Links 8/7/2022

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.


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.

* * *

French Scientist’s Photo of ‘Distant Star’ Was Actually Chorizo Vice (J-LS)

Leopard crashes into house and rescued Daily Mirror (SBK)

France whale: Lost mammal stuck in River Seine to get vitamin boost BBC

The consciousness of bees Washington Post (furzy)

At Long Last, Mathematical Proof That Black Holes Are Stable Qanta Magazine

Earth Is Spinning Faster Now Than It Was 50 Years Ago Discover (Dr Kevin)

Solar power opens the door to banking for rural Indians Thomson Reuters Foundation (J-LS)

Streaming Is a Black Hole of Financial Loss The Bulwark (furzy)


Persistence of somatic symptoms after COVID-19 in the Netherlands: an observational cohort study The Lancet


Implications Of Monkeypox Being Declared A Public Health Emergency In U.S. Forbes

Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox CDC. I hope IM Doc weighs in. Whatever you think of the narrow usefulnesses, “advice” like this (as in the headline!) reinforces the idea that monkeypox is a de facto STD. This looks as if the CDC is setting up gays for blame for its failures.

A Stranger Filmed Her on the Train. TikTok Users Decided She Had Monkeypox. New York Times


Nothing left in the pipes’: Europe tackles unprecedented water shortages as heatwave rages Euronews (furzy)

Drought may force nuclear power production cut Associated Press. Re France.

France creates task force to stem impact of ‘historic’ drought France24 (resilc)

No-till may not be the agricultural panacea we thought it was (furzy)


The U.S. made a breakthrough battery discovery — then gave the technology to China NPR (resilc)

How much does Taiwan depend on China? DW (resilc)

Pelosi Aftermath

Taiwan accuses China of simulating invasion as US relations nosedive Firstpost (J-LS)

We Shouldn’t Underestimate the Incredible Danger Posed by the Taiwan Crisis Jacobin (Tom H)

Blinken chides China’s ‘irresponsible’ cut in US communication Al Jazeera (resilc)

GT Voice: US economy to pay for graduation trip by ‘god of stocks of Capitol Hill’ Global Times (DS)

Myanmar junta raps ‘provocative’ Pelosi visit to Taiwan Mizzima

Somalia supports China amid rising tensions on Taiwan Anadolu Agency

Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and the limits of American strategy Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Amid India’s Pressure, Sri Lanka Urges China to Defer Visit of its Ship to Hambantota: Report The Wire

Old Blighty

Inside London’s Struggle to Wean Itself From Russian Billions Vanity Fair (resilc)

Energy Bills Are Set To Soar In The UK OilPrice (resilc)

The people about to choose Britain’s next prime minister The Economist

When whistleblowers go to prison, we’re on the road to tyranny Salon

Australian Prime Minister Albanese refuses to meet with Assange’s family WSWS

New Not-So-Cold War

Exclusive: U.S. readies new $1 billion Ukraine weapons package Reuters (resilc)

Turkey, Russia agree to trade in rubles — Erdogan TASS and Turkish Banks Are Adopting Russian Payments System, Erdogan Says Bloomberg

Alarm mounts in western capitals over Turkey’s deepening ties with Russia Financial Times. The West has lost its mind:

Western capitals are increasingly alarmed about the deepening economic co-operation between Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, warning of the mounting risk that the Nato member state could be hit by punitive retaliation if it helps Russia avoid sanctions.

Note Turkey has been snubbed by the EU and by Western arms makers. From DefenseNews last October:

Challenging Western sanctions, NATO ally Turkey has pledged to further its defense industry cooperation with Russia, including fighter jet and aircraft engine technologies, a second batch of S-400 air defense systems, and submarines….

In an interview with CBS show “Face the Nation,” Erdogan said America’s refusal to both deliver F-35 fighter jets — which Turkey agreed to purchase — and sell Patriot air defense missiles gave Turkey no choice but to turn to Russia for the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system. The acquisition was a point of contention between Turkey and NATO during the Trump administration, and that sentiment has carried over to the new administration.

Now I see why Alexander Mercouris floated the idea that Turkey could depart NATO (not immediately, but the idea seemed impossible heretofore) and that the West will be trying (harder) to oust Ergogan

“After the confiscation of property of the Russian Federation”: the Federation Council said that Ukraine has ceased to be safe for gas transit RT. Original: «После конфискации собственности РФ»: в Совфеде заявили, что Украина перестала быть безопасной для транзита газа. Recall the discussion at NC of the pervasive political and press silence about the role of the Yamal-Europe pipeline as part of Europe’s gas woes (map here). Yamal-Europe carried 33-34 billion cubic meters of gas annually v. 55 billion cubic meters for Nord Stream 1 at full capacity. Ukraine cut off the supply on its leg of Yamal-Europe, on the pretext that it ran through Russian controlled territory, when that had been true for months. Poland refused to pay for gas in roubles, so Russia cut off their volume. So the Russian announcement is tantamount to make the closure of the leg of Yamal-Europe through Ukraine permanent (conceivably the West could have beaten up on Ukraine to stop blocking supply so the EU could get more gas, but no longer).

Academic research institute director Alexander Shiplyuk arrested on high treason charges TASS

Has the Ukraine Conflict Driven U.S. Government Officials Crazy? CovertAction Magazine (resilc)


After years of hostility, Turkey forges ties with eastern Libya Al-Monitor

Israel preparing for a week-long Gaza operation: Army Mint

Bladed ‘Ninja’ missile decapitated al-Qaeda’s head Asia Times (resilc)

Zawahiri’s killing unlikely to weaken al-Qaida significantly The Guardian (resilc)

World Bank blames Lebanon for ‘deliberate’ economic crisis Al-Monitor (furzy)


ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar warns on further executions AP

Imperial Collapse Watch

Philippines Will Not Rejoin International Criminal Court, Marcos Says The Diplomat

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Officer of the Future: Facial Recognition and the Border-Industrial Complex CounterPunch

Israel Police’s Pegasus Spyware Prototype Revealed Haaretz

State Legislatures Are Torching Democracy New Yorker (furzy)

It’s Hard To Win A Senate Race When You’ve Never Won An Election Before FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

US library defunded after refusing to censor LGBTQ authors: ‘We will not ban the books’ Guardian


Florida Governor DeSantis sacks elected state prosecutor for speaking out against anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ legislation WSWS

The Bezzle

Another court case fails to unlock the mystery of bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto The Guardian

Indie devs outraged by unlicensed game sales on GameStop’s NFT market [Updated] Ars Technica

FTX-Backed PACs Expand the Crypto Lobby in Congress The Intercept

Private equity units at buyout firms contract as financial markets tumble Financial Times

US Airlines Are Cancelling Thousands of Flights CNN

Guillotine Watch

Balenciaga is selling an $1,800 trash bag that ‘looks exactly like a Hefty bag you’d use in your kitchen’ Business Insider

Class Warfare

The White House’s Plan to Stem Migration Protects Corporate Profits—Not People In These Times

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Sardonia

    With Liz Cheney leading the Republican effort to destroy Donald Trump, I’m imagining him popping over to her daddy Dick Cheney’s house, just to see if she’s around, and when not finding her there, deciding to serenade Dick with an update of an old Herman’s Hermits tune:

    Mr. Dick you’ve got an ugly daughter
    Girly sharks like her are something rare
    But it’s sad. She doesn’t love me now
    She’s made it clear enough; it ain’t no good to pine

    I hoped she’d be home and that I’d caught her
    I’ve a little gift I’d like to share
    Things have changed. She doesn’t love me now
    She’s made it clear enough; it ain’t no good to pine

    Walking about; might call it a stalk
    I’ll pick her out; got a jab of…Novichok

    If she finds that I’ve been ‘round to see you
    Tell her that I’m well and feelin’ fine
    Don’t let on. Don’t say she broke my heart
    I’ll find her soon enough; there ain’t no use to pine

    Walking about; might call it a stalk
    I’ll pick her out; got a jab of…Novichok

    If she finds that I’ve been ‘round to see you
    Tell her that I’m well and feelin’ fine
    Don’t let on. Don’t say she broke my heart
    I’ll find her soon enough; there ain’t no use to pine

    Mr. Dick you’ve got an ugly daughter
    Mr. Dick you’ve got an ugly daughter
    Mr. Dick you’ve got an ugly daughter

    Live version! –

        1. Yves Smith

          After Trump being called “short fingered vulgarian” and Buttigieg being ridiculed for his lack of height and passing resemblance to Alfred E. Neuman? How about equal opportunity ridicule? I’ve been on the receiving end, many times, of way worse in the way of appearance attacks, and all dished out by women.

          Fat people are also ridiculed cruelly on a regular basis but the woke police have no problem with that.

          So yes, it’s all bad, but the bias in the policing is noteworthy.

          1. LawnDart

            That was my take too– an ugly soul. But then, I’ve been known to read too deeply into things.

              1. Michael Ismoe

                All this concern over poor Liz. She will end up somewhere in Brandon’s Administration until she quits and secures 2% of the votes in the Republican primaries in 2024 after which she becomes Rachel Maddow’s replacement on MSNBC. She’ll be fine – ugly soul and all.

                A female David Frum. Scumbags come in both/all/every gender.

        2. jr

          Really? Insulting one (scumbag politico) woman equals misogyny? Have you ever used the word “crazy” to describe someone? If so, do you consider yourself a bigot? Smacks of liberal moral posturing to me…

        3. Lexx

          ‘sardonic’: grimly mocking or cynical; disdainfully or skeptically humorous; humorous in an unkind way that shows you do not respect someone or something; characterized by bitter or scornful derision; sneering.

          Sardonia is imagining what Trump’s ditty might sound like. He has a fairly cookie-cutter notion of female beauty; he owned the Miss Universe pageant for 19 years, until his mouth began to catch up with him.

          Each and every female member of his family will happily tell you (some have spoken on camera) what the consequences would be to them if they didn’t constantly look ‘their best’ in his presence. Narcissists tend to take the appearance of others personally, where their opinions are expected to be taken as facts.

          Interesting, and to Yves point… the most misogynistic people I have known were all women, with just a few men here and there.

        4. britzklieg

          She was such an ugly baby her daddy used to feed her with a slingshot (apologies to R. Dangerfield).

          1. Sardonia

            “I was ugly, very ugly. When I was born the doctor slapped my mother” – R. Dangerfield

  2. Robert Gray

    Re: Nothing left in the pipes’: Europe tackles unprecedented water shortages as heatwave rages

    From the article:

    > Some regions of the Netherlands, the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter after the United States …

    Wow. I for one never would have guessed that.

    1. Yves Smith

      They somewhat fudge. The biggest sub-category is horticulture, which includes flowers. Flower exports exceed $10 billion. Horticulture is 12 billion euros

      This also puts the Netherlands as #2, but at $79 billion, with Germany at $71 billion and France at $68.

      Other countries produce much more but they have huge internal markets and don’t export as much.

    2. Joe Well

      I am sure dairy is a big part of that, amazingly for a country with so many vegans. All around the world, supermarkets carry bags of powdered milk with a little wooden-shoed girl and a windmill on them.

    3. Bugs

      Drive through the Netherlands sometime. It’s covered in greenhouses where there aren’t fields planted. Fresh out of season Dutch produce in the supermarkets here in France year-round. They’re also very big on hydroponics, vertical, fully automated growing systems, etc.

      1. JohnA

        They grow the most tasteless tomatoes that also happen to be perfectly round and red. I prefer taste to appearance, but appear to be in the minority if tomato sales are anything to go by these days.

        1. Bugs

          Their bell peppers are equally beautiful but watery, without the proper snap and tingle of one grown in real earth and compost, under a real sun. Despairing.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Are they like those crispy California tomatoes with the fresh cucumber taste?

  3. griffen

    French scientist tweet was a hoax. Goes well with Domino’s marketing their pizza alongside the “Stranger Things” streaming series. Space, much like pizza, holds a lasting appeal to many.

    This galactic photo actually belonged in the Onion.

  4. Polar Socialist

    Re: The U.S. made a breakthrough battery discovery — then gave the technology to China
    If one reads the article, (which bypasses the fact that vanadium redox batteries are already 90 year old tech – this is gradual improvement, now really a breaktrough) the actual gist of it is that they made huge effort to do the commercialization in USA, but there just was no funding or know-how available. And the latter was more important: they had to bring in Chinese engineers to make this work on utility scale.
    So the actual headline should be more like “The U.S. found a way to improve a battery – but needed China to make it work”.

    1. Rod

      Puleeese—the article clearly states that tech was honed and optimized by the US National Lab in Washington State using my tax dollars and licensed to be produced in the US—not exported by slight of hand and lax oversight by Regulators.
      This struck me as a move by the ‘Invisible Hand’ and I tend to lean into the Petitioners:

      “found the federal agency allowed the technology and jobs to move overseas, violating its own licensing rules while failing to intervene on behalf of U.S. workers in multiple instances.”

      “She bristles at the idea that U.S. engineers aren’t up to the challenge.

      “That’s hogwash,” she said. “We are ready to go with this technology.” “

      1. hunkerdown

        IP is a childish emotional problem, not a serious policy description.

        Technology licensing has nothing to do with workers. That’s a spurious appeal to emotion.

          1. jsn

            Exactly, our beast and bite-ist are only interested in the guaranteed returns they get from symbol manipulation and QE.

            Actual investment in real world capacities is way too risky and since they’ve gotten the government small enough to drown in a bathtub they paid for, there’s no possibility of policy to look for returns past the quarterly report.

            Its idiotic to export our science to China, but then it’s idiotic to believe an Oligarchy would care at all about technology that benefits society, and between Gore vs Bush & Citizens United it is increasingly difficult to argue our system is anything else.

        1. Rod

          Ummm, I’m not a Lawyer, but I don’t know if I’d go into the courthouse with your arguement:
          IP is a childish emotional problem, not a serious policy description.

          we could parse out your: Technology licensing has nothing to do with workers.
          but it appears to have a lot to do with Legality

          Intellectual property is a broad categorical description for the set of intangible assets owned and legally protected by a company or individual from outside use or implementation without consent.

            1. Revenant

              As somebody who invested in University spinouts and then ran one, IP is very important, in the way land title is important, but it wont make you a business any more than owning a piece of land will make you a house. If everybody else builds value around you, you might be able to flip your patent / plot for a profit but if you want certainty, you need to work at developing yourself. I can well imagine that there is plenty of money for basic science in the USA but not for translation scale up into a commercial product….

    2. Rodeo Clownfish

      I’m not sure I believe the Chinese-American developer who claimed he could not get the business going in USA USA. Others certainly believe it can be done. Perhaps he simply took what seemed like the path of least resistance. Perhaps he received some personal benefit from the international (illegal) technology transfer to China. I think some more digging is needed on this story.

      1. Narwhale

        Beach Boys tune:

        “If everybody went on a tax strike,
        Across the U.S.A…
        Then they’d have to defund
        The militariaay…
        We’d be richer,
        Every day, just go on a
        Tax Strike U.S.A.!

        The pandemic was imposed on us.
        People paid down or off credit cards, learned to garden, appreciate where they lived, stopped commuting, read their books, some positives.

        A voluntary spending strike unitl the midterms would be imposed by us on the elite and their puppet politicians and would snap their attention back to our concerns, instead of the Ukrainians and corporate America.

      2. jsn

        Chinese invest for a long time horizon because their government encourages them to.

        US investors speculate for quarterly returns which the Greenspan, Bernanke & Yellen puts insured in aggregate, at the cost of underwriting massive frauds like WeWork, Uber, Netflix and the whole crypto space.

        With subsidies for frauds, why take real world risk?

        1. Rod

          Humans(sic) are causing a Climate Crises.
          Starting with Radical Conservation, there are many Solutions, available, that could help the entire world–but impeded for the sake of moar Profit. While many things in this short reveal upset me, these two Bookends rattled me the most:

          The Chinese company didn’t steal this technology. It was given to them — by the U.S. Department of Energy. First in 2017, as part of a sublicense, and later, in 2021, as part of a license transfer.</em


          Chinese news reports say the country is about to bring online one of the largest battery farms the world has ever seen. The reports say the entire farm is made up of vanadium redox flow batteries.

          2021 started/2022 coming online

          1. jsn

            Yes, a rational response to climate change, incorporating radical conservation and equitable, humane resource distribution would be the best way to retard the mass extinction underway and preserve the brightest future for humanity.

            Unfortunately, we live in a world with three dominant flavors of Capitalism: Chinese bureaucratic Capitalism, where the Mandarins seek to preserve the Mandate of Heaven; post shock therapy Nationalist Capitalism, where the Cossacks are proud to fight to preserve the National Myth that supports a rising living standard, if just barely; Neoliberal Capitalism gleefully burning the world so it’s apex predictors can fantasize about colonizing Mars while writing off their own kids as undeserving ingrates.

            It’s not pretty, but this is the world system we have and the effective fissures in it. I’m all for radical conservation, but I can’t see how you get there from here. At some point along our path of catabolic collapse, opportunities for alternative futures will open up, I wonder if anyone will see them for what they are by then.

        2. Kilgore Trout

          That is the gist of Mariana Mazzucato’s “Entrepreneurial State”. The drive for short-term profit at the expense of long-term investment in real wealth creation, is the root cause of US decline.

      3. Yves Smith

        Sorry, there’s a much bigger case of exactly that phenomenon, documented in Marianna Mezzacato’s The Entrepreneurial State.

        US (as in gov’t) spends a lot of dough to develop LCD tech. Wants US to have a flat panel biz.

        VCs won’t back it.

        LCD production winds up in Asia.

  5. griffen

    Airlines are cancelling flights. Wait just a second, I thought they were given a stern talking to by the US transportation secretary and who potentially might run for US President again in 2024?

    Mayor Pete, like Scooby Doo, where are you ?

    1. notabanker

      Helping the 300,000 US fliers impacted by the cancellation file for flight refunds. Probably.

      1. griffen

        News coverage this morning featured the recent cancels and delays. Supposedly, mid to late afternoon thunderstorms are an essential nightmare for the FAA. Makes me think twice about a connecting flight if it is avoidable, and even the FAA person suggested an early flight before mid day.

        Also makes me think twice about driving if possible, instead of flying.

    2. The Historian

      Mayo Pete is probably in hiding right now from the rail situation, where workers are still planning to strike after the ‘cooling off’ periods are over in September. Or maybe he’s spending his time writing the stern speech that he’ll give to BNSF.

      If you think our transportation infrastucture is broken, wait till that happens!

      Because the railway workers are mostly planning to strike because of intolerable working conditions, there is a lot Mayo Pete could do through his DOT sub-agency, FRA. But, of course, he won’t, like he’s done nothing about the shipping/port crises, like he’s done nothing about the airlines cancelling flights, because he is intent on proving he is less competent and motivated than Biden. Corporations who will fund his run for presidency seem to like that!

      1. Narwhale

        He couldn’t even fix the potholes in the city he was allegedly mayor.
        Gay marriage and pronouns don’t build anything.

      2. in_still_water

        Another black eye for the press when Pete was weeks into his paternity leave before the press ‘noticed’ (at best) his absence last late summer during the port back-up.

      3. Big River Bandido

        Having been reading the reports in WSWS of strike votes and the fake dealings by the captured rail workers’ union, I don’t have much hope for any proposed strike in the US, no matter how strongly favored it is by the workers themselves.

        Strikes are absolutely necessary. But a precondition for a successful strike is a powerful and healthy union. I wish it were not the case, but that precondition is lacking.

        1. The Historian

          I know the rail workers are fed up and angry and about 99% of the union voted for strike before the ‘cooling off’ agreement. I’m not sure the union leaders are prepared to go against that percentage of its members. In any event, no matter what the union leaders agree to, if the union members are not in agreement, there is a strong chance of a wildcat strike forming and spreading.

          From what I’ve heard locally, if BNSF insists on the one person train crews, you can bet there will be a strike or mass job quitting.

          No doubt the Feds will step in to stop the strike within hours or days, but even a day’s outage will probably cause at least a month’s disruption of freight. Me? Since I live on the high line, I’m going to start prepping for it now.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Airlines have been struggling with flight cancellations and delays this summer as they face staffing shortages, severe weather and air traffic control delays.

      Mixing system disfunction issues like staffing shortages and air traffic control delays with unavoidable, somewhat expected problems like the weather tends to obscure what’s really going on, possibly by design.

      Probably more to the point is that the passenger count, according to the article, is only “about 87% of the same weekday in 2019,” which would seem to put the lie to the claim that a post-pandemic crush of flush “consumers” craving the travel “experience” is stressing the system.

      Whenever mckinsey-speaking mayo pete is asked about the situation, he seems to pivot immediately to the issue of “refunds,” short circuiting any discussion of what happened to the taxpayer pandemic bailout given to the airlines to prevent this very thing.

      I remember reading awhile ago that one of the hallmarks on the road to banana republic status is degradation of a nation’s transportation system. Check.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The guy who is making Elaine Chao look competent is going to somehow move into the Oval Office?
        The Democrats may as well just save the two or three billion they are going to piss away and hold off until 2028.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Which empty-suit “candidate” will the private club labeled “Democrat Party” be “standing up” for 2028?

          Always remember that it’s just for show — the people have NO voice in what kind of sh!t is shoveled onto their plates by the Uniparty.

  6. Quentin

    ‘Energy bills are set to soar in the UK’! Well, in the Netherlands too. From October I’ll be paying $200 a month for gas and electricity. Now I pay only $50. Ukraine is the gift that can’t stop giving. In the package you’ll also come across prettily wrapped gifts from the German Greens in a government led by the cuddly Olaf Scholz, an absolutely hyper-chic photo shoot of the Ukrainian prime minister and his breathlessly beautiful consort in Vouge magazine amidst vignettes of death and destruction, prohibition of all opposition in Ukraine, nearly total censorship of Russian information channels and whatever else you might be wishing for to support and sustain Freedom and Democracy. What a crock from the US, NATO and the inimitable European Union.

    1. Ignacio

      A friend of mine… well, a person I happen to meet from time to time and for who I have a lot of respect, has been hosting an Ukrainian family for months. From his comments my impression is that Ukrainians and Spanish (possibly Mediterráneans in general) are like water and olive oil. He brought them to their vacation house in the Med coast and as it happens there is another Ukrainian family there in a rented house. So he made the families meet together expecting some excitement there. He was astonished by the coldness and how they just exchanged a few words. When he told me this I was thinking to myself that one of the families might be from the Donbass and the other from Galitzia…

      1. Cesar

        What would happen if you introduced a Palestinian family to Orthodox Jews? This is not our probelm, except for the wars we’ve been dragged into and the cost. The U.S. taxpayers need to stop supporting foreign entanglements.

        For what we’ve thrown down the Middle East shithole and now Ukraine, America could have housed all its homeless,
        rebuilt all its infrastructure,
        had free basic medical care
        had free education for its people, and
        guaranteed decent pensions for people on Social Security.

        The power structure has declared war on you and me with their sanctions on our energy, food plus, plus decades of inflation which enriches them further.

        It’s time for Americans to identify who is doing this to us and to retaliate in peaceful and legal means. Since its an economic war, that’s how you fight back.

        You can start by filing an exemption from tax withholding form.

  7. griffen

    Streaming is a black hole, that is not commentary on space or galactic travel. Online streaming is having a moment this year, it appears, that no one wants to subscribe to 15 flipping services to watch their favorites. I want to see the next season of Yellowstone, but really unsure if that alone is worth a subscription.

    By some standards, perhaps the cancelled Batgirl feature film may be unwatchable. We may never know (and most of us may not care). But I remember a few hot mess films on the big screen, and still wonder how I finished it, without leaving early, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen some 15 to 20 years ago. Convoluted does not even begin to layer on the bad of that movie, apologies to the late Sean Connery notwithstanding.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Critical Drinker is suggesting that the cancellation of “Batgirl” may actually be a cultural shift and rumour has it that “Supergirl” may also be on the chopping block. The sacking of some studio execs also underlines the shift in direction as well- (8:10 mins) – swearing alert.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Perhaps people are finally figuring out that if you have a successful venture with men as the focal point, it does not follow that if you switch the gender of the participants, the new venture will be equally as successful. See: Ghostbusters reboot, pretty much all of women’s professional sports.

        Maybe the smashing success of the Schwarzenegger vehicle Junior, woke before its time, is the exception that proves the rule? /s

        1. jonhoops

          The Batgirl fiasco has nothing to do with the gender of the movie’s heroes. It is pure corporate politics. The new CEO has decided to kill the babies of the old regime, happens all the time especially in Hollywood. The benefit of the fake story about the focus groups claiming Batgirl as the worst movie ever, is that he gets to paint the previous regime as incompetent money wasters. When the truth is he is the one who is throwing away $100 million dollars.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            The truth is Zaslov canned a 90 million $ CW TV show. Not a freaking DC Super hero movie! Batgirl is the type of garbage that’s gonna kill the theaters once and for all. People hunger for well made Films like Top Gun and Everything Everywhere, not Batgirl. Can it all. Write good stories. Then make good content.

            Here’s to hoping the DC movies and content are filled with gritty realism bordering on the fantastic!

        2. digi_owl

          The problem is that it goes beyond a “gender” switch.

          This is about the script writers trying signal their virtue to the social media in crowd.

          And then when their fanfic hack jobs of established franchises bombs, they go ranting on the same social media about nazi incels ruining their ascendency.

          Canonically batgirl is the redhead daughter of commissioner Gordon. But a quick glance at the article suggested they had made her “latinx” for whatever reason.

          And speaking of Ghostbusters, the “gender swapped” movie bombed. But then the one that tied back to the original ones, and still had a nerdy girl (Spenglers grandkid) as the main character, aced it.

    2. cnchal

      > . . . it appears, that no one wants to subscribe to 15 flipping services to watch their favorites.

      It appears there are not enough eyeballs to consume the schlock put out.

      WBD reported a net loss of $3.4 billion on Thursday’s earnings call, this despite the fact that it has 92.1 million subscribers across HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery+. But WBD isn’t alone here. Peacock reported a loss of half-a-billion dollars for Comcast NBC Universal. Despite earning nearly five billion in revenue for Disney, the division of the company that encompasses Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ lost nearly $900 million. Whether or not Netflix is “profitable” is hard to say, given how much debt they’ve acquired and how much they’re spending on new programs and movies. But the fact that it’s even a question when the company is generating $30 billion in revenue per year—or, roughly, three times the entire domestic box office for 2019—is a bad sign for streaming as a business model.

      $30 billion of revenue per year = $7.5 billion per quarter

      $3.4 billion loss on $7.5 billion revenue is a winner ain’t it, presuming that the loss was quarterly?

      Pity the poor data center owners when they find out they overbuilt too.

      1. Mikel

        I’ve always maintained that Netflix is not the “Big Papa” of streaming to chase.
        It’s YouTube.

      1. Vandemonian

        …but for your own safety, please use magnet links, and think seriously about using a VPN.

        1. Jason Boxman

          It is actually more complicated; You need to find a VPN provider that supports port forwards, as a typical VPN service does not allow external hosts to send traffic to your VPN client. (Essentially, you’re behind a NAT on the VPN.) Normally this is probably desirable, but PnP really generally wants bi-directional traffic. (And you need to properly configure your PnP as well for this.)

          I’m not sure any US-based VPNs support this, plus I expect there must be some legal risk if you’re in the US and using a US-based provider for this. I found a European provider that claims not to keep any logs. Works a treat so far.

          Search engines are your friend in discovering these; Good luck!

          1. Vandemonian

            You’re right of course, Jason. The VPN provider I use is not US or Oz based, and offers a number of landing points in Europe and elsewhere.

          2. John Zelnicker

            Jason – I don’t want to go into much detail, but I use a highly rated VPN with sites around the world. I have no idea where they are located.

            I didn’t need to do any configuration work, it worked well right out of the box, so to speak. Maybe it supports port forwards, I have no idea, but so far it works well and I haven’t gotten any DMCA notices since I started using it. (I used to get a notice every few weeks.)

      2. Jonathan King

        Seconding bit torrent as a way to go. What TV I watch (not much) I download via bit torrent to consume at my leisure, then either archive or discard. Same for movies, music, newspapers …anything digital will be available shortly after broadcast, publication, release, etc. if you know where to look. Ideal for avoiding crowded theaters while saving a bundle on streaming.. Also a useful conversation starter with copyright trolls. But mind your safety by doing what Vandemonian recommends, especially using a VPN confirmed as secure (lots of online guidance on that).

    3. ambrit

      Like you, I made the mistake of going to see “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” It taught me a lesson in the dysfunction that is modern Commercial Hollywood. To wit, making movies based on comic books is a very bad idea. Just look at the repetitive junk that is the Marvel Comics Universe films, or the DC Comics Videoverse. The resort to longer form streaming mini-series for comic book based plots is a far superior method.
      Anyway, I knew that “Entertainment” was often a ‘Quality Dead End’ when Star Trek: The Next Generation turned out to be a Soap Opera in Space. Indeed, it gave me a new appreciation for “Pigs in Space!” Where was Dr. Strangepork when we needed him?

      1. chris

        No, making movies based on comics is not a bad idea. Limiting the story and characters and everything that made a popular comic great when translating it to cinema is what makes a comic movie “bad”. Comics are an appealing media to draw from for cinema because when done well you essentially have your story boards and pitch already completed. Comics are a good way to think out a live stage performance too.

      2. griffen

        I think all of these super budgeted films and the MCU / Disney approach that bigger just gets better, maybe in 2022 they are reaching and find they are over their skis, like Fonzi when he jumped the shark. I don’t care enough about the multiverse of wherever.

        Topical but some of the better series that I’ve enjoyed in recent years were on Netflix. Well written and well acted, with a few series including serious talent on them. AKA, Bloodline was a really well done series but season 3 was a lousy finish to a deserving series. Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard played the parents of a troubled family with a tarnished history.

        Mindhunter is another good one, but dark material. Do wish they added a 3rd season.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Mindhunter is THE best series on Netflix. It’s like an 8hr long David Fincher Serial Killer Movie.

          Stranger Things season 1 blew me away too.

          I think all of this could be solved by hiring good writers to write good screenplays. For every Mindhunter and Stranger Things, Netflix puts out 10 garbage series/movies.

          It doesn’t matter if it’s Streaming, on TV, or at the Movies. The only thing that matters is if it’s good. The CW channel on TV is hot garbage. Cheap superhero shite. Batgirl supposedly looks like a cheap CW show made for 90mil$. I say can it. And all the rest like Supergirl and the DC extended Universe stuff. Kevin Smith recently talked about this. He wrote a script for the DCEU about the Bizarro Superman character. He got paid but WB canceled it. Now, I’m as big a fan of Smith as anyone. Dogma, Mallrats, Clerks 11, OG Jay n Silent Bob. But ye gods has He been putting out the schlock recently. Smiths embraced the Identity Politics BS of the neolibs. His He-Man remake sucked. Jay n Silent Bob reboot sucked. He’s turned into a has been. Maybe it’s because he had a heart attack from eating too much cheese. Idk. His main complaint about Batgirl was that WB is canceling a “Female, Latina Batgirl.” Gonna get in trouble with the Woke Police, Warner Bros!!!!

          It’s the Uberization of the Theatres and Cable. Flood the market with tons of content. People stay at home. Theaters die. People realize streaming content mostly sucks. Netflix raises prices cuz people are stuck.

          1. Grateful Dude

            I’ve been watching Netflix international films and series lately, mostly South American. Some very good stuff there. And a lot of it. I tried Gray Man for about 5 minutes; it’s a death flic. WTF were they thinking?

      3. Jason Boxman

        I dunno, I thought ST:TNG had some fantastic episodes. The Inner Light is eerily reminiscent of our current climate catastrophe. All Good Things was actually a satisfying ending, which is tough to pull off. (See Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, DS9, ect.)

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          As someone who came of age in the 90s, I personally loved Star Trek Next Generation with Picard and Data and Worf. I also liked League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! The story was so so but the characters were interesting enough having never read the comic it’s based off of. Sean Connery! F Yeah! I pretty much liked everything when I was elevenish.

          I’ve said this before on here and I’ll say it again. Deep Space 9 was a huge disappointment. No depth. To me, very silly. Bunch of whacky Zany aliens playing the roles of Picard et al. I’d seen it all before but look now there’s a female captain! BORING.

          1. Jason Boxman

            Yeah, that was Voyager. I gave up on Trek when Voyager came out. I haven’t been disappointed.

    4. digi_owl

      I’m kinda surprised the major record labels has not tried to spin their own Spotify by now…

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Alarm mounts in western capitals over Turkey’s deepening ties with Russia”

    I think that this is showing that Turkey is a bellwether nation here. Consider – Turkey has surveyed the future economic prospects for the world and are now throwing their lot in with the east. Probably to them membership of the EU is starting to resemble an economic mass suicide pact. They have seen that in the EU that if you get offside with them, then they can seize your assets and sanction your own oligarchs. I believe that Alexander Mercouris has said that the amount of trade with Russia is on par with Russia’s present trade with China so they see that aligning with this new power block promises a future that will hopefully get them out of their present financial problems. All the west would do is promise a visit by the IMF which I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy. Of course if they leave NATO that has its own repurcussions. The biggest contributor of troops to NATO is the US but after them is Turkey. If Turkey goes, then they will be an enemy of NATO so those NATO bases in Turkey will revert to full Turkish control if not perhaps a Russian or even a Chinese base or two.

    1. Lex

      Not to mention Turkey sits in an enviable geographic position relative to Eurasian trade but somewhat in the periphery of European trade. I agree, Turkey is a giant, flashing warning sign for the west. Clearly it will be ignored and the US will offer the stick instead of the carrot, which is the wrong signal for various, SE European nations and holding Turkey in Oceania’s orbit.

        1. amechania

          Couldn’t find much in the way of mid-market maple syrup or bar soap this week. So.. yes?

          Turkey, unlike the US, might be an outlier because they seem to be functioning rationally.

        2. jsn

          Turkey clearing out clears the way for Finland and Sweden o join NATO!

          The heirs of Gustavus Adolphus are, no doubt, up to routing those pesky Ruskies!

          Another stein of lager before battle!

        3. Ed Miller

          Current powers in Washington recognized that ORANGE is too close to RED. No more carrots.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Turkey’s military isn’t just big, its also well-equipped and has recent combat experience. NATO will feel its loss keenly. Nor is Turkey an economic minnow: its GDP (using PPP basis) is number 11 in the world, just between France and Italy.

      The comments section for this FT article was a cesspool into which I waded briefly and then fled. Sometimes it’s a good exercise to visit other sites’ comments, as a reminder of how good NC is.

    3. Raymond Sim

      Iran matters to Turkey, a lot. The EU and NATO have virtually zero diplomatic leverage there, something China and Russia both possess to at least some degree. Were Turkey to get into a fracas with Iran, the Russians could offer meaningful assistance, almost on a moments notice, and Iran deploys a lot of missile systems of types whose effectiveness the Russians appear adept at degrading, something we’ve failed at consistently, for thirty years.

    4. digi_owl

      In the end NATO need Turkey more than Turkey needs NATO.

      After all, they have been “arguing” far more with fellow member Greece than anything else over the years. Both even tried to convince Pentagon to give them the nuke codes while fighting over Cyprus.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read that the US/NATO is militarizing the eastern Greek islands to provide a deterrence against Russia as their ships enter the Mediterranean. Problem is that this is against treaties between Greece and Turkey and Turkey sees how those facilities could be used against them. Of course nobody could have ever foreseen this possibility of Turkey objecting to this.

        1. digi_owl

          I suspect we all keep treating Turkey like any other middle eastern state. But we keep ignoring their history. They have wounded pride the equal of UK or France. After all, the Ottoman empire ruled the middle east and most of North Africa at one point.

  9. Stephen

    Moon of Alabama and various Twitter posts link to this CNN interview with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

    The true fun starts at around 3.15 when Roger explains his love for all Chinese and Ukrainians. The interviewer then asks why he showed an image of Joe Biden in their latest stage backdrop.

    He wished he had not asked……Roger Waters is definitely not aligned with the western narrative on Ukraine and Taiwan.

    1. Nikkikat

      Nothing fake about Waters. He is the same guy he has always been. Truth teller. Doesn’t care who doesn’t like it. Laughable that CNN would have him come on one of their pathetic interviews. Roger must have been rubbing his hands together at the idea of showing up one of their clowns!

    2. Lost in OR

      Roger Waters is definitely not aligned with the western narrative

      For additional evidence, The Final Cut. Pink Floyd’s best (and least known) album, imo.

        1. amechania

          CNN ran a piece describing him as Pink Floyd co-founder.

          He said of people who don’t like his politics being in his shows, that ‘they should go to the bar’

          Long-time fans know his antics. Apparently he has taken to firing a ‘fake semi-automatic weapon’ into the crowd during his shows.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        “F All That” is my favorite song on that album. It’s my favorite as well. The Wall slipped to 2nd when I discovered The Final Cut.

      2. Lex

        The final cut was the best late Floyd album, but obscured by clouds and meddle are the best (in order) Floyd albums. Partly because Roger wasn’t yet wallowing in the tragedy of being a global rock star.

    3. LawnDart

      Roger Waters is definitely not aligned with the western narrative (period).

      I enjoyed that clip. It’s kinda weird how so many subject-citizens are willfully blind to the crimes of their evil empire, The Empire of Lies. I guess “Good Germans” were much the same.

      1. Stephen

        An American telling an Englishman that the US “liberated” us in WW2 never goes down well! LOL.

        Roger Walters gave the right retort though about 23 million Soviet deaths. He clearly has bothered to read up on history and geo politics.

        Super impressive intellectual performance too given he will turn 80 next year. Inspiring in many ways.

        1. amechania

          I recommend the album Radio KAOS

          It has a meta-story. Something about technological telepathy across borders and some sort of death drive.

    4. Steven A

      My daughter is treating me to Roger’s performance this Wednesday in Columbus, OH. Thanks for the preview. Can’t wait.

    5. digi_owl

      Some quick looking into his history shows why.

      Son of a British coal miner and communist no less.

      Who was it that claimed that Rolling Sones were rich kid slumming?

      Post-WW2 UK really was a special place for getting the rebellious and creative juices flowing.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “‘Nothing left in the pipes’: Europe tackles unprecedented water shortages as heatwave rages”

    So I was listening earlier to the latest Mark Blyth-Carrie Nordlund podcast and during it, Mark Blyth mentioned that the British Meteorological Office did a weather report for 2050 last year as an exercise. And that ‘it was literally the same weather report they gave last week’ so thirty years ahead of time.

    1. Reaville

      Notice how France’s nuclear is having to cut power production because climate change has made the river water too warm to cool the plants.

      Nuclear advocates take heed.

      BTW, not anti-nuclear, but would like it to be affordable and executable.

      1. vao

        But the fix is in: the government has waved the rules regarding the release into rivers of water that served to cool nuclear power plants and that is, according to regulations, too hot for the current hydrographic conditions.

        A first derogation was granted for three plants till the 24th July.

        It was extended till the 7th August, including an additional fourth plant.

        The derogation has been recently extended — again — in scope to cover all previous plants plus a fifth one, and in time till the 11th September.

        The water temperature of rivers is already too high, and the flows are low. Those derogations may well be the last straw for the fauna and flora downstream: they will literally die of overheating if discharges from power plants raise the water temperature above what living beings can survive (25C for trouts, for instance).

        What France is doing with its nuclear power plants, or Germany with reviving its coal plants shows that governments will rather sacrifice the environment than engage in genuine energy savings.

      2. chris

        Buckle up because any power plant that requires a river, bay, lake, etc. for cooling will have the same issues. It’s one of the great ironies of US energy production that because we have had so much of everything for so long that we have very little control over inputs like cooling water in most facilities. Leaks and such happen. But the volume of evaporation and loss through many systems can’t even be measured let alone managed.

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Because any power plant that requires a river, bay, lake, etc. for cooling will have the same issues.” Yes. This is true of nuclear and coal-fired stations in particular, but even combined-cycle gas turbines (which use leftover heat to drive a steam turbine to extract additional power from the exhaust stream) that use river water for cooling purposes can suffer the same issues.

          But “the volume of evaporation and loss through many systems can’t even be measured let alone managed“? No, that’s not true. The losses in power stations are very carefully measured, and the effects of this leftover heat on cooling systems are well understood. This is classical thermodynamics, and it’s a mature science.

          Of course, understanding the situation and being able to do something about it are two different things. If drought and elevated water temperatures have reduced the heat-absorbing capability of a river, all you can do it reduce the heat load by curtailing the output of the power station. In the short term, there is no alternative.

          In the long term, though, you can reduce the demands on the river by deploying other cooling technologies. Like cooling towers, evaporative chillers, or even water-to-air heat exchangers. They’re more expensive to install and operate, but they can reduce (or even eliminate) the need for river water. Several nuclear stations in France already utilize supplemental cooling towers, but it’s apparent that they need to add more (or use bigger ones). Having to curtail output when demand is highest is not helpful.

    2. digi_owl

      For some reason i keep having Soylent Green flashing before my eyes these days.

      In particular the scene with people huddling on some open air stairs during the noon heat.

  11. KD

    We Shouldn’t Underestimate the Incredible Danger Posed by the Taiwan Crisis

    The above is a very interesting article, but it doesn’t actually address what seems to be the root of the problem:

    You have elected decision-makers making decisions primarily to please foreign lobbyists/donors (and secure sinecures for their drug-addled relatives), and to use “hawkish” positions to appeal to the LCD in the masses, combined with MSM which functions as an echo chambers and amplifier for national security apparatus who see their jobs as pushing justifications for the same stupid decisions. On top of that, they see their job as censoring and discrediting anyone not spouting nonsense and propaganda.

    The problem may not be democracy: you had a democracy in the Cold War, and the leadership class was not stupid, reckless, and craven, but the current version of pay-to-play American democracy seems to pose an existential threat to the world, where US politicians recklessly provoke a nuclear war because they get bought off by some foreign ethnic lobby. I don’t know how you avoid the question of the need for radical constitutional changes to ensure that the largest military in the world isn’t following orders issued by demented demagogues. Further, if the U.S. wants to frame this as a struggle between “Democracy” and “Autocracy,” they must realize that the rest of the world understands that part of the test is whether you want to eat your own cooking. If your procedural norms lead to morons in power pursuing reckless and stupid outcomes, then you don’t make a good case to adopt your procedural norms.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The problem may not be democracy: you had a democracy in the Cold War,

      I just don’t see how anyone can read the definition of democracy and come away without absolute certainty that we in the USA never had democracy. And from the Constitution, (which does not have the word democracy in it) forward there has been great bloody contempt and determination to make sure it never happens at home or anywhere else.

      Definition of democracy. 1 a : government by the people especially : rule of the majority. b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free election

      1. hunkerdown

        “Democracy” is a theory of ruling class formation. We don’t need that. We don’t need a ruling “class” at all, actually. The less of people’s individual “marks” we see on society, the better. May there never be a “Byrd rule” or a “Magnuson-Moss Act” or juvenile acrostics or “and for other purposes”. Destroy greatness and recognition instead, and people won’t have any excuses not to just run things.

        1. JBird4049

          The Founders who created the American system of government did not really want a true democracy, but they did want the views of everyone to have some representation; extreme concentrations of wealth and power is a problem for everyone; they were trying, I think, for elite rule moderated by some popular representation like in the Roman Republic. Our current rule by an oligarchy, which is a corrupt or devolved form of an aristocracy, is not something that was desired. The Roman Republic fell because of the rise of a similar oligarchy that corrupted the system to get the power to keep that wealth they were stealing, which led to the civil wars that destroyed it.

          I kind of think of Tiberius Gracchus as represented by MLK and/or RFK, and and I am waiting to see who Gaius Gracchus will be.

      2. YuShan

        In my opinion a large part of the problem is lack of skin in the game for our ruling class (government, central banks, etc). There are never any consequences to them for bad choices.

        Look at the disasters central banks have caused. But all these people walk away with millions. Also, nobody got tried after the 2008 crisis. What happened to the people who started the Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc wars? They still rake in their millions. Many are still in positions of power.

        Ancient Athens had democracy and skin in the game. Granted, it was far from perfect (slaves and women couldn’t vote). But the citizens voting to start a war were the very same people who were physically going to fight it and risk getting killed. And generals were tried and sometimes executed for bad performance if they were not killed in battle.

        In Albania during the hoxha era, they built the thousands of little bunkers that still scatter the landscape today. When they tested the design, the designer had to sit inside the bunker and then they would have a tank shoot at it.

        That’s skin in the game. We need some of that now.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          You might recall democracy ended poorly for ancient Athens, too. Also, generals were often tried/exiled/executed on suspicion alone and/or if they were too successful – although that, curiously, is a feature the Athenian democracy shared with many contemporary and later monarchies. I’m not sure if that made for effective generalship.

          I don’t disagree about skin in the game, mind you. The most outstanding feature of the American foreign policy is that so much of it is entirely unnecessary for both the elite and the nation. As such, the Americans can, in fact, afford to screw up and keep screwing up for a very, very long time. Some Americans would die as a result, but the system will keep functioning and the elite’s exposure will remain entirely voluntary. When you can make many terrible mistakes without consequences, it is hardly surprising that bumbling will ensue.

      3. Kouros

        On the morning of May 29, 1787, in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Edmund Randolph, governor of Virginia, opened the meeting that would become known as the Constitutional Convention by identifying the underlying cause of various problems that the delegates of thirteen states had assembled to solve. “Our chief danger,” Randolph declared, “arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions.” None of the separate states’ constitutions, he said, had established “sufficient checks against the democracy.”

        1. JBird4049

          Yes, the founders were very elitist, but they were also afraid of tyranny or despotism as well as the kind of corrupt oligarchic rule then in Britain. The complex balancing act of three branches of government in a democratic republic consisting of many quasi independent states with a Bill of Rights defended by a very small military and a large militia was their solution. And theoretically, the rule of law for mostly everyone. I think they succeeded.

          Today, we have an extreme concentration of wealth in a corrupt oligarchy that ignores everything including the popular will, but stealing more wealth and helping their buddies, an extremely oversized military and “police” force, and a judiciary that has stripped the rule of law in both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights. Not to mention military bases and undeclared wars across the world.

          This is against everything that the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with the Bill of Rights. They also would have predicted that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” would have happened long before this point. That is not to say that violent revolution was preferred and they were not very democratic. Just that ultimately the power rest in the citizenry and not the government. The United States government serves the American nation (people), not the other way around.

          This business of empire has destroyed both the nation and the country. We need to dump it.

    2. tegnost

      but the current version of pay-to-play American democracy seems to pose an existential threat to the world, where US politicians recklessly provoke a nuclear war because they get bought off by some foreign ethnic lobby.

      This is a good description of the US but it’s not a good description of democracy, thus what we actually live under is not democracy

      the migration article is well worth reading and contains this lodestar of undemocratic USian policy

      “This raises concerns that the United States’ true motives are corporate profit.”

      Literally the only thing the US political class is concerned with, democracy bedamned.
      Dick Cheney did not come to the Democrat Party, The Democrat Party came to Dick Cheney.
      I would say good riddance to bad rubbish but the US political situation is like the Pacific gyre, an unsolvable problem.

    3. Andrew Watts

      Oh, I disagree entirely about your judgement of our political leadership. President(s) Truman and Kennedy were completely incompetent and reckless unless you believe the propaganda. While our military leadership was filled with genocidal psychopaths like Le May or overconfident idiots like MacArthur who wanted to kick start World War III on the Korean peninsula. I’d take the present people in charge as opposed to some idealized version of their predecessors. Except possibly Ike, but even with him there’s some serious question marks.

      Every country in the world needs a nuclear weapons program. The post-war monopoly on nukes only made the world a more dangerous place teetering on the edge of annihilation.

      1. Kilgore Trout

        While I agree with you about Truman, who was clearly unprepared to be president, due in part to FDR’s keeping him out of the loop wrt the Bomb, I would disagree with your assessment of JFK. Kennedy after the Cuban Missile crisis realized he was being had by the CIA, and surrounded by nuclear hawks in the Pentagon, and set out to establish better relations with Krushchev to dial down the nuclear arms race. There is good evidence he was intending to pull advisors out of Vietnam, and had signed the order to do so. The CIA had other ideas on both fronts, and after one or two near misses, succeeded with a coup carried out in Dallas. As byzantine and paranoid as the old Politboro was during and after Stalin, a full accounting of our own version since the end of WW2 would be its equal. They had Beria, we had Hoover. And so on. One could even say our present gerontologic ruling class and their functionaries is unequaled in its arrogance, corruption, and stupidity.

        1. rowlf

          They had Beria, we had Hoover.

          …and Allen Dulles. The world would be a better place if Eisenhower had asked George Marshall (Who the early globalists claimed lost China) who to assign to a weather station in northern Greenland.

      2. neo-realist

        From what I understand, Kennedy had to resist people in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, e.g., Lemnitzer and LeMay, who believed that losing 30 to 40 million Americans in a nuclear war was an acceptable price to defeat the Soviet Union.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Absolutely. And the concept of nuclear winter was still twenty years into the future. This was also the Joint Chiefs that thought it a good idea to launch a terrorist attack in America itself so that a justification could be made to invade Cuba.

        2. Petter

          Herman Khan has to figure in there too. He was one of the inspirations for Kubrick’s character “Dr.Strangelove.”

  12. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War

    Yesterday’s MS gives the impression UAF in Kherson – far from be able to go on offense – is rather lame. The RUF seems to be easily thinning AUF ranks with attacks while some AUF forces flee or refuse orders to attack.

    Moving north to Pisky, one thing stood out: An end of an incomplete bridge/over ramp was shown, under which UAF troops are dig in at what seems a strategic location. If this is indeed an incomplete road/bridge, seems logical the Russians could target it with a missile and blow it up and wipe all the troops located under it…because wouldn’t infrastructure damage be rather limited if it is in fact the end point? It appears to be an over ramp over another road.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please give full site names or links. I am pretty up on war sources and I had to think a second to realize MS = Military Summary, on YouTube.

    2. Lex

      Current reports on telegram suggest Russia is now advancing on Nikolaev. I’ve seen footage of Russian missile strikes under bridges used that way. Russia simply seems unwilling to destroy civilian, even dual use, infrastructure if it can be avoided. I guess we can’t know whether this is because it wants to save it (would prefer not to rebuild), wants to make a point to the Ukrainian people, or because destruction of civilian infrastructure is a war crime that won’t be ignored if Russia does it the way it’s ignored when the US does it.

      1. ThePodBayDoorsAreClosed

        The Russian war plan had to change entirely after the first few weeks, their initial idea was to denazify, liberate and then withdraw. But the liberatees said they would instantly be targeted and murdered by the Ukrainian secret police.

        And yes, Telegram is the best uncensored channel to at least get a small alternative view of the facts on the ground, Intel Slava Z, also UKR Leaks eng.

        If I must be subjected to relentless war propaganda at least I want to look at it from both sides. Bonus is things like Lavrov’s staff presenting their biolab findings to the U.N., information utterly shielded as news and quarantined from the Atlanticist viewing audience.

        1. Yves Smith

          FWIW, Larry Johnson very much disagrees with the conventional Western take on the first few weeks. From March 29:

          Russia’s encirclement of Kiev over the past three weeks was intended to pin down a significant portion of what remains of Ukraine’s military forces so that Russia could carry out offensive operations in the east and the south. Mission accomplished.

          Some of the Russian units that were deployed around Kiev are now moving east towards Kharkiv. Russian forces have destroyed the Ukrainian neo-Nazi entity that controlled Mariupol. Russia now controls Mariupol. Let me put this in simple strategic terms–Russia has eliminated any possibility of Ukraine being able to use the Black Sea for ship borne imports or exports. Ukraine is now cut off in the south….

          Russia continues to maintain large reserves on its western border and the units that carried out the invasion remain intact. At the same time, Russia controls much of the air space in Ukraine and continues to hit Ukrainian bases and fuel depots in the extreme western portion of Ukraine.

          In video that I don’t have time to track down, Johnson also compared the initial assault to Germany’s WWII conquest of Ukraine. Russia took vastly more ground faster, if that’s the metric you care about.

          Russian doctrine is to treat war and politics as linked, and that supposedly gee so terrible Russian deep probes into Ukraine (which BTW succeeded in them capturing a lot of territory in Kherson, a fact commonly skipped over, and thus also fixing troops near Odessa) led Ukraine to go very fast to the negotiating table and make a lot of concessions, which the UK and then US got Ukraine to abandon.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Even assuming all of that is true, what is the value of getting Ukraine to the negotiating table when it is clearly not in charge of its own foreign policy? Any such negotiations could only be a distraction.

            1. Yves Smith

              The fact that Ukraine came to the negotiating table at all suggests the reverse. Many commentators noted the progress until BoJo flew in and kicked over the table.

    3. Samuel Conner

      It looks to be an approach ramp for a bridge that is not yet built.

      The Military Summary guy seemed to think that it would take many artillery strikes to reduce this overhead protection to rubble, so this may simply be a temporary position, not safe under prolonged bombardment, but safer than holes or trenches dug in open ground (and easily observed from above) and so a better option for a temporary blocking position.

      It might be that “concealment from observation” is the principal reason for its use. The U armed forces have moved most of their artillery to the West and have little ability to interfere with Russian artillery fires. Troops in positions that are visible from above will be targeted and eventually destroyed, so concealment may be of paramount importance.


      I have a dim recollection from reading, decades ago in an account of the siege of Dien Bien Phu (“Hell in a very small place”), that 6 inches of steel-reinforced concrete was considered sufficient to prevent penetration by 105mm high explosive rounds. The concrete and steel roadbed of the ramp might be strong enough to crumble only slowly under R and LDPR 122mm and 152mm bombardment.

    4. Andrew Watts

      The Ukrainians have been talking about a Kherson counter-offensive since late March. When it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen in the spring they said it would happen in the summer. So their reserves would be massed and trained enough to conduct it. The Ukrainians must’ve sent in half-trained recruits to plug holes in their line during the battles in the Donbass because now they’re talking about it happening later next year.

      I haven’t really been following the war in Ukraine that closely, but I’ve stopped taking any analysis seriously who talked about a Ukrainian offensive towards Kherson a long time ago. It’s difficult enough as it is to go from being on the defensive to waging an aggressive offense. Particularly so when you’re losing ground on other fronts that is already consuming your reserve troops.

      Nobody earned any medals for waging an information war.

  13. flora

    re: State Legislatures Are Torching Democracy

    Just how many statehouse seats did the Dem estab lose over the past 14 years? Did the estab seem at all concerned by that? And now they’re shocked, shocked by GOP led gerrymandering? right…. (The Dem estab directly caused 2 great state Dem candidates to lose in my state. And not just my state. The Dem “advisors” took over the campaigns and lost races that should have been easy wins. Dem estab threw the candidates a boat anchor. What was it Chuck said about gaining 2 suburban votes for every blue collar/rural vote they lose? )

    GOP state Leges aren’t “torching democracy” by gerrymandering anymore than Dem states are; the national Dem estab doesn’t care about statehouse and govs seats in flyover so the GOP wins more than they used to, even in traditionally GOP states. There used to be a better balance of Dem and GOP in the statehouses and gov mansions that would stop this kind of extreme gerrymandering. Thanks, Dem estab.

    1. flora

      Shorter: the GOP plays hardball politics at all level; the Dem estab plays moneyball at all levels. / meh.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Just how many statehouse seats did the Dem estab lose over the past 14 years?’

      Can’t answer that one, flora, but I read that Obama lost about 1,000 seats during his 8-year Presidency – mostly because he did not care. That is, until this party neglect led to Trump coming in next as President who then proceeded to wipe out as much of Obama’s achievements that he could. Not that there was much-

      1. flora

        The Dem estab still doesn’t care. GOP extremism gives them a talking point. They’re funding far right GOP national candidates – the same Pied Piper strategy Hillary used to promote T’s candidacy. T candidacy wasn’t Dem neglect, it was hoped for and promoted as an “easy candidate to beat” by the Dem estab. The Dem estab thought a horrible GOP candidate would lead voters to the Dem candidate, thus the “Pied Piper” name.

        an aside: T is staging a hostile takeover of the GOP. Where is the Dem who will rescue the party from the current Dem estab?

        1. jr

          “Where is the Dem who will rescue the party from the current Dem estab?”

          Dead in a ditch somewhere…

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Where is the Dem who will rescue the party from the current Dem estab?

          Sitting in a prison cell somewhere. Between Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s war on workers, and everyone else’s war on “fair use” and copyright, the establishment created laws that allowed them to arrest societal dissidents. That and a lot of timely assassinations coupled with well-funded neoliberals taking over the Democratic party and voila!

            1. amechania

              I would love to see an honest Democratic Fundraising campaign ad, particuarly in email form.

              Hi, sorry we lost Roe V Wade without a fight. It’s been coming for 10 years. Now we appeal to you again for your money. If fully funded, we will support right wing republican whack-jobs who oppose abortion rights.

              You’re welcome, the Adults in the Room.

        3. pjay

          Well, in upstate NY we have the latest CIA Democrat challenging Elise Stefanik for her Congressional seat. Based on the number of his TV spots I’ve seen (and I rarely watch TV), he has some money behind him. He’s this guy:

          So to challenge right-wing Trumper Stefanik, we get a heroic CIA vet (he leads with this in his TV ad). I think this is their rescue plan. Yay “democracy”!

      2. spud

        Bill Clinton paved the way for obama. Bill Clintons loses were almost equal to obama’s.

        Clinton and the Democrats

        The President’s party has lost its power base, both in Washington and in the states

        “Certain other statistics, however, were not mentioned. These pertain to how the Democratic Party fared during the Clinton years. Under Clinton the Democrats did not thrive. Their party lost its power base, not just in Washington, D.C., but also in the states. In a variety of ways Clinton left the Democrats in the worst shape they have been in in more than fifty years.”

    3. flora

      adding: the change in the KS GOP from a moderate to extreme party happened partly by stealth at the GOP primaries after the primaries became “closed primaries”, where only registered GOP voters could participate. Primaries are usually small turnout votes attended by the most politically interested voters. The far right wing on social issues quietly got its candidates on the ballot and made sure to have their voters go in numbers to vote in their primary, out voting the moderate GOP voters who never saw them coming.

      I think the moderate GOP voters will have to do the same in reverse to turn this around. It takes a lot of work. Canvassing, signature gathering, etc. They’ll be working against the dominant far right wing of the party.

      The social far right wing, by the way, is heavily funded and supported by the Koch backed anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity. That’s where a lot of the money comes from – anti-tax billionaires and rich corporations. What does that have to do with social issues? Not much, except it draws in the social conservative vote and give a sheen of righteousness to the horrible cuts to public schools, health and welfare programs in the state to pay for the tax cuts. / double meh

      1. Carla

        In Ohio, Americans for Prosperity gives huge $$$ to minor, nothing-burger centrist Democrats running against more experienced, qualified progressive Dems. They’ve been doing this (after brutal gerry-mandering by the Repubs) in racially integrated and predominantly Black districts in Ohio with considerable success. Americans for Prosperity joined forces with AIPAC to beat Nina Turner and deliver Ohio’s 11th congressional district to a complete air-head who looks like a fashion model but probably doesn’t have the smarts to succeed as one: Shontel Brown. Of course, Shontel was also the choice of Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus, so there’s that.

        1. flora

          Thanks for this. I wondered where the Dem estab and their money was in Ohio. Now I know. ugh. Looks like both parties are in on the scam of supporting “least likely to win” over someone who could win and start real change.

      2. flora

        adding: here’s the page for the Ohio branch of Americans for Prosperity (AFP).

        Ask Colorado, Kansas, Iowa and other states that saw their moderate state GOP parties turned into absolute far right anti-tax (AFP) and far social right parties, (the way AFP replaced moderate GOP pols with extremist, single-issue pols) , ask these states how AFP fit in to the change. (If you’re a moderate Republican in a state with AFP, check your states AFP page, go to your state primary and vote against their candidates in favor of a more moderate candidate. My 2 cents.)

        I’ll stop now. / ;)

  14. The Rev Kev

    “How much does Taiwan depend on China?”

    ‘In addition, Taiwan can no longer import sand from China that the construction industry depends on…One important industry was left out of the fray: electronics such as microchips or optical components, which China’s economy cannot afford to go without.’

    I am afraid that DW has made a minor mistake here. Quartz sand is integral in the manufacture of computer chips and ‘Taiwan currently consumes around 90 million metric tons of natural sand in a year, among which one third are from the Chinese mainland.’ So perhaps the Taiwanese can divert sand from the construction industry to their high tech sector. That is, if the required sand is of the right specification. Not all sands are created equal and during the Iraq occupation, the US military had to import sand from Saudi Arabia as Iraq sand was not up to standard in making concrete blast walls. Have no idea what type of sand the tech industry requires to be honest-

    1. Rodeo Clownfish

      Sand requirements for concrete are physical, regarding particle shape, whereas sand requirements for making elemental silicon for semiconductors are chemical, regarding purity (e.g. SiO2 w/o other elements).

      Sand for concrete should be rough/jagged, as this has a higher surface are for adhesion to the cement component. River sand is best, I believe. Beach sand and desert sand tend to be smoother, more spheroid, and so are less are effective in making strong concrete.

      1. Questa Nota

        and any salt in that beach sand ruins concrete longevity, with that nasty rebar corrosion.

    2. digi_owl

      Also, China is rapidly making themselves independently supplied when it comes to electronic components. Basically the value of Taiwan as a industrial supplier for China may be running out, and turning the place into a crater in order to spite USA may well be acceptable in Beijing.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Solar power opens the door to banking for rural Indians

    If rural Indians are depending on solar power for their banking, that must mean bankers will only be able to rip them off some of the time now, during daylight hours when it’s not cloudy. Progress!

  16. Hacker

    The no-till article mentions soil compaction. That only happens with heavy equipment. So the condemnation here is of industrial no-till, which also uses pesticides heavily. Small scale organic no-till may be completely different where you have a healthy soil microbiome.

    1. Ellery O'Farrell

      Thanks for that; I wondered why there’d be more soil compaction for no-till than for till (which seems likely to use heavier equipment) but thought that perhaps the soil compacted by itself if not turned over (expanded) by tilling. However, that would probably be moderated or even overcome by a healthy soil microbiome. Yes? No? More detail?

      Edit: whoops, sorry, see later comments I didn’t read before commenting. Though none that I’ve read so far (trying to make the edit deadline) seem to address my point….

  17. Tom Stone

    Jimmy Carter described the USA as a lawless Oligarchy in 2016 and he was late to the show.
    That’s also the year that Mr Hopey Changey signed off on the NDAA that revoked Habeas Corpus forthe first time since the American Civil war.
    ANYONE who thinks the US is anything close to a Democracy or a Republic has swallowed the propaganda hook,line and sinker.
    It is expert propaganda, but the reality is getting harder to ignore.

    1. hunkerdown

      Whatever mythical celebrations of subordination to a sovereign, inherently meaningfully unaccountable ruling class one might want to romanticize, no, delusional LARP is pretty normal for states of every sort.

      It was our fault for believing in myths in the first place. Especially the belief that, by putting people in power, we could morally improve them. Direct democracy or slavery: the choice is ours.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I’m just tired of hearing about the Senate parliamentarian deciding and vetoing legislation. Yet another unelected official without any constitutional authority deciding the law because the Democratic Party doesn’t want to part with anything other than scraps for the little people.

        Who do they think the parliamentarian is? The Supreme Court?

    1. Questa Nota

      Weapons, money, all go walk-about. How else is an aspiring pol to accumulate? Thank their lucky stars that the Congress is pushing through all the new inflation-fighting unallocated money to replenish coffers. /s

  18. Anon

    When whistleblowers go to jail, we’re on the road to tyranny

    Tyranny, like democracy, is relative. Hence why we are only on the road, and not yet there. This logic is what allows liberals to sleep at night. Keep fighting the good fight /sarc

    1. .human

      I have this argument regularly where at craft beer and wine events I’m asked to show ID even though I am clearly over 21 (I don’t think I look under 60!)

      I make the point that this is just an authoritarian demand to show my papers. An in-your-face example of our tyranical state that the masses just accept. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding, critical thinking, and submission.

      Depending on whom I am with, I’ll make my point and leave (a large audience is always beneficial.)

      1. LawnDart

        In some states ALL patrons of a liquor establishment must have valid ID, even to just be on the premises– failure to enforce this requirement can result in fines and/or loss of bartending or liquor license. It’s a bunch of protestant or puritanical bullshit, but that’s how it is. Being a bar owner in some places makes you a target for the revenue rats, big-time.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I just pretend to be flattered when demanded for my I.D. to prove my age. [I have ultra-blond — white hair — an aged neck and jowls and plenty of smile wrinkles around my eyes.] Although obtaining an I.D. is an exercise, using it to prove age does not yet seem similar to demanding ihrer Ausweis [hope I got the gender correct — too long away from high school German]. Attempting to fly on a commercial flight or enter the u.s. … that does feel increasingly different.

        1. .human

          This is just my point. It is clearly not for proof of age.

          I’ve been to street fairs in Europe where alcohol vendors were never required to purchase any special permit or license and were allowed to use good old common sense in sales. (New Years celebrations bringing a little more relaxed interpretation ;-)

  19. Lex

    The people I know who advocate no-till agriculture (generally at relatively small scale) don’t do so because of its ability to store carbon but for plant health based on soil structure and soil biota, particularly the fungal networks that take at least a season to fully establish. That said, I guess I’m not surprised by the study results, many of the soil biota are using CO2 as part of biochemical processes so over time there will be less CO2 than expected because life is cracking it apart to get the oxygen and carbon. After all, the CO2 issue with burning fossil fuels is that the carbon left in the ancient plant matter combines with oxygen and becomes CO2, not there’s some quantity of CO2 in the fuel that is released.

    Note that the link has an internal link about the benefit of biochar in agriculture, and biochar is pretty much just carbon formed by low oxygen combustion. Carbon in soil not only holds water but its charge state attracts elemental minerals (it’s physical structure also makes it a happy home for microbial life). It’s why you need to charge biochar prior to application, otherwise it acts like a magnet and will reduce soil fertility initially. What I’m trying to say is that it’s real hard to extract a single variable from soil and draw conclusions because it’s an amazingly complex system.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Very disappointing article. The author seizes on one [1] benefit and then seems to dismiss no till because it doesn’t help with carbon. A benefit claim I’d never heard before.

      No till is a hyper-rational approach to farming that benefits any farmland at risk of low rainfall. No till radically reduces farm oil consumption and soil erosion.

      This was like reading an article on how sunshine isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

      1. truly

        Yes, to “radically reduces farm oil consumption”.
        And anything reducing oil consumption is reducing work time and wear on equipment. Being able to plant in one pass and go back one time with weed prevention is a massive reduction in labor hours.
        I recall in my childhood making a pass with a 14 foot chisel plow. Then a pass with a 20 foot disc. Then finally a pass with a planter. Then later a pass with a cultivator.
        You mean I could have spent more time fishing? You bet.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Dad would let me disc, but he never forgave me for the time I got off a row while cultivating. And in truth my discing embarrassed him as I usually finished both ends before the middle.

      2. Scylla

        I’ve never heard the carbon sink argument mentioned in relation to no-till either. The benefits are always touted as reduced fuel consumption and reduced erosion. The big problem with no-till from what I have seen, is weed control. I know a few farms that have either abandoned no-till over this, or farms that simply sporadically introduce tillage to an otherwise no-till system to knock the weeds back. Seems the author is trying to conflate no-till with tall-grass/intensive rotational grazing to me. Tall-grass/intensive rotational grazing sequesters absolutely huge amounts of carbon. No denying that one.

        1. Lex

          Honesty, no till probably performs best at the smallest scales where “weeding” can be 90% chop and drop, plus the ability to put down a heavy mulch layer. I think to work large plots that way one would need to do some really good planning in terms of cover crops and then still you likely need to periodically till, which will impact fungal networks but will also work the fresh organic matter into the soil. Even in a home garden, there are weed types I need to pull rather than chop and drop.

          1. HotFlash

            This guy, Gabe Brown, is no-till on a pretty large scale, all organic, and to hear him tell, is doing OK. He’s got a lot more stuff around the youtubes if you want to spend more than 5:36, and Ihighly recommend that you do if you are anywise interested in this thing. Also, it seems that a lot of the ‘no till’ promoted by big ag relies on herbicides to kill the crops. So, some ‘no till’ are more no till than others.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Australian Prime Minister Albanese refuses to meet with Assange’s family”

    Said before that the present Prime Minister of Oz is and has always been just a political hack and nothing yet has changed my mind. The effort to not help Assange is bipartisan here in Oz as both parties are now in tow to DC and its wishes. The article mentions a visit to Parliament by Assange’s family but did not mention that when they arrived, books that they had about Julian Assange were seized from them by security staff as being ‘protest material’

  21. Carolinian

    re streaming and the shelving of Batgirl–maybe Warner Brothers decided that yet another movie with “bat” in the title would simply be too boring. Say what you will about Tom Cruise but at least he waited 40 years to make another Top Gun.

    Which is to say the streaming fade could be about a creative deficit in H’wood as much as anything else. When even Amazon and Apple have channels that’s a lot of slices of the pie.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Whilst I have no love for new CEO, I respect him for realising the writing on the wall….. We can’t and won’t afford all the streaming services. Something has to change. He decided it’s time to go back to 1970s/80s with tent pole superhero flicks you see at cinema….and later on Tv or streaming. Yes yes yes I know NC covid knowledgeable people won’t goto cinema but we’re a minority.

      He might be right. Simply by slowing the process of production WB can see and take advantage of any major change in demand (like how westerns displayed within a few years catching studios off guard). If he’s wrong he’ll be suitably promoted upstairs…… But if right then Disney should be worried. Apple+ and Amazon and Netflix too. Not enough back catalogue.

    2. fresno dan

      I think the demographics got them. Now, if they had made Bat-grandma they would have had a sure fire hit…

    1. griffen

      We could do something ala sports themed. If you vilify the Patriots and/or Bellichick and Brady and Kraft, then one chooses which is the least liked among them. Similar for the Yankees or Red Sox fan.

      As a fan of UNC Chapel Hill, I would label the disease Blue Devil Pox. Just because I love hating Duke that much. Plus it intertwines with that Brotherhood nonsense.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Doesn’t it go, “Wake is fake and Duke is puke, but the team I really hate is NC State”?

        1. griffen

          That is the correct phrasing, at least when I learned as a kid in the mid ’80s. I still hate NC State, though I love watching the documentary about their unlikely 1983 run to a national title in men’s basketball. Come to think of it, I saw announced earlier this year there was a biography in the works about Jimmy V.

  22. Screwball

    Has the Ukraine Conflict Driven U.S. Government Officials Crazy?

    No, crazy came first, the Ukraine conflict second.

      1. Screwball

        Thanks for that link, I want to watch that. I might be misremembering, but didn’t some congressperson raise the question of “where is all the arms and money going” only to be met with outrage at them for even asking?

        Insanity it what this all is. These people are crazy, and have been.

        flora posted a link below about what will be needed going forward for EV batteries and what will need to be mined to do so in the time frame needed. Interesting article for sure, and raises many good points.

        All I could think of was how many more countries/places will we need to “bring democracy” to in order to get the minerals we need for the batteries?

      1. Screwball

        For sure. The people in charge are rewriting fiction and satire as we watch in real time. I can only believe there will come a time and all this insanity will come home to roost.

        Tick, tick, tick…

      2. Nikkikat

        Fresno Dan, I remember king of hearts. One of our favorite movies. Alan Bates. Great stuff and truer every day.

      3. Ellery O'Farrell

        Loved Le roi des coeurs (saw it in French). Thanks for the link–now I can see it again!

        Got one for Zorba?

    1. Terry Flynn

      Rumour is that non-payers will have pre pay meters forcibly installed.

      I remember the Poll Tax riots…….. That “acceptance of meters” simply won’t happen. People think of us Brits as soft….. Those riots showed just what we can and will do in face of gross governmental evil.

      1. jr

        I hope USers come around to such thinking but I fear the ubiquitous worship of property here would undermine that trend. Many would leap to the defense of the power companies. It brings to mind a conversation I had with a woman years ago about the dumping of cheap firearms into troubled neighborhoods here that feeds gun violence:

        I noted that these companies were making huge profits knowing full well they were fueling death and mayhem at a discount. These aren’t hunting or sport guns; they aren’t very good for self-defense, I understand. They are made to murder people.

        Her response was a righteous defense of the companies. Regulating them would cost them profits! They had worked hard to get to where they were. She seemed to take it a bit personally. She worked hard and had nothing to show for it.

        Note that this conversation took place in Philly, where gun violence is as common as dirt.

        In a similar vein, I’ve mentioned I lurk on a lot of Right-ward Youtube channels and it seems the common response to governmental and corporate overreach is, well, Elon Musk in one form or another. A kind of capitalist creator-god to many. Their ethos is personal responsibility, the morality of the slave.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Thanks for responding and I totally get the US take on it. Whilst “social bonds” here in UK have been weakened still further since Thatcher, I see the social and official media in places like Nottingham where I live…… They simply won’t accept free market solutions based on pre-pay meters etc. The “anger” here is merely sleeping…… We started major riots once before and I sense my fellow Nottinghamians will do so again…..

          And that’s BEFORE we even think about cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow which are tinderboxes already.

          History doesn’t repeat but does rhyme….. If we continue down this path I, despite strongly disliking the tone of the major wing of the main opposition Labour Party, can foresee a “Canadian result” (mid 80s)where dominant Conservative party lost all but TWO MPs. People think this couldn’t ever happen in uk…….. Don’t be so sure……..

          1. JBird4049

            Property rights might be a big thing here in the United States, when gasoline, heat, light, even food, becomes unaffordable, then bloviating about it will get little respect; it is hard to label the middle class as lazy moochers (although some will certainly try) when they are sitting in the dark.

            1. Terry Flynn

              Am hoping that means you’ll stand with us if and when things get nasty by the neoliberal types.

              1. JBird4049

                If it continues on the same upward trend, by this time next year, if not months sooner, this citizen will not have a choice. Unless I just want to lay down and die following Lambert’s Neoliberal Rule #2 (Go die.) by accepting Rule #1(Because markets.) Sorry, I really don’t like making waves or being noticed, but if our Beloved Elites continue this I will make them choke on it anyway I can.

        2. Carla

          “The typical gas and electricity bill is expected to reach £3,358 in October, according to consultancy Cornwall Insight. In October 2021, the average annual bill was £1,400.”

          jr, are you implying that Americans would take energy price increases of this magnitude on the chin? I really doubt that.

          Keep in mind that October isn’t even very cold in the UK.

          1. Pat

            I don’t think most Americans have the means to fight. It isn’t just being ridiculous regarding corporations, but modern life changes. “Smart meters have been a big thing for electrical providers. They now can cut you off with a flick of a switch. Then there is auto pay, which a large portion of urban America has been stupid enough to allow.
            The real question is what Americans will do when they are cut off OR their bank accounts stripped and are still cut off. Fuel oil has some of the same issues.

            The corporations will only be fighting on one front, collections.

            1. chris

              Well, there’s things like LIHEAP but I expect many poor and elderly in the US to either freeze or suffer damages to their property such that they have to find other living arrangements this year. Especially if they’re renters or rely on things like propane or fuel oil. In one of the links today there was the discussion about replacing the piping connections to a house because they were lead. However, that story obfuscated the fact that the central character they were talking to wasn’t the owner of the property. She was a renting tenant. There’s no leverage to force a landlord to upgrade the private utility connections if the current ones work and the landlord isn’t trying to sell the property. Similarly, there’s no leverage to make sure a landlord budgets for fuel costs appropriately during the winter. There are laws controlling when a landlord can be fined for not providing heating or cooling to a tenancy. There are laws controlling when a landlord is allowed to end utility service to a tenancy for things like non-payment. They’re fairly generous for the winter season and kind of reasonable for the summer season. The assumption in most of the law still seems to be everyone needs heat during the winter but AC is a luxury.

              Anyway, I expect you’ll get elderly people who will be surprised at the cost to fill their tanks this season. Or they’ll try to stretch things way farther than they should and end up with nothing in the tank during a blizzard. Just like I expect landlords to play games with people this year and try to push as much of the fuel and power costs on to tenants as possible.

              With large scale corporations becoming landlords, I expect this trend will be magnified in ways we haven’t experienced before. Like universal restrictions on how high the heat is allowed to go during the winter. Which I would expect tenants to try and circumvent by using other sources for heating their rentals. Which is why I won’t be surprised if we see a surge in fires and carbon monoxide exposure this winter season. A kerosene heater might seem more reasonable for indoor use at night than a radiator or electric baseboard heating.

              So I’m going long on misery this winter. Not because I’m excited about it or anything. But because this is what is likely to happen unless a lot of people get help that no one is currently prepared to offer. And all the COVID limits and assistance programs are long gone so… I think we’ll all hear the wolf at our neighbor’s door soon :(

          2. jr

            I hope I’m wrong but what will they do? Where is the organizing coming from? I’m not saying it’s impossible but there is a thick layer of foggy none sense that needs to dissipate first. I’m happy to be wrong!

    2. chris

      There are laws in many jurisdictions in the US that regulate when a public utility can shut off power to a customer for non-payment. Because the market in the US is split in many places between public and private providers, those laws do not apply to many customers who rely on deliveries of fuel such as fire wood, fuel oil, and propane. And even for the public customers the laws typically revolve around winter temperatures. There are not as many jurisdictions with requirements to supply power for extreme heat conditions. And with things like natural gas, if you’re behind on your payments they can and will delay the process of turning your fuel back on because they can turn it off at the street but can only turn it on after testing the system and proving it’s OK. Ditto for propane service at the tank.

      Also, not sure if you’ve had utility connections arranged lately, but there’s typically a generous deposit required that you forfeit if you refuse to pay. For example, when we bought our house back in 2015, the upfront deposit required for us to get electricity was around $900. Per the notice we received from the electric company, it could have been reduced if we could show them that we had a credit score of 930. No surprises to say that we did not have flawless credit after purchasing a house. So we entered into the part of the contract with them that said as long as we paid every month as required the deposit would be returned to us over time. 3 years later, we had it back in full. From what I know that practice has not changed where we live or in other areas. So if you’re a non-paying customer in the US, whether relying on public or private utilities, a non-payment revolt is not going to work well. Even if many people do it.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>So if you’re a non-paying customer in the US, whether relying on public or private utilities, a non-payment revolt is not going to work well. Even if many people do it.

        While most public utilities are “controlled” by very corrupt agencies and paid off politicians, I do not see how not paying the gas and electric companies is a nonstarter. In California, prices always go up, service always goes down, and maintenance is a joke as shown by exploding neighborhoods and massive fires. Hitting the greedy bastards in the pocketbook seems to be like the only thing that they will notice. They could cut us all off, but then what especially if everyone doesn’t have the money to pay as seems likely if not this year then next?

        Anyways, I am seriously considering about pushing for state ownership with none of this stocks, or stock buybacks, or all the massive salaries. Given the century plus of corruption in the California’s utilities it might not solve anything, but at least I could see that the overpaid executives and stock owners get the chop.

        1. chris

          California is an intriguing case for many different reasons. You seem to think that residential consumers are the big pot of money here. That’s often not the case in metropolitan areas. Commercial accounts pay more reliably and use more gas.

          The reason why I said this won’t end well, especially for the gas customers who want to have a payment strike, is that they’ll lose their deposits, get cut off, and not have their system turned back on until they’re current unless some law prevents them from being cut off. But those laws are typically seasonal and come with other obligations. So, even if you’re protected on January 1, come March 30, the protection ends and you’re in court coming up with a plan to pay the utility back. Plus interest.

          Good luck getting a serious push for public ownership of the utilities again. I think that ship sailed away a long time ago.

    1. The Rev Kev

      John Deer argued in court, or tried to, that people can’t own things. They can only license them. I’m not sure that Republicans will be onboard with this as they seemed obsessed by the term ‘property’ in that they will not refer to their house or their home but their property instead and that can apply to their vehicles as well. And can you imagine the WEF telling people in rural areas in any country that they won’t be able to own their own vehicles?

      1. digi_owl

        I suspect they will be happy as long as the contracts are clear on the difference.

        the problem right now is that you “buy” something but then are denied full control of your purchase for various reasons.

        But if they were up front with it being a lease or similar, the Reps would likely be all for it. After all, they have crap all issue with rent extraction in various other markets.

    2. hunkerdown

      It is a well-known trap in capitalist ideology that all that is personal is private and all that is private is personal. Not that capitalism hasn’t been trying to couple every relation to an ongoing income stream since rental transactions were first validated in a court of law.

      1. jr

        Years ago whilst an undergrad, I ticked off a number of conservative and libertarian classmates when I made the point that so much of what is deemed “private property” is not at all private. Barring a solitary hermit’s possessions, all property has a social element. People don’t seek property or wealth because it has no impact on others, rather they seek it exactly because it is solidified power over others. There is no such thing as the “Scrooge McDuck”style capitalist who seeks wealth in order to swim in gold coins in solitude. If one wishes to make a moral argument for the sanctity of “private” property, then one has set a standard by which a moral argument can be made against that properties’ social effects.

        Note: I’m not saying I’m the first person to say this by any means.

  23. Clint Olsen Wright


    An idea to promote to all the people in the world with too much money: spend outrageous amounts paying the taxes you probably owe anyway and
    advertise your returns on social media as a display and measure of chic, personal expenditure; big yachts, lots of trash bags, the biggest tax payment.

  24. fresno dan

    Little monkey is anxious to save a trapped kitty
    I have to say, I thought it was pretty hilarious when the monkey jumped on the little girl’s head.

  25. mistah charley, ph.d.

    “little monkey anxious to save trapped kitty”

    The video shows a little monkey – and the little girl who comes along and does what the monkey can’t do – helping the unfortunate kitten. Good.

    On the other hand, two questions arise.

    Who is recording this?
    How did the kitten get in the pit in the first place?

    One wonders.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Yes, as I was viewing, I kept asking myself, why doesn’t the camera person help the poor kitty. Then, when the cute kid showed up, it become clear that this was most likely rather successful karma farming. It was cute though

      1. HotFlash

        I couldn’t watch it very far in. If I were that camera-person’s mother, I would have slapped them hard.

    2. digi_owl

      It seems like bystander effect squared.

      People no longer just stop to watch, waiting for someone “more competent” to take charge, but also now a days pull out their phones and such to film everything.

      It has become such a problem that around here emergency personell has to keep reminding bystanders that the victims have a right to privacy.

  26. Mikel

    “Balenciaga is selling an $1,800 trash bag that ‘looks exactly like a Hefty bag you’d use in your kitchen’
    Business Insider

    Yawn. Anyone can search trash/garbage bag high fashion and see designers playing with trash bags for decades now.
    The guillotine may also need to be for lack of imagination

    1. JBird4049

      On Reddit, I saw examples of extremely distressed shoes at $1,850 for a pair as the next fashion trend. I remember thinking that for this amount you could buy an entire ensemble for very nice suit including shoes, tie, shirt, etc all made in the United States. It would not be bespoke, but for that money you could afford to have a professional tailor make it fit.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      “You can DERELICTE my balls.”

      Lmao. Fn love Zoolander!!!!

      Def high up on my most quoted movies list!

  27. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “Exclusive: U.S. readies new $1 billion Ukraine weapons package Reuters” ??? !!!

    1. For all of the shut-ins, voluntary or not and everyone else that has both the interest and the time, please do consider the following family friendly offering for your free viewing:

    “Into the Arctic Films”

    2. Vladimir Vladimirovich will surely be playing the following composition nonstop for Washington, NATO, and especially for Volodymyr Oleksandrovych:

    Local H: “What Would You Have Me Do”

    Because the decades old deliberately planned and calculated provocation is what it is:

    “We, the undersigned, believe that the current U.S.led effort to expand NATO, the focus of the recent Helsinki and Paris Summits, is a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability . . . . “

    “Opposition to NATO Expansion”

    “The taproot of the crisis is the American-led effort to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s borders. . . . . William Burns, who is now the head of the CIA, but was the US ambassador to Moscow at the time of the Bucharest summit, wrote a memo to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that succinctly describes Russian thinking about this matter. In his words: “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all red lines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.” NATO, he said, “would be seen … as throwing down the strategic gauntlet. Today’s Russia will respond. Russian-Ukrainian relations will go into a deep freeze…It will create fertile soil for Russian meddling in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.”

    “The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine War”

    3. Now, I go back to my meditations, my ‘yoga’, the Word, and my chores (Winter is coming and it may be a long unpleasant one.):

    “Look at this puppet here, well rigged,
    A heap of many sores, piled up,
    Diseased, and full of greediness,
    Unstable, and impermanent!”

    “Devoured by old age is this frame,
    A prey of sickness, weak and frail;
    To pieces breaks this putrid body,
    All life must truly end in death.”

    4. The human vanity project continues onward, even as everyone you once knew ceases to be.

    5. Aum.

  28. Glen

    So I have been tracking wildfires using GoogleEarth and KMLs from the Department of the Interior to “monitor” wildfire activity, but the data stream stopped late last month because the satellite broke:

    Suomi NPP satellite in “No-nominal Mode”:

    Yet, there are sites which are still displaying information so (I’m assuming) there must be alternative sources of information:

    Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS):

    I wonder, and this is idle speculation, given that satellites that have downward looking sensors, are all to one degree or another “spy satellites”, how much these will become subject to censoring and attack. I think the degree to which we current enjoy information of this type will wane and shift as we re-align to a multipolar world.

    Strange how when we are clearly coming to a world wide crisis situation where global cooperation should be paramount, that we seem to have entered a world wide political situation that makes that impossible. Was this discussed at the WEF and I missed it or what?

      1. ambrit

        The silent film about the roper that is banned from roping things inside the town limits? That was the earliest mention of “Goat Roping” I have ever seen.

    1. JBird4049

      One of the methods of transmission is by sex; during the AIDS epidemic they tried to make just about Gays. Labeled at first as GRID (Gay Related Immunity Deficiency) or just the Gay Plague, which lasted until it got into the general population where it always existed outside the United States. Some people want to push a disease’s method of transmission or a population as the exclusive cause or blame. Infectious diseases don’t care. They only exist to reproduce and spread.

      Some people want to deny that promiscuous sex makes it easy to spread a disease like Monkeypox and others want to say that with Monkeypox is primarily or perhaps even only a sexually transmitted disease. Both are wrong.

  29. spud

    they do not teach economics. what they teach is that you can use math to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that fairy tales, unicorns, and flying pink elephants do exist.

    Do Universities Teach Economics?

    “But I discovered a remarkable fact about the study of economics in Korea when I made my questions to my students more specific about the impact of economics on politics and society: I found out that I had read more about economics than most of my students who had taken years of economics classes in college.

    When I asked them about the fundamentals of economic theory, I discovered that in the course of their classes in “economics” they had not read any of the major works of Adam Smith, Max Weber, Karl Marx, John Keynes, or even contemporary critics like Thomas Piketty.

    I was truly astonished. I, a mere literature professor, had read at least some of the major works of all of those theoreticians. One student then explained to me that economics textbooks did include short passages introducing the major theories of economics.

    But the vast majority of the economics classes consist of employing advanced mathematics to solve given problem sets without a consideration of the nature of economics.”

    its the west period!

  30. Jason Boxman

    Liberal Democrats are really excited to have passed a bill that does too little too late for climate and not much on prescription drugs either. Hooray!

    Vote Blue no matter who, lol

      1. Jason Boxman

        That’s still upbeat. Didn’t mention negotiation for only 10 drugs starts in years from now. And what good are Obama care subsidies if you can’t afford the deductible anyway.

        All in all a mostly weak bill that maybe helps save the Democrats in the fall. We’ll see.

        Wouldn’t even let Sanders get dental. Lol.

  31. ArvidMartensen

    Bedtime story. Once there was a huge muscular tiger, with bloodied claws and teeth, called America.
    But rich Americans stole the tiger and sold it to Asia for a lot of money while nobody was watching.
    To hide their crime the rich Americans left in its place a decoy, a giant paper tiger full of nothing but hot air.
    So now the poor paper tiger has only one sad weapon to fight with. And that is the hot air that it blows at people all the time – through CNN, New York Times, Fox News, through false flags and through the mouths of Pelosi, Blinken, Trump, Nuland, Occasio-Cortez .etc etc……….
    Many Americans haven’t really noticed yet that they are a paper tiger and not a real tiger. And American tiger cubs like the UK and Europe and Australia haven’t noticed either. They still run to daddy tiger to save them.
    But the Russian bear has noticed that America is a paper tiger. And so has the Chinese panda.
    Turkey has, Africa has, South America has.
    The cubs will be forced to, sooner or later.

  32. Tom Stone

    Would Harris be an improvement over Biden?
    She doesn’t seem to have a death wish as so many in the Biden Administration do.
    I’m at the point that anything short of a Nuclear Holocaust seems like the best we can hope for.

  33. korual

    “The consciousness of bees.”

    A good follow up to the discussion of the non-sentinence of artificial intelligence yesterday.

    This article makes some strong claims about insect intelligence and emotions, which are feasible except for one: that the bees are able to “count”. The experimental methodology here does not justify this mathematical ability claim, as the bees presumably are able to remember spatial discoveries. If they were counting in the strict sense then they would have been much more accurate in getting to the 4th honey pot.

    The same “dimension” of consciousness can be extended to all biological life, including plants in as much as living beings are all able to be aware of, and respond to, their environment, to some degree. The fundamental difference of emergent human consciousness is language; we are linguistic beings.

  34. Wukchumni

    A ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs thought up in the heartland
    Little Boy’s gonna be a uranium scar
    Fat Man debuts from backseat of Bockscar

    Suckin’ on fire-seared cogs that used to be human beings
    Fat Man’s sittin’ on Japan’s lap
    He’s got his hands between Nagasaki’s knees
    Little Boy say, hey Fat Man lets run off
    Behind Hiroshima and see
    Dribble off those babbling brooks
    Let me do what I please
    And Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone they wok on

    Little Boy sits back reflects his thoughts for a moment
    Scratches his head and does his best clean sweep
    Well you know Fat Man we oughta blow up the city
    Fat Man says, baby you ain’t missing no-thing
    Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone

    Gonna let it rock
    Let it roll
    Let the A Bomb come down
    And save my soul
    Hold on to U 235 as long as you can
    Changes comin’ round real soon
    Make us half-life women and men

    A ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs that went off according to plan

  35. digi_owl

    “Bladed ‘Ninja’ missile decapitated al-Qaeda’s head Asia Times (resilc)”

    Hell of a way to go that.

    And the article as about more than CIAs latest toy.

    Robodogs with guns was pretty much a given from the first Boston Dynamics video, independent of how much the company claimed otherwise.

    I think it was one of Gibson’s original trilogy that opened with the protagonist getting caught in a bomb blast, delivered by way of a robot that was cued to some biometrics or other.

    Sadly like most good scifi authors i fear his success went to his head.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > I think it was one of Gibson’s original trilogy that opened with the protagonist getting caught in a bomb blast, delivered by way of a robot that was cued to some biometrics or other.

      I did a little digging. First paragraph of Count Zero:

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

Comments are closed.