Links 2/12/2023

A mesmerizing look at nature’s eight-legged wonders National Geographic


Coral Triangle communities find solutions as underwater world faces deep climate challenges Channel News Asia

Sea life bounced back fast after the ‘mother of mass extinctions’ Nature

Animals falling sick, dying near hellish Ohio train derailment site NY Post. This doesn’t look much like “controlled release” to me:


‘It’s bittersweet’: Crucial COVID-19 data tracker shutting down after three years CTV. In other words, the current “high plateau” of infection is the new normal, because the normal doesn’t need to be tracked. Well done, all. Johns Hopkins’ endowment is $9.32 billion.

For Older Americans, the Pandemic Is Not Over NYT. “Three years in, the societal answer seems clear: With mask and vaccination mandates mostly ended, testing centers and vaccination clinics closed and the federal public health emergency scheduled to expire in May, older adults are on their own.” Yes. That’s called eugenics. And it all happened… spontaneously.

* * *

Vaccine hesitancy prospectively predicts nocebo side-effects following COVID-19 vaccination Nature. From the Abstract: “The directionality between vaccine hesitancy and COVID-19 vaccine side-effects has not been hitherto examined. We hypothesized a nocebo effect, whereby vaccine hesitancy towards the second Pfizer vaccination dose predicts subsequent side-effects for a booster dose, beyond other effects. We expected these nocebo effects to be driven by (mis)information in males and prior experience in females…. Results show that a quantifiable and meaningful portion of COVID-19 vaccine side-effects is predicted by vaccine hesitancy, demonstrating that side-effects comprise a psychosomatic nocebo component in vaccinated individuals. The data reveal distinct risk levels for future side-effects, suggesting the need to tailor public health messaging.” Hmm.

* * *

Scientists discover receptor that blocks COVID-19 infection “The authors said they are developing two strategies against COVID-19 using LRRC15 that could work across multiple variants—one which targets the nose as a preventative treatment, and another aimed at the lungs for serious cases.”

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses contributing to mitochondrial dysfunction: Implications for post-COVID complications Mitochrondia. From the Abstract: “This review summarizes how mitochondrial function and dynamics are affected by SARS-CoV and how the mitochondria-SARS-CoV interaction benefits viral survival and growth by evading innate host immunity. We also highlight how the SARS-CoV-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to post-COVID complications. Besides, a discussion on targeting virus-mitochondria interactions as a therapeutic strategy is presented.”

Covid-19 has significant impact on liver, says study at Mumbai hospital Business Standard. “The study at Nair Hospital revealed that as the severity of COVID-19 infection increases, liver function abnormalities worsen, and such patients are more likely to develop a severe disease….. ‘The cause of derangement is multifactorial. It could be due to virus itself, multiple drugs, complimentary and ayurvedic medications, low oxygen levels and any pre-existing liver disease,’ [Dr Sanjay Chandnani, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Nair hospital] said.”

Top WHO scientist suspended amid claims of ‘misogynistic p—ing circle’ The Telegraph


China to export Type 052D destroyers, signalling more advanced ships in the pipeline: analyst South China Morning Post. Climbing the value chain.

On board with the RAF as allied fighter jets rehearse for war with China The Times

From the Deep Forests and Seas of Yambaru The Baffler


Chevron agrees to sell Myanmar assets and exit country Channel News Asia


Nearly 26 million people affected by Turkey-Syria earthquake: WHO Al Arabiya News

European Disunion

Almost a million march in France in protest at government pension reform plans EuroNews

A Cow Ate Our Alphabet Hopscotch Translation

Dear Old Blighty

RMT to ballot members on further rail strike action ‘soon’ Guardian

Fifteen arrested as lit fireworks launched at police outside Suites Hotel Liverpool Echo. Knowsley “anti-migration” protest.

The changing face of the High Street: Famous old names disappear from Britain’s favourite shopping thoroughfares – with owners even using fake shopfronts to make areas look less desolate Daily Mail

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Rushes to Repair After Wave of Russian Strikes NYT

* * *

Poland hesitant to send fighter jets to Ukraine over fears it could deplete national fleet NY Post

Zelensky is Getting Desperate Newsweek

Russia blocks access routes for Western arms supplies to Ukraine: Moscow defence ministry South China Morning Post

* * *

Wagner boss says Russia could take years to capture east Ukraine regions ABC Australia

US will welcome any efforts by PM Modi to stop Russia-Ukraine War Times of India

Out of Alignment Foreign Affairs. The deck: “What the War in Ukraine Has Revealed About Non-Western Powers.”

South of the Border

China’s South America free-trade deal to have ‘clear impact’, but may irk US by seeking opportunities in its ‘backyard’ South China Morning Post

Peruvian coup: the Australian connection Pearls and Irritations

O Canada

Ottawa Hospital denies bodies were left in conference rooms as morgues overflow CTV

Trudeau says flying object shot down on his orders over Yukon Montreal Gazette. By a US F-22 (notching up the balloon-poppings, there).

Biden Administration

Multiple F-35s shot down in 3-hour dogfight with Chinese balloon Duffel Blog and What we know about the unidentified object shot down over Alaska CNN. “Some [F-35] pilots said the object ‘interfered with their sensors’ on the planes.”

Biden’s Speech Was Trumpian Peggy Noonan, WSJ. “You can say Mr. Biden fibbed, misled and exaggerated, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but in rope-a-doping Republicans on Medicare and Social Security he showed real mastery.”


Jim Clyburn says he sees ‘no reason’ for Biden to step aside in 2024 FT. He wouldn’t.

Our Famously Free Press

Freelancers Wanted: Help Knock Out the Mainstream Propaganda Machine Matt Taibbi, Racket. This caught my eye:

For decades, our government at least loosely complied with legislation like the Smith-Mundt Act, which prohibits aiming at the domestic population any official propaganda “intended for foreign audiences.” However, gloves came off in recent years.

In a remarkably short time since the end of the Obama presidency, the U.S. government has funded an elaborate network of NGOs and think-tanks whose researchers call themselves independent “disinformation experts.” They describe their posture as defensive — merely “tracking” or “countering” foreign disinformation — but in truth they aggressively court both the domestic news media and platforms like Twitter, often becoming both the sources for news stories and/or the referring authorities for censorship requests.

The end result has been relentless censorship of, and mountains of (often deceptive) state-sponsored propaganda about, legitimate American political activity. In the Twitter Files we see correspondence from state agencies and state-sponsored research entities describing everything from support of the Free Palestine movement to opposition to vaccine passports as illicit foreign propaganda. Some of this messaging devolves into outright smear campaigns, with efforts to denounce the organic #WalkAway hashtag as a Russian “psychological operation” serving as a particularly lurid example. The Hamilton 68 story (about which more is coming) hints at this dynamic.

The irony is the entire field of “disinformation studies” itself has the features of an inorganic astroturfing operation. Disinformation “labs” cast themselves as independent, objective, politically neutral resources, but in a shocking number of cases, their funding comes at least in part from government agencies like the Department of Defense. Far from being neutral, they often have clear mandates to play up foreign and domestic threats while arguing for digital censorship, de-platforming, and other forms of information control.

Worse, messages from these institutions are parroted more or less automatically by our corporate press, which has decided that instead of a network of independent/adversarial newspapers and TV stations, what the country needs is one giant Voice of America, bleating endlessly about “threats to democracy.” I’ve come to believe a sizable percentage of reporters don’t know that their sources are funded by the government, or that they’re repeating government messaging not just occasionally but all the time. The ones who don’t know this truth need to hear it, and the ones who knew all along need to be exposed.

I wish Twitter would at least label the New York Times and the WaPos “state-sponsored media.”

Disinformation Inc: Meet the groups hauling in cash to secretly blacklist conservative news Washington Examiner

It’s Time To Codify The ‘NY Times v. Sullivan’ Standard Into Law TechDirt

What’s your story? Terry Eagleton, London Review of Books

The Bezzle

Google cautions against ‘hallucinating’ chatbots, report says Reuters (Rev Kev).

PayPal Pauses Stablecoin Work Amid Regulatory Scrutiny of Crypto Fortune

Billions Of Tether’s Reserves Were Stored At Cantor Fitzgerald, Capital Union And Ansbacher Forbes


Kaiser posts $4.5B net loss in 2022 amid staff shortages, economic headwinds Becker’s Hospital Review

The Hospital-at-Home movement Eric Topol, Ground Truths

Sports Desk

Column: Read it and weep, world’s worst Super Bowl prophet picks Chiefs over Eagles LA Times

Opinion: Why the Eagles will win the Super Bowl CBS

Philly’s Sign Guy Might Be The Least Thirsty Superfan Defector

Imperial Collapse Watch

Oregon attorney general launches criminal investigation into bourbon diversion scandal Oregon Public Broadcasting. Third World stuff.

Class Warfare

The Ultimate Resource is Peaking Center for Global Development

‘Corporate villain’ TikTok: How HR can address the latest social media trend HR Dive

The First Family of Human Cannonballing Narratively

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. griffen

      These balloon headlines are making Looney Tunes seem actually believable. Well it can be stated with confidence, our US military is the best prepared in the world to take out evil balloons and similar floating apparatus.

      USA USA. Mel Brooks to the courtesy phone, please we need your satire more than ever.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was thinking of an old Benny Hill skit about rubber balloons every time they bring up a balloon story but this is a family friendly blog after all so shan’t link it – but it is on YouTube if you do want to look. :)

      2. Noah Bodhi

        They have not said the last two objects they shot down were balloons.

        Some pilots said the object “interfered with their sensors” on the planes, but not all pilots reported experiencing that.

        Some pilots also claimed to have seen no identifiable propulsion on the object, and could not explain how it was staying in the air, despite the object cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet.

        1. griffen

          Seems like it’s worth the argument about semantics and optics, one supposes. I am supposing above that it is possibly a comparable floating airborne apparatus, if not a balloon.

          Added, that if it’s floating on our national sovereign air, then rest assured we’re gonna “shazam”, “kablooie” and “kapow” the thing into the dustbin where it belongs. \SARC

          1. Scylla

            This “interference with sensors” sounds like more Havanna syndrome IMO. The best part about this story to me, is that there seems to be some evidence suggesting the balloon most recently shot down in Alaska was launched by the National Weather Service (I think I read that at Moon of Alabama, but am not sure).
            I said to my family that after the shootdown of the Chinese balloon last week, that it was going to be real interesting as everyone started calling 911 to report every weather balloon that gets launched going forward- I wonder if we will see fewer launches and a degradation of weather data now…

    2. JohnA

      Well a British F-35 was scuppered straight off an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, because someone forgot to take a rain cover off an engine, that then got sucked in, causing the barely airworthy 100 million dollar boondongle to nose dive straight into the sea. Rain covers must be a lot cheaper to produce than weather/spy balloons,

        1. Polar Socialist

          Of course. But the radar absorbing coating is also water absorbing, and when wet becomes radar reflecting.

          Which in a hostile environment is unwanted, I assume.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The guy was a total jerk who somebody should have decked a very long time ago. He was also a ticking HR time bomb which has just gone off – after being protected by the WHO for the past 20 years.

      1. hunkerdown

        He must have represented some important someone’s important interests and executed on them well, or he wouldn’t have been given such a long leash. Let this be a lesson to those who believe the liberal myth of the servant state, or those who believe they are entitled to the successful, tranquil, famous completion of any aristocratic “career” journey they fancy.

      2. semper loquitur

        The hair is a dead give away. When I worked with the public, my assistant and I would be on alert when we saw hair like that. It’s a near-iron rule.

        Over 40? Male? Swept back hair?


    2. hunkerdown

      Play stupid mediaeval guild games, win stupid mediaeval guild prizes.

      Let’s see if we can get the PMC to eat themselves more quickly than they can reproduce themselves.

      1. Scylla

        I just have to say that I found that to be an interesting article. The author speaks about this so-called hospital at home movement as if it was something decided upon by policy/industry leaders aiming to improve economics and patient outcomes. I suppose those things are indeed happening, but he is really ignoring the elephant in the room- People are now avoiding hospitals and doctor’s offices because of the degree of politicization and corruption in healthcare. Simply put, it has become plain to anyone paying attention that most doctors and healthcare institutions are simply no longer trustworthy, and that you are likely to have better outcomes if you are willing and able to do your own research and find independent access to meds/treatments/lifestyle changes you may need. I personally have been absolutely shocked at the mismanagement of a family member’s MRSA infection in the last couple of months. If I had not kept the specific meds on hand to deal with this type of infection, my family member would be in deep trouble due to the healthcare provider’s lackadaisical attitude and actions. This is just a drop in the bucket- I am no expert when it comes to healthcare, but I have routinely been shocked at things I have witnessed, let alone heard about. I know there are still good healthcare providers out there, such as IMDoc, but they are an endangered species, and even then, these surviving individuals are clearly constrained by institutional management and insurance providers.
        With all of this clearly visible to anyone paying attention (and it indeed became MUCH more visible and prevalent with the onset of COVID-but it has been a problem for much longer) how can we claim to be surprised that people are trying to administer their own healthcare? This is yet one more facet of the destruction wrought by the corrupting influence of our hyper-capitalist society. There are almost no societal institutions left that are not engaging in wholesale grift/fraud.

        1. chris

          Looks like some places need a lot more hospitals at home than others…

          “900% increase in babies born with congenital syphilis in Mississippi”

          It’s frightening to think what kind of collapse in Healthcare, both pre-natal and otherwise, created that situation. How are we as a country going to handle that size of a problem? Are we literally OK with writing off entire states with polluted water and a miserably cursed population because they lack basic access to things we’ve taken for granted for the last 70 years???

        2. playon

          People are now avoiding hospitals and doctor’s offices because of the degree of politicization and corruption in healthcare.

          The fact that you can catch COVID-19 in a hospital is also a factor I’m sure.

      2. ArvidMartensen

        My red flag with any of these initiatives.
        Do they save money for big business?
        Yes. Treat with extreme caution.
        No. Read with an open mind.

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Poland hesitant to send fighter jets to Ukraine over fears it could deplete national fleet”

    That’s not quite the full story here. Poland has been supplying aircraft to the Ukraine which is one of the reasons that you still keep on hearing reports of them being shot down from time to time. But the Poles were supplying the Ukraine with their Mig-29s and disguising this. And to keep up the pretense that they never did so, they were sent semi-disassembled so that the Ukrainians could quickly re-assemble them into working fighter. Thus the Poles could claim that they were only actually sending over aircraft “parts” and not aircraft-

    ‘In spring 2022, Warsaw secretly delivered several of its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, despite the Polish government officially denying any such deals, a local paper has claimed, citing sources.

    According to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (DGP), the planes were sent over using a “combined” method, apparently meaning that they were delivered in a disassembled state and declared as spare parts.

    “The fuselage and the wings are also spare parts,” DGP wrote Wednesday, citing sources within the Polish government.’

    Sorta like sending car engines & bodies to America, have workers drop those engines into those car bodies, and then stamping each of them with ‘Made In US.’ Such a dodgy scheme may warm the heart of a lawyer but nobody is fooled. With the Ukraine going down in flames, the Poles have woken up to the fact that they had better keep their F-16 fighters in Poland in case they need them.

    1. digi_owl

      Something similar was done while Hong Kong was still British. 99% completed in China, truck it over the border during the night, and then tighten the last few screws to label it Made in Hong Kong.

    2. Insouciant Iowan

      If the Poles get rid of their F-16s, could the US resupply them with F-35s? Asking for a friend.

      1. paddy

        polish f-16 received 2008 or so…..

        readiness rates are not discussed, looking to go f-35

        deplete migs is excuse to try keeping f-35 ready?

        1. digi_owl

          SK do seem like the only nation in the “western” sphere able to deliver on order when it comes to military materiel. No wonder Stoltenberg was trying to get them to get more involved. Likely helps that they have NK to consider even as USA et al is busy elsewhere.

  2. timbers

    On board with the RAF as allied fighter jets rehearse for war with China The Times

    Maybe China and Russia can counterpoint this with a joint fighter jet rehearsal on how to go to war with England in order to protect and secure Scottish independence and liberty. And also they should start selling Scotland long range missiles that can reach London and Western Europe and even America, and artillery as well.

    Between the above and toxic chemicals being released in plain sight one can be excused for thinking the West has lost it’s mind and gone mad.

      1. John k

        Thanks to those selecting said senile leadership.
        It’s not Biden, it’s that guy that selected him.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “What we know about the unidentified object shot down over Alaska”

    ‘Some pilots also claimed to have seen no identifiable propulsion on the object, and could not explain how it was staying in the air, despite the object cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet.’

    Ooh! ooh! I can answer those questions. The propulsion was the ‘stealth’ wind and it could stay in the air because the helium inside the balloon is lighter than the surrounding air. Hopefully those pilots can also tell the difference between the ground and the sky.

    1. Not Again

      This is anti-science nonsense. I have never seen the wind. How do we even know it’s real?

      It’s like “Democrats fighting for me” and Hunter Biden’s laptop. They (and the wind) don’t really exist.

    2. Cetra Ess

      Reuters as of two hours ago is reporting it is cylindrical, which is the first time I’ve seen anyone give it a shape – “car sized” had me thinking car shaped.

      By the way, I think this affair is likely leading to lightbulbs going on around the world – wanna drive the Americans batsh*t crazy? Try balloons! Want to shut down air travel…

    3. fresno dan

      I think the most logical interpretation and a far more compelling explanation is that it is Underdog (balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade).
      It is chilling to contemplate that Macys is a fifth column, working surrreptitiously since 1927 to use what appears to be benign balloon technology, and ostensibly instigating a wholesome annual event, the Thanksgiving day parade, to nefariously test and perfect their airborne rubber agents to support plans for world conquest and domination.
      I think for our safety, and that of all future generations, we must institute a defense scheme I suggest we call Star Pins, consisting of giants pins attached to cables strung between gigantic towers along the borders of North America to protect us from these buoyant, wafing rubber menaces.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Sounds like it’s open season on UFOs now (the original definition, not little green men).

      From memory, sightings of this type are a fairly regular occurrence. The difference is that now they’re getting shot down and making the news.

    5. Judith

      Quoted in The Snow Leopard (Peter Matthiessen).

      Huinenge, the Sixth Buddhist Patriarch of China, about a prayer flag.

      “Is it the flag that moves? Is it the wind? Neither. It is your mind.”

  4. Objective Ace

    We expected these nocebo effects to be driven by (mis)information in males and prior experience in females…. Results show that a quantifiable and meaningful portion of COVID-19 vaccine side-effects is predicted by vaccine hesitancy, demonstrating that side-effects comprise a psychosomatic nocebo component in vaccinated individuals. The data reveal distinct risk levels for future side-effects, suggesting the need to tailor public health messaging.

    Seems to me this hypothesis could easily be reversed. It’s reasonable to hypothesize that those non-hesitant are less likely to attribute any ill effects to the vaccine and/or may downplay any malaise in the first place. Luckily Pfizer included a control arm when testing the vaccines so we could answer this question.. oh wait

    1. ambrit

      Do notice that the first suggested remedy for this problem is better ‘public health messaging,’ not better public health science. Classic performative politics. All Kabuki.
      Next up; “Miyamoto Musashi versus the Spike Protein from H—!” Wherein our redoubtable hero foils yet another plot of the evil Dr. Fauci Manchu to rule the world through biological science.
      Musashi: “So Bernie-chan, Fauci-san wants to be called Sama now? The arrogance!”
      Bernard: “Yes. Since the success of his machinations emanating from the Bat Temple at Wuhan, his ego knows no bounds.”
      Musashi: “The Enlightened One was correct. ‘Life is pain.’ Let us embrace life and spurn death.”
      Bernard: “I have lived long and accomplished much. Yet the world is still entangled in evil. My accomplishments are dust.”
      Musashi: “You aim too low Bernie-chan. The Struggle is worthy of you, you are worthy of the Struggle.”
      Bernard: “You are too confusing master.”
      Musashi: “It is simplicity itself. Understand that and you will be a Master.”
      Bernard: “I have lived too long.”
      Musashi: “No one lives too long. Life is always too short.”

    2. pjay

      Yes. “It’s all in your head, you poor little deluded deplorable. Now calm down and take your medicine.”

      “Nocebo.” Catchy. Almost sounds like a term from a pharmaceutical PR firm. I did see lot’s of statistics, though, so I’m sure it’s Science.

      Not long ago there was an article posted from Nature decrying vaccine hesitancy without even mentioning possible concerns about side-effects as a factor. Maybe they got the message and this is their way of dealing with it.

      1. Expat2uruguay

        The Nocebo Effect, great band name, or an imaginative Halloween costume? Honestly, I just like saying the word Nocebo

        1. agent ranger smith

          I once tried offering the word ” negacebo” in conversation . . . as in ” negative placebo”. But it never went anywhere.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    A Cow Ate Your Alphabet is worth your while. In the United States, there are some minority languages that go unacknowledged such as French in Louisiana and Maine or Spanish as retained by the old settlers in New Mexico.

    The article is a dialogue between two translators who are both from Arvanitika families. In this part of the world, it isn’t unusual for a group of villages or a region within a region to preserve a language. Here in the Undisclosed Region of Italy, there are a group of Occitan villages as well as some Walser villages speaking a variation on Swiss German.

    The complications and pressures on “small” languages are described in the dialogue.

    I enjoy that Arvanitika has no word for forgiveness.

    Besides the “non-Greek” languages in Greece, I recall that some highly divergent dialects, almost separate languages, are preserved there: Pontic Greek. Tsakonian. (But the Greek government, being nationalistic, has let these languages and dialects languish.)

    Similar dialogues in the U S of A would arise about preservation of Native American languages. Louise Erdrich in her book, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, offers some fascinating information and insight into what the Ojibwe are trying to do to keep the language alive.

    1. petal

      Thank you, DJG. I’ll have a read. I took an Introductory Manx class in the Fall and it was wonderful. The increased holiday travel of English people to the island during the Victorian period put a real downward pressure on Manx, and everyone started speaking English in order to deal with the vacationers because it meant more $$.
      I find it a beautiful language and will continue to study it. There is an effort underway on the island to increase the number of speakers and educate children in it as their primary language. Little pocket cards with greetings on them are handed out so you can use them as a reminder, placards explaining the meaning of the Manx place names at various locations, or there are tea times at local establishments where you can go and speak and practice, online resources for further study and vocabulary, and songs, etc. The phrase for “thank you” directly translates to “may there be good at you”. I love that.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        petal: Are you in the U.K.? (I guess it never registered in my brain, and finding an Intro to Manx class in the U S of A is highly unlikely.)

        Here in the Undisclosed Region, the local language hangs on in the provinces but not in Chocolate City itself, were the majority of the population is descended from people who came from elsewhere.

        Nevertheless, the use of Piedmontese still goes on in the city, and it is a kind of game. At a few stores, where it is obvious that the owners speak Piedmontese, I give salutations in Piedmontese. Which always gets a bemused laugh. He’s a tad crazy, that foreigner. But the effort is always appreciated.

        1. petal

          I am in northern New England, USA. Had been doing genealogy the past 2 years and found I had 4th great grandparents from the island but didn’t really know anything about it, so I dove in. There had been a small Manx community in Rochester, NY (where I grew up)beginning in the 1830s-40s. The island’s cultural org, Culture Vannin, had a free online(zoom) class for 4 or 5 weeks, 40 minutes at a time. It’s a mix of Gaelic and Norse. Might’ve been the only one from North America.

          Keep that Piedmontese going! You might start a trend!

          1. The Rev Kev

            @ petal
            That is the thing about genealogy. It takes you down some very strange corridors – like 19th century Cornish mining practices or 19th century Canadian ship-building techniques. But a warning. You know how you can meet retired policemen, retired sales people, retired teachers, etc.? You will never, ever meet a retired genealogy. You have been warned.

            1. petal

              haha Rev Kev! So right! It’s become an addiction-gotta find the next clue/get the next hit. Been great fun, though, and there have been some amazing surprises. After the Manx GGPs landed in Rochester, they had their own tanning and wool business along the Genesee River, down the same street where we went for concerts. Found 2 Revolutionary War vets that may have been at Saratoga with a guy who I got a veterans marker for this summer here in our campus cemetery, and Dutch settler 8th & 9th great grandparents were the subject of an archaeological dig this past summer like is done on Time Team. Isotope analysis was done and DNA will be extracted soon if it hasn’t already, along with facial reconstruction. The 8th GGF had the same weird form of arthritis I have. About fell off my chair when the lead archaeology prof announced that one. Read about the Dutch Golden Age, as somehow 9th GGF ended up with possible relative the cannibalised Grand Pensionary of Holland Johan DeWitt’s seal. 10th GGM’s chair is in the Museum of the City of NY. Have been living, or hiding? in the past these last 12-24 months. When things get lousy in the real world, that’s where I escape to.

              If anyone knows of any good books about New Netherlands, esp New Amsterdam and its initial settlement, I’d be grateful for recommendations. Also for Dutch Golden Age-like about the political situation. Thanks!

              1. The Rev Kev

                Thought that you might appreciate this parody letter since I can see that you too have fallen down the rabbit hole-

                ‘Dear Cousin,

                In response to your letter, I am sorry to inform you that grandpa “Fred”
                died some time back and the stuff you asked about is not available. The personal
                property the family did not want was sold at an estate sale. All those boxes
                of junk did not interest a single buyer.

                We were able to salvage several binders for the kids homework after we sent
                all the paper to the incinerator. The kids really complained about having to
                lug all that paper and pictures of those ugly old folks to the Dumpster. An
                old family Bible from the 1840’s did bring $5.00. The one from the 1870’s
                did not sell.

                There also was a bunch of floppy disks that we were able to reformat and
                download some games for the kids to play on their new play station. At
                least SOMEBODY got some good from the three generations work.

                I saw the fellow at a flea market a couple of weeks ago and he said he threw
                the Bible in the trash after nobody was interested in it. He said he got an
                offer for fifty cents for it, but would rather burn it than give it away. He
                seemed to be having a lot of success with some very nice Elvis paintings at
                his booth.

                The two aunts you asked about are also dead. They were such a delight and
                could talk all day long about the things papa had written about.

                I remember them saying something about some records that were copied from
                two courthouses that later burned. Neither ever wrote down a single thing.

                The letter you referred to was one he typed up and sent to lots of folks who
                wrote him. He laughed about them never getting any of his hard work as well
                as his Fathers and Grandfather who was in the Civil War. He guarded all the
                information carefully to the bitter end.

                I wish I could remember some of the things to help you, but I was bored to
                tears listening to them talk about the family members who were in the civil
                war and those silly pieces of paper he showed so proudly. I vaguely remember
                they had some beeswax seals and something to do with the land grants that
                were destroyed in the courthouse fires. I wish I could remember the story
                about his grandfathers evening with Jefferson Davis when he was on the run.

                There are also some very juicy stories that were handed down, but I don’t
                remember them very well.

                Another thing I remember after he got sick was some fellow calling him and
                he agreed to let him come down and copy all his material. He told him he would
                call him back when he felt better. Papa mentioned something about letting
                the society the man was from have all his work since nobody in the family cared
                anything about a bunch of people who had been dead for 200 years. Papa died
                the next week.

                I am so sorry papa and the two generations wasted so much of their life on
                such worthless hobbies and hope your family will follow something more
                interesting. We enjoy Bingo and bowling very much here in Pleasantville.

                I really enjoyed hearing from a long lost cousin and would like to hear back
                if you find anything important. The kids need the computer for their games
                and I need to watch the “Millionaire” show.

                Thank you, Cuz’

                1. petal

                  hahaha! That’s brilliant! Thank you!
                  On my mother’s side, my great aunt burned all of her Polish immigrant parents’ documents, passports, old photos, etc, “because nobody would be interested in that stuff. It’s useless.”

      2. jan

        Interesting! I didn’t even know they had their own language! Only been their once, 1987 for the TT. Much fun.

        1. petal

          jan, they sure love their TT!
          Here is the link for Culture Vannin. There is a link on that page for language resources. Fascinating history and language development if you’re into that sort of thing.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Cretan dialect is quite a bit different than mainland modern Greek, both in pronunciation and grammar. When I first went there about 30 years ago I was fresh off an undergrad classics degree and one of the older acquaintances I made who was probably around 60 at the time would pepper his speech with ancient Greek. I’m far from fluent in modern Greek but I distinctly remember picking up a few ancient words when he spoke. He used ‘ornithos’ for chicken instead of ‘kotopoulo’ and instead of ‘kano lathos’, he used the ancient ‘lanthanomai’. I’m sure there was a lot he said that I completely missed too.

      I didn’t hear the ancient grammar with younger people though – hopefully it isn’t dying out. I also heard rumors of small Cretan villages where most locals still spoke a predominantly ancient dialect. Today’s link gives me hope those might still be around.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        lyman alpha blob: Given that the history of Crete is so much different from the mainland, I should have known that spoken Cretan would be different. You have the underlying Minoan civilization and much later (although a century isn’t much time on Crete) you have four hundred years of Venetian rule.

        When I went to Athens a few years back, I memorized many Greek words and tried to “master” (ha!) the wild Greek verb. One of my sources said that Greek has a word for everything–which is true. If not two.

        Italian has one word for everything, when it doesn’t have four. Anguria? Cocomero? I may even be able to tell what region you’re from by a word or two that you use.

    3. Susan the other

      I enjoyed reading how difficult it is to decipher a lost language almost from scratch. Thinking about the Mayan Codex and all the Native American languages. It is pleasing to think that Arvanitic is called the language of the birds and that is possibly the first language of the world. I’d think that honor might be reserved for African languages however because modern Africans are so adept at languages. Just thinking if we hadn’t elaborated subtle meanings we might still equate want with love. It actually might clear up a lot of our confusion.

  6. griffen

    Taibbi is sending out an alert of a kind, and that team is sourcing for individuals who are available and have the capacity to contribute in specific tasks and responsibilities. While I can’t say anything listed exactly fits to my skill set, but it’s a pretty interesting read. Seems like a beckoning call to fight against the ghastly evils of propagandized media. Best of luck.

    Twitter files getting dialed to 11, possibly.

    1. Screwball

      I’m glad to read he said there is more coming. I was starting to think they were done. Still hoping for the Fauci files. I thought they may have been scared off of that beat, but I hope not.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Yes that is my concern. Deep cover journalists and academics would fit in nicely, and hey, there was nothing to see here.
        Unless he is fishing for trolls

    2. Questa Nota

      The escalation of bad things starts early, like that school lunch money extortion, and then really ramps up as the person nameless, faceless victim is readied to be a pawn of weaponized government. Sign this, do that, believe the other thing.

      Wondering how those Smith-Mundt legislation discussions in private went, and what may have been promised, intimated or even nodded or winked at, all for plausible deniability. Not that anyone would ever need to know!

      1. Sam

        In case you didn’t know Obama rescinded the Smith-Mundt act in 2013. And a few years later here came Russia Russia Russia and its been non stop since then. But as Taibbi said it’s not like the government didn’t push the boundaries before it went away.

  7. upstater

    Ohio train derailment… there are line side “hotbox detectors” every 10 miles or so that are automated warning systems. It appears they were not working. It initially gives an audio signal when tripped, then a voive report to both the train and traffic control dispatcher giving the axle count from the front on the train. From Trains magazine:

    the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that two security cameras in Salem, Ohio — about 20 miles from the derailment scene — show what appear to be a fiery axle on one car of the train that would derail in East Palestine. The report includes video from one of the cameras. This raises questions about when the crew was alerted about a potential defect by a wayside detector. National Transportation Safety Board member Michael Graham said at a Feb. 4 press conference that the crew had been informed of a defect and begun braking before the derailment [see “Vinyl chloride involved …,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 4, 2023]. There is a hotbox detector adjacent to the location of one of the Salem security cameras; the next one is in East Palestine, the newspaper reports.

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a video of the flaming axles 20 miles away. It is obvious that the line side hotbox detectors in Salem were not working and maintenance was deferred. The crew did get a signal in East Palestine just before the derailment, but not miles before when the disaster could have been avoided. That doesn’t matter in the grand neoliberal scheme of things.

    Norfolk Southern will get sued for millions, paid out years or decade from now, but it will be a rounding error in their profits and executive compensation.

    Has anyone heard from Mayo Pete on this transportation disaster?

    1. Martin Oline

      For those who have never worked for the railroad: A hot box is the term used when an axle bearing overheats on a piece of railway rolling stock. The term is derived from the journal-bearing trucks used before the mid-20th century.

    2. griffen

      That’s interesting to read on the warning systems being in place, but possibly not active and functional. I really know very little about railroad engineering, aside from the basics; like a speeding train is really hard to stop and so forth, truly the basics. From the article above, though, animals dying quickly means the air is probably not safe for either animal or human to breathe alike. Maybe the state AG will step up to sue Norfolk Southern.

      Yeah, mayo Pete is like Scooby Doo where are you ? Which is really odd, he has been on the US television news quite frequently I noticed in the past few weeks. Cabinet level work is supposed to be more easy than actually hard?

      1. earthling

        Next year’s South Carolina primary is just around the corner. Maybe they are busy writing the new vote-counting app that will give Pete a ‘win’ there.

    3. semper loquitur

      Not a peep from Flatworm Pete, the nation’s first invertebrate to serve as the Secretary of Transportation. No doubt he will wiggle up though. He’s probably bargaining with the company for 7% discounts on travel for those whose lives have been upended.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Jim Clyburn says he sees ‘no reason’ for Biden to step aside in 2024”

    ‘Influential South Carolina Democrat dismissed concerns about the president’s age’

    Well of course he would. Clyburn is even older than Joe Biden which is a stretch in itself. He’ll be 83 come July. Of course Clyburn was disingenuous when he said-

    “We all age differently,” Clyburn said, noting he is two years older than the president. “They said the same thing about . . . Ronald Reagan.”

    He must mean the guy that spent half his second term in ga-ga land to the point that people were joking that it was Nancy Reagan running the country.

      1. jsn

        The astrologer for domestic policy, the CIA for foreign affairs.

        After 40 year, it’s hard to say which had a better understanding of reality.

        1. dave

          I had a newspaper friend who covered the White House from Nixon to Bush 41. He said that Rosalynn was the President during the Carter years and Nancy was the President during Reagan’s second term.

          1. LifelongLib

            In his post-presidential years, Carter IIRC wrote books on subjects ranging from the Revolutionary War to tenant farming. There are a number of on-line videos of interviews with him. He comes across as a great deal more intelligent than most people in politics now, with no sign of cognitive decline until his relatively recent health issues.

    1. Carolinian


      In the Twitter Files we see correspondence from state agencies and state-sponsored research entities describing everything from support of the Free Palestine movement to opposition to vaccine passports as illicit foreign propaganda.

      Cut to the Nature article which hypothesizes that vaccine hesitancy–a rational choice not to become part of a medical experiment–is a psychosomatic syndrome “driven by (mis)information in males.” Can’t make this stuff up.

      At least Putin isn’t involved–yet.

      1. britzklieg

        I’m glad you commented about the vaccine hesitancy crap before I did and in civilized fashion. The words that came out of my mouth upon reading it are unprintable and the comment would have been nothing more than an endless stream of:*#*#@^*^#@^%*!#&**%*%$$&**^*$**


        1. Carolinian

          Thanks. I accidentally put this comment in the wrong place. Need coffee.

          And to be in the right place I’ll just say that Clyburn shows why Graham keeps getting re-elected. Our local Dem party is ineffective even as the state itself is becoming somewhat less Republican.

        2. jobs

          Same here.

          The willingness of people to shame or downright coerce others into taking experimental drugs under EUA is *#*#@^*^#@^%*!#&**%*%$$&**^*$

      1. Rod

        He is not a Novice-y-know
        And after winning the election, President Biden nominated the congressman’s daughter, Clyburn Reed, a former teacher, as federal co-chair of the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission in 2021.

        In December of that year, the Senate narrowly approved her for the position, which works to relieve economic hardship in the southeastern United States.

        oh, and then there is the money from the campaign fund:

      2. flora

        A family to step in? His daughter has hopes. / heh

        Senate approves Rep. Clyburn’s daughter to head federal commission

        But oh no, it’s a fox site. Please disregard. Maybe something more local is worth considering.

        Meet the Clyburn daughter hoping to succeed her father — it’s not who you think

        No no. Please disregard all of above. / ;

        Onest upon a time the dem party’s [New Deal] great and good were against hereditary social power and social regard. That was then.

    1. Questa Nota

      Just like Big Pharma wouldn’t really want a cure, as that would jeopardize future revenue streams, so would DOD MIC friends build in defects and faults, er, opportunities for earnings enhancement. Cost-benefit analyses curiously mispricing human lives, just hidden from view.

    2. wendigo


      Pointedly, only the f22 was used to shoot the balloons down, something as cheap as the f35 was not deemed capable, even for the lower flying balloons.

      Either they want to restart production of the f22 or they have something more expensive planned.

      With the Republican leaning websites/media blaming the Chinese and Democrat leaning websites/media saying it could be Russian there is bipartisan agreement.

      Some kind of extremely expensive new technology will have to be built in the arctic to protect us.

  9. Eric Anderson

    Freelancers Wanted: Help Knock Out the Mainstream Propaganda Machine Matt Taibbi, Racket

    “The end result has been relentless censorship of, and mountains of (often deceptive) state-sponsored propaganda about, legitimate American political activity.”

    The trouble is “State Propaganda” is Capitalist Propaganda when the capitalist class functionally owns the state by means of our pay to play system. Not a difficult leap of logic. Thus, essentially what we’re deluged with is neoliberal propaganda to keep the money spigot always flowing to the few, and never to the many. Twitter, for example, is now little more than a propaganda platform for the elite.

    Good times.

  10. BeliTsari

    re: “Jim Clyburn says he sees ‘no reason’ for Biden to step aside in 2024”

    Singularity approaches, as senile kleptocrats kill off sneeringly brainwashed boomers who’d LOTEd them in? Algorithm CGI 3D holographic criminals gnawing-out Murika’s rotten carcass… Groovy! Had John Carpenter or George Romero released grainy, B&W versions of this scenerio we were simply too HIGH to remember, otherwise engaged at the drive-in? Who was that disembodied head Captain, in Star Treck? Maybe these criminals could just haunt us, like Obi Wan or Yoda’s sneering ghosts?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Watched a video a few hours ago about this Ohio train crash by this young guy and he was talking about the chemicals actually involved and it was not good. Can’t find it now but he was saying that if that “controlled burn” was going to solve all the problems, well, it ain’t necessarily so. But then he brought up an important point. That, as per standard procedure, that it was the people responsible for this disaster that are giving out the narrative on this crash. And then the local politicians would merely repeat these talking points as will the media. And if you step out of line you might end up like that news reporter that was arrested for trespassing at that media briefing. But the real tell is that this story was deep-sixed by the main stream media for days which made them a local book-end for Hersh’s story of the NS2 pipeline bombings. So, if the main stream media all went away, would people actually be better off then?

      1. britzklieg

        In a just world, your final sentence would be used in the best dictionaries as the working definition of: rhetorical question.

    2. Screwball

      Thanks for this link and I agree. This line jumped out at me. The author was talking about a Trump speech, but that’s not my point. The line itself takes care of everything

      “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.”

      That sums it up perfectly. I call it the creeping crud. Crud is blight. I live a couple of hours from this site, but rural Ohio (and many other rust belt states) has been devastated since NAFTA passed in 1995. So many towns that once were thriving with factories, which supported the local economies have been shuttered as the jobs all went overseas.

      These towns are now a shell of what they once were as people left to find work elsewhere, leaving empty factories rotting over time as they never opened again. The town I live in had a dozen or so manufacturing plants, in a town of 25k. Most are long gone, and we are down to 17k, with only a few small places that employ a significant number of people.

      Mitt Romney’s Bain capital took care of our largest employers in the late 90s. 500+ employees working well paying jobs. Things were good for all who worked there, and the businesses they supported. Within 2 years of Bain ownership the plant was shuttered. All of it went to Mexico. The employees got screwed – bad. Many lost part of their pensions, and the severance packages were an insult. I’m sure this story plays out all over the country. The creeping crud of poverty and blight – it’s whats for dinner.

      Funny though, Mittens didn’t campaign here, although he reportedly drove through town. Good thing, the people who lost their jobs at that plant might have strung him up. And I’m not kidding one little bit. They are bitter to this day. I don’t blame them.

      1. Eclair

        Thank you, Screwball. I grew up in a city north of Boston, MA. Sorry, that would be a ‘once-thriving city.’ Its textile manufacturing industry, housed in some of the biggest brick mills in the world, was ‘relocated’ in the post-WW2 years. First to the south, where the non-union employees would work for cheap, then ‘off-shored,’ to Asian nations, employing an even cheaper workforce. The rusted-out mills, too big to demolish, still stand, converted to ‘lofts,’ museums, office space.
        The wealth that the thousands of workers (whose descendants became unemployed) generated went to build and support many of Boston’s revered cultural and charitable institutions, such as Mass General Hospital and the Boston Athenaeum. And make the names of the mill owners, such as Lowell and Storrow, famous for their civic donations.

        1. Screwball

          Yep. We have blight around town where the old factories used to be. Also victims were the support type businesses. A local bowling alley that was once full each and every day with happy people spending money. Maybe only employed a dozen or so workers, but they made a living too. Now gone. Along with many mom and pop stores (grocery, car repair, clothing stores, you name it) which are now closed and gone. People moved out to find jobs elsewhere. The country is littered with towns who share the same story.

          I worked at a division of a large multi-national corporation (not in my town) in 1995 when NAFTA was passed. Our leadership had urged us to write our congresspeople and push for the passage of NAFTA – because it would be so good for us – opening up all these new markets for our products. Really? We were of course skeptical.

          The place I worked was office, test lab, manufacturing, and employed around 5000 people in Toledo, Ohio. After the passage of NAFTA, and about 2-3 years later – it was a warehouse – as our division was sold to our Mexican affiliate. The blue collar jobs and manufacturing went first (to Mexico and right to work states in the South) and the white collar jobs next.

          I watched grown people who had been there for their entire lives, sitting in their cubicles crying like babies because they didn’t know what they were going to do next. This was all they knew, and the only place they had ever worked. I was lucky to be young enough to move on, but the people who were older were just screwed.

          Ironically, they had a sign above the main entrance of the plant as you walked in. It was like the companies mission statement to the people. Number 1 on the list said something like; through these doors walk our most important assets – our people.

          Yea, right…pull the other one.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            “happy people spending money”

            Were they spending money because they were happy, or were they spending money to make themselves happy?

            1. Screwball

              It was a great time back then. I worked the bowling alley as a second job. The factories were full of people at the time. A young man could get out of high school and go to a number of places and have a job the next day. Didn’t like that one, go to another. Some even worked one during the day and another at night. Great times.

              The bowling alley made a killing. Bowling was popular and people had money in their pockets, and they spent it.

              Then it all went poof.

          2. S.D., M.D.

            The cause of what screwball and eclair describe can be traced to 1971 when Nixon effectively defaulted on U.S. debt, exacerbated by the collapse of the railroads. Just old enough to recall that everything they describe had occurred in a small upstate NY city by 1975.

            1. Eclair

              Yep, S.D., M.D. Take Amtrak Lake Shore Limited (usually late, slow and with the inevitable stopped-up toilet) from Chicago, traveling east to Albany, NY. The trip provides an unparalleled view of industrial devastation, through the backsides of Gary, Indiana, South Bend (give a shout out to Mayor Pete!), Elkhart, Sandusky, Erie, Buffalo, Rome, Gloversville, Schenectady. And many many more smaller towns, littered with the hulks of by-gone factories.

              Although, these places do not convey the utter hopelessness of so many of the dying, former coal-mining towns in Pennsylvania.

                1. Eclair

                  Whoops, how could I forget Rochester! Although it seems to be slightly better off than many of the other cities along the Amtrak route. The university, RIT, Eastman school of music, and its more high tech (photography, copiers, optical) industrial base, even though these have been sadly reduced, still give it a veneer of prosperity. And, it’s the home of Genny Cream Ale!

      2. GramSci

        The “giant sucking sound” (thanks Ross Perot!) began well before NAFTA (tho NAFTA put it on steroids). My mother worked at the National Tinsel Factory across from my boyhood home. By the 1960s I think it had already converted to an import business that mostly distributed Japanese/Filipino Xmas ornaments.

        Why buy new machines for a new factory and pay for local jobs when the Japanese could make it for less?

        Ironically, the company was founded in 1899 by the town’s socialist mayor.

        Reaping the rotten fruits of empire.

    3. griffen

      A lot of information by the young poster, I say young because well the poster in his early 30s. Reading through the tweet thread and then clicked over to the site that was linked. While he is detailing the hollowing out of former factory towns, that could also describe the approach taken by portions of eastern NC and southeastern NC. Plenty of open space for large scale hog farms and poultry farms in vast swathes of the region. Nevermind large scale pollution that follows from that. And then there are the locations of the large scale meat packing industry, oh in places like Raeford, NC or Tar Heel, NC.

      But enough about the common people of this land left behind. We have had a serious military effort to fund instead for the past 20+ years and a FIRE economy to uphold. Adding that my anecdote above is specific knowledge from where I grew up in fairly rural eastern North Carolina. Others likely have similar details to share.

      1. Rod

        While he is detailing the hollowing out of former factory towns, that could also describe the approach taken by portions of eastern NC and southeastern NC
        I live in what was the Piedmont Textile Belt. The earth shifted here also, as you know.

        .Bet you know or have talked with someone from Ohio who came south to NC as an Economic Migrant over the last 35 years.

        1. agent ranger smith

          I wonder if the Southern States would like their textile industry back. Just as the Rustbelt States would like their various industries back.

          Here is perhaps an interesting Grand Bargain proposal for anti-Labor leaderships in the South and elsewhere to consider, along with the remnant not-yet-fully-antiLabor leaderships in the Rustbelt States . . . . perhaps the Rustbelt States could agitate for Free Trade Abolition if the antiLabor States all repealed their Right To Work laws. Perhaps someone could craft a Movement-Party to suggest that very approach.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘World birds
    Thank you beautiful person ..!🐦🦜🕊️🐤❤️🙏🙏’

    That video is both sweet and ironic. You can see the guys is a serious photographer of birds going by the very expensive camera lying on the ground but when it came to this moment, it was captured on an ordinary mobile camera.

    1. Robert Hahl

      My resident naturalist (wife), was not made happy watching this video. All she could see was that the bird was too wet to fly, looked desperate for food, and was expecting a bug – not a belly rub.

      This happens sometimes with the bird materials here. For instance some bird calls are really distress calls and she is starts looking out the window to see who is bothering a loon.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If it was any other animal than a human that came across it, it would probably have been turned into a snack.

  12. Stephen

    Roger Waters speech to the UNSC is worth listening to if anyone has time. It is 15 minutes. Did not see it posted here already.


    4:00 is where he asks what the end goal is
    5.45 he raises the risk of red buttons being pressed
    6.10 he condemns the Russian invasion and uses a very English construction that it was not unprovoked
    12:30 he asks them to change course and agree a ceasefire

    Various esteemed delegates chose to fiddle with their phones, of course.

    At least one rock star seems to have remained in the peace camp in these weird times.

    He clearly has moral courage and is amazing at 80.

  13. Eric Anderson

    The Ultimate Resource is Peaking Center for Global Development

    Thumbnail summary:
    Economists with little understanding of carrying capacity restraints suddenly realize we’re driving 100mph toward the wall that is the technological myth — while all their high minded tech innovation bafflegab essentially served to silence any dissent that might have served as the brakes.

    The study of economics is not science. It’s philosophy. And within the field of philosophy, it can most accurately be characterized as philosophistry.

  14. Roger Blakely

    the current “high plateau” of infection is the new normal

    In Thursday’s Osterholm Update Dr. Michael Osterholm explained what he meant on Face The Nation when he said that he hoped that COVID-19 will be a cold that everybody gets twice per year. However, he explained, he did not expect to live to see that day (he is 70 years old).

    I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but let me point to something that he might agree with. Two weeks ago the numbers people over at Indie SAGE (Dr. Christina Pagel) showed a graph of hospitalization rates in the UK for 2022. There were five distinct waves. Osterholm is indicating that this will be the new normal for the next two to three decades.

  15. flora

    re: Trudeau says flying object shot down on his orders over Yukon Montreal Gazette. By a US F-22 (notching up the balloon-poppings, there).

    Are we all stuck in a real-time simulation of the old 1960’s TV show The Prisoner? (with its large, white balloon ‘minders’ keeping the island’s inhabitants from escaping) / ;)

    1. Rolf

      Yes, apt. And if I recall correctly, despite figuring out how the Village’s system works, Number 6 never escapes.

    2. ACPAL

      A lot of people are thinking this balloon stuff is a distraction, but from what? There are so many things going on that the US would like to distract us from that it’s hard to tell. One source I watched suggested that it was a cover for raising the DefCon level and preparing for war. Gathering the troops would be too obvious but using these unknown “objects” that must be shot down as an excuse for raising the alert level on the nuclear missile crews might be kept under wraps for a while. According to we’re probably at level 3 due to the R-U war but the DoD doesn’t publicize that information. Since the balloon threat is already public the President doesn’t have to go to Congress for permission to start a war, right? It worked with the pipeline.

    1. britzklieg

      I’m always surprised when people don’t know this. Sure, it wasn’t reported much when Obama made it happen, and when it was I recall the disclosures to be couched in language determined to inspire patriotism rather than rage or alarm, as all of Obama’s Blob moves were, but, even in the guise of a good thing, anyone who thought about it for a second knew it was bad bad bad. I raised some alarm about it to “folks” (using o’s favorite term of dismissal) who I thought might understand the implications but frankly most of them were either too naive to imagine it would be used nefariously and did not see the harm if it were.

      Maybe now “folks” will take notice…

      oops, too late.

    2. pjay

      I think Taibbi was alluding to this, though he did not say it explicitly.

      Taibbi always has a way with words, and this is a very good description of where we are today. Regarding Smith-Mundt, this quote is spot-on:

      “Worse, messages from these institutions are parroted more or less automatically by our corporate press, which has decided that instead of a network of independent/adversarial newspapers and TV stations, what the country needs is one giant Voice of America, bleating endlessly about “threats to democracy.””

      One giant Voice of America pretty much sums it up. Run by the same people, who no longer even have to pretend that their propaganda stops at the US border.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Maybe we need a new collective brand for the US mainstream media.
        News? Truth?
        These have been used before and have proven staying power as brands Pravda and Izvestia.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Truth could play well. Western mainstream media types do tend to be rather concerned about the “post-truth era”.

    3. fresno dan

      Thanks for that – I did not know that. Just another example that most “reforms” now a days are just sneakier ways of screwing people…

  16. IMOR

    Biden’s Speech Was Trumpian Peggy Noonan, WSJ. “You can say Mr. Biden fibbed, misled and exaggerated, and you wouldn’t be wrong…”
    Oh, c’mon: Outright lying, blank space on the biggest issues/questions, fatuous fireworks in place of courage or leadership- Noonan knows EXACTLY and far better than most which president her summary most closely resembles. She’s been a high scorer in the willful disingeniuity index applied so thoroughly to her former boss/idol across these last twenty-plus years. That she could finish typing those words without choking or a lightning strike would once have surprised me.

  17. Eclair

    Re: “Controlled release” of chemicals. Into the atmosphere.

    Propaganda much? Every report on this train derailment disaster features the phrase: “Controlled release.” Repeat this enough times and we’re all believing, ‘Gotta be ok, cause it’s ‘controlled.’

    ‘Controlled’ as in flaming toxic chemicals released into the air, pluming up in billows of nightmarish smoke, wafting hither and yon, at the mercy of every little wind that comes along. And, what goes up, must come down. Somewhere east of Ohio, and far from the site of the disaster area, where it will not be linked to the sociopathic cabal running the Norfolk Southern RR.

    OK, just take a deep breath and ….. well, maybe not a really deep breath ……..

    1. wendigo

      The solution to pollution is always dilution.

      In the nuclear industry an unplanned release would attract the attention of the regulator.

      A planned release, therefore controlled, would not be a problem.

      Precision railroading has learned well.

    2. Bart Hansen

      Go to and see how the winds are feeding toxic air from Ohio into the low pressure system that covers the whole of the South East. Since it has been raining throughout the area the toxins will be washed first into the surface air and then the ground.

          1. ambrit

            Oh, do you mean like the new and improved cartoon characters from Castle Greyskull; It-person and It-ra?
            “I have the flexian interpersonal preponderance of influence!”
            “Together we defend the Federal Reserve from the evil forces of Populor!”
            Today’s episode: “Vox Populi, Vox Die!”

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      Controlled release. Controlled virus. Controlled climate catastrophe.

      I don’t know why they want to claim it’s controlled. I guess being in control is so important to them that they’re willing to admit it even though it exposes them as willing poisoners of life in that vicinity.

      1. cnchal

        My understanding is that he was arrested for not being church mouse silent at the back of the room while doing a live feed when the governor started to speak.

      1. britzklieg

        I was looking for a clever turn of phrase to make the same point and think yours gets it just right. I’m stealing that.

  18. Carolinian

    Very much worth a listen.

    While Turley

    says we are returning to McCarthy, Taibbi and Kirn go even further back and use a Brookings report to show how we are returning to Biblical inerrancy but one maintaned by cyber commissars. Get ready for a new version of Brecht’s robing of the Pope in Galileo–at least if Brookings and the “fact checkers” have their way.

      1. flora

        adding: Baffle them with bullsh*t.

        Is the “cosine similarity” equal to the “bourne identiy”? haha

  19. danpaco

    Re: Disinformation Inc: Meet the groups hauling in cash to secretly blacklist conservative news

    I really wish “conservative” media would stop playing the victim on this issue, it’s so much larger than left vs right and they could really help to shine a light on this problem.
    This disinformation BS is all about narrative control and it appears that “left”/corporate media has been thoroughly reigned in.
    The headline should read ” Meet the groups hauling in cash to secretly blacklist news sites that don’t conform to the official narrative”

  20. chris

    Interesting stuff from the Chris Hedges report today: “There are no permanent allies, only permanent power.”

    This section jumped out at me:

    To those who suffer directly from U.S. aggression, these demands are not academic and theoretical issues. The victims of this militarism do not have the luxury of virtue-signaling. They want the rule of law to be reinstated and the slaughter stopped. So do I. They welcome any ally who opposes endless war. For them, it is a matter of life or death. If some of those on the right are anti-war, if they also want to free Julian Assange, it makes no sense to ignore them. These are urgent existential issues that, if we do not mobilize soon, could see us slip into a direct confrontation with Russia, and perhaps China, which could lead to nuclear war.

    That’s exactly right. That’s what the Democrat party fails to see as it continues for support rampant militarism.

  21. in_still_water

    Not a knock on Kaiser – in particular – but where did all of the Covid relief funds go towards? Those funds didn’t make it to many small practitioners practices either.

    1. GramSci

      If not, it’s the small practioner’s own fault for not learning how to loot:

      «The looting of the Paycheck Protection Program worked differently — and it could be far more lucrative. The program authorized banks and other financial institutions to make government-backed loans to businesses, loans that were to be forgiven if the companies spent the money on business expenses. Nearly 10 million such loans have already been forgiven. Many of the loans-turned-grants were for millions of dollars, public records show.»

  22. spud

    the article on peaking innovations was well predicted by me as well as others in 1993. i did not read the full article, because they were whining about what happened to innovation, and this happened world wide. why did it happen?

    surprise surprise this was well predicted by me, that bill clintons free trade would destroy the MAGA people, and their ability to innovate, and that is just what has happened.

    bill clintons deregulation, privatization, free trade, tax cuts for rich parasites, jim crow laws for prison labor, austerity, devastated americas productivity.

    those type of policies were spread almost world wide. so should anyone be surprised?

    The Ultimate Resource is Peaking

    “human talents were the “ultimate resource” and the force behind rising living standards. The last 30 years have been consistent with that view. But, globally, we are making fewer workers—and, more importantly, fewer potential innovators. In rich countries, human capital is growing considerably more slowly than in the past.”

    1. Eric Anderson

      “bill clintons free trade would destroy the MAGA people, and their ability to innovate, and that is just what has happened.”

      Errrmm … what now? Not following this line of reasoning at all.

      1. spud

        a lot of innovation happens on the factory floor. you may have noticed that under bill clintons free trade, not much for factories left, and the authors complain about a lack of innovation, and a lack of workers.

        wanna get them back? good luck with that.

    2. Eric Anderson

      1. More people fighting for fewer resources.
      2. More people fighting for fewer, and more expensive, educational opportunities.
      3. Read a statistic that the majority of the world’s best and brightest get snapped up to make crap we don’t need in dead end innovation fields like (i) finance, and (ii) coding algorithms because that’s where the money is … leading to:
      4. As Galbraith predicted, the “Dependence Effect” has swallowed useful innovation to the thralls of vicarious consumption.

      This isn’t rocket surgery.

    3. ArvidMartensen

      Q. Why is nobody asking why billionaires and governments are spending millions and hundreds of millions of dollars on artificial intelligence? A. Because all the language around AI is passive and inevitable and virtuous.
      eg “Remarkable surges in AI capabilities have led to a wide range of innovations including autonomous vehicles and connected Internet of Things devices in our homes. AI is even contributing to the development of a brain-controlled robotic arm that can help a paralyzed person feel again through complex direct human-brain interfaces. “. From NIST.

      But the people behind the rush to develop AI are not doing it for humanity, so much as doing it to make money and grab power – the twin goals of business and government.
      If all white collar work is done by AI soon, will all white collar workers follow so many blue collar workers, living in caravans and under bridges?
      No wages, no sick leave, no paid holidays, no healthcare. Then almost no ordinary people. Nirvana.

      1. Presley

        Thanks ArvidMartensen. Let’s add AI to the concept of Hospital-at-Home covered by Eric Topal, MD. It is a glimpse of future healthcare. I’ve been on both ends of telehealth, and expansion of the service will leave even more people behind …

      2. Presley

        Thanks ArvidMartensen. Let’s add AI to the Hospital-at-Home concept covered by Eric Topal. Lots of expansion and tech coming down the pipeline and for all the reasons you mentioned. As a person who has been on both ends of telehealth, patient care for the masses will leave even more patients behind…Here’s the link. An overview of the future…

      1. semper loquitur

        Reading or listening to his stories is like eating a pound cake. Rich and satisfying but too much is more than enough. And there are fish hooks baked in.

  23. chris

    On to a potentially more pleasant topic… anyone cooking anything interesting/fun to eat while watching the superbowl? Or puppybowl for that matter?

    1. britzklieg

      Here’s Col. Richard Black, former head of the Pentagon’s Criminal Law Division on George Galloway’s “Mother of all Talk Shows” broadcast today speaking about the destroyed NS2 pipeline.

      Starts about 30 minutes into the show:

      First words out of his mouth are: “I doubt there will be any consequences, but without a doubt it was a grave criminal act.”

      And not too longer after, comes right out and calls the US military a “mafia.”

      Sadly, that he can speak these truths so openly underscores his first point: that there will be no consequences. Therefore, as encouraging as it might be to know that credentialed insiders with genuine bona fides can speak the truth, ultimately it’s a greater, indeed damning frustration that it matters not. We are through the looking glass and there is no remedy to be swallowed or drunk that might deliver ourselves or the world from the f^#*king evil that is US military aggression, the National Security apparatus and the dystopia we already inhabit because of it.

      I do, in fact, weep for the children…

    2. foghorn longhorn

      Got a Mississippi style pork shoulder going in the crockpot.
      Super simple
      Smells delicious already and its still got a couple hours left.

    3. britzklieg

      chris, I don’t know how my comment ended up as a reply to yours and apologize if its misplacement came off as a backhanded criticism of your reflection on more pleasant issues (although I am not a football fan, I can get with down superbowl food!).

      [btw- i’m a chris too!]

  24. playon

    Paypal seems to be all-in now in promoting crypto. Every time I login to the site, on the first page that loads I am presented with an “opportunity” to purchase various crytpo-currencies.

    1. Jason Boxman

      PayPal sucks. The only financial institution, ha, I’ve dealt with that wouldn’t issue a simple credit for a one time accidental fee I incurred that any rational company would just refund to keep a customer happy. (A refund for a year old transaction was marked as a payment instead; That I had emails proving it was a refund was of no interest, the line workers have no latitude.)

  25. Glen

    So what do the pilots at SWA think of their CEO?

    Southwest Airlines Pilots Walk Out On CEO Bob Jordan As Carrier Tries To Restore Culture After Holiday Meltdown

    Bob Jordan is certainly not Herb Kelleher. When asked about supporting shareholders and Wall St, this was what Herb said:

    “Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that. “

  26. Kouros

    I highly recommend the entirety (1:44:00) of an interview in French with very good English subtitles with Emmanuel Todd, called THE 3RD WORLD WAR HAS BEGUN : ESCALATION IN UKRAINE WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING (soorry for the caps). It is a joy. One can brush up on their French and also listen to an intellectual talking, enjoy:

    1. britzklieg

      Thanks for the link!

      “Foreign policy is the dream field of the oligarchs…”

      “What our war games are I can’t even define anymore…”

      “The press, the fundamental organ of control in a liberal democracy, will in fact act as an incentive for politicians to be irresponsible…”

  27. annie

    ironic footnote to dreadful ohio derailment poisoning: family who played evacuees in film White Noise–evacuating from fictional toxic cloud–was forced to evacuate ohio home under fallout from real life black cloud. DeLillo saw it coming.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Unless Ukrainians already cut down those Zakarpathian forests full of yew, they certainly could manage to manufacture longbows…

    2. The Rev Kev

      The British are straight up telling the Russians that they intend to re-arm the Ukraine and have them start a whole new war in a coupla years time. Those F-16s that they talk about aren’t for this war. They are intended for the next. But it will be the ordinary Ukrainians that will be put through hell again for other country’s interests.

    3. c_heale

      The UK continues its fall into irrelevance. The important quote is,

      “It comes as sources claimed that Britain’s military forces are so “stretched” that there are fears they are not fit to take control of Nato’s rapid-reaction force from Germany at the end of 2023.

      Nato has asked German government to remain in charge of the force – which leads the defence against Russia – for another year because Britain does not have the personnel required, according to German media reports.”

      The UK doesn’t appear to be involved in any major conflict outside Ukraine. But its armed forces can’t even do the bare minimum.

  28. Susan the other

    Interesting about the leucine protein blocking COVID from entering the cell. My first reaction was that it sounds like mucus. And it turns out that leucine is in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds and more. It sort of makes sense then that a dry climate is not as beneficial for preventing COVID as is a humid one. Something that puzzled me because dry climates are recommended for TB recovery.

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