived poliovirus that can occur with OPV. This decision was also based on the decreased risk of wild poliovirus being brought into the country and because the U.S. is currently polio-free.”

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Hmmm. It seems I managed to place the CDC link in the wrong place. It should be at the end after the quoted paragraph. More caffeine, or maybe less, is called for.

      Reply
    2. Mikel

      “Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t this mean the polio virus can still be circulating in vaccinated populations while not causing illness?”

      See this from late last month:
      https://www.cnet.com/health/medical/first-polio-case-detected-in-the-us-in-about-a-decade/

      “…Lab tests suggest the patient got polio from a person who was vaccinated with an oral polio vaccine, which uses a weakened but live virus. This type of vaccine is no longer given in the US, where only the inactivated polio vaccine, or IPV, has been given since 2000, suggesting the strain came from another country…”

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Another interesting factoid, is that about 1% of infections produce paralysis and of them 5% to 10% die. But it is highly infectious and 1% of a large number is a large number, which is similar to the problem presented by Covid.

        Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine SitRep – Casualties Leak – Ukraine Admits Russian Breakthrough – Southern Front Paralysis”

    When this war is over, it will be fascinating to find out who was actually responsible for the Ukraine’s strategy – Zelensky or NATO. The Kherson district is soon to have a referendum to decide whether to split form the Ukraine and of course if they go, so will other districts like Zaporizhia, Kharviv and who knows who else. So the decision to move artillery and other forces out of the Donbass front to the south-western front was a political one so that their attack will stoop this referendum. Now the Donbass front is collapsing and the Ukrainians still can’t launch Steiner’s attack.

    What the MoA article did not mention is that the Ukrainians have now been launching artillery attacks against the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant because everybody knows that the place is a major Russian base. This is nuts and risks a second Chernobyl. Zelensky claimed that it was the Russians that did it and they should be labelled as international terrorists while SecState Blinken went along with this story. I can see why the Russians aim to demilitarize the country – or what will be left of it.

    In other news, I mentioned a Ryan MacBeth who is a propagandist for the Ukrainians.Here is his latest offering where he claims that the Amnesty International report on the Ukraine will – wait for it – endanger civilians now. I’m waiting for his first Taiwan video to appear soon-

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/kWCcQ8aKPZg

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      To be honest, an Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kherson makes most sense, since the Russian position there is the most precarious – longest lines of logistics and natural choke points.
      What does not make sense at all is to launch piecemeal attacks that even if successful loose their momentum still in the artillery kill zone.
      What is bordering on insanity is shelling the civilian population and making terror attacks on the administration that feeds them if you’re trying to win retain their hearts and minds.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Not any more. Russia has moved something like 30 BTGs there. That’s a level consistent with an offense. Alexander Mercouris yesterday reported that the Ukraine messaging has switched from a Ukraine offensive in Kherson to a Russian offensive.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        I don’t think that the Ukrainians are worried about winning hearts and minds. In the videos that I have seen, they hate the Russian-speakers – both the ones that they are fighting as well as the locals that are just waiting for the Russians to move in and take over. I think too, though cannot prove it, that the Ukrainians never worry about destroying civilian homes and infrastructure for this very reason and go out of their way to deliberately do so.

        As for the Kherson, the Ukrainians seem to be satisfied to let themselves be destroyed in detail. I guess that there are nowhere near the fortification that they have on the Donbass front and every time they advance, the Russian artillery hammers them. I saw a video on the Military Summary channel which said that the Russian have 30 battalion tactical groups there which is enough for the Russians to advance on this front if the Ukrainians get sufficiently weakened. My own guess is that this will happen after the Donbass has been liberated fully.

        Reply
      3. Lex

        It does make the most sense because it’s integral to the Crimean land bridge which is a Russian strategic objective. But, it’s also an exceedingly difficult place to launch the counter attack because it’s flat and open. I have a feeling that the demand for this counterattack came from DC because it is strategically important to Russia and because if that line falls, the road to Odessa is open. IMO, at this point the only thing the US cares about is Odessa to complete the planned NATO naval base. Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t really a counteroffensive plan that’s prompted moving material south but the knowledge that Russia is massing a lot of power in the area and it needs to be defended to keep the US happy.

        Reply
        1. Old Sovietologist

          Has anyone any updates on all the Ukrainian Super Models that were taking videos and pics while in Military Garb talking about fight for their country?

          Reply
  12. griffen

    Amazon wants to map the entirety of your daily existence…so they are buying the iRobot company. Why does this remind me of many science fiction films? The future scenario where Amazon has partnered with local officials…\sarc

    https://youtu.be/901lYbPmqu4

    Reply
    1. Lexx

      I like to mess with the Roomba by moving objects around in the room before turning it loose. Will Amazon conclude we live in an obstacle course? Amazon is looking for certainty; I offer them doubt. As with human relationships, there are some people we just don’t want to know, or be known by.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I think the Roomba can still work out where walls are over time.

        Only the first gen Roombas didn’t spy. Are there any antiques still working?

        Reply
        1. Lexx

          Asked Husband* over breakfast what he thought Amazon had to gain for the purchase of iRobot. He said for now it probably had nothing to do with the room dimensions or the things in it. He favored the idea that either they want to insert their own technology and/or patent control. Something he became aware of that big corporations do while working for HP back in Fiorina/Hurd days.

          Nothing we’ve purchased from Amazon contains Alexa capabilities.

          *Husband works as a cybersecurity architect for a large not-for-profit asset management corporation

          Reply
        2. cfraenkel

          We have one still – it sort of works bumping around the house. Keeps down some of the dog hair anyway. The main downside is it eats charging cables if we forget to pick them up.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i admit to have always wanted one.
            added bonus is giving Bob the Cat something to do besides hog my bed.
            but from the get-go, i understood that they couldn’t handle a house like mine.
            too many uneven floors, and a whole lot of stuff piled everywhere(what ive been doing, lo these last 3 weeks, is clearing wife’s piles….going through everything for the $20 here, the pictures there, the car title over there, etc got enough paper for a raging bonfire or 3…but for the drought and burnban)

            but only first gen…without the surveillance capability.

            give me a dumb, unconnected one with big knobby tires that can discriminate between a small, squirrel-planted pecan tree and a maximillian sunflower, and then pull up the latter…and i’m sold.

            i’d still rather employ a nubile farmhand in daisy dukes for this…but whatever…i’m a barbarian.

            Reply
            1. griffen

              Barbarians are permitted, even encouraged. Just how else will a nubile farmhand learn about working the land on the spread there in hill country?

              Off topic. Dazed and Confused was running on the cable last weekend. While not exactly in my wheelhouse, primarily since in of May 1976 I was a bustling 3 year old, I do find that film an eclectic mix of the era and the music. Let alone the vintage cars. Ben Affleck is a complete tool, and Matthew is alright. I guess at this point one could call it a classic.

              Reply
            2. Revenant

              Amf, Check out Small Robot Company. We nearly invested, internal fund stuff prevented us, not the company. There are some others in this line.

              I prefer the Daisy Duke model.

              Reply
      2. RockHard

        Speaking of non-sentient AI…

        The Roomba does not maintain a map of your house. J J Wiseman used to work as a software engineer at iRobot and published a couple of articles on his old blog at lemonodor.com discussing how it works. Essentially it moves around the area until it believes that it’s done. There’s some logic to keep it from getting stuck in navigational cycles.

        If the Roomba had a memory, it wouldn’t need the beacons to keep it from falling down stairs.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Are the latest gen Roombas connected to the internet by any chance? If so, they would not need large amounts of memory but would have the big map stored on servers elsewhere. A Roomba would only need a basic map of their place while all the rest of the data would stay on the corporate servers for analysis.

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? From the Verge earlier this year:

          iRobot adds smart mapping to its lower-end, self-emptying robot vacuum……

          The update follows through on iRobot’s promise that its iRobot Genius software will make your robot smarter at no extra cost to you. Smart mapping, which is done without a camera, lets the vacuum learn your home’s floor plan, so you can direct it specifically where to clean using the iRobot Home app or a voice assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Prior to the update, the i3 could map your home to show you where it cleaned on its run, but it couldn’t remember the maps and use them for future cleaning.

          https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/10/22967391/irobot-roomba-i3-update-smart-mapping

          I have not bothered investigating if the higher end models had this capability earlier.

          Reply
          1. John Beech

            Two points, I run the vacuum myself couple times a week, takes but a few minutes each time. I need to burn the calories and there’s no chance of the vacuum spying on me. Second, what makes you think Amazon wants it for the vacuum-tech?

            I’m thinking self-guided delivery robots used to drop things off within certain neighborhoods is where it makes sense – meaning not the hood, or maybe expressly ‘for’ the hood . . . depends.

            Gotta think outside the box more often, folks.

            Reply
      3. Kouros

        Amazon will find out that men fart more often than women (x4 times), which US Military has already researched long time ago….

        Reply
      1. griffen

        I keep a soft spot in my heart for the fictional Weyland Yutani corporation from the science fiction film series of Alien movies. Okay maybe not all of those films but generally speaking.

        Building Better Worlds and all.

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      If Zelensky does not want to end up like Gaddafi, perhaps he should start wearing a steel chastity belt. In any case, he will never end up on trial. He will be killed by a bomb or a missile strike and they will blame the Russians doing it so that he can become a martyr for the liberal world order.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Gonzalo likes to paint in bright colors.

      The biggest endangerment move Zelensky has undertaken recently is turning on his old sponsor, the guy who made Zelensky who he is, Ihor Kolomoisky. Despite being Jewish, Kolomoisky is a major backer of and deeply entwined with Banderite goons. Note the military has to be already thinking of a coup.

      One could make the argument that at the margin, the Amnesty report perversely helps Zelensky. He’s been at odds with his generals. There is no way he was involved in picking targets. He can say “I’m just an actor and a pol, war crimes require intent and golly gee, I was swanning around the world securing arms for Ukraine, how was I to know what was happening on the battlefield?” So the army top brass could feel that a military coup might increase their exposure to war crimes blame. Zelensky will just keep denying no matter how ridiculous.

      Of course, if coupmeisters negotiated a peace with Russia, they could also demand personal amnesty.

      In other words, Zelensky’s big exposure in an endgame was always from domestic forces.

      I don’t think the West could ever protect Zelensky in a snakepit like Ukraine save assuring him safe passage out. We didn’t even do that for vastly more important and longstanding allies when things got bad, like Honsai Mubarak.

      Reply
      1. David

        I think you have to distinguish between actual war crimes trials, and political controversies using the vocabulary of “war crimes” for effect.
        The first would require an actual court with temporal and geographical jurisdiction, as well as the presence of the accused, and things like evidence and witnesses. It’s hard to see that happening, to put it mildly, because of all the collateral damage that the West would suffer, even if it was technically feasible. The only workable option I can think of would be trials in the DNR/LNR under some settlement imposed by Russia, requiring Ukraine to hand over specific people for trial there. This isn’t out of the question, but I imagine that all sorts of people would be inconvenienced thereby, some with the ability to make indictees and witnesses disappear. A variant of this, and a political rather than a judicial undertaking would be some kind of arranged trials where in turn for light sentences various Ukrainians gave evidence about atrocities committed by the UA. In both cases, though, the West would simply dismiss the event as a show trial, and they wouldn’t necessarily be completely wrong.

        The question of “command responsibility” as it’s known, is complicated: the usual test is that the individual had some influence on the actions of the troops involved, and “knew or should have known” what they were up to. In the past, political leaders have been indicted under this rubric. The other is the Joint Criminal Enterprise doctrine used by the ICC, which effectively charges people with guilt by association. Zelensky would find it impossible to get out of such charges.

        Barring, as I say, a Russian-led process, it’s hard to see how this could wind up before a court, but in any event, it’s likely that there’ll be a lot of competitive mud-slinging on the Ukrainian side.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The Russians are planning full bore war crimes trials. So this is not academic. Look at the guys who were sentenced to death in the DPR. Russia doesn’t have a death penalty but it now faces the interesting choice of trying alleged criminals who operated outside the breakaway republics in Russia or waiting for the other “liberated” areas to hold referendums.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            What happens when the Russians send Interpol a wanted list with case files and witness testimony to back the charges up? Russia’s access to Interpol is restricted at the moment but when I think about it, this must be why Zelensky wanted Russia kicked out of Interpol a coupla months ago-

            Reply
            1. Polar Socialist

              The same will happen that happened when Russia put Bill Browder to Interpol wanted list multiple times. Big, fat nothing since being against Kremlin is a get out jail free card in the West.

              Reply
          2. David

            They can only hold trials if they have jurisdiction, or, at least, they can only hope to persuade world opinion (ie not the West) that the trials are necessary even if they haven’t. Plenty of alleged war criminals have been tried outside their own countries, but this has been by international agreement, on the basis that the state in which the crimes allegedly took place was unable or unwilling to do the job itself. (A mere assertion that that’s the case wouldn’t serve).
            So I’d be interested to see what the Russians think they can do. The option of holding the trials in the LNR/DNR still seems the only workable one to me. But since those Republics are not signatories to any judicial cooperation agreements that I know of, other countries would not be obliged to hand over indictees. (It wouldn’t be Interpol).

            Reply
      2. skippy

        How does on move from TV actor to international political operative and have a whiff of experience that transfers between the two … this is today’s offerings …

        Reply
    3. Old Sovietologist

      Hasn’t Amnesty now apologised for that report?

      I have never had any time for an organisation that was set up to mobilise do gooding liberals against the USSR in the interests of the US/UK.

      Reply
  13. Fraibert

    For the Alex Jones verdict, I’d note that the Supreme Court has previously held that in the Due Process Clause limits punitive damage awards to something like 5 times the compensatory damage award. So the trial judge in that case (who I’ve heard, but haven’t read enough to decide, showed some serious bias–which can be grounds for a complete reversal on Due Process grounds by itself) is constitutionally required to grant a motion to reduce the punitive award to $20 million or so at most ($4.1 million in compensatory damages).

    Reply
    1. flora

      I don’t like the guy, but the bias you refer to sounds a lot like the pre-judging of Assange in the US press, (and likely the sort of trial Assange would get in the US), imo. A nation of laws or of men? The increase in cancle culture doesn’t bode well.

      Reply
      1. griffen

        We are a nation of laws, mostly for the little folks and the suckers.

        Exhibit 1. Hunter Biden, though I do suppose behaving like an entitled bag of dirt and a sleaze is more amoral than illegal.

        Exhibit 2. The banksters not thrown into prison or even were deigned worthy to attempt prosecution. Thank you Obama, Timmy and AG Holder.

        Reply
        1. Tom Stone

          Lying on a form 4472 to obtain a firearm is a felony, which is emphasized in larger bold print on that form.
          The Fibbies have had Hunter’s laptop since 2019…
          The problem is simple,how do you confine any investigation and trial to just Hunter?
          Appointing a special prosecutor is too risky,there are a lot of creepy crawlies under those rocks.

          Reply
          1. griffen

            I believe most of us who possess a functional brain know the reasons. We’re just not capable to be a serious country, and only then if it suits the preferred agenda to get inclusion in the preferable media spin zone.

            Trump bad, very bad. Biden good, just goodness and light. nothing to see here.

            Reply
      2. Mildred Montana

        >”(and likely the sort of trial Assange would get in the US),”

        Unlike Alex Jones, Julian Assange is smart. Unlike Alex Jones he will never get a trial in open court. He will be tried 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘢, in one of the Star Chambers where suspected terrorists have been tried for twenty years now (conviction rate 99%).

        Reply
      3. ArvidMartensen

        Neither do I. But I have a bit of a theory developing now that his attorney wasn’t actually working for him.
        Because “mistakes” by his attorney sunk Jone’s case, showed him without a shadow of a doubt to be a liar. When alerted to the “mistake” by the prosecution, it sounds like the defense attorney just sat on his hands and allowed the leak to be used by prosecution attorneys.

        Reply
      4. marym

        Alex Jones is a prominent media figure sued by private citizens for lying about the SH massacre, and the consequences to them of the propagation of those lies; and a jury of private citizens is assessing damages. Assange’s case is a criminal prosecution by the government. These don’t seem like similar cases.

        Reply
    2. Pelham

      Re Jones: Does it strike anyone as beyond odd to edge into the category of curiously convenient the fact that Jones’ lawyer “mistakenly” handed a bunch of otherwise protected cellphone content over to the prosecution and, almost immediately, the J6 panel requested the content? (Caution: I’m a conspiracy theorist, but I try to keep my tendencies in check — though perhaps unsuccessfully here.)

      Reply
    3. pstuartb

      “In Texas, there are statutory limits on punitive damages, with a per-defendant cap of two times the amount of economic damages, plus the amount of noneconomic damages found by the jury—the latter part not to exceed $750,000.”

      That same article says the plaintiffs’ lawyers intend to challenge Texas’s punitive damage cap as unconstitutional. The appeal will likely take a couple of years.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-05/alex-jones-ordered-to-pay-extra-45-million-in-punitive-damages

      Reply
      1. Lex

        Some years ago I met one of Pence’s cousins on a job site. The family itself is less Indiana and more Chicago suburbs. Oldish money from the big city, staunchly Roman Catholic. Apparently Mike was considered normal until he went to college and met his wife, for whom he started attending an evangelical church. According to my source, he’s mostly an outcast from the family since he came home from college at one point and told his mom she was going to hell because she’s catholic.

        Reply
        1. Appleseed

          The NYT published a big story in 2016 on MP’s conversion to evangelical Christianity. Pence’s mother-in-law was a customer of my business. She was a liberal Catholic and raised her daughter, Karen, that way. Karen met and married Pence at an Indy liberal Catholic congregation and as far as I can tell, was not a factor in his conversion.

          As for the Pence family money, it came from a gas station chain. The family oil business, Keil Bros. Oil Co., run by Mike’s brother Greg (now, Congressman Pence) failed and left the taxpayers with the bill to clean up 85 toxic sites.

          Reply
        2. Amfortas the hippie

          hes always looked like a walking blueballed hardon, to me.

          tell me you can not see him that way, now,lol.

          Reply
      2. Appleseed

        KD: As Garrison Keillor once put it, Indiana is the only southern state north of the Mason-Dixon line.

        re: flora’s question on how a ballot initiative might fare: We’ll never know. The Indiana General Assembly (IGA) has arranged it so that a referendum like the one in Kansas cannot occur in the Hoosier State. Only “non-binding” questions can be placed on the ballot and only the IGA can amend the Indiana constitution, not “the People.” The Republicans currently have a super-majority in the IGA.

        A choice quote from a legislator who opposed the legislation because it didn’t go far enough. “The body inside of the mom’s body is not her body,” Rep. John Jacob told the local paper. “Let me repeat that: The body inside of the mom’s body is not her body. Not her body, not her choice.” Good to know he lost in the May primary so he will not be serving in the IGA next year. However, over the opposition of the Indiana State Police, he did vote in favor of permitless carry during the last legislative session, which removed the requirement to license firearms.

        It appears the legislation will have negative economic consequences. Indianapolis’ convention business depends on large events like Gen-Con which brings an estimated $65M-$70M in revenue each year. Gen-Con leadership is currently reconsidering the long-term contract it signed with Indy due to the legislation. Economic powerhouse Eli Lilly & Co. issued a statement decrying Indiana’s adoption of “one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.” “While we (Lilly) have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.” Here’s the kicker, “Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

        Expect other large employers like SalesForce, Cummins, Rolls-Royce and other firms to do likewise. Hmm, wonder what Anthem will do?

        After signing the legislation, Governor Eric Holcomb issued a statement that said, in part, “Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life.” So these babies forced to become Hoosiers will be born in a state that has the 9th highest infant mortality rate, the 3rd highest maternal mortality, the 14th highest teen birth rate, and a statewide Women, Infants, and Children benefits program that is so understaffed and backlogged, that vouchers for July haven’t been issued yet.

        Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      The central part of Pennsylvania already got that nickname.

      Indiana may not be Deep South, but it was Copperhead territory during the Civil War, the home of the Grand Wizard of the KKK in the 1920s, and has a long, long Republican tradition. Birch Baye was a historical aberration.

      Reply
    2. Adam Eran

      Worth remembering: when the KKK revived in the ’20s (Thanks in part to the bigotry promoted by D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation…Pioneering film work that was such a big hit it was screened at the Wilson White House) Indiana’s state government was dominated by the Klan, at least until inevitable scandal discredited them.

      Wilson mustered everyone from the Klan to the Methodists to support (anti-German) prohibition. In addition to questioning the patriotism of the German-Americans (Schlitz, Blatz, Budweiser, etc.) Wilson attacked them economically in the run-up to America’s entry into WWI.

      Side note: Hispanic comedienne Cristela Alonzo says she’s going to start a group hating the haters called the “Què Què Què”

      Reply
    3. LawnDart

      There’s a tavern in Lacross, IN, called “Kruger’s Korner Klub,” about 70-miles from downtown Chicago. You can probably guess their prevailing flavor of politics and cultural preferences– let’s say that they’re not exactly fans of racial inclusion.

      Reply
    4. eg

      In 2015 I took my son to an ND football game and was surprised to discover how difficult it was to find a restaurant serving alcohol — I hadn’t encountered such a situation since I had the misfortune to end up in a dry county in Georgia on a Sunday during a motorcycle trip in the early 90s.

      Reply
      1. Laughingsong

        Still cleaning coffee off of my iPad screen after reading that comment….thanks for the huge laugh, TS!

        Reply
  14. Questa Nota

    Trudeau and that ignoring press:

    One outlet is happenstance
    Second one is coincidence
    Third one is enemy action

    Somehow those outlets coordinate. Who is the pulling strings on those journalistic puppeteers?

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Liberal values “pull the strings”. Scapegoats are nothing more than a mythical ritual of externalizing structural responsibility for conditions.

      Reply
    2. wendigo

      The guy bought a pipeline to ensure it gets built.

      He was on a private jet with his family.

      What did the press ignore, he supports oil consumpution and does not wear masks with his family?

      Reply
      1. jrkrideau

        Because a private jet & no masks are silly points. The pipeline is old news. Who knows, the Canadian media may even be reporting real news, instead. Well they might be; one can always hope.

        Reply
      2. Mickey Hickey

        The pipeline had been built and was operating between the oil sources in Alberta and salt water in British Columbia. The US decided to import less oil from Alberta so Justin Trudeau authorised and funded expansion of the existing pipeline to allow export of oil internationally. In Canada it was a very hot political potato and he handled it quite well.

        Reply
  15. Tom Stone

    It looks like the Monkeypox response will shred any remnants of credibility or trust that the CDC still has.
    In a country where IdPol and Image reign it’s going to be real interesting to see how a prominent woman will react to having a badly scarred face.
    AOC,Maria Bartiromo, Maddow, Michelle or Melania…TV personalities, it’s a long list.
    How about when it hits the kids in tony private schools in Atherton, or (Donors forbid!) Sidwell friends school?
    Yes, Covid kills and leaves people crippled for life,but it doesn’t make them ugly.
    And looking bad is NOT acceptable to those that matter (Or think they do) here in the good old USA.

    .

    Reply
    1. jr

      Yeah, you hit on this early and I agree it’s going to be a thing. I’ve overhead some PMC ladies discussing the threat of scarring in horrified tones just recently. These are women who have all had COVID but only recently began to demonstrate some grasp of the ramifications of long COVID. They are definitely not behind the ball regarding their appearance.

      I suspect the monkeypox scarring will, as so much else, become a class marker where the better-offs have the scars removed or toned down while the poors will bear them outright. Television and movies casts will feature some scarred characters along with the token obese or non-binary ones but the primary characters will be scar free. One more flag for the chimps to reinforce their hierarchies with.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Foreign warships to send 90-day notice to Russia to travel along Northern Sea Route — bill”

    Sounds like the Russians are playing hardsky-ballsky here. The US Navy said a coupla years ago that they are going to go back to the Arctic and dominate it or something. Doing stuff like running in multi-ship patrols to these regions. But the Northern Sea Route skims the Russian coastline and they are not about to let the US Navy do Freedom of Navigation operations without contesting it. Not anymore. Not after the Ukraine. I would not be surprised to see a few ships bang their hulls together like in the old days of Cold War One.

    I wonder how Canadians might feel about this as they have a dog in this fight too. They have a few disputes with places like the Northwest Passage and the US Navy runs Freedom of Navigation operations there as well. In fact-

    ‘Canada has a number of Arctic maritime disputes, most notably with the United States over the status of the Northwest Passage and whether they are internal waters conferring full sovereignty as Ottawa asserts or are an international strait sanctioning transit rights for foreign vessels as Washington argues.’

    https://www.hilltimes.com/2019/05/27/canadas-emerging-freedom-of-navigation-conundrum/200949

    Reply
      1. rowlf

        Always a classic: Canada, it’s like living in a great apartment, right above a meth lab.

        Maybe the US has been reduced to meth lab foreign policy. I cannot see any reason for China and Russia to try to communicate to the US anymore.

        Reply
        1. digi_owl

          Well we should not forget that Canada has been unusually aggressive when it comes to the whole Ukraine situation.

          Reply
          1. eg

            As I understand it, that’s partly a function of a large Ukrainian-Canadian population, especially in Western Canada.

            Reply
  17. fresno dan

    How the Elites Use Identity Politics to Wage Class War CounterPunch (resilc)
    from the article: Or say a young progressive congresswoman like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez goes to Washington, having campaigned on Medicare For All and a Green New Deal. But well, there’s House speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the new congresswoman soon learns that it’s “my way or the highway” with centrist Dems. And so, before too long, she’s voting for billions of dollars for military aid to Ukraine, which also happens to enrich puissant defense contractors. And then maybe she yammers about freedom in Taiwan, as the military industrial complex expects her to do, while subsidized health care and the climate catastrophe slip ever further into the shadows. So what’s left? She stays passionate when it comes to bathrooms and the latest me-too tumult, but really, look at the priorities here. They seem to be that she can continue to flaunt her leftwing bona fides while ignoring other issues that just so happen to be life and death matters. And not just ignoring. In the case of Washington’s potentially globally lethal proxy war in Ukraine, she chooses the side of mass death over screaming for peace negotiations, which was, after all, the sort of thing she was elected for.
    ============================================
    We have a simulacrum of the left, ineffective, but provides a boogeyman for the rich…

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      addendum
      and so does pretending that the first Black president was anything other than a tool of the billionaire oligarchy. The elites have “a big [slightly diverse] club,” as comedian George Carlin said, “and you ain’t in it!” And you ain’t in it for one main, rock-solid reason: you belong to the wrong class.

      Reply
  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Prescription drug prices are high. Can the new Senate bill lower them? Grid.

    Why are Democrats trying to add insulin to the new bill? Insulin is currently excluded from the Manchin-Schumer bill, but some Democrats have mounted a last-minute push to change that.

    Who in the world writes this stupid stuff?

    schumer and manchin are “democrats.” “democrats” are not covid testing so all 50–actually 48 plus 2 “independents”–will show up to vote yes. kamala harris, who will cast a vote to break the tie, is a “democrat.”

    “democrat” manchin got his anti-climate change fossil fuels included and “democrat” sinema got to protect her billionaire private equity owners.

    This entire fiasco is a “democrat” midterm campaign hail mary, and all some “democrats” can do is “try” to resolve one of the country’s biggest current healthcare crises?

    As far as I’m concerned, if insulin is not at the top of the drug-price-reduction list, this grand triumph of biden’s “agenda” should be taken for what it is–a reason never to vote for a “democrat” again.

    Reply
  19. flora

    Glenn Greenwald on the Cheney’s:

    And here’s the part of the discussion on *why* the Cheneys — with the Bushes — hate Trump so much. It’s not because they’re noble patriots who cherish the rule of law (😱).

    It’s because Trump ran – and won – denouncing their neoconservative worldview, now the Dem worldview:

    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1555913184787267586

    and

    BabylonBee’s ‘report’:

    ‘Never Has America Faced A Greater Threat Than Donald Trump,’ Says Guy Who Started Two Wars And Shot A Dude In The Face
    Politics · Aug 5, 2022 · BabylonBee.com

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      IMO Darth Cheney was all about the Deep State…who remembers Total Information Awareness…
      whose first job was apparently to deny it’s own existence…
      of course we know how that worked out and mr hopey changey certainly put the kibosh on said non program…didn’t he!

      https://www.computerworld.com/article/2472681/shocker–nsa-chief-denies-total-information-awareness-spying-on-americans.html

      Trump completely botched the global control fraud and the global control fraudsters like darth cheney will never ever forgive him. All I can say is the republicans in 2016 were a clown show, and unsurprisingly they elected a clown who didn’t get the memo, maybe he couldn’t read it for all I know, but he unknowingly did a bunch of things I liked even if I thought his clown act was dumb. TPP by itself gets my unqualified gratitude.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…unsurprisingly they elected a clown who didn’t get the memo…… but he unknowingly did a bunch of things I liked even if I thought his clown act was dumb. TPP by itself gets my unqualified gratitude.”

        yeah, me too.
        and it got our betters all in a lather and shit, too.
        governing the nation for its citizens is way down on the list, these days.

        frell them all

        i was, a moment ago, microdosing shrooms, and naked in the first rain in 2 months, out here at the Wilderness Bar.

        rain stopped…shrooms didn’t

        Reply
    2. griffen

      I just love the Bee lately, typically on point when it gets to politics anyway. That was a good wrap video in the tweet (and thankful to my deprived brain, not a lengthy one). Nicely sums it up.

      No fan of Trump, but these forever wars in the middle East got started with that pernicious evil man, Cheney, leading Bush along by the hand. Let’s funnel a few USD trillions into the MIC and make no bother while our electricity grid and national infrastructures are ignored. Oh, and frack the homeless and poor who lack their very own bootstraps. An awful human is Dick Cheney.

      Reply
    3. spud

      it is the dem world view also.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47722.htm

      “An additional step has been taken with military preparations against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador following Mexico, Colombia and British Guyana. The team responsible for co-ordinating these measures is from the former Office of Global Democracy Strategy.

      This was a unit established by President Bill Clinton, then continued by Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz. Mike Pompeo, the current director of the CIA, has confirmed that this unit exists. This has led to rumours in the press, followed up by President Trump, of a US military option.”

      old Joe is just adhering to Bill Clintons well established policies of making sure the world is safe for free trade.

      https://thediplomat.com/2014/12/aircraft-carriers-in-the-taiwan-strait/

      “Memories from 1996 – when Chinese missile tests in the strait prompted U.S. President Bill Clinton to order two fully armed carrier battle groups to pass through the Taiwan Strait – have shaped the strategic operational codes of the Chinese military and the Central Politburo.

      ”https://jacobin.com/2022/07/free-market-neoliberalism-state-intervention-socialism

      “Neoliberal politicians like Bill Clinton presented globalization as “the economic equivalent of a force of nature, like wind or water” that it would be stupid to try to reverse.”

      “Barack Obama in 2016 framed it in similar terms as “a fact of nature.

      Politics was presented as the management of the necessity of globalization, with economic decisions limited to those acceptable to international investors, with some sections of the moderate and soft left broadly accepting these ideological premises.”there is no confusion about this period. the people who came to power in 1993 are not imperialists, imperialism through out history there has always been some give and take, many losers, but not always blowouts of other countries. the people who came to power in 1993 are not imperialists, they are fascists. under fascism whats mine is mine, whats yours is mine, and there will be no discussions period. they are the hammer, everything else is a nail.”

      when you understand this, then you can see why there was NAFTA and letting china into the W.T.O.and above all, white supremacy. that is why they thought it was safe to let china in, but they are to stupid to understand what they did, it ended their reign of terror.

      china and russia are not sub human as the free traders thought they were.

      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-bill-clinton-legacy_b_106089

      “Free trade, democracy promotion, and the use of force to uphold global norms comprised the core of Bill Clinton’s foreign policy – and they remain the central ideas of today’s Democratic foreign policy establishment.”when bill clinton signed nafta, destroyed GATT and replaced it with the W.T.O., then let china in, was the equivalent of hitlers operation

      Barbarossa.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa

      hitler never attempted peace with the soviet union when it became apparent he would lose, because he viewed them as sub humans, and what was theirs, was really his.

      once you understand this, then you can understand what appears to be irrational.

      i cannot think of one thing the bill clinton democrats have done since 1993, that is not blowing back on us.

      Reply
  20. Michael Ismoe

    Prescription drug prices are high. Can the new Senate bill lower them?
    100 bil over ten yearzzzzzzzz?

    That’s all of $10 billion a year – maybe the next time, Zelensky can negotiate for our side? He got $55 billion without even asking.

    Reply
  21. Michael King

    Re: Trudeau’s Costa Rica trip. You bet he is a hypocrite about climate disruption, feminism, etc. etc. but this is a cheap shot and indicative about what is happening in Canadian political discourse. Trudeau is the Prime Minister and is required to travel on Canadian government aircraft. This is not a private jet. The story has been all over the MSM here. Rebel Media makes FOX look like NPR. Unfortunate to see them on our beloved NC.
    https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/author/robynurback/
    https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/news-source/national-observer/

    Reply
    1. cfraenkel

      What’s the standard line – Canada looks like the US ten years ago? Sadly, the corp media here has learned all the wrong lessons from FOX / CNN / MSNBC. Even CBC is becoming unwatchable.

      Reply
      1. Mildred Montana

        >”Even CBC is becoming unwatchable.”

        And CBC Radio is becoming unlistenable. (I’m a Canadian by the way.)

        Reply
    2. Some Guy

      Yeah, ideally NC exists to counter that kind of wrecker media crap, not amplify it – any uncritical regurgitation of rebel media is as if Canada is an ice sculpture and you just carved your own tiny nick into it, but with so many links every day, stuff like that is going to happen, so I guess that is what the comments are for.

      The Prime Minster went on vacation with his family, wow, big story.

      Meanwhile, back in the world of things that actually should be news, the government’s biggest failure continues to be in not working hard enough to get more housing built.

      Reply
      1. griffen

        Well it is interesting. It can also be categorized as a dog bites man story. Husband takes wife and kids on a vacation, but he isn’t Clark Griswold and they are not visiting cousin Eddie or going to Wally World.

        Just did a search using First name Last name + Costa Rica. The interwebs pops up all kinds of varied angles to this hiatus from his day job. It is kinda lame to defend him, no? Not everyone has access to private aircraft, government owned or otherwise, and can avoid the infinite hell that air travel has become in 2022 (or so I read it that way).

        He is in the spotlight. This will draw criticism and antagonistic viewpoints.

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        I’m afraid you have misread the Headline here. The actual Headline is “Canadian Prime Minister is a Big F’ing Hypocrite.”
        The sub-text is the new Standard Operating Program for politics in the New World: Neo-liberal Word Play. As for the housing problem, well, trust us, the neo-libs have a private public partnership plan ready to ‘disrupt’ the housing market. Trickle down will do the rest.
        We may differ here, but my definition of “wrecker media crap” is “muckraking,” an old and honourable profession.

        Reply
  22. Carolinian

    Re the Taiwan Policy Act–as a South Carolinian I would just like to extend our sincere apologies for inflicting Lindsey Graham on the rest of the country and pin much of the blame on our status as a virtual one party state. Here’s hoping that other strange phantasm, Nikki Haley, is stopped in her tracks before getting too far in her quest for prez.

    That said, what’s New Jersey’s excuse (Menendez) or California’s (Pelosi)? Maybe it’s DC that is the one party state…

    Reply
    1. griffen

      It could always be worse! My native state of North Carolina gave us Jesse Helms. I was far too young to understand just what he exemplified to others. I also feel that Nikki’s reach for the brass ring will exceed her grasp.

      Unless Nikki has an inner Gollum and will do anything to grab the prize as her own, her precious.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Mississippi gave to the world, Bilbo.
        A very distant relation to someone or other in the Shire. Some say he was from the South Farthing, specifically the Delta of the Brandywine River. Accounts differ. It was all in a time long ago, during the Age of Moonlight and Magnolia.
        Bilbo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_G._Bilbo
        To Carolinian’s point; I follow Vidal’s point that America, (the Western lands that the elves sail off to eventually?) is a State having One Party with two Right Wings.

        Reply
    2. JBird4049

      >>>That said, what’s New Jersey’s excuse (Menendez) or California’s (Pelosi)?

      The California Republican Party gave us Pelosi, Harris, and Newsom. The Republicans here looks to have become insane before the rest of the national party, which leaves voters the choice between vacuous corruption (the Democrats) or insanity flavored corruption.

      From seeing it as it happened, I think that the rightward drift into xenophobic anti communist(or the left or of liberals) hysterical insanity of the national party amplified the battiness of the state party, which made it lose members and influence in the legislature. This drove out the sane conservatives and further weakened the party making it more attractive to the more fringe members, which drove out more average conservatives and further weakened the party…

      Reply
  23. Mark Gisleson

    I got my personalized elect your local D to Congress postcard today. As has been described here before, handwritten using four different colored markers and a ballpoint for the mailing address (to: World’s Best Voter).

    I looked at it under the USB microscope and appears to be handwritten or extremely well faked. I suppose you could use porous paper and ink that would bleed slightly to create the same effect but if I were an evil political mastermind and I had access to robo-signing equipment (seems to be a lot more choices than when Nixon started using them) I’d try doing some of these postcards. I’d almost certainly realize they were too perfect to pass muster.

    The “genius” in these is switching ink colors repeatedly. It keeps you from realizing how perfect the script is (and these may well be printed, I didn’t have a USB microscope to play with back when I worked with documents). The idiocy in this strategy is that the geniuses seem to think that people in fly-over country snap to attention when they see the (in my case) “Gail from NY” signature.

    They truly do not know what they’re doing in this or any other regard.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Wait a minute. They couldn’t even recruit volunteers to hand-write these postcards?

      Back in late 2019, I volunteered to do that very thing for the Bernie Sanders campaign. I even offered to host a “Postcards for Bernie” party at the Arizona Slim Ranch.

      Welp, no one showed up. So, I had to write those danged postcards myself, and I did.

      Fortunately, the Sanders campaign paid the postage to the mailshop, where the cards were addressed and sent to voters in Iowa.

      Reply
  24. spud

    the STUUUPID socialists back stopped TRUE DOUGH, i am sure they will pay dearly the next election. when will the brain dead left figure out neo-liberals are far worse than the conservatives. i bet sanders and corbyn have yet to figure that out.

    that jet pic should be a winner for the conservatives next election.

    Reply
    1. eg

      Federal elections in Canada are not the sort of place where terribly attractive options present themselves. The Conservatives are straight up “The Oil Party.” That the NDP has propped up the Liberals in exchange for expanded dental care and a foot in the door for pharmacare is kind of a win under the circumstances, provided that those programs actually come to fruition.

      Reply
  25. R. lowrey

    Re Bezos’ yacht: I remember a Little Rascals episode wherein the older boys were building a go-cart and wouldn’t let the young’uns help, shooing them away when they wanted to point out that the gig was too big to get through the door … so they did what the bozo suggested and destroyed the structure to get their I’ll-conceived concoction out.

    Reply
  26. fresno dan

    https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2022/08/06/glenn-greenwald-goes-to-town-on-why-dick-and-liz-cheney-hate-trump-so-much-n608013
    But journalist Glenn Greenwald had a great question about all this: why do the Cheneys hate Trump so? What’s the point of this animosity? Why are they willing to throw in with the Democrats to act like this? The answer is a simple one. As Greenwald observes, Trump came in fighting the neocons, calling out the Bush/Cheney worldview and Jeb!, who the Republicans wanted to win in 2016. He came in talking about wanting to end foreign wars and the things that sustain the security state.
    ==========================================
    politics makes strange bedfellows.
    Of course, we are in poor, poor shape if the best peacenik we can come up with is Trump.

    Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > Of course, we are in poor, poor shape if the best peacenik we can come up with is Trump.

      … and yet, here we are.

      Reply
  27. fresno dan

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-The-West-Is-Easing-Its-Sanctions-On-Russia.html

    If you ask a random EU official if the bloc should continue trying to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, you will invariably get a positive answer. The sanction potential is reaching its end, but this is no reason for the EU to relieve the pressure, that official will say, as many have in conversations with the media. And yet, the EU has quietly begun to unwind its sanctions against Moscow.

    It must have dawned on EU, UK, and U.S. policymakers that sanctioning Russia would not be as easy as sanctioning a smaller oil exporter, especially if this oil exporter also exports a lot of other vital stuff, such as food and fertilizers.

    The U.S. even issued a fact sheet to clarify that its sanctions do not target Russian fertilizer exports, or, indeed, agricultural product exports. And this while Amos Hochstein said that “Their economy has nothing else. They produce weapons and they produce and they drill for oil and gas.”

    It appears that ‘their economy” has at the very least a lot of fertilizers and agricultural produce that serves to feed people outside Russia as well, and that’s without mentioning the metals, too. As for the oil, it seems pretty critical as well: nothing short of critical would force the EU, the UK, and the U.S. to loosen the sanction noose.
    ===================================
    Herbert Stein: if something is inevitable, it will happen.
    What is so appalling is that there is so little consequence to such obviously foolish, foolish decisions…

    Reply
  28. jr

    re: identity politics

    “But then alternatively, Taiwo asks, is identity politics “as embodied in critical race theory, a dangerous ideology and threat to the established order that the powers that be aim to stamp out?”

    The quick answers: no and no. Any revolutionary ideology that doesn’t privilege material concerns over questions of identity is leaving itself open to be wielded as a weapon of divisiveness. You can gather all the blackness or queerness or Asian-ness or women-ness unto yourself but you haven’t taken a single thing from the parasites. They still hold the means of production and therefore the levers of power. And the established order hasn’t been stamping out CRT, they have embraced it’s broad outlines and waved it as a flag of moral righteousness. When they pay attention to it, that is. They do spend a lot of time and money trying to stamp out class consciousness and solidarity. That’s how you know it’s the real threat to them.

    Reply
  29. ChrisRUEcon

    #RusssianSMO

    Thanks to the #DoomScroll, I’ve been recently made aware of a UNHCR report which asserts that the country taking the most recorded border crossings from Ukraine iiiizzzzzzzzz …

    ::envelope please::

    RUSSIA

    Yep … gonna escape all that “Russian Tyranny” by going to Russia. I know, I know … people will say, “Well, those must all be ‘Russian speakers’ or the ‘culturally Russian’ … ” or whatever nonsense. However it still stands as a counter to western narratives.

    Ukraine Refugee Situation (via UNHCR)

    Reply
    1. Stephen

      You see and hear claims by some people in the UK that they were forced to go there. You then point out that the DPR / LPR / new Odessa Battalion guys are virtually all Ukrainian. That leads to claims that Putin “press ganged” them all.

      The level of sheer delusion and brainwashing (especially in the UK) is amongst the highest I have ever seen. So few people seem to understand that this is in large part a civil war.

      “Stand with Ukraine”. Which Ukrainians do people mean? The civilians in the east who are suffering, the poor soldiers who are fighting on both sides or the elites who are driving around Europe in luxury SUVs.

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > “Stand with Ukraine”. Which Ukrainians do people mean? The civilians in the east who are suffering, the poor soldiers who are fighting on both sides or the elites who are driving around Europe in luxury SUVs.

        Exactly. I’d like to see “Stand With Ukraine” mean getting rid of the Zelensky Junta … :)

        Reply
      2. Old Sovietologist

        “Stand with Ukraine”. Which Ukrainians do people mean? The civilians in the east who are suffering, the poor soldiers who are fighting on both sides or the elites who are driving around Europe in luxury SUVs”.

        A great comment.

        Yes, the UK is world leading when it comes to the brainwashing of its population. Mind you that will quickly change come the winter.

        Reply
      3. Revenant

        We had a Ukrainian car (High end Japanese) in the queue next to us. For the overnight ferry from Ireland to France! That’s a circuitous way of seeking refuge. Looks more like a holiday to me. Drivers were two men of conscriptable age (30-49 but Z will rake anyone who can fog a mirror).

        Reply
    2. ChrisRUEcon

      #DoctorowTripReport

      This is great. So many wonderful tidbits!

      +1 and ::chortle:: to “Zelensky junta”
      • RE: “… the clear intent to incorporate all of them into the Russian Federation”
          ° I think Yves herself wondered aloud on here what the uptake would be on Ukrainians getting Russian
      passports and so on. Looks like Doctorow is providing an answer – as many as 10M.
      • We also have more confirmation that Russian cheese “import substitution” is doing the business!
      • Another chuckle at “Finns were crossing into Russia to fill up with cheap gasoline.”
      • #Nitpick at the end where Doctorow writes:

      “Taken all together, it spells the end of US-European global domination. And to whom do we owe this very promising reordering of the global landscape? To Putin and the ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine.”

      … well perhaps, but whom can we thank for goading Russia into the SMO?! ;-)

      Спасиьо, Ьайден а Ьлинкен!

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Last night on the TV news I saw most of a report by this British guy on the ground in the Ukraine. He was next to this really muddy area where cars were either going to the soon-to-be occupied regions by the Russians and the rest of Ukraine in the east. I didn’t catch all of it but it sounded like a lot were going wet rather than east and he pathetically finished the report by wondering why the Russians were stopping cars headed east.

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        If you didn’t specify “TV News”, I might have thought you meant Patrick Lancaster (via YouTube) … unless he’s getting play on TV News channels down there. I suspect it depends where the “muddy area” is … the UNHCR report does show a considerable number of individuals crossing into Poland as the next highest destination. The siren song of the west is strong, what with its celebrity emissaries and such – we’ll just have to wait for the final shakedown.

        Reply
  30. MarkT

    Many thanks for the fantastic supercell photo, from your local thunderstorm forecaster ;) (I’m not on Twitter)

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Been trying to think that that cloud photo looks like and I think that I have it. In paintings from centuries ago with religious themes, you kinda had these types of clouds as well. So I would suppose that artists from hundreds of years ago might see a combination of cloud and lighting like this and put it down in paint as part of their artwork.

      Reply
  31. Mackie

    Turns out sending vice president Harris over to Ukraine to urge them to join NATO was a really bad idea.

    Say, haven’t heard much from her lately.

    Wonder where this National Embarrassment will be in 3 years? Probably running a non-profit for colored girls when the rainbow isn’t enuff?

    Reply
  32. Mike Hampton

    Regards ‘New Not-So-Cold War’ section, do you read Sergey Alekshenko’s blog. Here are excerpts from his latest post:

    To force banks to get rid of unfriendly currencies, the Bank of Russia intends to set higher risk ratios for foreign currency loans and securities for assets denominated in unfriendly currencies. Thus, the Bank of Russia wants to set higher reservation levels for deposits in unfriendly currencies to reduce the share of foreign exchange on both sides of banks’ balance sheets, assets, and liabilities (that is called deforeignization).

    Sberbank customers bought 10.9 tons of gold bullion in five months. In mid-April, VTB reported the sale of 2 tons of gold bullion to customers, but the bank did not disclose more recent data. Promsvyazbank, over the past four months, has sold 1 ton of gold bullion.

    The Russian authorities have cheerfully reported that the worst time for the passenger car market is over: After production dropped 33 times in May, the situation improved in June—the drop was only 11 times. Moreover, they claim that from June to July, sales of new cars grew slowly after the catastrophic fall in May (minus 83.5% by May 2021). However, the experts claim that half of the sales growth is concentrated in the segment of super-cheap cars produced by state-owned AvtoVAZ. The increase in demand is related to the launch of the program of subsidizing car loans initiated by the Ministry of Industry.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The handle of that linked site is an admission to a strong point of view.

      Cars were expected to be the most difficult category for Russia to make substitutions. But China is expected to sell a lot more cars in Russia and Russia also got Renault production assets. But this will take a while to turn around.

      Reply
      1. Mike Hampton

        If I recall correctly, he’s the ex-deputy to Russia’s central bank. His lack of bias is refreshing.

        I’m not a fan of nationalism but the caveat is independent production of a nation’s needs.If more countries become self-sufficient, the long-term gain will supersede the current disaster. My own country, which has the potential to be one of the richest, exports its best whilst importing subsidised products. It’s likely a century of gold reserves are gone but we cannot know our honest situation because our Reserve Bank doesn’t allow independent audits. A dent in that type of globalisation would be welcomed. Though its more likely that the superpowers will become more self-sufficient, and we’ll continue to sway in their flatulence.

        Reply
      2. Mike Hampton

        If I recall, he’s the ex-deputy for the central bank of Russia. He offers a unique view that’s free of bias.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          OK, you have just convinced me you are a troll. I was suspicious when you asserted you South African (everybody is from somewhere) and made statements about riots in “your city” which links to a video fro Alexandria (SA) and SA statistics when you IP locate as in the Netherlands. You are not currently in SA when you represented the reverse..

          On the thread at hand, first, no one is free of bias, particularly a former central banker. They are all montetarists.

          Second, your pet central banker was in that position during the peak looking years under Yeltsin. He was on the payroll of the Moscow Carnegie Foundation, which is as anti the current government as you can get. Also affiliated with Brookings and Harvard, who in the words of Scott Ritter, has a department of Putin-hating studies.

          And from 2015-2020, advised multiple ministries of the Government of Ukraine. Scroll to the end:

          https://daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu/about/people/sergey-aleksashenko

          His tweets are flagrantly biased:

          https://twitter.com/Saleksashenko

          And aside from agnotology, you also link-whored (linked to your site from our comments section), another violation of our written site Policies.

          I’m not being played by you. Have a nice life.

          Reply
          1. Duke of Prunes

            Thanks for the sluething… although that last comment about being free from bias because he’s a former central banker had me really wondering about what kind of person could say that with a strait face

            Reply
  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    Beau of the Fifth Column has made a health-advisory video in the spirit of a public service announcement about polio in New York State. The New York State health authorities are concerned about it and have said so. They seem to be acting in a pro public health kind of way. He titles this video ” Lets talk about an important message from New York . . . ” Here is the link.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7QJqRsTzxA

    Reply

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