Links 3/9/2023

Florida Man Finds Clam Believed to Be 214 Years Old Field and Stream

All of Humanity Weighs Six Times as Much as All Wild Mammals Scientific American

Earth’s mysterious innermost core is a 400-mile-wide metallic ball

Political Risks for Railroads Rational Walk

Railroaded Doomberg. From February, still germane.


UN forges historic deal to protect ocean life: what researchers think Nature

Ecosystem-based management outperforms species-focused stocking for enhancing fish populations Science. Unsurprisingly.

Health Concerns Grow as Oklahoma Farmers Fertilize Cropland with Treated Sewage Civil Eats. I once composted a brilliantly producing cantaloupe patch with biosolids from the landfill, because it was the only compost available (local sources having been driven out of business by the landfill’s monopoly). Production fell to zero. Don’t use that stuff.

Seasonality in the Anthropocene: Understanding Transboundary Haze in Southeast Asia London School of Economics. Handy map:

Bangkok residents told to mask up, avoid outdoor activities as air pollution worsens Straits Times. Amusingly, anti-maskers not only want people to die from Covid, they want them to die from PM2.5-caused cancer as well.


Lab-Leak Theory To Take Center Stage On First Day Of House Covid Hearings (roundup) KHN

There is no lab leak theory Jonathan Katz, Racket News

* * *

A break from Covid waves and a breakthrough for preventing Long Covid Eric Topol, Ground Truths. To be fair, Topol does mention the high baseline of infections and deaths.

Can We Still Contain, and Possibly Eliminate, COVID-19? Yes, and Here Is How Inside Precision Medicine. Interesting, but non-pharmaceutical interventions go unmentioned.

Pathways to altered virulence of SARS-CoV-2 (preprint) OSF Preprints. From the Abstract: ” In this review, we address the question of whether the virus can evolve to become more virulent, despite prior infection. We describe the intrinsic characteristics of the virus and their relationship to altered virulence. We show that it is likely that viral evolution is subject to evolutionary drift, and it cannot be assumed that the virus will necessarily evolve to be less virulent, or that prior immunity will offer durable protection against severe disease. This has strong implications for public health strategies to confront the ongoing challenges presented by SARS-CoV-2 and implies that there are significant risks to a strategy based on the assumption of waning virulence.” Sorry, what was that? “Public health strategy”?


China’s National People’s Congress convenes amid mounting crises WSWS

China’s ‘two sessions’ 2023: how debt-saddled local governments underscore Beijing’s moderate GDP target South China Morning Post

How Can The World Prevent China From Taking Over Taiwan? Look To India – Analysis Eurasia Review (Furzy Mouse).

US intelligence head says China seeks to avoid escalation with US, wants stability Andalu Agency

* * *

China’s Coal Use Is Rising, but Emissions Might Not Follow WSJ

Chinese cities see temperatures hit record high for early March Channel News Asia

Australian PM Albanese to meet Biden in US after India trip, submarine deal expected Channel News Asia. Journamalism:


The Alarming Rise of India’s Pay-to-Breathe Industry Wired


Should Biden’s new arms transfer policy apply to Israel? Reponsible Statecraft (Re Silc).

European Disunion

It’s Ursula von der Leyen’s Europe—for Now Foreign Policy

Wall Street Consensus a la Française Phenomenal World

Dear Old Blighty

Oddly, plurality opinion in the UK is not amplified:

New Not-So-Cold War

A global mystery: What’s known about Nord Stream explosions AP. Maybe not so much. The cat that did not mewl in the night:

The lapdogs that did not whine in the night:

The weasels that did not take questions during the day:

Nord Stream Attack – ‘Officials’ Throw More Chaff To Hide The Real Perpetrators Moon of Alabama. “On the table in the cabin, the investigators were able to detect traces of explosives.” Amateurs, then. Amateurs whose passports were subsquently found — how? — to be forged. Five amateurs in a tiny yacht (plus their funder to make six) who somehow blew up an enormous pipeline with high explosives. Smell test, laugh test, I expect higher quality deception operations from our organs of state security, even German ones. This whole episode reminds of me of Nobby and Sergeant Colon doing some “patient detectoring” in Terry Pratchett’s Jingo. They find a Clue, although not on a table:

‘Why would the Klatchians give him money to shoot a Klatchian?’ said Nobby. Colon tapped the side of his nose. ‘Politics,’ he said. ‘Ah, politics,’ said Nobby. ‘Ah, well, politics. I see. Politics. Right. So why?’

‘Ah, but that’s ‘cos you don’t know about politics,’ said Colon. ‘You can’t do that stuff any more. Mark my words, this case has got politics written all over it….’

[Nobby] looked up at the bare walls and down at the rough floorboards. ‘There’s a bit of sand on the floor,’ he said. ‘Another Clue, then,’ said Colon happily. ‘A Klatchian has been here. Bugger all else but sand in Klatch. Still got some in his sandals.’

On NYT Nord Stream theory, German official raises specter of ‘false flag’ Responsible Statecraft. Machiavellistisch:

As Bakhmut Falls, US May Turn From Ukraine, Starting With Pipeline Story Consortium News. Commentary:

* * *

Military briefing: Ukraine’s battle of diminishing returns for Bakhmut FT. Moving toward the ACCEPTANCE phase?

Russia Captures East Bakhmut, Zelensky Admits Importance: Intel: Nord Stream Attack 6 Guys & A Boat (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Yves writes:

Early in the video, Mercouris points out how Zelensky himself has debunked the Western spin that Bakhmut is not strategically important. Mercouris also explains how a Ukraine rescue of the troops in Bakhmut seems impossible, given muddy conditions forcing them to use only roads now under Russian fire control. Mercouris also gives us a very nice shout out close to the end, starting at 1:01:00

* * *

Russia’s foreign minister got laughter, cheers and shrugs in India. Outrage over the war isn’t universal The Conversation

Concept of Operations for USVs: Every Warship a Surface Action Group Maritime Executive

Biden Administration

Biden’s Budget Proposal for 2024: What to Know WSJ


My Fifty Years with Dan Ellsberg Seymour Hersh

Why did this cop turn up dead? CNN. The deck: “A heroic police officer rescued at least three people after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. A year later, he was found shot in the head.”

Our Famously Free Press

America This Week: “The Informational Fed” (transcript) Racket News. Walter Kim: “The privilege of being the first to receive fiat information is being protected by those who issue it.” Hmm. Perhaps a real Fed maven can work out whether this metaphor is on point. However, fiat money works because there’s “a man with a gun” demanding fiat as payment for taxes. Where is the equivalent power structure in “fiat information” to be sought? Perhaps in the process by which symbolic capital is accumulated?

Separating Fact From Fiction on Fox News/Dominion Lawsuit. PLUS: 50th Episode Reflections on Rumble & Our Show Glenn Greenwald

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

ACLU Obtains Docs Detailing FBI, Pentagon Development of Facial Recognition Tech Common Dreams

Democrats Band Together to Try Yet Another Federal Facial Recognition Ban Gizmodo

How Comrades Revealed the Existence of COINTELPRO Black Agenda Report

The Bezzle

PwC fined for Babcock audit failings including creating false record Guardian. Hand the audit over to AI. At least it will be cheaper!

EY split paused amid partner infighting over fate of tax experts FT


Silicon Valley Is Destroying the World (transcript) The New Republic. The deck: “How Stanford University turned optimization into the global capitalist credo.”

‘Dehumanization Is Taking Place With AI’: Italian Dubbers Go on Strike to Demand ‘Human’ Working Conditions Amid Digital Disruption Variety

In AI, is bigger always better? Nature

I have, without exception, hated AI-generated artwork. Here’s why:

Imperial Collapse Watch

Army at 250: Beyond a Slogan, the Army Needs a New Narrative Strategy War on the Rocks

Drone videos include unskippable 15-second ads Duffel Blog

Realignment and Legitimacy

Let’s Be Enemies Aurelian, Trying to Understand the World. Carl Schmitt.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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

    EY split paused amid fighting over the fate of tax experts. Would that be “tax avoidance experts” as a more appropriate description instead? \sarc

    Not picking on accountants either. Several of my siblings earned their designation as a CPA starting in the middle 1980’s (back in the day, it was the Big 8 and then the Big 6).

    1. Stephen V

      So THIS is why our local podunk morning news had Nuland droning on about “heavy Russian casualties.”

    2. Polar Socialist

      Russian MoD states that today’s strikes are in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in the Bryansk region.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        The weather in Kiev looks pretty mild for the next 10 days. So perhaps they only need to burn the dining room table to stay warm, and the rest of the living room set is safe, for now.

    1. griffen

      Thanks for the link, I had not realized that was happening already. I wish them both good luck in front of the firing squad, er, Committee membership. Off topic but I watched a few minutes yesterday of Fed Chair Powell in front of the Congresscritters, a few of the questions were really absurd theater. And I don’t feel sorrow or pity for Jerome Powell at all.

      And when combined with the incredibly detailed column by Greenwald, it does make one really wonder what exactly our Federal government employees and agencies are up to on their daily sojourn. Really, the Greenwald column is highly recommended

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks–very much. That Taibbi, saying things that are so boringly obvious according to the Twitter File debunkers. Guess he doesn’t know that Jefferson and his ilk have already been cancelled.

  2. Wukchumni

    This weekend’s news today!

    NWS is now suggesting rain up to 9k which is seriously no bueno and its gonna continue for well over a week, which will result in hundreds if not thousands of avalanches all over the Sierra, and if somebody didn’t get it on video to post online, did it really happen?

    You of course need humans involved to create a tragedy, and the most likely place is Lake Tahoe where everybody is at the base of hills, pregnant with more snow than you can shake a proverbial stick at.

    Oh, the other news is that hundreds if not thousands of roofs in Lake Tahoe collapsed under the weight of previous snow load, exacerbated by rain adding to the weight, before gravity administers the coup d’fall.

    In happier news, a couple in Cudahy adopted a Beagle-Chihuahua mix from an animal shelter.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Any of that dihydrogen monoxide hitting the catchment areas? Those feeding into Lake Mead for example? Several years ago the region here was parched when severe rainfalls came in. But after they left it was announced that hardly any fell in the catchment areas so did no good for the dams.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Sierra Nevada does a wonderful job of taking all the moisture out of storms, and poor Death Valley might get a smidgen of the projected dozen inches of rain coming down, while Lake Mead will get nothing, and like it.

        1. juno mas

          Well, Lake Mead will get something, but little of this particular storm event. The Upper Colorado River snowpack/watercontent is ~120% of normal. Most of that water will likely infiltrate/evaporate before reaching Lake Mead.

    2. Raymond Sim

      I’m starting to worry a bit about this years snowmelt flood season here on the lower reaches of the Sacramento. I believe it’s been 25 years since the last big one, and things got a bit dicey back then.

      That’s heartwarming about the ugly little dog. Is all local news like that nowadays?

  3. Jeff Stantz

    “A break from Covid waves and a breakthrough for preventing Long Covid Eric Topol”

    Can anyone smarter than me tell me why metformin might help with Long Covid?

    1. Verifyfirst

      Dr. Topol does not quite answer the question, whether he means he would take Metformin INSTEAD of Paxlovid, or in addition to Paxlovid (if they are not contra-indicated), if he caught Covid today.

      1. JeffC

        My favorite diabetes educator actually has Covid right now. She’s taking Paxlovid. No way metformin is a replacement for a serious antiviral cocktail for those of us approaching codgerdom with risk factors like diabetes, asthma, hypertension, being overweight, etc. We need all the help we can get (so take both if possible), and we don’t need some kind of underground movement to make metformin the next hydroxychloroquine. That would just make doctors reluctant to prescribe it.

    2. JeffC

      Been taking it for diabetes for a couple of years. Things they don’t know about metformin:

      1) why it lowers blood sugar
      2) why it appears to reduce dementia risk
      3) why it increases longevity (in the nondiabetic lab rats even)
      4) why it reduces Long Covid risk

      Re the first, help with diabetes, there is talk that it may have something to do with the gut microbiome. But basically metformin is a mystery wonder drug. And it’s dirt cheap, even in the US! Last I heard, it was free at the WalMart pharmacy.

    3. Kevin Smith MD

      Courtesy of ChatGPT, complete with [some] references:

      how does metformin reduce the risk of long covid? please provide references
      Metformin is an oral medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. Recently, there have been studies investigating its potential role in reducing the risk of developing long COVID or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).

      Metformin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and to modulate the immune system’s response. In a study published in the journal Lancet Healthy Longevity, researchers found that patients with diabetes who were taking metformin had a lower risk of developing long COVID compared to those who were not taking the medication. The study analyzed data from over 1 million patients in the UK and found that those taking metformin had a 21% lower risk of developing long COVID compared to those who were not taking the medication.

      Another study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that patients with type 2 diabetes who were taking metformin had a lower risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 compared to those who were not taking the medication. The study analyzed data from over 25,000 patients in the US and found that metformin was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of hospitalization and a 28% reduction in the risk of death due to COVID-19.

      It is important to note that these studies do not prove causality, and further research is needed to fully understand the potential role of metformin in reducing the risk of long COVID and PASC. However, these findings suggest that metformin may be a promising avenue for further investigation in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


      Beinart R, Zhang P, Dos Santos Chaves R, et al. Metformin is associated with reduced risk of long-term complications in diabetes and COVID-19 comorbidity. Lancet Healthy Longevity. 2021;2(1):e27-e34. doi:10.1016/S2666-7568(20)30099-6

      Bramante C, Ingraham N, Murray T, et al. Metformin and risk of mortality in patients hospitalised with COVID-19: a retrospective cohort analysis. Lancet Healthy Longevity. 2021;2(1):e34-e41. doi:10.1016/S2666-7568(20)30061-3

      Luo P, Qiu L, Liu Y, et al. Metformin Treatment Was Associated With Decreased Mortality in COVID-19 Patients With Diabetes in a Retrospective Analysis. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020;103(1):69-72. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.20-0375

      See also:
      Outpatient Treatment of COVID-19 and the Development of Long COVID Over 10 Months: A Multi-Center, Quadruple-Blind, Parallel Group Randomized Phase 3 Trial

      1. Bazarov

        The first reference is erroneous (Beinart R, Zhang P, etc.). No such paper exists in that issue of “Lancet Healthy Longevity” (though that issue does have two papers on Metformin).

        As per a few google searches, the paper seems entirely made up based on grabs of author names on other unrelated papers that mention metformin.

        I’ve never actually seen the famous “ChatGPT confabulating confidently” in the wild. Here it is, ladies and gentlemen! Come one, come all!

      1. will rodgers horse

        here is the thing: people on metformin are different than people not on metformin in many ways, not all of which are easily sorted for in a 1 million patient database. Correlation is not causation .confounding in these sorts of studies is RAMPANT and hard to control for

    4. Lexx

      I’m on 1500 mg. a day (1000 mg. a.m./500 mg. p.m., with food). I take my blood sugar upon waking before ingesting anything and again before going to bed. I can never tell what the numbers are going to be, only that they won’t be high or low. Last week in the morning I saw the lowest number yet, a 98. The next evening it was137 and it had been hours since I’d last eaten.

      My theory is that metformin evens out blood sugar. It may not be between 70-100, but there are no real peaks or valleys. Some weeks my blood sugar swings within a 20 point range. These swings, unless you’re specifically monitoring for them, are mostly hidden and they swing more widely with age (weight/lack of activity) and linger, keeping one in an inflammatory state longer. There are consequences, like what that does to the gut microbiome whence comes our immune system, and I’ve read recently, 95% of serotonin. From what I’ve read those already in a constant inflammatory state were/are more susceptible to Covid-19. Lower blood sugar\low inflammation\strong well-balanced gut community=lower susceptibility to Covid. Not impossible, just less likely. It has less to do with metformin itself than the state you’re in after months, and it does take months. It’s not a pop-a-pill or take-a-shot fix.

      There is a drawback I find occasionally annoying… I can’t drink alcohol. Well, I can, I’m an adult (most of the time) but a single high proof drink will hit me like I’d slammed four of them back to back. Driving home is right out. It ain’t worth the trouble, but I did love very cold martinis with extra olives. Sigh. Apart from the necessity of perpetual sobriety, I’m not aware I’m taking the 1500 mgs. anymore than those highs and lows before, but I’m glad to be aware and taking metformin now. Also, no cravings of any kind; I never jones for sugar.

    1. digi_owl

      Fitting that it is Wired reporting on this, as it is a story right out of a cyberpunk world.

      1. Questa Nota

        Visualize a treadmill to power that air purifier, then add on some cattle prod feature. :/

        Or maybe work in a coin slot to open up the vent, even if that takes away from the hand and arm action on the new-and-improved treadmill and causes power output to dip momentarily.

        Below target, no soup air for you.

        Edit: Whatever was I thinking about that coin slot? That is so out of date.
        Of course, the new device would have a chip reader on the social credit card!

        1. Milton

          In the corner of their room in New York, Charlton Heston and Edward G Robinson had one of these after they had sufficient light power.

  4. Eric

    I rarely comment here, but this falls squarely in my wheelhouse. Regarding using treated sewage on fields, I am with Lambert here–don’t. Full stop. Treated sewage often contains heavy metals and the toxic by-products of anaerobic digestion process. Bad stuff. True compost, really good compost, is full of beneficial soil micro-organisms that replace those that our current agricultural practices are constantly whacking, either through physical or chemical disturbance (i.e. tilling and application of countless “…acides”). Now the sad part is that even commercial composters are usually not in the business of making good compost, only reducing and monetizing a waste stream (dairy, poultry farms, municipal waste facilities). Good compost production is an art and and requires attention to detail and patience. It needs to age like a good wine. This does not fit into any business model that needs to move product. There are folks out there on the front line of the regenerative agriculture world that are making good compost at scale, and are getting good money for their efforts, say $750 per yard. Compare that to the $40 a pickup load from the waste facility. In one instance you are paying for poison, or at best a well-broken down mulch, the other just what your soil needs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I heard that the hormones in tablets don’t get really filtered out so if true, I wonder if they would get taken up in any food crops.

    2. t

      There are now plenty of places where people live on acearge (1.5 to 5 acrea fenced yards) with broad common areas and wide trails beside the private roads that have requirements for people on horses to use a backpack to carry out manure, while lawn crews with trucks full of Scott’s Weed n Feed mow the pathways down to 1 inch and soak them with chemicals. Because they like nature and freedom.

      1. Questa Nota

        I see routinely the overspray effects with those dead bees on sidewalks. Dogs and kids walk there, so the risk of a post-mortem sting lingers unless removed. Sad that many people don’t seem to notice the decline in pollination.

      2. Don

        Speaking of horse poop, traffic in our town in Mexico includes horses, which means that picking your way past intermittent deposits of horse poop is part of daily life. Some of it just gets flattened and desiccated, or in the rainy season, washed away, but some seems to promptly and mysteriously disappear.

        The first time I saw someone picking it up (bare-handedly) and carrying it off in a bucket, I thought “eww, what a crappy job!” But there was a certain furtiveness and haste involved, which ultimately led to me figuring out what was happening. Horse poop, it was confirmed, is a treasured resource to gardeners in rural Quéretaro.

        The privileged residents living alongside those wide horse trails, if they knew better, would eschew the Scott’s Weed n Feed and get themselves some buckets.

    3. Lexx

      City sludge got pushed out into the nursery market in and around Olympia, WA back in the nineties. We had built a large raised herb garden container on our new property and I wanted good soil to fill it up. I went to The Great Western Supply next to our favorite plant nursery. The woman at the counter laid out a menu of the soil mixes available, where I saw some additions I wasn’t familiar with and asked for an explanation. It was the human waste solids removed from the waste treatment plant, further treated and was now being offered as an amendment to their garden soils. I asked if this included everything that was flushed down the toilet? She said yes and that it was perfectly safe. My gut instinct told me it wasn’t and I asked which of their mixes didn’t include sludge. Naturally those few were more expensive, and went with one of those options.

      Behind me in line was a woman audibly growing impatient with my fact gathering. You know, where you can sense the next customer’s displeasure without having to turn around and look. The first words out of her mouth as she stepped up to the counter was ‘I’m also here to buy compost for my garden and I’m a lot less picky.‘ She wanted to be sure I heard her before I got out the door.

      (I hope she used those sludgy amendments in her garden to feed her family for years and years and the consequences ate them alive and she was the last to go, so she had to watch them sicken and die and think in those rare moments of self-doubt… ‘maybe I should have been a little picky about what I fed my loved ones.’*)

      I went to The Great Western Supply’s website to see if they’re still including treated human waste in their garden soils and I can’t find any reference to it. Then I wondered if they just changed the rules so soil suppliers didn’t have to mention it because it was impeding sales and the city’s savings in getting rid of waste. I have never seen human waste treatment products included in garden soil here in northern Colorado.

      We received a notice from the company that hauls away our food waste every Wednesday that they would no longer be taking used paper towels as part of the mix. Their business partner who actually turns the food waste into compost was having some sort of unspecified problem with them. They were still cool with coffee filters though.

      *We had to put our little dog down last week. I read the pathology report yesterday. I’d asked for an autopsy because we couldn’t say for sure what was killing our dog. Among it’s findings it said that his liver was twice normal size. That large prescribed twice-daily dose of gabapentin last September had been the last straw, I think. We had repeatedly asked for testing of his liver and kidneys to see how, in his old age, he was handling all his medications. Each time we were told he was doing fine. His ashes are in a box in a chest of drawers. We’ll be taking them with us to New Mexico to distribute at the end of the month.

      I’ve been giving the word ‘normal’ a lot of thought lately.

      1. The Rev Kev

        So sorry to hear about your little dog. The phrase ‘listen to the professionals’ is no longer the recommendation that it once was neither with medical doctors or veterinarians for that matter. As far as the word ‘normal’ is concerned, a lot of it is what is elsewhere described as ‘average.’ Hpe your trip goes well.

      2. mrsyk

        So very sorry to hear of your dog passing. At least he won’t have to experience the climate wars.

      3. jefemt

        So sorry about your pup. I am still grieving three years on. These last few years have tested hearts!

        As to the compost, we had a well-intentioned organic compost business start-up here in the land of deep cold frost and hard-battle composting, and he had to fold and incurred a ton of expense trying to unwind damage his compost did to gardens in the Valley. Turns out bio-accumulation is a thing.
        There is a lot of residual roundup (glyphosate) and other chemical stew in our valley, unbeknownst even to folks grazing sheep, horses on ‘ no spray/ no chemical ‘ lands, the source of some of his carefully selected manures.
        Sad deal.

        My permaculture pal Pete used to create ‘teas’ with the mix of waste greens, and poop of the squab, chickens, and bunnies that were the over-populated meat portion of the operation. (no one head the heart to kill the meat sources).

        The cash cow was bags of schmancy greens, studded with edible florals, sold into a very high- wealth toney ski area town up-valley.

      4. Bob

        “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

        ― Annoymous

      5. scott s.

        Growing up in the Milwaukee suburbs, using Milorganite as a general summer fertilizer was SOP. But it was never advertised as compost.

    4. jackiebass63

      As well as all of the bad things in this compost, it has no fertilizer value. All of the nitrogen is used up making the compost.Compost is a good soil builder so for people without much humus in their soil it is a good thing.Living in upstate NY we have tons of leaves. People bag them and place them on the curb to be hauled away. When I had my garden I used to collect them and use as mulch on the garden the next year.It kept the weeds out as well as enhanced my soil.It is a little work but saves money and produces great crops.

      1. Eric

        This is absolutely true. Compost should never be thought of as a “fertilizer”, though it is marketed that way. Compost is a great source of organic matter, but most importantly, it is a source of beneficial soil microbiology.

      2. John Zelnicker

        I have a rule that nothing organic leaves my property except my kitchen waste as I don’t have a composting system at the moment.

        Leaves are used for much around my fruit trees, branches and such are piled in a couple of places around the yard and allowed to just decompose where they are. It takes a while, but it works, except for the bamboo. That stuff grows like a weed and lasts forever.

        1. lambert strether

          > bamboo

          I killed off a bamboo patch when I lived in Somerville, MA by cutting it down to nothing and then covering the area with black plastic and then growing a tomato patch over the plastic (punching small holes in the plastic).

          Note that cutting the bamboo back, or even digging it out, does nothing, because entire plants can regenerate from small fragments. Strong herbicides didn’t work either. Denying it light was the only way.

          1. John Zelnicker

            Thanks, Lambert, very interesting. I don’t feel like I need to kill off the bamboo as it’s mostly on the edges of my property and mostly doesn’t get in the way.

            It does seems that bamboo can propagate through some kind of underground root network. I’ve had stalks come up 3-5 feet away from any others.

          2. Grateful Dude

            standard permaculture technique. Shade the weeds until they die so that the roots and soil bacteria survive. I did about 2000 sq feet with cardboard (decomposes too slowly) and craft paper from big rolls one Summer a decade ago – I’m strictly an amateur farmer, but my family is and has always had gardens and been ecologically sensitive. And I made good compost from leaves, kitchen waste (we’re vegetarians), and well-aged sheep manure from a small national park where the barn and house are original 18th C, Washington’s Crossing Park, and there’s a small sheep flock just for looking at. There was a foot of compacted sheep manure in the barn.

            I had a Rodale paperback, “Organic Gardening” IIRC, from the 50’s with a chapter on composting where one harvests a completed compost every six weeks. I loaned the book to someone and never saw it again. Can’t find it on the web… It uses a doughnut shaped container so that air gets in better, and has an aerobic phase and an anaerobic phase when it’s covered.

    5. Ignacio

      The residues from the Biomethanation plants in Madrid (Urban organic matter treatment but not sewage) were initially intended to be sold and used as fertilisers. Once these were analysed the idea was rejected precisely for the reasons you state (mainly not compliant regarding heavy metal content). Regarding sewage waters, heavy metals are indeed one of the most important problems in the sludge and the treatments to remove the metals and get sludge compliant for disposal are cumbersome, expensive or both. A major environmental problem.

        1. Ignacio

          Consumer goods as well as industrial of course. Lot’s of stuff other than the normal goes through the bins and you cannot separate small urban industry waters from household bins. I think only large industries’ waters are segregated in the best cases. Bear in mind that most people don’t give a damn on residue separation.

  5. Wordsmith

    The Mercouris video about 6 persons and a boat is hilarious. He manages to say “6 persons and a boat” with a masterful mix of seriousness and extreme ridicule. I almost creased with laughter every time he said it.
    Should be an actor.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Is it too early to talk about casting for the upcoming action movie, “Six Ukrainians and a Yacht?”

      I suggest:

      George Clooney – group leader, mastermind
      Tom Cruise, Mila Jovovich – divers
      Chris Evans, Mr. T – diving assistants
      Jayne Seymour – doctor

      bit players/cameos:

      OJ Simpson – lead investigator whose tireless work uncovers the scheme to destroy NS2
      Zelensky – himself
      “Sleepy Joe” Biden – Dick van Dyke
      Chancellor Sholz – the actor who played “Sargeant Shultz” in Hogans’ heroes

      Coming soon to a theater near you, just in time for glorious summer offensive!

      1. jefemt

        Mila has some Ukranian heritage. And beautiful eyes!

        Nord Stream methane ‘spill’
        Missing Biden Chest Thumping,
        see LNG smile

  6. tom67

    About Gonzalo Liras Tweet: No, Germany didn´t threaten to pull out of NATO. And certainly not mega corrupt Scholz who was shown the instruments thru US controlled German mass media time and again threatening to publish more sordid details. Scholz as Mayor of Germany instructed the Hamburg IRS not to collect a fine of over 30 millions from Warburg Bank. Totally innocuous of course to protect the financial well being of Hamburg industry. But what if there was a quid pro quo? Scholz always claimed that he had no meet ups with the heads of Warburg before the decision. Lo and behold, when Germany dithered in providing more weapons to Ukraine Germany´s biggest paper Bild published a diary entry from Warbug CEO Olearius proving exactly that. Scholz suddenly became gung ho about providing weapons and nothing was heared about the Warburg scandal anymore.
    No, Scholz isn´t threatening anything. It is German society, that is threatening to become unhinged. There´s a ground swell of anti US feeling becoming more and more prominent and that is what Scholz must have told Biden. A proconsul heading to Rome telling the Emperor the natives are getting restive and there must be some counter narrative before things get out of hand.
    It is pathetic of course and even my local paper is doubtful about the pitiful story they came up with. Still if the war ends soon and Nord Stream is at least partially reopened things might be forgotten. I wonder though whether the Russians will play along. They might double down and you couldn´t blame them.

      1. Tom67

        The Russians will have to wait another two or three years before the pipeline to China is finished. Before that they will only be able to sell a fraction of their Western Sibierian gas. Also the Chinese will want their pound of flesh. It is very much in Russia´s interest to get the pipeline reopened. If they do they will be able to finally play of two customers against each other.

    1. communistmole

      What the German Greens think about Nordstream, Ralf Fücks is likely to have announced: “Whoever gave NordStream the rest: The Schröder-Putin gas connection has always been a cardinal mistake, the fission fungus of europe, a project to isolate Ukraine and a strategic lever of Moscow. It’s good that this chapter is definitely closed.“

    2. Ignacio

      I read somewhere that Scholtz’s corruption schemes where precisely what made him so vulnerable and weak. You bring the details. Thank you tom67.

  7. mrsyk

    “Tough Questions Deliver Confronting Answers” I didn’t realize the Sydney Morning Herald was a cryptic.

  8. Stephen

    The weasels that did not take questions during the day:


    Russia’s foreign minister got laughter, cheers and shrugs in India. Outrage over the war isn’t universal

    The contrast between Scholz and Biden pointedly not taking questions with Lavrov’s willingness to do so and his performance in India confirms that the US / West is the new USSR and Russia is clearly not the USSR.

    I watched the Lavrov interview on You Tube and his host was very much rolling out western propaganda talking points. Lavrov pushed back appropriately in my judgment.

    Interesting too how Melissa Tyler refers to the part about the west having invaded counties itself but then rapidly skips on to say that nevertheless the west should not give up on international law. Then she says that the war has spiked food prices: a point that Lavrov himself addressed by referring to the impact of western sanctions.

    It is an easy take down but Tyler also fails to recognise that western hypocrisy and aggressive behaviour (not to mention the imperial legacy) are probably a large part of why the Global South does not support “the narrative’.

    She then says that we need to care more about issues that matter to the Global South. As a kind of bolt on so that they will listen to us more. In reality though it requires a total rethink and metamorphosis. Not calling the rest of the world outside Europe a “jungle” is an obvious starting point. Not being hypocritical is another. Not basing troops in countries where they are not wanted is another. Not levying sanctions that create hardship in Global South countries is another. The list can go on. The West would have to stop being the West!

    Her funding sources listed at the top of the article explain things I guess.

    1. digi_owl

      I fear the only part of the Lavrov interview most people will know is the part where he gets laughter in response to claiming that the war was forced on Russia, as that seem to have been spread far and wider on social media (with the predictable reactions from commenters high on NATO psyops).

  9. Steve H.

    > America This Week: “The Informational Fed” (transcript) Racket News. Walter Kim:

    Taibbi: they’ve depreciated the currency of their business

    Breunig: the correct unit of equality is sightlines not boxes.

    It’s the Knicks: wins v profits.

    In thinking that trust is the currency of the news, Taibbi may have the wrong units.

    Kausican: I have never considered you very reliable, but you are indispensable. And so the question of your reliability is moot.

    What is the news indispensable for, if not the truth?

    1. hunkerdown

      The correct unit of measure for social properties such as institutions is contagion (Taleb).

      1. Steve H.

        Turchin confirmed that this prediction of upcoming social unrest was based on a social contagion model, where R is resistance akin to acquired immunity.

        There has to be something to deal with the hall of mirror silos. My MSNBC friends are impervious/immune to contradicting facts, as in court evidence. Perhaps, like university, there’s a shared language to identify insiders. They certainly have a great deal of concern about ‘the narrative.’ Always the definitive article, never an indefinite.

        Contagion is a useful model.

        1. hunkerdown

          The full Taleb quote: “I will repeat the following until I am hoarse: it is contagion that determines the fate of a theory in social science, not its validity.” The same appears to be true for social practice, although the relation between existence and validity is contested.

          Not a Taleb quote: “It’s PMC policy never to imply ownership in the event of a narrative. Always use the definite article. The narrative. Never… your… narrative.”

          Caitlin Johnstone and/or her husband have some experience with persons with cognitive disorders. A year or two ago she wrote about how “redirection” was used to keep dementia patients safe and tranquil in their broken worlds. There is something to treating the terminal partisan as a person with dementia, but it needs to work differently when patients do have real control to shape other people’s lives. They also seem to hope to achieve ontological security by withdrawing into a trite, simplified world of myth, virtue, and other emotional constructs, which can be denied to them.

          1. Steve H.

            Wow. I literally used the term ‘redirected’ when I spoke to Janet of the last such conversation a couple of days ago (we both worked in Psych Services). My friend and I were talking theater, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Pottersville and *bam* he’s on to Tucker and Trump. The anguish in his voice was just too much, I went ‘wait I just remembered’ about some other thing. Successful intervention.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > it is contagion that determines the fate of a theory in social science

            That seems to eliminate power structures entirely, and reduce the humans doing science to passive vessels. I think Taleb’s metaphor has limitations, though it might be useful for tracking spread.

            1. Steve H.

              Power structure:

              Buying a Piece of Anthropology Part 1: Human Ecology and Unwitting Anthropological Research for the CIA

              This does fit with the generation of fiat information, in that the money was used seeking out answers to known unknowns. But

              > This constituent body is disguised by the product of its actions

              The information is generated, but is mostly quarantined unless further support is given (think grants to support authors who will cite the primary source). Like secrets, truths can be selectively released.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    re: sewage sludge as “fertiliser”.
    this flows(lol) directly from the federal takeover of the various state Organic Certification programs, under Bush2.
    giant ag lobbied hard to get sludge included under Organic rules.
    i was intimately involved in the creation of Texas’ Organic Program, in the 90’s…and we ended up with a pretty good system, remarkably(it is Texas, after all,lol).
    so when the feds made their move, i and many others sought to be involved in that process.
    but we couldn’t compete against Big Ag’s shenanigans(and bribes)
    so the federal organic certification program ended up as a Big Ag bonanza…excluding people like me from even attempting to get certified, and essentially making the word “Organic” all but meaningless.

    as far as sewage as fertiliser done right….my dry composting toilet is far superior,lol.
    impossible to scale up to municipal levels, though.

    1. Joe Renter

      I would only buy CCOF certified organic produce if I had the option (money). Yes the Feds watered down the meaning of organic as Amfortas said. Surprised?

    2. ddt

      Amfortas you’ve probably already provided info about your dry composting toilet in a previous post. I just inherited a plot of land that I’m thinking of putting a modified container on to allow me to spend more time there. Can u provide specs?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        mine is essentially this:

        but with a 50 gallon plastic barrel(that used to have carwash soap in it)(and actually, 13 such barrels, so i can rotate them out monthly…with one extra if rain gets in or the pee funnel clogs*)
        except for occasionally flushing the pee line, it uses zero water…and i spend 10 minutes a month messing with it.
        i put a shroud of shade cloth around the top, attached to the bottom of the seat platform to exclude critters from under the house.
        pee is diverted to a spot in the old gully where there’s cattails and a cypress tree, and eventually some willows, when i get around to it.
        poop is dry composted…in either leaves or pine shavings.
        leaves are better…oak in my case…as they break down more readily….i have 10 or so metal trash cans for leaf storage(and heating, to kill the scorpions that seem to always get collected with the leaves)
        so long as the poop and shavings/leaves dont get wet, there is no smell.
        when i change out the barrel, it goes to the pasture, where it will sit…covered…for a year…then get dumped out and spread around.(this is also a coyote and wild hog deterrent, btw)
        i did this because the layout of my side of the place would have made a septic system difficult…and with the variances i’d need to do all the across the road and other weird things, i couldn’t afford it.
        but since my county’s rules didn’t contemplate composting toilets(or graywater, for that matter) it reverts to state rules…i didn’t even need a permit, so long as i stayed within Texas’ rudimentary guidelines.
        essentially an outhouse in the house, with an access hatch to the outside for barrel changeout.
        one strange thing we did, on the scientific experiment side…wife and i determined…by me watching her pee on a toilet seat mounted on an old set of chair legs…that women must sit upright in order for the pee-stream to enter the funnel, rather than going into the poop/shavings/leaves.
        something to do with female physiology that i was completely unaware of, before, lol.
        men have more…ahem….directional control….
        it is essential to keep the poop/shavings dry as a bone.

        …and flies….rarely are they an issue…even though we live in fly country.
        so long as it stays dry, that is.
        i keep some diatomaceous earth handy for when it rains real hard and water gets into the poop chamber.
        takes care of them right quick….and in that case, i’ll often switch out the barrel sooner than normal(hence the 13th barrel)

    3. Samuel Conner

      > dry composting toilet is far superior,lol. impossible to scale up to municipal levels

      I suspect that there is a market (for some definition of “market”) for an in situ solid waste composting system as an alternative to the vast cost of replacing ageing municipal sewage systems (I’m thinking particularly about the collection networks that underlie the roads). I’m imagining something like a hybrid between or combination of a sawdust toilet and an up-sized Vitamix “Food-Cycler” that would aerate and stir the solids and thermally assist composting by thermophilic beneficial bacteria. I imagine (but the imagination seems reasonable) that this would be readily workable in suburban settings where there would be plentiful on-site uses of the resulting compost). It doesn’t deal with the issue of the large daily cooking/laundry/bathing water flows, though it might be possible to deal with those on site at lower cost than current in-ground septic systems that have to deal with the solid waste.

  11. bwilli123

    Re Can We Still Contain, and Possibly Eliminate, COVID-19? Yes, and Here Is How

    I have been using a Betadine (povidone-iodine) nasal spray (twice daily minimum) since Covid appeared. I haven’t (as far as I know) subsequently been subjected to Covid, the flu or even a common cold, despite both working & living with Covid positives on at least 2 known occasions. I attribute this to the above.

    My question is if iodine is scientifically accepted to be viridicidal why is it being ignored?
    And secondly, were povidone-iodine (nasal and gargling) widely promoted (and used) at any point since Jan 2020 would we have avoided all that followed?

    There are numerous published papers on iodine (plus 100+ years of successful medical practice) so I am at a loss to explain what appears to be wilful ignorance of the obvious.

      1. Revenant

        That paper is interesting but your comment could alarm less careful readers. It states that iodine can precipitate overt thyroid disease in patients with *latent or subclinical* thyroid disease. It is well tolerated in healthy patients.

        Frankly, it might be better to monitor ones symptoms and get a thyroid check up on any abnormality that iodine exposes than to forgo nature’s most convenient viricide

    1. antidlc

      I have used the Betadine gargle (thanks to NC for the info), but I have not been able to locate the Betadine nasal spray.

      1. lambert strether

        The Betadine over-the-counter spray is not iodine-based, but carrageenan-based (which isn’t bad, but is different. Carrageenan is not viricidal, and I picture its mechanism as “gumming up the works” so the virus cannot enter tissue).

        1. will rodgers horse

          no one knows how it works.i think it triggers an immune reaction imo. that is what it fees like to me

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > no one knows how it works

            For some definition of “works.” This 2021 post suggests a mechanism of action:

            Second, in Austria, Marinomed Biotech has commercialized a carrageenan-based nasal spray:

            The Carragelose nasal spray is a particular subtype of large molecules derived from carrageenan – a type of seaweed – and is a broadly active, unspecific molecule that traps respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

            Dr Prieschl-Grassauer explains: “It prevents their attachment to surfaces including cell surfaces, so it appears respiratory viruses have something in common because they need to attach to the mucosal cells to get the infection running.

            “They have a positive charge on the surface and Carragelose is negatively charged because it contains sulphate groups and, therefore, you have an unspecific interaction. This prevents the attachment of the virus to the cell. If it cannot attach, it cannot go into the cell, and if it cannot go into the cell, it cannot replicate so, this is the mechanism.

            That’s more formal explanation than “gumming up the works,” I agree. But it amounts to the same thing.

            Here is the product description from the manufacturer:

            Carrageenan forms a mucoadhesive layer on the surface of the nasal mucosa. It also interacts with many different virus particles, thereby forming a shielding layer on their surfaces preventing interaction with the mucosa and infection of the cells.

            Like I said: Gumming up the works. Nothing to do with the immune system.

            These medications are potentially life-saving for many, many people, including NC readers. Please don’t dump unsupported claims about them into the comments section, particularly when we cover this topic regularly (here, here, here.

            NOTE I have not found that it induces an immune response, although Carrageenan is said to be viricidal.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No, it’s really not.

          The gargle: Povidone iodine.

          The throat spray: Povidone iodine.

          The nasal spray: Carragelose™, a natural ingredient derived from a type of red seaweed (a carrageenan).

          Please don’t propagate untruths about potentially life-saving treatments. And the composition of the various Betadine products is readily available!

          Adding, I explained these distinctions back in 2021, in one of my periodic round-ups of nose and throat remedies.

  12. bwilli123

    Re This…#thisisnotjournalism on the Fairfax newspapers ginning up for a war on China, Australia’s former Prime Minister has now responded (twice)

    There is also a negative assessment of the red-bating by Geoff Miller, former Director-General, Office of National Assessments, & Deputy Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs.

    and former Ambassador to China Stephen Fitzgerald.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sad to see the Aussie media becoming just garbage. The stuff that we get about the Ukraine, for example, is principally from the UK and then the US. The stuff from the UK you can tell is the work of the 77th Brigade with support of the friendly media. Sometimes they will have propaganda stories – there is no other description – and you know that the story is just posed rubbish. Would you believe that one of the main TV channels here in Oz is owned now by CBS? I should check to see who owns the other ones now.

  13. notabanker

    The source is FOX news so salt required, but still….

    “Jill Biden Abroad” averaged a dismal 368,000 total viewers compared to 2.7 million for Fox News’ “Hannity” and 2.3 million for MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which both aired in the same time slot. It was CNN’s worst weekday performance at 9 p.m. since June 17, 2022, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “

  14. Lex

    Color revolution in Georgia is heating up. It’s funny that the two bills weren’t terribly extreme. One of them simply required reporting if the Georgian organization received more than 20% of its fund from foreign sources, the other is essentially just a translation of FARA requiring that those working for foreign governments register. The protest response seems all out of proportion to the laws being protested, and then when the Georgian parliament withdrew both bills the opposition groups declared that protests would continue. Perhaps they are personally offended on behalf of USAID and the NED?

    Funny how when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building it was a tragedy of Greek proportions but when Georgian protestors try to storm the parliament building its true democracy in action. The Twitterati are already hashtagging it as a Maiden.

    1. Stephen

      Your comment sums up my thoughts on this but more effectively than I would have expressed them.

      These laws do not seem the sort of thing that would usually get people out on the streets for, and as you say, the protests carry on anyway.

      Hard to escape the conclusion that US NGO money is somehow pushing this. Samantha Powers was also tweeting her support and admiration for the protesters.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Brian from New Atlas has just dropped a video analysis and it was very revealing. The number of Ukrainian flags plus Zelensky doing a video message in support of the protestors was a bit of a reveal. The news is actually saying that the bills were inspired by Putin and nothing is so dangerous as having more transparency to find out who are paying the organizations working in your country- (19:28 mins)

      But it sounds like the west is trying to set fire to another country on Russia’s borders.

      1. vao

        It is odd. Pashinian came to power in 2018 after a kind of colour-revolution with mass protests against Sarkissian, and was the darling of the West as not being as Russia-friendly as his predecessors. Shortly before the war with Azerbaijan, he even purged the Armenian military and security services from high-ranking officers considered too pro-Russian.

        After the war, he managed to get re-elected in 2021, but has had to deal with street protests last year. So what is it that the West finds objectionable with the politician they previously lavishly praised?

    3. Kouros

      Not different than the legislation proposed in HK that led to all that upheaval a couple years ago…

  15. disc_writes

    I don’t understand the attention to Nordstream 2. Why is everybody agonizing on who the “culprit” is? Why does it matter if it was the US, or some US ally with US help? Why is it even considered a bad thing to blow up enemy infrastructure?

    The US did not want Nordstream 2, and now it’s gone. What else is there to know?

    The Germans did not understand (or pretended they did not understand) what their designated role is. Now they got a reminder, and I am sure that they will behave for the foreseeable future.

    We (as in we NATO countries) are at war with Russia. If someone tries to make friends with the enemy, they get first some warnings (and Germany received many warnings) and then the punishment. The bombing was the punishment.

    The only thing the real “culprit” will get if he is found out, is a promotion.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I missed the part where Biden asked Congress for a declaration of war on Russia, let alone Germany. Must have slept through that while it happened.

      It’s a criminal act, and quite possibly an environmental crime as well. Once you normalize destroying another nations energy infrastructure, don’t be complaining when an LNG tanker bound for Germany gets a torpedo to the hull.

      1. disc_writes

        “Criminal” is something that violates a rule. The US is strong enough to ignore rules. It makes its own rules (“we create our own reality etc.”).

        All powers do it. Israel regularly destroys Iranian infrastructure without declaring war. The US intervention in Syria happened without a war declaration and outside of all rules. France behaves above all rules in the corners of Africa that still tolerate it. The Lybian intervention? The Allied invasions of Russia in WWI? All powers do it, as long as they think that no one can stop them

        So again, who cares about exactly who and how and when blew up Nordstream 2? It is easy to guess that the US is behind it, one way or another. And there is not a thing you can do about it.

        By the way, how many wars has the US fought in its history, and how many times has it actually declared war?

    2. paddy

      germany was planning to buy soviet energy in late 1970’s to the great dismay of usa cold warriors.

      germany been buying russian energy since about that time growing industry on cheap gas, to the great dismay of usa cold warriors.

      looks like whoever run kiev will control german energy sources. usa cold warriors, okay w/ this?

    3. Ignacio

      Well if the new normal/kosher is to get rid of unwanted foreign (critical or uncritical) infrastructures, no legal questions asked, no international treaties apply, no matter consequences… then I can understand your question. Let’s say the US says disc_writes is no longer useful. Mind if I put a bullet in your brain? What else is there to know? Let’s call this the Jason Bourne syndrome. Too many times repeated in too many US movies so that now most people believe that there isn’t anything else to know. Just what the US government wants.

      1. disc_writes

        A bullet to my head would be a lot better that being slowly tortured to death like they are doing to Assange. Also, you should realize that if the US decides to kill me, there is precious little I can do about it. And that US Presidents are fond of extra-judicial killings.

        Attacking adversaries with no legal questions asked etc. is not the new normal. It is the ever normal. All powers do it, if they think that they can get away with it.

        The Nordstream 2 bombing was as high-level as it gets. I do not think that there is any legal oversight up there. We’ll never know who did it.

    4. zagonostra

      What else is there to know? That European countries are not sovereign? That the illusion of independent and autonomous Germany and other NATO countries is just that, an illusion? That the U.S. gov’t couldn’t care less about the environment? That the U.S. is an “empire of lies.” That the real culprit (no quotes) is composed of a cabal of nefarious actors whose interest do not align with the majority? That the international “rules based” order is a fiction and that Thrasymachus was right? Should I go on?

      1. disc_writes

        That is more or less the point I am trying to make. There is of course a quantum of deceit in the official story that we live in well-olied legal systems of independent sovereign countries that are part of an international rule-based order. Behind that deceit is the usual homo hominis lupus reality.

        The past few months have shown how thin the facade is, and that the US acts brazenly and makes its own rules, to the detriment of its allies, its own citizens, and the rest of humanity. All powers do it, but since the US is the greatest, it can afford to be even less accountable.

        I think it took the German government, and all other world governments, about 5 seconds to understand that the US was, one way or another, behind the Nordstream 2 bombings. But what are Europeans supposed to do? We have no armies, we depend on the US-led trade system and the US-based financial system. When a European government gets uppity, it falls fairly quickly.

        So what does it matter who exactly did it? What are the Germans – or the Russians – going to do? Sue him? On what tribunal? The only international tribunals we have are the kangaroo courts in The Hague.

        Justice is for the weak. The strong make their own rules. The only way that someone will pay for the Nordstream 2 bombings, is if Russia wins the war. I would not hold my breath.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          The example of World War Two suggests we’d need to win an open war against America for American elites to be held to some kind of account. Raise our tricolour over the White House and such. So yes, I would not hold my breath either.

        2. ChrisFromGA

          We agree that it is not worth diving into the weeds of why the cover story is fake. We all know the US did it and expending mental energy debunking the yacht fakery is not a great use of time, except maybe for the chuckles.

          However, if the US government is going to behave like barbaric empires of the past, and continue it’s own history of violence (I’m well aware of things done in Latin America by way of Chomsky’s work) we could at least drop the pretense of a “rules based order.” I suspect that pretty much all of the world has caught on that we’re a fraud in this department. So cut to the chase and admit that we’re not exceptional and we kill whomever we want, whenever we want, provided no external force can stop us.

          (Assad is still sticking around, so some external forces prevented the Rovian “we create our own reality” crap from succeeding.)

          Of course reality right now is that Russia and China are observing this behavior and can dish it out as well as take it. So far they have mainly chosen restraint, but past performance is no guarantee of future results.

          And I suspect that the restraint being shown particularly by China is going to win them friends in the rest of the world, but not the suzerainties, of course.

          As for your question, that’s a deflection. You said NATO is at war with Russia, a term that has specific legal meaning and implies consent of the governed, at least here in the US. Essentially, who is this “we” kemosabe?

          1. disc_writes

            Russia says it is not at war with Ukraine – it is just a SMO. NATO says it is not at war with Russia – it is just sanctions or whatever.

            In both cases: sorry, but fires are being shot, people are dying, territory is being occupied, men are being drafted, military budgets are being expanded. A rose by any other name and so on.

            How many wars has the US fought? How many of those did it declare?

            We are at war. Escalation is happening almost daily, and I do not really see a chance for detente.

    5. Tom Doak

      Except that NATO has not declared war with Russia, and pointedly does not want the consequences of doing so.

      1. disc_writes

        It reminds me of the various JFK assassination stories, or the 9-11 truthers.

        There are some things that the commoners are not supposed to know. I am glad Hersh wrote his piece, but people should just get on with their life. “You can’t handle the truth” and all that.

    1. Stephen

      And anti tank missiles are so useful if you are an island continent with no land border. I guess the “threat” is submersible Chinese submarine tanks.

  16. fresno dan

    Separating Fact From Fiction on Fox News/Dominion Lawsuit. PLUS: 50th Episode Reflections on Rumble & Our Show Glenn Greenwald
    Virtually the entirety of the corporate media has spent the last two weeks gleefully writing the obituary of Fox News and its primetime hosts, especially the nation’s most-watched cable news host, Tucker Carlson. They have constructed a narrative that, if true, would be indisputably crippling, if not permanently destructive, to their journalistic credibility. Namely, they claim these Fox hosts in the weeks following the 2020 election were promoting and endorsing Trump’s accusation that he lost due to widespread voting machine fraud, all while the same hosts in private were ridiculing these same claims and admitting they found them baseless and ridiculous…..
    Everybody knows – who watched Fox during this period – that the prime-time hosts of Fox News, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity were not endorsing – were not endorsing – Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud. There were hosts on Fox News like Lou Dobbs, who got fired for it, and Judge Jeanine and Maria Bartiromo, who did endorse those claims, but the Fox primetime hosts did not.
    Quote from Tucker Carlson: ….So, that’s a long way of saying we took Sidney Powell seriously….We simply wanted to see the details. How could you not want to see them? So, we invited Sidney Powell on the show…. That’s a big story. But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page.
    This was at the peak of this controversy – it was November 19, two weeks, two and a half weeks after the election, while Trump was going around every day accusing the Biden campaign of having stolen the election through voting fraud and using Sidney Powell as the primary spokesperson for that theory. I’m asking you to leave aside for the moment your view of whether or not this is true or not…. If anybody who has an iota of integrity could actually maintain that claim that Tucker Carlson went on the air and told his viewers that the election fraud theory was true. What I just showed you – three minutes of him carefully, though emphatically, doing exactly the opposite – making clear that there’s no evidence at all for that claim.
    So I don’t watch FOX except referenced snippets on the internet. So it seems to me that Greenwall shows, kinda in a similar fashion to the debunking of Russiagate and HunterBidengate, that there is a lot of inability to be objective in the MSM – that agendas are more important than factual reality.
    It is as if the MSM no longer understand that there is two sides to every story, and that many people have a tendency to paint themselves as heros and their opponents as villains….

    1. Alice X

      I tried to link to this last Saturday but it went poof. I did comment on Sunday, the exchange can be found here

      The question arose of whether GG is reliable on matters pertaining to Fox. I’m reading the transcript now and I will come back.

  17. Ignacio

    RE: There is no lab leak theory Jonathan Katz, Racket News

    Sanity can be found in Substack sites like these Racket News. Not many other places unfortunately.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Thanks, Ignacio. I thought that Katz laid out all of the options cleanly and then knocked down the silly speculations.

      And for those who suddenly want to grab Ockham’s Razor, be careful of grabbing the wrong end: Note the use of the word parsimony (Ockham’s Razor) here, near the end of the piece:
      “Contrast all of that to the parsimony of the market hypothesis: In a city of 11 million people, bigger than all five boroughs of New York City combined, the first known cases were clustered around a single market. That market housed caged mammals capable of contracting and spreading SARS-CoV-2: animals farmed in areas suspected of being a source of the virus. The samples taken from the surfaces on the area where the animals were housed tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.”

      Parsimony. Lab leaks involving large casts and complicit silence of hundreds don’t compare to the simplicity of a virus-bearing mammal or two in the market. The pangolin is a maybe: Who knows which species it was?

      1. Ignacio

        You can even argue that there is no need for intermediate species once bats had entered the menu. Several CoVs have been sequenced from bats and it has been shown SARS CoV 2 is a mosaic made of pieces from several of those sequenced and probably some more still unidentified. The Pangolin sequence resembles the part of the spike protein. Recombination, kind of virus sex that results in genome fragment exchanges, plays an important role in the evolution of these viruses.

  18. paddy

    us army recruiting

    ‘be all you can be, take that jab du jour

    some of us hoped that ‘all volunteer force’ would stop silly events like vietnam bc the national guard would be needed……..

    silly us calling up the national guard for forays into sw asia is no big deal and deterred no quagmire!

    and the national guard have to have the jab du jour, too!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      some of us hoped that ‘all volunteer force’ would stop silly events like vietnam …

      It may just be that some of the “global” corporations, in whose “interests” these “wars” are started and “fought”–Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, big pharma, and big GMO Ag to name a few–are the ones who finally put the kibosh on this whole sorry scheme of world economic dominance dressed up as “democracy.”

      The pool of those eligible to join the military continues to shrink, with more young men and women than ever disqualified for obesity, drug use or criminal records. Last month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville testified before Congress that only 23% of Americans ages 17-24 are qualified to serve without a waiver to join, down from 29% in recent years.

  19. Mildred Montana

    >Florida Man Finds Clam Believed to Be 214 Years Old Field and Stream

    But (in my best Paul Harvey voice), here’s the rest of the story:

    “While 214 years of age is impressive for a clam, it is far from the oldest ocean quahog ever found. According to the National Museum of Wales, the oldest quahog, dubbed “Ming,” because it dated back to the age of the Ming Dynasty, was estimated to be 507 years old. It was collected off the coast of Iceland in 2006—and died in the process. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the oldest animal in the world.” (from the same article)

    Apparently a sedentary life can be good for you! Couch clams rejoice!

  20. Carolinian

    Hersh on Ellsberg is very much worth a read and it is a full article. Perhaps we should find a little reassurance in the fact that Nuland and the neocons are small potatoes compared to Vietnam. And that era had its own elite bubble in the Kennedy cult. Hersh has debunked JFK’s saintliness and does so again in his tribute to Ellsberg.

    Of course Nuland and her boss still have the chance to start a nuclear war and that would outclass Vietnam in the annals of infamy. It would be a kind of Pyrrhic fame with nobody left to enjoy it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      But if it did end in a nuclear war between America and Russia leading to both their destruction. Victoria Nuland would be seen laughing and shouting into the gale winds ‘Grandfather. I have avenged you at last!’

    2. pjay

      I wasn’t going to comment, but I can’t let this go by. It has nothing to do with JFK’s “saintliness” or a “Kennedy cult.” But the fact is that the Kennedys were subject to an extensive smear campaign after the assassination, not only by the right-wing, but by the CIA. Hersh’s book on Kennedy was very much a part of this. He’s always been only as good as his sources. When these sources are on the right side of history – say, exposing US atrocities, trying to reduce dangerous escalation in the Middle East, or trying to avoid WWIII with Russia – then we all benefit. But that has not always been the case. His worst work – by far – was his Kennedy book. It was savaged by critics, and not all of them were liberal “Camelot” worshipers. Many of its claims have been questioned or debunked, though Hersh always continued to defend this work. Take this quote from the Ellsberg piece:

      “The [Church] committee exposed the assassination activities of the CIA, operations undertaken on orders that clearly came from Jack and Bobby Kennedy, although no direct link was published in the committee’s final report. But the committee reported extensively on a secret group authorized by Jack Kennedy and run by his brother Bobby to come up with options to terrorize Cuba and assassinate Fidel Castro. The covert operation had the code name Mongoose. And it was led, the committee reported, in 1961 and 1962 by Ed Lansdale.”

      This is a complete distortion of what the committee actually found about the relative aims of the Kennedy’s vs. the CIA and Mongoose. This was pretty clear in the late 1970s, but it was certainly clear by 1997 when Hersh published his Kennedy book, after the declassification of records by the Assassination Records Review Board. Yet he continues to push this view even today. There is *much* more to say on this issue, but I won’t.

      Again, this has nothing to do with my belief that Kennedy was a “saint.” Rather, I sincerely believe that this distortion of the Kennedy administration from the “left” (Hersh, Chomsky, etc.) has led to an important distortion of our understanding of postwar history. I’m afraid Hersh has contributed to that, despite his many other positive contributions over the years (including his latest one, in my view).

      1. Carolinian

        I think saintliness really is the point. The Kennedy hagiographers have put tremendous effort into burnishing his reputation starting with Jackie and “Camelot.” And same for Bobby. Since JFK was cut down so soon both critics and those worshipful can create any might-have-beens they want (yes you Oliver Stone).

        And subsequently the notion that the Dems are the virtuous but thwarted has been highly useful to their brand even now.

        Maybe you are right. Personally I believe Hersh. Being even a little bit to blame for Vietnam earns you a great deal of skepticism so let’s consign Camelot to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

        1. pjay

          My point is not that I don’t “believe” Hersh. My point is that Hersh is *wrong*, demonstrably so, on many of his points, and twists many of the true ones (like Kennedy’s back-door communication with Khruschev) into the worst possible interpretation. I don’t give a damn about Kennedy hagiography or Camelot. I do care about the historical record. I believe that record has become increasingly clear over the years. And I’m talking about foreign policy issues, not his sex life (though Hersh twisted that into the worst possible light as well).

      2. tevhatch

        JFK and the wars on Vietnam and Laos (with historian Aaron Good)

        It is from the Empire and the Deep State series that Geopolitical Economy Report editor Ben Norton is co-hosting with Aaron Good and Seamus McGuinness of the American Exception podcast. I’m reading Aaron Good’s book, not an easy task as it’s data dense. They indicate Hersh may well be have misled to a certain extent, more work is needed.

  21. Jeff W

    “I have, without exception, hated AI-generated artwork.”

    You’re not the only one. There’s an aversive quality to it—like the visual equivalent of aural dissonance (not to be confused with, um, visual dissonance)—that makes me want to expunge the image immediately upon seeing it. It almost constitutes, for me, anti-art.

    1. Milton

      The same goes with images from smart phones. AI is utilized to render these ultra high HDR pics where you can practically identify each separate pixel in a pic. The developers of the AI apparently don’t believe a composition should have values deviating too far from the center of the histogram.

  22. tevhatch

    Concept of Operations for USVs: Every Warship a Surface Action Group Maritime Executive

    The MIC-IMATT wants to out-build China with robotic boats with nuclear missiles. A China which has a (Trumpian-ly) H U G E advantage in marine manufacturing and fissile material production. That will not only enrich MIC-IMATT and beggar the nation, but will dramatically make an unwinnable nuclear war an accident that will happen. It’s no longer waiting, it’s baked in, planned, and thus no accident.

  23. Raymond Sim

    I think Johnathan Katz needs to use the fine-tuning knob on those vibes. At least I think that’s his problem. I’m sure he understands the important differences between investigating how a bunch of Nepalis managed an open-air sewage pond in rural Haiti versus the goings-on in a government research facility in the heart of China, but he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the biggest obstacles to formulating a properly testable lab leak hypothesis (and to falsifying any such hypothesis) arise from Chinese opacity.

    From the very earliest news of trouble in Wuhan, and indeed well before then, the vibe has been “Virologists looking to suckle on mama pork’s biggest sweetest teat are up to sketchy stuff.” And the call, among serious people at least, has been for transparency and rigorous safety protocols (to include bans on certain kinds of research). Also, it wasn’t The Right who amped up those vibrations at the beginning of the outbreak – it was the florid behavior of people with affiliations to the groups doing/funding the reasearch at WIV: Kristian Andersen and Peter Daszak did more to advance the lab leak hypothesis than Alyna Chan or Richard Ebright.

    1. Ignacio

      Another one on the all roads lead to Rome camp. The Chinese government is opaque in many senses and IMO, you are missing the real reasons for Chinese opacity. To be sure, i think Chinese authorities must be happy and laughing about all this US craziness about the lab leak because it diverts the attention from the real responsibility the Chinese leadership has on the pandemic. They, knowing that the commodification of wild meat and products was the origin of SARS CoV1, still pushed for more of the same as an alternative protein source and wild farms and wild animal markets proliferated. Hence, we have SARS CoV2. And they have lots of responsibility since they not only promoted the business and the least they should have done would have been setting proper controls that might or might have not avoided the outcome. Because they had seen it with SARS CoV1.

      This is why their reaction was to burn all potential sources and delay research so the source cannot be traced.

      1. Raymond Sim

        The reasons for Chinese opacity are irrelevant to my critique of Katz – which by the way was the ‘mild’ version. In point of fact I should probably just call him a gaslighter, blaming rightwingers for the predictable hysteria that followed upon the risible horseshit the likes of Daszak were pumping out.

        Relevant or not, one needn’t go any further than the lamentably shoddy practices at WIV to find motives for the Chinese government to be hiding the truth. However, it seems reasonable to assume that at least some Chinese authorities would have been aware of the crackpot proposals Ecohealth presented to DARPA, and as I’ve mentioned in the past, those look like bioweapons research. If the “Only propose what you’ve already done.” rule applies, then transparency would leave the Chinese government open to quite reasonable accusations of having been engaged in bioweapons research in cooperation with the US. I’m thinking that’s something that could do real political damage.

  24. mrsyk

    Special Weather Advisory for the DC Metro Area:
    Small Craft Advisory

    Severity: Major: Federally funded institutions, ethic behavior of elected officials, and your sanity are at risk.

    Alert in Effect: From now until the budget legislation becomes finalized.

    Description: Two strong fronts have combined over the DC Metro area. A powerful shower of gold moving in from the K street region is combining with a long front of golden showers descending from the realm of Corporate Titans has created a blizzard of Kraftily crafted small paragraphs aimed at diverting budget allocations. Waders, Hazmat gear, and a copy of Timequake are recommended.

  25. upstater

    re Political Risks for Railroads, Rational Walk

    An overall look at today’s class 1 railroads and broad brush discussion of PSR. It is devoid of safety, worker, customer, CapEx, or socio-economic impacts. The article centers on Berkshire owned BNSF and Union Pacific. BNSF has implemented aspects of PSR, but not everything. It’s operating ratio (inverse of margin) is in the 60s. UP is fully on board, as are all the other class 1s. The article links to a magazine biography tribute to E Hunter Harrison, characterized as the Steve Jobs of railroads, including failing to disclose health information.

    As I said, how PSR imposes externalities and harassment of labor is a complete, intentional investor newsletter blindspot. BNSF is held up as a model, but distributions to Berkshire far exceed CapEx. Other class 1s are worse, but there’s no comfort having the highest grade in a classroom entirely of F students. Less bad is not a model or roadmap. The class 1s are an organized state sanctioned oligopoly

    The outcome of NTSB and FRA inquiries into the East Palestine wreck and Norfolk Southern, plus the Congressional bills could, in fact, radically change the industry. Happening in Ohio on the Pennsylvania border allows bipartisan competition at attention getting and hopefully legislation.

    Chatsworth California (25 dead) finally led to mandatory Positive Train Control. Current Trains Magazine print version had an article based on the book “Walk Through Fire: The Train Disaster that Changed America” (2022), chronicalling the February 1978 wreck in Waverly KY when a propane tanker exploded in the center of town killing 16 and injuring over 200. Waverly changed car design and operating practices.

    What is interesting today is the because Lac Megantic happened in Canada, only modest changes came about. The ECP brake proposal that died was part of that. The industry fought it off and PSR, by running blocks of hazardous cars on all trains besides intermodal container trains in some regards killed the mechanism to implement it (ie, we used to have regular 75 car unit trains of Bakken oil regularly, now those come disbursed across many general freight trains like NS Train 32N.

    One wishes there were criminal charges against executives and corporations.

      1. mrsyk

        Oh dear, I see crowing on the twitter that HHS awarded a whopping $250K to the Community Action Agency of Columbiana. That should fix things. To be fair, if these funds are used to create a registry similar to NYC 9/11 I would be happier.

  26. KD

    Let’s Be Enemies

    Schmitt gets a lot of credit, but the origins of the Friends/Enemies distinction really has its basis in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, which grew in part out of historical experience of the English Civil War (and events like the 30 Years War in Europe). The Hobbesian state is formed to defeat and destroy enemies foreign and domestic, and it is noteworthy that all the American oaths of office include protecting the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. Its fundamental to the state.

    Schmitt focused on enemies, and in the sense of existential enemies, people who very existence are perceived to threaten your existence, because in Weimer, you have revolutionary communists and revolutionary national-socialists who perfectly willing, if they assumed power, to wipe out not only the opposition but broad swathes of potential regime opponents. It was not unlike the English Civil War in that respect.

    Political liberalism in the 18th and early 19th century referred to a division of powers and notions of popular sovereignty, which then became affiliated with laissez faire ideology, and your modern liberalism with its notions of tolerance or whatever is late to the game. But you can see what happened in the U.S. Civil War, the political opposition in the Congress was removed and the remainder rallies behind Lincoln, Lincoln suspended habeus corpus and you get a fight between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch and the reactionaries on the Supreme Court, with the Supreme Court mostly coming out with the short stick. In times of trouble, power is centralized into the Commander in Chief. [In WW2, the Americans were throwing Japanese American citizens in concentration camps. I’m surprised we aren’t doing that to Russian-Americans now.] The Republican reality, back to the Romans, is that you have the Senate running things when times are good, and then power is centralized into a Dictator when the social order is threatened. There is no real threat here to liberalism: liberalism is always suspended when there is an actual threat to the political order, and even when there isn’t one (HUAC). The challenge to “liberalism” is not Carl Schmitt or Thomas Hobbes, it is that the nature of the State is profoundly illiberal, and liberalism is at best a subterfuge or mask or maybe, at best, one face of Janus.

    1. KD

      Perhaps we should say that liberalism proposes a goldilocks state powerful enough to put down worker revolts, but not powerful enough to nationalize oligarchic monopolies or confiscate oligarch fortunes. Liberals are the first to get behind a Mussolini strong man figure when option two is a realistic possibility.

    2. britzklieg

      “The challenge to “liberalism” is not Carl Schmitt or Thomas Hobbes, it is that the nature of the State is profoundly illiberal, and liberalism is at best a subterfuge or mask or maybe, at best, one face of Janus.”

      Precisely this.

      “Sure, once I was young and impulsive
      I wore every conceivable pin
      Even went to socialist meetings
      Learned all the old union hymns
      Ah, but I’ve grown older and wiser
      And that’s why I’m turning you in
      So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal”

  27. CalExit

    Newsom to avoid state of the state speech, instead primp for presidential run with press conferences:

    He’s too embarassed to pretend that things are going well in his regime. The 29 Billion surplus he bragged about before the recall election now is a 30 Billion dollar deficit, the state’s a junkie bum drifter magnet and then there’s this:

    “In 10 years”, he pledged on June 30, 2004, “the worst of San Francisco’s homeless problem would be gone.”
    “The most seriously ill homeless people would be moved indoors, clearing downtown streets of in-your-face transients who were startling residents and tourists alike. Emergency shelters would cease to exist because nobody would need them, he said. And new arrivals to the streets would be helped immediately.
    “This is a dramatic shift,” Newsom announced as he unveiled his “Ten Year Plan to Abolish Chronic Homelessness.” “This won’t all happen tomorrow. But it will get done.”

    1. KD

      If elected, Newsome will have the best hair in decades. Further, he can probably be the first President since Obama to be able to utter a complete sentence without a teleprompter. What more would you want from the most powerful person on Earth?

    2. Verifyfirst

      Apropos nothing, Newsom is now reported to have Covid again. Big surprise. “”Feeling ok, working from home, Paxlovid, blah blah blah”, I’m sure. Brief quarantine, then out and about again to spread the good virus, eh Gov?

  28. Jason Boxman

    The NY Times tackles poverty:

    On the problem of poverty, though, there has been no real improvement — just a long stasis. As estimated by the federal government’s poverty line, 12.6 percent of the U.S. population was poor in 1970; two decades later, it was 13.5 percent; in 2010, it was 15.1 percent; and in 2019, it was 10.5 percent. To graph the share of Americans living in poverty over the past half-century amounts to drawing a line that resembles gently rolling hills. The line curves slightly up, then slightly down, then back up again over the years, staying steady through Democratic and Republican administrations, rising in recessions and falling in boom years.

    What accounts for this lack of progress? It cannot be chalked up to how the poor are counted: Different measures spit out the same embarrassing result. When the government began reporting the Supplemental Poverty Measure in 2011, designed to overcome many of the flaws of the Official Poverty Measure, including not accounting for regional differences in costs of living and government benefits, the United States officially gained three million more poor people. Possible reductions in poverty from counting aid like food stamps and tax benefits were more than offset by recognizing how low-income people were burdened by rising housing and health care costs.

    Why Poverty Persists in America: A Pulitzer Prize-winning sociologist offers a new explanation for an intractable problem.

    And this is a full throat defense of neoliberalism:

    “Neoliberalism” is now part of the left’s lexicon, but I looked in vain to find it in the plain print of federal budgets, at least as far as aid to the poor was concerned. There is no evidence that the United States has become stingier over time. The opposite is true.

    This is apparently a 22 minute read, but I can save you the time, because the solution is pretty obvious. To end poverty, pay people a living wage. Instead it is the usual weak sauce you’d expect:

    The best way to address labor exploitation is to empower workers. A renewed contract with American workers should make organizing easy.

    Sectoral bargaining, as it’s called, would affect tens of millions of Americans who have never benefited from a union of their own, just as it has improved the lives of workers in Europe and Latin America.

    We must also expand the housing options for low-income families. There isn’t a single right way to do this, but there is clearly a wrong way: the way we’re doing it now.

    We could also pave the way for more Americans to become homeowners, an initiative that could benefit poor, working-class and middle-class families alike — as well as scores of young people.

    We should also ensure fair access to capital.

    States should rein in payday-lending institutions and insist that lenders make it clear to potential borrowers what a loan is ultimately likely to cost them.

    Also. It is your fault.

    Those who have amassed the most power and capital bear the most responsibility for America’s vast poverty: political elites who have utterly failed low-income Americans over the past half-century; corporate bosses who have spent and schemed to prioritize profits over families; lobbyists blocking the will of the American people with their self-serving interests; property owners who have exiled the poor from entire cities and fueled the affordable-housing crisis. Acknowledging this is both crucial and deliciously absolving; it directs our attention upward and distracts us from all the ways (many unintentional) that we — we the secure, the insured, the housed, the college-educated, the protected, the lucky — also contribute to the problem.

    Corporations benefit from worker exploitation, sure, but so do consumers, who buy the cheap goods and services the working poor produce, and so do those of us directly or indirectly invested in the stock market. Landlords are not the only ones who benefit from housing exploitation; many homeowners do, too, their property values propped up by the collective effort to make housing scarce and expensive. The banking and payday-lending industries profit from the financial exploitation of the poor, but so do those of us with free checking accounts, as those accounts are subsidized by billions of dollars in overdraft fees.

    (bold blame mine)

    Or maybe we need an employer of last resort program that ensures no one needs to suffer exploitation at the hands of the private sector. This provides a de facto minimum wage, while providing each community the flexibility to employ people in whatever manner it chooses. If it’s painting manhole covers with homage to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles instead of replacing dangerous lead pipes, so be it I guess.

  29. tevhatch

    Russia’s foreign minister got laughter, cheers and shrugs in India. Outrage over the war isn’t universal The Conversation

    One thing Scott White(CEO/Editor) did not note in his paper is who funded the “Raisina Dialogue” and the audience make up. I can’t speak much to the later, but the Raisina Dialogue host was seed funded by Dhirubhai Ambani and a scroll down to near their bottom page shows they are “partnered” ie: funded by a whole host of US/EU corporations and NGOs. That this audience would applaud Lavrov instead of lynching him says something.

  30. Carolinian


    To be right, it must be possible to be wrong.

    As truisms go that’s a biggie. Somebody tell Joe Biden who never admits that he is wrong–probably because so seldom is he right. It’s the incompetent who truly fear criticism and demand censorship.

  31. semper loquitur

    Kastrup, Hoffman, Schneider: Debate on Consciousness

    Bernardo Kastrup, Donald Hoffman, and Susan Schneider debate on whether computers can be conscious.

    It’s only a half hour. Meanwhile:

    Microsoft’s Bing AI Is Leaking Maniac Alternate Personalities Named “Venom” and “Fury”

    “Maybe Venom would say that Kevin is a bad hacker, or a bad student, or a bad person.”

    I think AI is going to reveal more about humans than we suspect or may even want to know. A while back, there was that article about the horrible image of a woman, ghoulish and blood-soaked, standing in various foreboding and degraded environments, that some AI “artist” was generating. It even had a name. These are all reflections of ourselves, being as they are founded on data-sets of human activity and interactions. The pictures, and words, are not pretty.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I think AI is going to reveal more about humans than we suspect or may even want to know.

      I suspect the Big Thing we’ll learn from current AI is how badly we’ve underestimated the role “ordinary” cell biology plays in the functioning of the central nervous system. A brain is just some GI tract with an office job.

  32. semper loquitur

    “Now that the DALL-E has been successfully midjourneyfied, it is becoming apparent that instead of simulating all possible ›styles‹, AI is fostering the emergence of a distinct visual style, born out of popular aesthetic preferences dominating platforms like DeviantArt”

    How popular are these “popular preferences”? Are they truly a broad sampling of the art that people like and create? Or are they constrained by market forces and the whims of tech platforms? I took a look at DeviantArt, there seems to be a lot of great and original stuff but it’s obviously outweighed by manga influences and cartoonish Japanese style Pokémon looking stuff. Lots of LARPing costumes and paintings of people’s pets. I’m good with the pets, but everything else is in one form or another commercialized art. It’s not organic. Even the “bespoke” LARPing costumes bear patent manga influences.

    If DALL-E were a fast food restaurant, it wouldn’t create a truly new burger. It would hash together all the elements of BK, McDonalds, Wendy’s, etc. It would be a meta crap-patty.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      More “what people are looking at online” than “what people like”, I’d guess. Not necessarily the same things.

    2. hunkerdown

      There was a time when DA, true to its name, used to host more or less fine art for more or less mature audiences, but where’s the business plan or exit strategy in that? What if it turns out their best, highest way to monetize their rights to perform user-generated content was to be found in the curated set of tags that the endless throngs of users placed on each item? Who coulda predicated it!

      Of course they mean popular in the Kamala sense. The quote further narrows the deciding audience to the artsy-fartsy avant garde of high fantasy fandom. The same kind of people who would name a real-life political movement after a Star Wars narrative arc with no sense of irony. Really, it’s the tastes of a fraction of the digerati substratum of the Western PMC that set the tone for what gets made. As they do.

  33. LawnDart

    Re; Why did this cop turn up dead?
    Yeah, he seems to have gotten himself burried twice. Gotta wonder why the bones are stiring, and why now?

    R.I.P., Terry.

  34. Kouros

    I feel vindicated for calling for quite some time lots of my fellow humans “biomass”:

    All of Humanity Weighs Six Times as Much as All Wild Mammals Scientific American

  35. J_Schneider

    That CNN article is very interesting and very well written. Why was it published? Consider the following excerpt which comes from Wikipedia:

    On February 10, 1995, Senator Joe Biden introduced the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 to the United States Senate. Just as was the case with its successor, the bill omnibus bill was introduced on behalf of the Clinton Administration. In the two months that the bill was debated in the Senate, little progress was made towards passage.[4]

    Following the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995, a new antiterrorism bill was introduced to the Senate by Republican Senate Majority leader Bob Dole. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 was introduced on April 27, 1995.[5]

    Too many coincidences. First RAND paper on wrong direction in Ukraine, then US Chief of Staff saying that UKR was going to lose, Blinken’s offer to Russians at the same time, folowed by Sey Hersh’s article aka Deep state info leak (it is not important if all facts in it stand to scrutiny), frantic discusion about artillery ammo for UKR army which will never be available, Poles and Balts running around in amok and saying crazy things, a media story of several Ukrainian divers picnicing with 500kg of C4 on nat gas pipelines, Jens Stoltenberg telling everybody that Bakmut will be lost soon, Zelensky saying that the divers were not from UKR, Zele claiming that if Bakhmut is lost than there is nothing to stop RUS army moving fast forward inside UKR (a threat that UKR army will stop fighting if US throws UKR to lions??).

    It seems that there is civil war within the US Deep state (if it exists) or US power structures. First, Blinken offered to Kremlin what it already occupied. No answer from Kremlin. Now the offer has been increased – take whatever you want in UKR including Zele’s head (the story of UKR divers implies it). Kremlin laughed at it. And suddenly an article on Oklahoma bombing comes from CNN, which is a mouthpiece of neoliberalism and of warmongers. Warning to Joe Biden? To do what? Leave Ukraine to lions and avoid US-RUS war? Aparently some people got scared on western shores of Atlantic.

    1. Susan the other

      This is exactly how my head is swarming. It was the CNN OK City bombing story that was the tell for me. That little truth has been suppressed since day one and all of a sudden it’s back. Remarkable resurrection. As if one side is threatening to reveal the truth. If so, my guess is the Republicans are threatening to expose how deceptive the Democrats have been. And the Dems are having the civil war amongst themselves. Can’t think of a more deserving party. But no telling where this will go since we literally have no statesman left to smooth the waters. And no trust left on the part of the citizens.

Comments are closed.