Links 1/23/2023

How to See the ‘Green Comet’ Everyone’s Talking About Gizmodo


Climate change is threatening Madagascar’s famous forests: Study shows how serious it is

Some health risks from climate change in Florida may surprise. This one affects millions Miami Herald. Diabetes

U.S. Government Seeks to Dismiss Keystone XL Pipeline Case, While Taxpayers Have Already Spent $250,000 to NAFTA Arbitration Tribunal Public Citizen

Climate change and space debris, a vicious cycle astrobites

How did past societies handle the impacts of climate change? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Jackson, Mississippi’s water crisis persists as national attention and help fade away NBC News

‘Concerning’ map reveals where fish caught in the US are full of hazardous ‘forever chemicals’ Business Insider

Skipped showers, paper plates: For one suburb that relies on the Colorado River, water is hard to get Salt Lake Tribune

And farther down the line…

Tijuana Is Again Buying Emergency Water from California After Aqueduct Outage Voice of San Diego


Immune Harm: Who to believe? Easy Chair (Fathi)

The Gig is Up, and It Feels Weird Ok Doomer. The deck: “The German Minister of Public Health just confirmed what scientists have been trying to tell the world about Covid.”

Self-injury, suicidality and eating disorder symptoms in young adults following COVID-19 lockdowns in Denmark Nature. “Our findings provide no support for the increase in self-injury, suicidality and symptoms of EDs after the lockdowns.”


Japan to lower COVID-19 to flu status, further easing rules AP


Myanmar Resistance Targets More Junta Election Offices The Irrawaddy

Old Blighty

UK steel industry a whisker away from collapse – Unite BBC

The Koreas

CNN’s Waging A Clever Psy-Op To Justify South Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions Andrew Korybko

How US-led alliance aims to mend Japan-South Korea ties and rein in China SCMP


Chinese Battery Plant Investment Faces Local Backlash in Hungary Bloomberg

Patrick Lawrence: Japan Reenlists as Washington’s Spear-Carrier Scheerpost

A Taiwan bloodbath might suit US decision-makers just fine RT

New Not-So-Cold War

US to Ukraine: You’re Losing; Do it Different! Empire, Communication and NATO Wars

US pledges to “go on the offensive” against Russia WSWS


Germany won’t keep Poland from sending tanks to Ukraine DW. Both Scholz and new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius continued to slow walk the decision Sunday before the announcement from FM Baerbock. Did she break rank? Would fit with her priors.

Some of the pressure on the German vassal state:

Germany is refusing to send tanks to Ukraine. Biden cannot let this stand WaPo


French politician accuses US of intent to start war in Europe TASS

Morocco becomes the first African country to give tanks to Ukraine – report i24

US to build military industrial base in Morocco Middle East Monitor. “The CIA report said that Russia not only strongly supports the Algerian regime militarily and politically, but is also discussing the establishment of a large logistical base that would give it an important outlet to countries located south of the Sahara Desert.”


Italy’s Meloni eyes boost in strong energy ties with Algeria AP

Big freeze that was feared by gas hungry Europe hits Central Asia, Iran IntelliNews

Speak Loudly and Carry Someone Else’s Big Stick The American Conservative

Russian Agents Suspected of Directing Far-Right Group to Mail Bombs in Spain New York Times. Entirely based on the word of anonymous US officials.

Macron wants €400 billion to ‘transform’ France’s forces through 2030 Defense News. While he’s trying to raise pension age.

Burkina Faso orders French troops to leave amidst massive protest WION

South of the Border

Bowing to coup threats, Lula promises massive investments in Brazil’s armed forces WSWS

Biden Administration

Biden to Tap Jeff Zients as His Next White House Chief of Staff New York Times. Rewarded for killing 600,000 Americans as Covid czar, but as Biden said Friday, he’s stopped thinking about that.

Fire Jeff Zients The American Prospect. From Jan. 2022, but still germane.

Biden slams climate change doubters while surveying storm damage Axios

Delays plague Biden’s push for rapid action on climate changeWaPo

Biden moves ahead on two Gulf lease sales for later this year Houston Chronicle


Biden enters year with low approval ratings despite midterm boost The Hill

Record High in U.S. Put Off Medical Care Due to Cost in 2022 Gallup

Trump to GOP: Don’t touch Medicare or Social Security in debt ceiling fight Politico

No Labels Makes Initial Investment in Bipartisan Presidential Ticket Sludge

Obama Legacy

Police State Watch

Memphis Police officers involved in traffic stop that preceded Tyre Nichols’ death fired Memphis Commercial Appeal. Quite the headline. Excessive use of force, failure to intervene and failure to render aid.


Mass Shooting In Monterey Park Leaves 10 Dead, 10 Wounded. What We Know So Far LAist

Supply Chain/Inflation

Surging egg prices mean record profits for largest US egg producer CNN.  The prison labor probably doesn’t hurt either.

Bleak outlook post-Chinese New Year prompts more blank voyages The Loadstar

Our No Longer Free Press


Guillotine Watch

A powerful nonprofit owns apartments for poor tenants. Why are some tenants trapped in their rooms? LA Times

Class Warfare

If America Had Fair Laws, 60 Million Workers Would Join a Union Tomorrow Jacobin (Kevin W)


The Lawsuit That Could Freeze Speech Against Billionaires The Lever


Pluralistic: Tiktok’s enshittification Pluralistic

The Bezzle

Feds seized nearly $700 million from FTX founder Bankman-Fried Reuters (Kevin W)

TikTok confirms that its own employees can decide what goes viral The Verge

IBM top brass accused again of using mainframes to prop up Watson, cloud sales The Register

Forgotten existentialist Aeon. “Sartre gets much of the credit for existentialism. Karl Jaspers not only preceded him, but offered a way out of despair.”

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. Louis Fyne

      in my opinion, the RUSI is the only “credentialed, prestige” think tank whose public take on the Ukraine war actually reflects the facts.

      The RUSI is the same organization who opined about the “return of industrial war”

      In some very dry and clinically detached language, the RUSI is recognizing the war for what it is—a UAV/commercial-quadcopter-induced revolution in tactics.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, this is halo effect thinking based on RUSI having published the Alexander Vershinin “The Return of Industrial Warfare.” I’ve seen other pieces out of RUSI which were warmed over Ukraine talking points. One I recall came shortly after the Vershinin piece and was so Ukraine rah-rah that it looked intended to bolster RUSI’s pro-West bona fides.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Rusi is a little like the WSJ or FT for military heads. There is a lot of superficial political bias, but the underlying technical information is usually pretty sound, as its assumed that its readers will know how to read between the lines. Note how that article made it very clear that its primary sources are from the Ukraine military. Any informed readers will know how to interpret that.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its a curious read – as you say, Rusi has been a reasonably good source of technical information. The document does reminds me of those IMF/World Bank reports where some very good analyses produced by researchers who know their stuff gets forced through a bureaucratic blender to produce the ideologically ‘correct’ conclusions.

      As an obvious example, its a little hard to take seriously the suggestion that the attack on the Donbass was the holding operation while the Kievan operation was the ‘real’ attack. While its not impossible the original battle plan kept both options open, all available evidence suggests that it was the other way around. But clearly Ukrainian/western sources are never going to admit this.

      But that said, if you avoid the clear confirmation bias about motivations and strategy, there is a lot of interesting information in there.

  1. Steve H.

    > periodontist

    Janet and I are currently getting our skulls scraped, which had terrified me since my father had his, with skin grafts and stitches, and told me the best medicine after was a fifth of whiskey.

    Medicine does advance, however, and now the procedure is done with ultrasound and lasers. Janet had one side done a few days ago, and she’s sore but not in pain. And it costs less than it did then, without even including inflation.

    1. Carla

      Re: skull scraping. I have never heard of this. Could you please explain something about what this procedure is, and the purpose of it? I did a quick online search and couldn’t really find anything using that term. Thank you in advance.

      1. Steve H.

        Janet is getting the LANAP procedure, but the periodontist also scraped old plaque out from under her gums with a metal tool. Janet said the bone conduction means the sound is amplified and sounds like they were scraping her skull. So, not the technical term.

        1. John Beech

          Steve H. . . . thanks for bringing this to my attention. My wife is going to need treatment and is fearful of the dentist so seeing this give me an avenue to explore for her. Basically, 3 years of COVID equals 3 years of dental health neglect as I’ve judge the risk of COVID to be of greater consequence. That said, plaque build up exacerbates things and I’m getting to the stage where I’m looking for a window of opportunity to take the risk. Folks I use scrape and then sandblast them (bicarbonate, actually, of course) per my request as it ends up better for me. Few people like the media blasting but while I don’t either, I can deal with it. The laser procedure is quite interesting.

          Last thing I thought I’d learn today on NC but here we are, thanks again.

          1. ChrisPacific

            I once went without for six years and it led to full-on periodontitis and some expensive interventions. Thankfully it’s under control now and I’ve needed no further intervention, just a more involved than normal cleaning process for each regular appointment. It does have the effect of making you super diligent about oral hygiene once you’ve been through it, and I keep my appointments like clockwork now.

            I don’t think the risk is too high for the appointments – hygiene protocols for a dental surgery mean a safer than normal environment, dentists and hygienists can be relied on to at least wear a mask, and you’re usually only sharing space with 1-2 people at most. Do bring a good quality mask for the waiting room though, and don’t arrive too early.

    2. Mike

      Look it up under “trepanation”- it is an old attempted method of relieving headache and other effects of brain lesion, tumor, encephalytis, and whatever else the medical shamans thought was wrong with yoy. Practiced in Latin America before it was Latin, and probably in Africa concurrently.

  2. lowhigh

    I’m not getting Anthony Leonardi’s “Immune Harm” to load with images past the balance scale one. Anyone else having this problem?

  3. griffen

    Donald Trump,a voice of sanity crying the wilderness or a voice of reason if you will, when it comes to leaving alone entitlement funding. Even if the world is seemingly ever more insane, is this a lone signal of some sanity that remains? And of all places, of course; Trump and reasonable thought are indeed rare bedfellows.

    My two cents, watch as the GOP walks the plank anyway. Those damned seniors with their high lifestyles and super duper Medicare. Give up your hard won gains, so the military can continue having nice things that may not always function or may not actually have a purpose. \SARC

    1. But What Do I Know?

      The cuts will be more insidious than that–they will be for those receiving benefits in the future. That way, the old people won’t see a cut in their monthly EFT and it won’t bother them–especially if it’s combined with a CPI raise in any given January.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Surging egg prices mean record profits for largest US egg producer”

    Meanwhile, the amount of eggs being smuggled across the US-Mexico border is skyrocketing. Have no idea if the Drug Cartels are finding this a new lucrative enterprise for them to invest in-

    But then there is this take-

    ‘Basel Musharbash
    Giant Egg Company: We raised egg prices by nearly 300% last year, our gross margin by over 500%, and our gross profits by over 1000%

    NYT/Vox Reporters: Got it. So we should blame skyrocketing egg prices on a minor avian flu outbreak that barely touched egg production, right?’

    1. John Beech

      A business is about making money and you should raise prices until the customers will not stand for it. True as long as everybody else doesn’t do the same because then supply-and-demand is broken due to monopoly action . . . what government is supposed to watch out for.

      So the avian flu gave them the excuse, and as long as nobody else wants market share, then prices will stay high. In the real world, the way it works is everybody wants more sales and you get a price war just like when gas stations were across the street corner from each other.

      Of course, these days, we have the national news yapping about prices across the nation basically informing owners where to price their gas. Ditto, local news providing the local service.

      Take a look at a Sam’s Club earnings breakdown to see how much gasoline sales contribute to their cost of sales, and they’re generally the low cost provider in any community yet they don’t lose money.

      So the egg price thing will eventually stabilize and then prices will head south as surely as they headed north. Patience. Or in my personal case, an adult onset egg allergy means I no longer care. I miss eggs. Sigh.

    2. Gregorio

      Here in Southern Baja we pay the equivalent of about $9 us, for 30 local farm raised eggs with beautiful bright orange yokes that stand up when cracked. Regular Bachoco brand commercial eggs are slightly more than half that price, so there is definitely a financial incentive to smuggle.

  5. Lexx

    ‘Record High Put Off Medical Care Due To Cost In 2022’

    I would have asked a different question: ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that on the day of your appointment your medical care provider can diagnose your medical problem, will take the time to answer your questions, and prescribe an effective drug/treatment?’

    Or…’Based on past experiences you’ve had of trying to involve a physician in the Big Box Of Medical Mysteries That Is You, how many tests do you think your physician will order before making a start on a diagnosis? More or less than ten?’

    It’s both real and face-saving to blame the costs for avoiding going to the doctor, but there’s also the absence of confidence in receiving anything at all in exchange for the effort, time, money and dashed hopes.

    Third question: ‘When the doc does a drive-by through your claustrophobic cubicle and offers you a professional shrug in answer to your suffering, what’s your Plan B? Is your answer of ‘no’ regarding having suicidal thoughts still true… because if you’ve change your mind about your answer, we can help you with that?!’

    1. BeliTsari

      Supplements we’d taken to alleviate SCARY dysautonomia, Hypoxemia, brain fog, ED, diverticulosis, neuralgia, MCAS, NO/ONOO symptoms are making our cursory yearly physicals the stuff of comedy routines? The worse PASC victims FEEL after several acute infections, the more uniformly we test right down the middle? My PCP will no longer say, write or think “long COVID” or PASC. It’s all silly psychosomatic malingering/ pre-existing comorbidities (not existing before March 14th 2020). So, it’s treated as separate, unrelated, imaginary issues (which defy cursory imaging) techniques; get misdiagnosed by not LOOKING for autoimmune, inflammatory or immunocompromised conditions (as victims of chronic illness can attest, having ALWAYS been intentionally gaslighted by diagnostics, based solely upon allopathic drug sales, perpetuating additional BS diagnoses, specialists, therapy until your’re disabled & indentured into uninsured 1099 gigs, evicted or simply stop showing up.

      Remember, diagnosis in Idiocracy?

      1. GramSci

        I haven’t often encountered “allopathic”, so I did a quick look-up. My first two hits on DDG warrant a comment celebrating the other Word of the Day, “antinomy”:

        Allopathic Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

        allopathic: [adjective] relating to or being a system of medicine that aims to combat disease by using remedies (such as drugs or surgery) which produce effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated.

        Allopathic Medicine: Meaning, Vs. Osteopathic, Homeopathic, More 2022-07-25T00:00:00.0000000

        Allopathic medicine or mainstream medicine is a system of healthcare. It has had the most evidence-based scientific research, data collection, and drug testing.

        1. BeliTsari

          Alleviating symptoms, piecemeal (“treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.”) Coding us into whatever our insurer will reimburse. If/ then experimentation doesn’t cure or necessarily prevent subsequent organ damage from circulatory issues. If you treat microclotting, thrombosis, epithelial damage, but “viral reservoirs” sporadically trigger pro-inflammatory cytokines. And your state has laws prohibiting ANY alternative treatment, involving hippy-dippy snake-oil, I’d first mentioned here, three years back (which, I’d barely heard of before infection) well; I’m GLAD we couldn’t access hospital affiliated Long COVID Treatment Centers, who’d just used victims as guinea pigs for finding ways to monitizing a couple million folks, re-re-reinfected with immune-escaping variants, mutating by victims treated with mAb & antiviral pharmaceuticals?

        2. earthling

          And then there is ‘integrative medicine’, i.e. wellness doctors. They are trained as MDs but are oriented towards getting the body working well/better, whatever it takes. They are rare birds but certainly worth tracking down when one is getting the bum’s rush, or no results, from the pill-pushing brigade.

          1. BeliTsari

            I’d wished someone who gave a shit, would come up with a series; with Seinfeld, Sex And The City, Friends & Law & Order zombies, being hunted down by Will Smith, to feed his dog. With slapped base & laugh track. Or maybe The Honeymooners, Amos & Andy, Abbot & Costello, The Goldbergs & Naked City folks zombifying before falling to Tooty & Muldoon’s .38 & 12-gauge pump. Mel Brooks, Imogen Coca & Buck Henry leading Woody Allen as bait? Walter & Gene shooting us crawling up from the #1 Local

              1. ambrit

                Woody Allen was a writer for many ’50s comedy shows. Allen worked with the threesome that is using him as bait. (Using Allen as the tethered goat one uses to attract big cats is appropriate in a Bizzarro World way.)
                The world that B Tsari makes reference to is long gone. America will never be that ‘comfortable’ and ‘self assured’ again. This perceptible loss of power and status must surely be a prime driving force behind the Magical Thinking that guides the Adult Children presently “running” America.

      2. Lexx

        The way I recently put it to an ob/gyn I saw last week… ‘I don’t seem to be a paint-by-the-lab-numbers kinda patient’. She thought that was funny.

    2. marieann

      I had and allergic episode last year. One of my garden plants caused contact dermatitis. I had treatment from my family doctor and I was fine, but I wanted to know which plant caused the problem so I could avoid it next time I was in the garden ( I am an avid gardener)
      I went to see an allergist and I spent a very uncomfortable week with numerous allergens scratched into my back.
      I got no answer about the plant that caused my reaction.I was told I was allergic to fragrance(I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that, I have known for around 30 years) and I am allergic to beeswax…I make my own lotions etc. and all of them include beeswax…which has never bothered me.

      So a big waste of time and energy on my part, and now I have to find out about the plant on my own.

      1. Lexx

        Spent three years getting shots at the allergist to desensitize me to all kind of allergens, and for the most part it worked. The exception is all of them at once. Meaning in the fall when we’re taking care of fallen leaves, if they touch the inside of my forearms, they are going to itch. Probably no one source but an accumulation of several floating about in the air over months. The end of summer into fall are dry here. Allergists test you one by one and desensitize the same, but not in the same way we’re exposed outdoors, in an amalgam… like perfume. I have to rinse to stop the itching or wear gloves.

        1. Bugs

          There is a combination of molds that grows on wet fallen leaves. It’s a common allergen and can provoke severe reactions. I was desensitized with shots and sublingual treatment three times over my life but immunity only lasts so long, according to my allergists.

      2. Mildred Montana

        >”So a big waste of time and energy on my part…”

        From “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”:

        Dr. McCoy (having time-travelled from the 24th century and watching 20th century doctors readying treatment for the injured Chekov): For God’s sake, man, I will not allow you to treat him with barbaric 20th century medicine.

        I paraphrase liberally but I do remember that incident in the movie well. A good one, quite funny, beautiful acting by Shatner, and I say that as a lukewarm sci-fi fan.

        1. LifelongLib

          At least the 20th century doctors were doing the best they could with what they knew, however barbaric it might seem to someone with 200+ years of additional knowledge to draw on. Now if one of the docs had said “Let’s do x, we can charge more” McCoy would have been right to be upset…

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Japan to lower COVID-19 to flu status, further easing rules”

    So after three years and a body count of over 65,000 dead – and rising – the Japanese government in their infinite wisdom are saying that the Pandemic should be treated like the flu and who needs masks anyway? What’s the colloquial Japanese for ‘It’s just the flu, bro!’

  7. SocalJimObjects

    A Taiwan bloodbath might suit US decision-makers just fine.

    Well, yours truly will finally be heading to Taiwan next month. If hostilities were to commence, I hope there will be enough time to go to the airport and head somewhere else.

    1. ambrit

      The airports will be the first targets. Get to know someone with a decent seagoing boat and treat that as your ‘Plan B.’

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Good luck with the move.

      I doubt there will be an attack in the next couple of years – the Chinese have shown they will only do it on their timing and terms.

      I’ve been trying to work out why the Biden administration has turned its back on several decades of strategic ambiguity over Taiwan into its now overtly confrontational approach and the only real conclusion I can come up with is that the military believes that it has a relatively short window when it can win such a war, so it makes more sense to provoke the Chinese into an early attack. Its an unbelievably reckless strategy if this is the thinking.

      1. John k

        Imo it’s all about war profits. If we get the expected bloody nose we’ll just have to replace those carriers and what not double time, of course sole source. Endless war means you gotta continuously find new opponents to replace those you lost to, that lets you continuously spend massive to replace/build back better. Once you get addicted to vast war profits you can’t stop.
        Russia and China are just the excuse.

      2. Roger

        The RAND Corporation did a report on this on the mid 2010s, “War With China”, its was called. One of the findings

        “This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.”

        Hence the rush and China’s patience. I think that China is a bit further ahead than the US assumed, just like their under-estimation of Russia.

    3. ACPAL

      I’m sure the Chinese are doing their own gaming as well. My thoughts are that Taiwan has three major values for the US. 1) it would be a political coup to take it away from China, like the playground bully taking away some other kid’s ball. 2) It would allow the US to park a NATO base and nukes on China’s border (though they’re working on Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries for that also). 3) It would make it easier for the US to control Taiwan’s chip making factories while denying them to whomever they wanted.

      Since China considers Taiwan part of China it’s unlikely they want to destroy a part of themselves and kill their own people so China will likely form an embargo and IMO most of the fighting will be on the water. Based on the US’s efforts in Europe and much of the world it prefers to push it’s “friends” to bloody their hands rather than it’s own which means Japan and Australia (my god those people are dumb) will probably take the brunt of the damages. The US also likes to throw missiles and drones from afar though they do like to send in covert teams like the SEALS. Also I’ve read many reports about the lack of readiness within the US Navy.

      So, my gaming guess is that the blockade will turn into a long and bloody water-borne replica of Ukraine where the US will fight to the last non-US asset and everyone but the US oligarchs and their corporations will suffer.

      1. Kouros

        And who will supply Taiwan with foodstuff, energy as well allow it to sell its wares? They get they sand for chips from China for Crist sake.

    4. RobertC

      SJO — I believe the mainland Chinese will take great care to avoid military harm to “wandering province” Taiwan’s people and property, with the exception of Taiwanese military forces engaging Chinese 3-prong (Navy, Coast Guard, maritime militia) forces away from the islands. So your time there (new job as I recall) should be safe.

      I also believe when provoked the mainland Chinese will engage with US/Japan air and maritime forces well away from Taiwan. As hinted by the CSIS study, land strikes will be avoided until the US makes the first one and then Japanese territory will be at risk.

      My reading at Sino Defence Forum – China Military Forum and similar resources leads me to believe China’s 3-prong forces are increasing readiness. An example is activating the Type 022 missile boats after 10 years of relative idleness.

      After inauguration Biden said he wanted Cooperation, Competition and Confrontation with China. His incompetence is only getting two out of three. It doesn’t have to be this way.

  8. Wukchumni

    How did past societies handle the impacts of climate change? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    In past collapses of the climate kind, the ancient ones (er, that’d be anybody before 1900 or so) knew nothing, so yes it must have been a shock when their civilizations collapsed, but was easily explained by invoking a deity’s displeasure that done did the dastardly deed, but we’re different in that we know pretty much exactly what is going on and none of this will be a shock.

    In House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Avross The American Southwest, author Craig Childs postulates that the Anasazi who built Chaco Canyon ended up in northern Mexico when climate change came calling about 900 years ago, quite a long walk, that.

    …a great read!

    Of course if the same thing happened today, well heeled locals could simply get on a jet out of Albuquerque and find the best place to go and be there the same day, or tomorrow,

    1. Morpheus

      Currently traveling in Japan. Everyone is wearing a mask inside, and a lot of people outside as well. Masking on public transport is essentially 100% (even very few masks below noses). None of this is required, people are just doing it. Thus, not sure how much impact this move by the government will have.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That’s good news that. Thanks for that report. Glad to hear that the Japanese people are much more smarter than their government.

      2. John Beech

        Spent Thursday and Friday at Mayo Clinic and the number of folks with the mask below their noses was infuriating.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Never thought about it before but Americans have already had a preview of people coping with the impacts of climate change and that was with the 1930s Dust Bowl. in Oklahoma alone, the population dropped 40% and by 1940 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states. Can you imagine it that was to repeat itself today? Back then you had police trying to turn away these climate refugees at the border so you would wonder what would happen if this was repeated-

      1. Wukchumni

        Godzone is the only bible belt i’m aware of on the left coast, and came about when all those Okies et al brought that old time religion out west, escaping the Dust Bowl.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’ve seen a few docos on the Dust Bowl era as well as read a few articles and I have to admit to being very curious as to how many present-day Californians are descended from Dust Bowl climate refugees. Or would be willing to admit to it.

          1. Wukchumni

            There’s plenty of latter-day Joads around these parts, the more prosperous ones do little work and have Mexican immigrants do all the heavy lifting. as they rail against illegal immigrants, er their workforce.

              1. earthling

                Good piece, thanks for posting. I was afraid it was going to be the usual capsule on the dustbowl, but some interesting stuff.

                In South Dakota I met people who casually refer to ‘the dirty thirties’ as they called the dust bowl years. They were pretty proud of their folks surviving it. Don’t know how many have compassion for today’s refugees, probably more than we think since the loudmouth anti-s are the ones speaking up.

            1. Cat Burglar

              Like Merle Haggard or Buck Owens?

              The Bakersfield sound in country music came right out of the Dustbowl, via California.

              1. Wukchumni

                William Saroyan was from Fresno, but only an honorary Oklahoman.

                See, I could say something nice about the 5th largest city in the state.

            2. digi_owl

              Because doing so allows them to treat said workforce as near slaves, because if they get uppity the local uniform can come pick them up and toss them back over the border.

          2. IMOR

            You could ask around Bakersfield, or around my old home town at the entrance to the Sac delta and the tree-based agriculture zone nearby. Those were two areas saw many Okies arrive or pass through in the 1930s, according to older relatives. The two Native American guys I played ball with in the early Seventies had parents/grandparents who were from OK.

      2. John Beech

        The Rev Kev posits a good example of exactly what people will have to do.

        What ticks me off are those who act like sea level rise is new when there is nothing new about it. And guess what? We’ll do the same thing as our ancestors, which is move to dry(drier) land. Don’t believe me? Google Doggerland.

        As for nothing being done about it, I subscribe to the ‘helps himself’ theory of life and while I vote accordingly (against denialists), without more people of a similar mindset this (voting) is useless as teats on a boar hog. That and politicians hew to many thoughts on many factors so a denialist may well be better on a host of other matters/issues. Doesn’t stop me voting but also means I don’t fret and we’re back to helping myself (go to drier land).

        Similar to if I lived in the desert SW. Me? I would have pulled up stakes exactly as the Okies did and left looooong before I had to bring water in . . . but people are stupid this way. Not my lookout.

        1. Wukchumni

          Our new years resolution was to put on weight, and if my math is right we put on almost 200 trillion pounds of water in keeping with our goal. Points east got some-but nothing anything like the bounty we were bestowed.

          California water is different than Colorado River water which is woefully oversubscribed, I look at Las Vegas and how overbuilt up it is-combined with lessening water & energy prospects, and similar to other ghost towns scattered all over Nevada, but it’ll be on a major interstate, right in our face.

          Pleaded with a friend to sell her place there a few years ago, but she decided to rent it out long term.

      3. Gloria

        Dust bowl? Much of that was caused by overplowing and bad soil management post WWI’s demand for grain, which later collapsed. Much migration was financial. Banks called in loans, crop prices plunged and people just couldn’t make it financially.

        Blaming everything from chainsaws in Madigascar to junk food paid for by food stamps on climate change is a good excuse to put a mandatory carbon tax on everything, that only the elite can afford and to build nuclear reactors to power electric cars. Don’t be fooled by the climalarmism.

        BTW, how much has sea level risen in the last fifty years?

        1. digi_owl

          I recently read something about how even back around the civil war there were people warning against plowing up the prairie. But the fat cats out east saw dollar signs and so any such talk was gagged.

      4. Ranger Rick

        I often opine to people curious about strange American eating habits that it all started in the Dust Bowl years — preservation and food storage hoards, extra calorie intake, “eat everything on your plate” etc. I wonder if we’re going to see equally strange water behavior as the southwest goes from semi-arid to actual desert.

        1. digi_owl

          Yes and no. There was also the cold war need to one up the soviet union that supposedly lead to the whole food pyramid thing and the grain heavy diet recommendations.

    3. Martin Oline

      Thanks for the book notice. My library system has it. I have been to Chaco but haven’t done the book. Canyon De Chelly remains my favorite but the upper canyon NW of Lukachukai is great. I drove through this area of the Navaho reservation in 1979 with a National Geographic map from about 1942 that had roads not shown on modern road maps.

    4. clarky90

      Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain

      “HOMO BRITANNICUS tells the epic history of life in Britain, from man’s very first footsteps to the present day. Drawing on all the latest evidence and techniques of investigation, Chris Stringer describes times when……..

      Britain was so tropical that man lived alongside hippos and sabre tooth tiger, times so cold we shared this land with reindeer and mammoth, and times colder still when we were forced to flee altogether.……..

      …..the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project,…. has made discoveries that have stunned the world, pushing back the earliest date of arrival to 700,000 years ago. Our ancestors have been fighting a dramatic battle for survival here ever since…”

      (1) Cold and dry. Humans lived with reindeer and mammoth.
      (2) Warm and wet. Humans lived with hippos and sabre tooth tigers.
      (3) Uninhabited by humans… Britain was covered with a sheet of ice, that was a mile thick …..

      1. Kouros

        700,000 years ago we had hominids. Homo sapiens started walking about 200,000 years ago and it took a while to reach out of Africa…

  9. Morpheus

    Currently traveling in Japan. Everyone is wearing a mask inside, and a lot of people outside as well. Masking on public transport is essentially 100% (even very few masks below noses). None of this is required, people are just doing it. Thus, not sure how much impact this move by the government will have.

    1. chris

      For what it’s worth, in observing my circle of friends/acquaintances and shopping in DC/MD/NoVA, there’s been a marked uptick in masking for people of all ages. I’m seeing maybe 30% masking? Certainly not scientific but way different from last year at this time.

    2. digi_owl

      Japan was doing that long before COVID.

      The sarariman with the briefcase and mask has been a common sight on public transport for ages.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Burkina Faso orders French troops to leave amidst massive protest”

    Probably they realized that the French are just running a protection racket. They will fight Islamic extremists but not to the point that they wipe them out. Otherwise there would be no reason to stay and infiltrate Burkina Faso society. Mali got rid of their French soldiers so this might become a general thing. Earlier this month, Burkina Faso ordered the French ambassador to leave the country so relations must be frosty. Meanwhile Macron is trying to play it smart and asking for “clarification”-

    ‘Speaking to reporters, the French president called for “prudence,” saying there is “great confusion” over the latest media report.

    “We are waiting for clarifications on the part of [President] Traore,” Macron said, as quoted by Le Monde.’

    I have forgotten most of the French that I knew but went checking and found that there are five different French verbs that mean “to leave.” They are partir, s’en aller, sortir, quitter, and laisser. Maybe the Burkina Faso government should keep trying verbs until Macron gets it.

    1. David

      This is mostly theatre. Anyone who knows the area will confirm that rulers in the region could give talks at Davos on the theory and practice of hypocrisy. People in the region are angry (to put it mildly) with corruption and ineffective governments who cannot protect them and provide services, and it’s been a constant of domestic politics for decades to try to shift the blame to someone else, usually foreigners, because rulers in the region are embarrassed and humiliated at having to call on foreigners and international organisations to solve their problems for them. So they make violent speeches against the West, and especially France, before calling the Ambassador to find out why their daughters application to read law at the Sorbonne is taking so long.

      The French didn’t want to get involved in Mali anyway, but were dragged in by ECOWAS and by lobbying from the (sizeable) Malian community in France. They’re pretty pissed off after taking the casualties and seeing the local armies run away and some of the local politicians trying to do deals with ISIS. The last thing the local rulers want is for the French to go: their governments wouldn’t last long, and they’d have to spend the rest of their lives in exile in one of their sumptuous Pais apartments.

    2. digi_owl

      Frankly they can’t be wiped out, because they feed on chaos and misery.

      They pretty much recruit from the same environments, using much the same methods, as gangs do.

  11. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    For us grunts laboring in the steamy fetid jungle it was all about one thing…

    What was the kill-ratio back in the world?

    Mass murders under double digits certainly happened, but the press was reticent to report such trifling amounts, not worth the ink.

    The latest haul was interesting on account of it going to 11, one better than the minimum amount needed to form headlines on the upper fold of an online fishwap.

    1. ambrit

      This is going to get interesting. The ‘official’ perpetrator was an elderly oriental man, with a suspiciously Vietnamese sounding name. He shot up a gathering of equally elderly supposedly Chinese persons. This accused person’s background should give us clues.
      A significant part of the comments below two YouTube ‘news’ videos about this mention the Triads. Interesting thought.

      1. Wukchumni

        So, expect a reprisal in Westminster?

        Its unusual for anybody other than a disgruntled white male adult to do the deed…

      2. PlutoniumKun

        My Vietnamese friend kindly invited me a Tet dinner last night and had a bit of a moan about the Chinese monopolizing the date, pointing out that in Vietnam is the year of the cat, not the rabbit, but the local Council insisted on putting rabbit drawings up on street poles to mark the event.

        I’ve noticed a few of the western strongly pro-China crowd on social media loudly complaining about the US focusing on the ‘Lunar New Year’ while ignoring the rabbit and Chinese symbolism, apparently oblivious to the fact that its New Year in other Asian countries and they don’t follow the Chinese horoscope and often resent the Chinese ‘ownership’ of the date. It seems one persons anti-imperialism is another persons…. imperialism.

        I’m sure thats nothing to do with the shooting, but it does show that identity and national pride is always a minefield, even more so for people who insist they know who is borrowing whose culture. I’ll try to remember that next time Americans culturally appropriate the Irish/Scottish celebration of Samhain/Hallowe’en.

        1. hk

          I would chalk that up to the racist and imperialist nature of “multiculturalism” prevailing in US, where the elites impose their superficial/misinformed stereotypes upon the “minorities,” rather than bother to learn subtleties.

        2. ambrit

          Thanks for that information. Can it be likened to the ‘infamous’ Catholic-Protestant dichotomy in the Isles? I have personally run into physical violence from some Irish boys living in Miami when I was that age, because I was obviously English. Terran humans have a real talent for holding grudges.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think discourse in the US is very highly distorted by the reality that most ‘hyphen’ people in the US and Canada are essentially the losers of civil wars. From English Royalists in the 17th century to refugee Russians, Iranians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cubans…. etc., etc., the US has attracted waves of people who got kicked out of their own country for one reason or another. Usually because they either lost a conflict or everyone hated them so much they just gave them free one way boat tickets (the Scots borderers).

            The result is I think that the US perception of other countries then gets mightily skewed by these people, whether its third generation Irish Americans giving money in pubs to someone who claims to be in the IRA (invariably, someone just funding their own beer habit) or Cuban/Korea/Iranian/Chinese/Iranian/Russian/Armenian Americans essentially still fighting their own civil wars while in the US. Inevitably, this creeps into domestic politics and the two influence each other. You can see this in the way in which right wing Asian Americans have become even more loopy right wing than they were in the first place as they find allies among the Republicans. It would be funny if many of these people were not so very rich and influential.

            And inevitably, this produces a crazy counter reaction in the left. I’ve seen pro-China stuff coming from American leftists that is just as historically and culturally ignorant and stupid as anything produced by anti-Chinese right wingers (including the example I quoted above). Just because a country is standing up to the West does not necessarily mean they are the good guys in their region. Life just isn’t like that.

            1. hk

              I always thought there was one more layer than that: second/third generation immigrants usually tend to be far more stereotypically “ethnic” than the actual immigrants. They want to belong to some “special” group so they want to idealize their “unusual” ancestry–not necessarily non-Europeans or “losers” in civil wars either: one of my close friends decided that Scottish is not interesting enough ancestry (she has a rather stereotypically Scottish name and even looks kinda Scottish) so she really plays up her maternal grandmother’s Sicilian ancestry (apparently, South Italian is more interesting than Scottish). Since most of these people don’t know their supposed ancestors’ history, they tend to buy into some of really crass stereotypes. (History of Africa according to African Americans is pretty appalling in stereotyping, apparently). Now, being losers in some form of civil wars (Croatians, Palestinian Christians (in double sense), Ukrainians (Uniates), and Lithuanians) are fairly extreme, and their American progeny more so than the “natives.” I’ve always been amused at the caricatured ultranationalism coming out of my old high school friends in these groups, as they are, in some cases several generations removed from their ancestral lands….

  12. fresno dan
    In 1986 Germany unveiled the Leopard 2 tank, a new model that became popular with NATO nations for its firepower, speed and accuracy. The German Bundeswehr released a video showing off the tank’s capabilities, including firing its main 120mm gun while on the go. But the standout moment comes roughly a minute and a 40 seconds into the video, where a soldier fills a stein with beer and balances it on the end of the gun.
    It was more than just a celebration of German brewing. As the video shows, the glass does not wobble, fall off or spill, in part because of the tank’s advanced stabilization, allowing it to accurately aim while traveling at speed.

    However Ukraine has countered Moscow thanks to several Western-supplied anti-tank missiles, which have destroyed or disabled hundreds of Russian tanks. Ukraine has even managed to salvage some of those.
    Although if I had a tank, I would think carrying a beer on the end of my big gun necessary, I link to this because of the claim that Ukraine has destroyed or disabled hundreds of Russian tanks. It is the narrative that pervades all mainstream reporting. Checking google, the number ranges from 900 to 2000. What is an objective number? And I note, as always, we live in a world where everything reported by the Mainstream media is narrative filtered, to comply with the oligarch agenda.

      1. Irrational

        Slightly related: in France at the weekend and the baguette we bought came in a bag that stated that said baguette complied with the bread decree number such and such of whatever date – the French equivalent of the Reinheitsgebot!

    1. digi_owl

      Note the salvaged thing.

      Many an antitank weapon these days is designed to kill the crew but leave the vehicle mostly intact. In particular when man portable. One example supposedly did so by applying explosive force on the outside, hoping to dislodge something inside the cabin with enough kinetic energy to bounce around like a lethal ping pong ball.

      Other options are that they get hit in the tracks and gets abandoned by the crew.

      And this is nothing new, as i recall reading that both sides during the African campaign in WW2 would send out their engineering crews each night to bring abandoned tanks behind the line for repairs etc.

      Seriously, unless a tank takes a hit to the fuel or ammo it is unlikely to be made useless. And hitting either of those will turn it into a roman candle, effectively.

      So it may well be that the same tank has been “destroyed” multiple times over, perhaps even by both sides (i suspect the separatists are just as eager to salvage equipment as the Ukrainians).

      1. Polar Socialist

        Not that it really matters much, but the news sometimes ago was that Russia ordered a tank repairing facility* in Zabaikal to repair/refurbish 800 tanks during the next three years.

        Assuming Russia aims for constant level of tanks (not likely after mobilization), my math makes that into expectation of 270 (or so) tanks lost per year.

        Naturally, not all tanks are salvageable (go bigger), and also many of those 800 are T-62s refurbished from storage (go lower), so even that simple “hard number” is likely to be off one way or the other.

        I believe the Russian law requires, when all this is over, the armed forced to publish all casualties, whatever they may be. If this was a war, they should be doing that regularly, but special military operations get some leeway in accountability.

        * they don’t build tanks, but have workshops to make any part required for all the tanks in Russian inventory

  13. zagonostra

    Huw Merriman, the Tory rail minister, admitted today that the govt has spent more money fighting railway workers than it would have cost to settle the dispute.

    As Yanis Varoufakis let out of the bag, and anyone having done serious historical analysis of capitalism knows, the purpose of austerity and tamping down on worker’s financial leverage is to keep the working class down.

    It’s not about cost saving, it’s about having a work force that is desperate, lacking leisure, on the edge, in a precarious state, etc., and thereby rendered incapable of organizing. Without getting my Marxist analysis cap on, the gov’t functions as an instrument of the ruling class, along with producers of culture, such as films, music, and other forms of entertainment to further the interest of the owner class.

        1. digi_owl

          Music was an outlet for many teens in post war Britain.

          A generation later, the home computer served a similar outlet.

          I’m hard pressed to identify any such outlet these days though.

  14. Jeff V

    That Washington Post editorial was incredible. I got to this bit:

    “Ukraine’s only “sin” was aspiring to be a fully European nation — democratic, pluralistic, tolerant and modern.”

    and I had to stop reading, because I was laughing so hard.

    I suppose a coup might be “modern” (although it seems more like a timeless classic to me) but it’s not very tolerant. I guess “aspiring” is doing a lot of work here.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a lot of hysteria about Germany telling the US/NATO that they are not willing to send their Leopard 2 tanks – and which would sour relations between Germany and Russia for good. But in a case of the dog that is not barking, there is virtually no demands that France send their Leclerc main battle tanks to the Ukraine. Now why is that?

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah, France has a fiercely independent streak.

          In some ways they have more in common with Russia than they may want to admit.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            France has said it will send AMX-10 RC‘s to Ukraine. These are described as ‘light tanks’ or ‘tank busters’. Essentially heavy wheeled vehicles with 105mm guns used for scouting and ambushing. Not much use in a heavy fight against the full force of Russian artillery and T-72;s, but probably very useful in skirmishes outside the main fighting zones. But needless to say the ammo is not compatible with all the others the Ukrainians have, so as with so many of these shipments, its really about optics.

            1. Tony Manzardo

              I thought Macron wanted a diplomatic solution? Imagine sitting in Moscow and listening to these people speak out of both sides of their mouths.

              I’m here in Italy and I’m thoroughly disappointed in the slavish devotion of the Italian political class to the Washington Consensus. We can’t even escape the negative consequences of the Blob in Europe.

              The Italian media has even jumped the shark. With the exception of some Italian blogs, 99% of the media is regurgitating DC talking points.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Well, since majority of those 14 will turn into burning hulks in the news, there’s a serious fight going on within MIC whose tanks they should be.

          1. cnchal

            How right you are.


            From 1986 to 2003, I worked for a major German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), amongst other things as a war reporter. I spent a lot of time in Eastern and African countries.

            Now to the subject of lying media. When I was sent to the Iran-Iraq war for the first time, the first time was from 1980 to July 1986, I was sent to this war to report for FAZ. The Iraqis were then ‘the good guys’.

            I was bit afraid. I didn’t have any experience as a war reporter. Then I arrived in Baghdad. I was fairly quickly sent along in a bus by the Iraqi army, the bus was full of loud, experienced war reporters, from such prestigious media as the BBC, several foreign TV-stations and newspapers, and me, poor newbie, who was sent to the front for the first time without any kind of preparation. The first thing I saw was that they all carried along cans of petrol. And I at once got bad consciousness, because I thought: «oops, if the bus gets stuck far from a petrol station, then everyone chips in with a bit of diesel’. I decided to in the future also carry a can before I went anywhere, because it obviously was part of it.

            We drove for hours through the desert, towards the Iraqi border. Approx. 20-30 kilometers from the border, there really was nothing. First of all no war. There were armored vehicles and tanks, burned-out long ago. The journalist left the bus, splashed the contents of the cans on the vehicles. We had Iraqi soldiers with us as an escort, with machine guns, in uniform. You have to imagine: tanks in a desert, burned out long ago, now put on fire. Clouds of smoke. And there the journalists assemble their cameras.

    2. magpie

      They do admit that “European public opinion” is a “parallel conflict zone.” This imperative “has not been fully received by a portion of Germany’s coalition government and its public.”

      “This misjudgment that cannot stand,” the editorial board suggests.

      Democracy, pluralism, tolerance, modernity…and obedience.

      It’s cute how dismayed I still feel when I read this unfiltered imperial garbage.

      1. digi_owl

        the TLAs would pack such protests with agent provocateurs in no time, while the media would report them as pro-Russian fascists.

    1. ambrit

      Yet another case of the Nobel Lie, although, in all fairness, it is Pseudo Nobel. (I was going to type ‘Crypto Nobel,’ but that would have exposed the whole exercise for the fraud that it is.)

      1. Wukchumni

        I think it’s the real deal unlike Olympic gold medals which are cheesy as they remind me of a multitude of strictly limited edition Franklin Mint gold-plated on sterling silver medals issued in the 1970’s.

        About 40 years ago I bought an 18k gold 1908 London Olympics prize medal for ‘Pigeon Shooting’ in an auction in merry olde and fervently hope said pigeons were made out of clay.

        When I was a kid my dad told his progeny if they won an Olympic gold medal there’d be $1,000 coming from him, and when I showed him my prize, he gave me the ‘no way Jose’ look in regards to the grandido.

        The Olympics went to gold-plated medals in 1920 and still is the standard for excellence today.

      2. digi_owl

        The originals at least are, as one was supposedly hidden away by being melted in a jar of acid during WW2. Only to be separated out and recast after the war.

  15. pjay

    – ‘No Labels Makes Initial Investment in Bipartisan Presidential Ticket’ – Sludge

    The news is so full of wildly delusional and downright insane stories today that sometimes the only thing keeping me going is their unintentional humor – bitter black humor, granted, but beggars can’t be choosers. This article is full of hilarious quotes. Here are just two:

    – “No Labels’ New York state chair Joe Lieberman, in remarks at Yeshiva University, described the plan as an insurance policy against 2024 nominees who are “not centrist.””

    – “Last summer, Puck journalist Tara Palmeri wrote that No Labels C.E.O. Nancy Jacobson, a former Democratic National Committee finance chair, would not comment on the group’s funding sources, saying, “What’s best for democracy is confidentiality,” and then forwarded the article to her political network.”

    Who knew that *Lieberman* was still around to represent the “centrist” position? I feel much better now knowing that such figures recognize the importance of a Manchin. Regardless, I’m sure the billionaires will work it all out amongst themselves. We will never know how, since “what’s best for democracy is confidentiality,” but they’ll probably let us know eventually.

  16. britzklieg

    good that Lauterbach (or Leonardi -it’s unclear who made the pronouncement here) is raising the alarm about immune disfunction post covid, however: “to put it bluntly, now one can ask whether an unvaccinated child, after being infected, will have the immune system of an 80 year old by the time they are 30.”

    yet we know that vaccination does not stop infection…

  17. britzklieg

    re: covid and periodontal disease

    so, let’s talk about dental insurance and health insurance and why they are separated.

    1. hunkerdown

      The landed need a conspicious material way to distinguish the help from their own kind. I really don’t think it’s much more complicated than Jim Crow being soooo last century.

  18. Eric Anderson

    “French politician accuses US of intent to start war in Europe”

    I mean, why not. If history teaches us anything it’s that the U.S. by geographic isolation has been the winner every time Asia/Europe get into a war. In this RealPolitik environment I would have no doubts the DC set certainly eyes this as an option.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Trump to GOP: Don’t touch Medicare or Social Security in debt ceiling fight”

    That’s Trump for you. Playing to the base by saying not to touch Medicare or Social Security at all but if he ever became President again, would be all in on privatizing Medicare & Social Security and selling it off to Wall Street in return for a few favours for himself.

    1. Wukchumni

      Just 299 days, 13 hours, 11 minutes and 34 seconds until I get a crack at the entitlement I put $XXX,XXX.xx into over my working years.

      Does Joey pull a Macron and push it out to 1029 days, 13 hours, 11 minutes and 57 seconds?

      1. earthling

        Be sure to start the process 4 months prior, as they advise. If your case is simple, it might slip thru quickly with an online app. But if you have to have actual contact to apply, the insanely-overloaded central phone number will answer at some point, and give you a phone appointment for actual assistance several weeks later. Then the wheels grind. So don’t wait til you’re actually eligible.

    2. Bsn

      Actually, “That’s Biden for you”. Trumps is brash and rude, but Biden is stealth and sneaky> Joe Biden Is Quietly Pursuing the Creeping Privatization of Medicare
      An excerpt: The Biden administration has quietly decided to continue a Trump administration scheme whose ultimate goal is the privatization of Medicare. Americans would be outraged — if anyone knew about it.
      Keep your eye on Biden so that we “know about it”.

  20. Mikel

    “TikTok confirms that its own employees can decide what goes viral” The Verge

    Not surprising. Of course, viral is fake and not organic. Never has been, even when “viral” was expressed in other metrics or other types of platforms before the internet.

    The myth has to persist because loads of money is made from encouraging wanna-bes. These days, more than ever, the money skimmed from or paid by people in pursuit of a dream could very well make up the largest percentage ever of the entertainment biz.

    It’s what hapoens when an art loses its inherent value.

    1. Mikel

      I told a singer friend the other day that if he wanted to make money that could pay some bills from music, he needed a record deal with an established label and/or a publishing deal with an established company. Just like in the “old days” At least, he would get an advance…if nothing else came of it.
      The established labels get paid first by the platforms and buttons pushed for them by the platforms to provide greater presence. There is no “long tail”.
      Anything less and he was falling for the carny trick described in the “Tiktok’s enshittification” link:

      “…If you go down to the midway at your county fair, you’ll spot some poor sucker walking around all day with a giant teddy bear that they won by throwing three balls in a peach basket.

      The peach-basket is a rigged game. The carny can use a hidden switch to force the balls to bounce out of the basket. No one wins a giant teddy bear unless the carny wants them to win it. Why did the carny let the sucker win the giant teddy bear? So that he’d carry it around all day, convincing other suckers to put down five bucks for their chance to win.

      The carny allocated a giant teddy bear to that poor sucker the way that platforms allocate surpluses to key performers – as a convincer in a “Big Store” con, a way to rope in other suckers who’ll make content for the platform, anchoring themselves and their audiences to it..”

      But the trick in the game that he has to get around is the labels’ scratching the back of the platforms with the BS about “building a social media following first”.

      I told him that if anybody tells him that then they 1) don’t like his music 2) don’t know how to promote him 3)don’t have any power in the company to make a signing 4) don’t see anyone else in the industry with a name co-signing for you 5) all of the above 6) some of the above

      That’s my “insider” advice to aspiring music artists these days.

      1. CallMeTeach

        The same dynamic affects writers as well. In order to become traditionally published by “The Big 5,” you must be agented. They don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Agents are swamped with submissions and generally look for any reason to reject a submission. Without a social media following, you are typically summarily rejected. No agent = no book deal (unless, of course, you know someone, but that’s another story.) Even beyond the Big 5 to smaller presses, your social media following is checked and may tip the scale for or against you. Like so much else in this world, talent is not enough. You have to be present in the social media world as well.
        I wish your friend Godspeed in his creative endeavor.

    2. digi_owl

      Didn’t something similar get unveiled regarding Twitter recently?

      And who is willing to get that the same applies for Facebook?

      As the old tabloid saying goes, if it bleeds it leads…

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘WATCH: 🇺🇸 SOUTHCOM Commander Laura Richardson describes how Washington is actively negotiating the sale of lithium in the Lithium Triangle through its U.S. embassies.’

    Whenever I see her performances, why do I get the impression that she is trying to line herself up a corporate gig after she leaves the Army?

    1. Mildred Montana

      Take a look at the glitter on her uniform. Yet she looks quite young and the US hasn’t fought a serious war in eighty years. Where did it all come from?

      The military seems to spend an inordinate amount of its time bestowing medals on arm-chair warriors.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It is a matter of historical fact that more medals were awarded to US troops in the invasion of Granada than were actually involved in the invasion of that island itself.

  22. Wukchumni

    How to See the ‘Green Comet’ Everyone’s Talking About Gizmodo

    Supposed to have the next storm come in around the beginning of February and that would be seriously no bueno when it comes to looking up into the heavens to murgatroyd, but the dartful codgers will be perfectly placed to watch the action if clear skies prevail in Mammoth @ high altitude.

    In terms of punting on the outcome, the only NFL team left in it that sports the comet’s colors is the Eagles who wear midnight green, might as well go the betting window with that insider info.

    1. Chet G

      According to that article, the comet’s max magnitude will be 5, or all but invisible east of the Mississippi, thanks to light pollution – unless one has good binoculars or a fair telescope.

      1. Wukchumni

        Luckily i’m west of the Mississippi and there’ll be no light pollution to obscure the skies as i’m looking through binoculars…

        It ain’t no Hale-Bopp, as that one was easily visible with unaided vision for over a year.

        We started the Hale-Bopp salute where you thrust your outstretched arm towards the celestial being while saying it’s name…

  23. Ghost in the Machine

    Regarding the immune damage by Covid, I guess it will be late 2023 or early 2024 when the US elites and media finally cave and admit the problem. The fall will be important. Another terrible disease ridden fall will put stop to immunity debt talk and if it is worse than this past fall, immune problems will be obvious. I don’t think further gaslighting can make the lift at that point.

    1. Mikel

      I’m not sure what the takeaway from the general public will be regarding this hard truth about Covid.

      I’m hearing more people considering the adverse effects of vaccines now and are more ready to talk about that than the immune and organ damage from Covid infection.

  24. Acacia

    Downgrading the legal status of COVID-19 under the infectious disease law could remove ongoing hospitalization and self-isolation rules and help to free up hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

    There’s a little more to the “help to free up hospital beds” point, which is that by downgrading the status of Covid the Japanese govt is saying that hospitals and clinics can decide they don’t want to receive Covid patients or even somebody with a fever.

    This is Japan gradually embracing the logic of “Because markets, go die”. In part the motivation may be to implement policies to kill off all the olds who are now living “too long”, but given that Covid itself doesn’t discriminate by age and the shrinking pool of labor in Japan, it’s hard to see how this won’t just make things worse when people come to realize the longer-term effects on the immune system.

  25. eg

    How did past societies handle the effects of climate change? Not very well if Jared Diamond’s Collapse is any indication.

    1. Wukchumni

      Every other civilization until the 20th century came along tended to be something on the order of 95% farmers and 5% businessmen, we’ve turned that one around in these not so united states, just add climate change and season for taste.

  26. Wukchumni

    Epstein was quizzical
    Studied physical science in a bed @ home
    Late nights all alone with a ‘test tube’
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Maxwell-Ghislaine, majoring in meddling
    Calls him on the phone
    “you know they have us together in pictures, oh!’
    But as he’s getting ready to go
    A knock comes on the cell door

    Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Came down upon his head
    Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Made sure that he was dead

    Back in court again, Maxwell plays the fool again
    Judge gets annoyed
    Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene
    He tells Max to stay when the jury has gone away
    So she waits behind
    Writing fifty times “I must not be so”
    But when he turns her back on her ploy
    She creeps up from behind

    Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Came down upon his head
    Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Made sure that he was dead

    Bailiff Thirty-One
    Said “We caught a dirty one”
    Maxwell stands alone
    Painting testimonial pictures
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Bill, Donald & Andy screaming from the gallery
    Say she must go free (Maxwell must go free)
    The judge does not agree, and he tells them so
    But as the words are leaving his lips
    A noise comes from behind
    Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Came down upon his head
    Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver spoon
    Made sure that he was dead

    Silver spoon swoon…

  27. Stephen

    Talk Loudly and Carry Someone Else’s Big Stick

    This article is reasonably spot on although it is not only the “girl bosses” he refers to who are guilty of this behaviour. Boris Johnson is an obvious example.

    The author mentions Jessica Berlin. I have no idea who she is other than some form of “security analyst” (who funds your mortgage if you have such a “job”) but she made this tweet that I found:

    “He which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.”
    Shakespeare on NATO. Methinks Scholz hath not read this in school.

    As readers will recognise this is part of Henry V’s speech at Agincourt to encourage first Westmoreland and then the rest of his men.

    But Henry V had his ar** in the grass, to use more contemporary language. She does not. It underlines the accuracy of the article.

  28. Stephen

    Laura Richardson, who heads US Southern Command was in Links yesterday too.

    Seems to be quite busy these days.

    A Links celebrity? Hope she appreciates the coverage.

  29. in_still_water

    A new definition of ‘negligible‘:

    Most of the radioactivity is removed from the water during treatment, but tritium cannot be removed and low levels of some other radionuclides also remain. The government and TEPCO say the environmental and health impacts will be negligible because the water will be released gradually after further treatment and dilution by large amounts of seawater.

    1. ambrit

      There is a site just to the south of us where the “Authorities” did the only tests of atomic devices east of the Mississippi River. [If one discounts Three Mile Island.] The devices were exploded inside of a salt dome underground. The site is still fenced off today. No admittance. The authorities admit that elevated levels of tritium are still being detected in the water from a spring arising on the site to this day.
      Here, a small discharge of tritium laced water gets a full court safety press. There, supposedly large amounts of tritium are blithely dumped in the Pacific Ocean at a place where the prevailing currents will carry it across to North America. What could possibly go wrong?

        1. agent ranger smith

          I will claim to have thought about this for years, but never quite had the nerve to say it.

          What if the JapanGov and Establishment has fostered the unsolved contamination problems at Fukushima and has built up this huge load of radioactive water with the intention right from the start to put it in the ocean currents going to North America? As their revenge for Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the war situation having developed not entirely to their advantage?

          1. Acacia

            For this to be “the plan”, the radioactivity would have to be consumed by fish from the Pacific destined for the US, but not for Japan, and that seems pretty much impossible to control. Presumably, radioactive waste dumped in the currents of the Pacific will find its way to waters hosting Japanese fishing fleets, and on average the Japanese eat almost three times the amount of seafood as USians (23.4 vs. 8.7 kg / year).

            Now, if the argument were that the Japanese élite is thinking that they will pay top yen for some special fish that isn’t radioactive while everybody else — working-class Japanese, USians, etc. — will get radioactive tuna, that seems more plausible. ;)

          2. Acacia

            And regarding the idea of “revenge for Hiroshima”, I find the following passage of Sakaguchi Ango’s Darakuron to be suggestive:

            According to the code [i.e., Bushido] a warrior must search through every blade of grass, even become a beggar, as he tracks his enemy in his efforts to avenge the death of his lord. But did such faithful retainers and filial children actually exist, who would hunt down their sworn enemies with the true passion of revenge? All they actually knew was the code of avenging their lord’s death and the honor prescribed in that code. The Japanese people are fundamentally the least inclined to maintain a long standing vendetta. Their true nature is a carefree optimism that allows yesterday’s foe to become today’s friend. It is an everyday affair not only to compromise with yesterday’s enemy, but to become wholly intimate with him, precisely because he was the enemy. We will serve two lords, even one who was our enemy yesterday. Since it would have been impossible to spur the Japanese people into battle had it not been for the edict that to be captured alive was a disgrace, we meekly submitted to the law, but our true nature was precisely the opposite. Japanese military history is based more on Machiavellianism than on Bushido.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Lots of tritium was ejected into the atmosphere by atomic tests in the 1950’s. Testing tritium levels is still one of the best ways of dating groundwater if there is insufficient carbon for C14 dating. There is a consistent worldwide rise from the late 1940’s to early 1960′, and a gradual decline ever since.

  30. Jason Boxman

    So on this immune dysregulation, and specifically: The Gig is Up, and It Feels Weird

    There’s overwhelming evidence now that Covid infects and hijacks your immune cells. Researchers are still learning the details, but the takeaway is clear. Even just a couple of bouts with Covid can hamper your immune system for a long time, maybe permanently. It leaves you vulnerable to all other kinds of viral and bacterial infections. It leaves you open to fungal infections too, and those are especially dangerous. So the experts who tried to warn everyone were right the whole time, and the message is leaking out.

    (bold mine)

    I recall, and I’ve confirmed, that fungal infections are particularly problematic, as this is an area where we have few treatments, and thus resistance is a huge deal, from the CDC (sigh, yeah):

    Currently, only a small number of antifungal drug types exist, so resistance can severely limit treatment options. Some types of fungi, like Candida auris, can become resistant to all the antifungal drugs normally used to treat these infections.1 Resistance is especially concerning for patients with invasive fungal infections—severe infections that affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, or other parts of the body.

    (bold mine)

    The worldwide COVID response is truly playing with fire. Thankfully I sleep well at night knowing that the Davos crowd was safe!

    1. Mikel

      Getting re-infected with a disease in the same year (sometimes just months apart) was the big clue that this was some different territory the world was heading into…despite the strong denial.

      To have to do something about that meant people could no longer pretend they don’t have to change they way they move about in the world.

  31. Carolinian

    Re Doctorow/Pluralistic–this is good if excessively long and stating the mostly obvious. Perhaps pundits like social networks also wear out after awhile. He’s threatening to become the Tommy Friedman of cyber world–explaining everything via cute labels and parables.

    The truth is that we always knew big business was coming for the internet just as soon as they figured out how to do it. But at the same time this incredibly valuable tool still exists as long as we figure out how to do it. Reportedly the Twitter adverse have retreated from Mastodon because it’s sooo hard. It could be web purity really depends on us and our willingness to give up convenience for a more authentic experience. It used to be like that. Why should any be surprised that a mass medium internet has turned into the Shopping Channel?

    Blogs–like this one–are still where it’s at. Some of us manage quite nicely without Twitter, Facebook or TikTok. If Google or Amazon clutter up their search with paid links so what? A few clicks get you to other listings.

  32. tevhatch

    Climate: GM to invest $900M+ in 4 V-8 engine plants
    Despite an intention to move to all-electric engines for consumer vehicles by 2035, General Motors plans to inject $918 million into four plants that are producing primarily V-8, gas-powered engines in Michigan, Ohio and New York. The move to keep gas-powered SUVs and full-size pickups in production suggests United Auto Workers members “will remain a vital part of GM’s future,”

  33. Kouros

    I have not seen any article that mentions the possibility of Japan, or South Korea, or Saudi Arabia acquiring nuclear weapons also mention the NPT and how that treaty would be breached and how the US would not stand for such acts, same as it did with North Korea and Iran…

  34. eb

    Is that an albino Moose? Terrific. Saw a piebald moose once….watched it disappear in a stand of Birch.

    1. digi_owl

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but i think that is the Swedish moose that got offed by some trigger happy hunter a few years back.

      1. digi_owl

        As one Norwegian singer and overall funny guy put it, the most dangerous animal in Norway is the moose. They kill a few car drivers every year or so on average.

  35. agent ranger smith

    . . . ” Trump to GOP: Don’t touch Medicare or Social Security in debt ceiling fight ” . . .

    Really? Even if he doesn’t mean it, he said it. And he is the best politician on the Republican side just as much as Biden is the best politician on the Democrat side.

    If Trump enters the Republican primaries and keeps repeating ” not one cent of cuts against Social Security and/or Medicare”, then I will invade the Republican primaries to vote for Trump.

    If Trump were nominated again, and ran on “not one cut to Social Security or Medicare” . . . would the DemTicket dare to run on ” Catfood Commission” or “Grand Bargain”? And if Trump won the GOP nomination on that basis and were running against a Catfood Democrat ticket, I might well vote for Trump all over again, even having seen what I have seen and having lived through what I have lived through.

    Because I have spent my whole taxpaying life paying my FICA taxes which I was told were what funded the Social Security I have been surviving my way towards. And I will not let the Catfood Democrats take it all away from me without at least a hostile vote against them.

Comments are closed.