Links 4/16/2023

Hibernating bears don’t get blood clots. Now scientists know why ScienceNews

Underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga was most powerful natural explosion in a century ZME Science

$200,000 in dimes stolen from trailer parked at Walmart in Northeast Philly, police say PhillyVoice



After infiltrating Standing Rock, TigerSwan pitched its ‘counterinsurgency’ playbook to other oil companies Grist

Wildfire season is starting early, with three major fires burning across Nebraska Nebraska Examiner


TikTok Is Obsessed With Water. Experts Are Concerned Rolling Stone

ChatGPT needs to ‘drink’ a water bottle’s worth of fresh water for every 20 to 50 questions you ask, researchers say Business Insider

Urban water crises driven by elites’ unsustainable consumption Nature


New (Itchy) COVID Symptom Reported as ‘Arcturus’ Fuels NY Area Spread NBC New York

NYT Blames US Public for Collapse of Pandemic Safety Net FAIR

Old Blighty

RMT and RCN set to strike again – as nurses stick two fingers up at their union The Canary

“Are you now or have you ever been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn?” The Left Berlin

The Koreas

S. Korea, U.S., Japan agree to hold missile defense, anti-sub drills regularly to counter N.K. threats Yonhap


China trade: ‘surprise’ exports surge led by Asean shipments, fall of imports eases SCMP

The Perilous Path of Trying to Keep China Down Eunomia

Montana close to becoming 1st state to completely ban TikTok AP

Is US-Vietnam pledge to boost ties after Antony Blinken’s Hanoi visit mere ‘diplomatic symbolism’? SCMP

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukrainians said to pull back in Bakhmut as Moscow launches new push Reuters

Ukraine needs effective security guarantees even before joining NATO – Zelenskyy Ukrainska Pravda

Why China’s Leader Hasn’t Called the President of Ukraine New York Times. A mystery.


China urges the US to correct its wrongdoings with Russia-related sanctions against Chinese firms ‘typically unilateral, illegal’ Global Times

Hungary Quits Russian-led Bank Day After US Sanctions AFP

Hungary’s prime minister called U.S. a main adversary, leaked documents say NBC News

Orban calls US a friend after he pulls out of Russian-dominated IIB Intellinews

Italy’s Meloni acknowledges ‘anomalies’ in Russian escape AP


Russian labour crisis looming as unemployment falls and emigration rises Intellinews

Russian oil exports rise above pre-Ukraine war levels as India and China take 90% of Moscow’s crude The Independent

L’affaire Leaker

Former CIA chief says Greene ‘not fit to hold public office’ The Hill

US officials knew of more Chinese spy balloons, according to Pentagon leaks The Guardian

Nintendo Wants Discord Subpoenaed To Reveal Leaker Of Unreleased ‘Zelda’ Artbook Techdirt


Analysis: Fighting erupts in Sudan after months of tension Al Jazeera

Sudan: US warns Khartoum over allowing Russia to build Red Sea naval base Middle East Eye. From September.

Israel: Will crisis-plagued Netanyahu start a war to save his skin? Middle East Eye

Israel seeks direct US support for anti-Iran operations: Pentagon leaks The Cradle


Republican donor retreat suggests Donald Trump is far from a coronation Politico

Mike Pence was booed at an NRA event, while Trump was greeted with a 2-minute standing ovation Business Insider

Trump Rakes in Over $15 Million in Post-Indictment Fundraising Haul Newsweek

Biden’s poll numbers look grim as he preps for reelection bid Politico

Democrats en déshabillé

Railroad Workers United: “We Would Never Concede Our Right to Strike” Jacobin. A response to Dems, such as AOC who said she was acting on the wishes of RWU when she voted to break the strike.

Can Movements Stop Politicians From Selling Out? Dissent Magazine

The Supremes


Police State Watch

Crypto-Loving Cop Mayor Puts Robot Dogs Back on the NYPD Gizmodo

The NYPD Can Now Shoot GPS Trackers at Your Car Jalopnik


Home Pregnancy Tests Could Now Put Women in Danger Wired

Imperial Collapse Watch

Ex-C.I.A. Psychologist Re-enacts Interrogation Techniques for Guantánamo Court New York Times

Losing Wars and Losing Recruits Counterpunch


Class Warfare

SVB bailout for everyone except affordable housing projects Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

Rutgers union gets core demand met as ‘unusual’ faculty strike draws attention nationally

World Bank Cafeteria Workers Struggle To Afford Food Or Rent, Union Says DCist


Parler shuts down as new owner says conservative platform needs big revamp Ars Technica


No Stress: Superyacht that uses AI to monitor power consumption Interesting Engineering

‘Overemployed’ Hustlers Exploit ChatGPT To Take On Even More Full-Time Jobs Vice

Elon Musk founds new AI company called X.AI The Verge

The Bezzle

The End of Faking It in Silicon Valley New York Times. We’ll see.

Man gets prison time after feds discover $3.4 billion in stolen Bitcoin hidden inside a Cheetos popcorn tin and underground safe Business Insider

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Terry Flynn

    The UK “Corbyn support” issue is tricky. Survey after survey shows his principle policies commanded majorities among the public. “Corbynism” was real and popular. Trouble was Corbyn himself wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination.

    Am reminded of Attlee. He had to speed to Buckingham Palace in 1945 to be asked to form a govt because he knew full well there were charismatic senior members of the Labour Party who could easily have been asked by King George VI to form a govt.

    In 1951 he achieved the highest % of eligible voters EVER to support a single party in the modern era (both Labour & Tories got 40+% of all voters but LABOUR got the most)…. Yet he lost due to first-past-the-post. People should learn more from history.

    1. brian wilder

      ” “Corbynism” was real and popular. Trouble was Corbyn himself wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination.”

      I don’t see Keir Starmer taking up any form, however mild, of “Corbynism” as a policy manifesto, popular though it might seem in polling. “Corbynism” as much as the man himself is what is being purged — make no mistake about that.

  2. bob

    John Brennan
    Lied about the Russian dossier; lied about the Hunter laptop; and perjured himself in front of congress about NSA spying and spying on congress. Why do we even listen to anything this fool has to say? The press seems to be more interested in carrying water for the CIA, FBI and DOJ with their “justified leaks” then asking why, with troops on the ground, we are at war with Russia.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I keep wondering who, exactly, keeps pushing the idea that Russia should be broken up and that the entire world should be involved in it, as if the Dulles brothers never actually died.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        My guess is that it has little to do with ideology and more to do with this:

        A Guide to Russia’s Resources

        The billionaires call the shots in this country, and they get all excited dreaming about taking control of those resources.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Some time ago I linked to a tweet showing a post-Federation map of Russia which would have been divided into about 36 countries. I then linked with a resource map of Russia showing how most of those new “countries” could be mapped to where those resources in Russia were located. A coupla of those countries would be literally a gas station but without nukes.

      2. some guy

        Well, some of it may be honoring the memory of notorious antiRussianitic racist antiRussianite and diplomat Zbiggynew Burzinsky who pushed that idea loud and long as a geo-diplomatic goal. He did it because he was a descendant of the Polish Nobility and wanted revenge against what he considered to be Russia’s role in his ancestors’ loss of their Ancient Polish Nobility rights and privileges.

    2. griffen

      Bonus effort was noted as well, we get to remember that Liz Cheney is still alive and kicking. I’m sure she has a need to find something to do with her free time, and possibly keeping dear old Dad alive is harder than it looked.

    3. The Rev Kev

      John Brennan is the sort of person that would want all political candidates to be vetted by the security establishment before they would be allowed to run for office. No dissidents allowed but only pretend ones. They would be allowed to threaten to raise a ruckus just so long as they voted for the usual wars, bailouts, etc.

      1. jo6pac

        I was under the impression that was already in place in Amerika with so many retired spooks in congress;-)

          1. Questa Nota

            Their panels look like a combination of FUD propaganda and money laundering, for, um, services rendered, so a perfect image for the age.

        1. GramSci

          I recall Jesse Ventura reporting that when he won the Minnesota election in 1998, his first federal visitors were the FBI, wondering how he got elected without their permission …

    4. jefemt

      We receive a thick (think old Sear Roebuck/ Monkey Wards) paper catalog from Uline, owned by the big donor conservative Uhlein (sp) family. There was a brief letter from Ms. Uhlein, really notstalicically waxing on about Ron and Nancy Reagan.

      The one that made me think, was her statement that Regan ended the Cold War. Hiatus? Seems it is on like Donkey Kong to me. Perpeta-war, it’s what’s forever

    5. paddy

      neocons presume that russia could be sundered with the death of 1000 cuts!

      they read their own propaganda and believe their proxies and the military industry welfare project can make the cuts,

      much less that russia would not do as they say and profer nuclear destruction rather than be iragistan times 100

      the world is better w/o neocon cabal

  3. Wukchumni

    Underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga was most powerful natural explosion in a century ZME Science
    Remember any potent underwater volcanoes erupting?

    I can’t think of any offhand, and the idea that the Tongan volcano spewed water vapor 57 km into space is likely the reason behind the freaky weather the world has been going through, a year without a winter in much of the USA and Europe, while on the other extreme, Cali ended up with 78 trillion gallons in a winter that was widely predicted to be another dry one…

    In the aftermath of Krakatoa in 1883 & Pinatubo in 1991, Cali experienced very wet winters, in the case of the latter-similar to Hunga, it put paid to a serious drought too.

    Another sizable volcano named Shiveluch erupted on the Kamchatka Peninsula last week, and what will that bring to the worlds stage?

    There’s a similar setup to the 1690’s eruptions latitude wise, as to where the volcanoes did their thing.

    The Seven Ill Years, also known as the Seven Lean Years (Scottish Gaelic: seachd bliadhna gorta), is the term used for a period of widespread and prolonged famine in Scotland during the 1690s, named after the Biblical famine in Egypt predicted by Joseph in the Book of Genesis. Estimates suggest between 5 and 15% of the total Scottish population died of starvation, while in areas like Aberdeenshire death rates may have reached 25%. One reason the shortages of the 1690s are so well remembered is because they were the last of their kind.

    As documented in tree ring records, the 1690s was the coldest decade in Scotland for the past 750 years. Failed harvests in 1695, 1696, 1698 and 1699, combined with an economic slump caused by the Nine Years’ War, resulted in severe famine and depopulation.

    The massive eruptions of volcanoes at Hekla in Iceland (1693) and Serua (1693) and Aboina (1694) in Indonesia may also have polluted the atmosphere and filtered out large amounts of sunlight.,in%20the%20Book%20of%20Genesis.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      It turns out that our agricultural efforts are really quite fragile and easily disrupted.

      But no reason to worry about shooting sulfur the sky every two years. We brilliant humans, or at least David Keith and the geniuses at Harvard, have that all figured out. They know exactly how that will affect crops, the jet stream, ocean currents, etc.

      Now if those geniuses could just figure out how to predict the weather with a high degree of accuracy a week in advance.

      1. JBird4049

        It is interesting that all the experts and leaders are more error prone the surer they are. An awfully large number of them really seem to believe that they really must know what they are doing.

    2. jefemt

      Gotta say, when I heard of the Kamchatka eruption, I immediately thought of Wuks commentary of the years on the Tongan eruption, and weather.

      I have been in ‘my’ town for over 40 years, northern rockies, and we had one of the biggest single snow events on the valley floor that I recall. Most of the atmospheric river events flowed south through eastern Idaho, Utah, Crowdorado. We have not had our usual middle-of-March Chinook (snow eater) wind events that make the lower level snows melt in a couple days. It is a month on. Still an honest 6″ of residual dense snow on the undisturbed flats.

      I am quite confident that we will have mid-80’s days soon— seems like there is no Spring anymore… just cold to hot.

      Mrs Greenthumb has a cut flower biz, and needless to say this year has been disheartening!

    3. Questa Nota

      Interesting to ponder those Seven Lean Years together with the subsequent Highland Clearances. What human costs!

    4. ChrisFromGA

      In order to get a strong global cooling effect, you need to have a big volcanic eruption in the tropics. Something to do with the atmospheric winds and the depth of the troposphere.

      Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines was the last one to really do the trick. The one in Kamchatka is too far north of the equator.

      1. some guy

        I remember seeing a program on CBC News about how for several years after Pinatubo, Hudson’s Bay reversed its trend of freezing later and thawing earlier, and froze earlier and thawed later for several years. This allowed polar bears better access to ice-sheltered seals at their breathing holes through the re-extended ice. Those bears weighed more than bears before and after and have been referred to as Pinatubo bears ( according to the program).

  4. typo fix

    Hi, the sub-variant in the tweet should be XBB.1.16. they’ve fixed it in the original article but not the tweet.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Is US-Vietnam pledge to boost ties after Antony Blinken’s Hanoi visit mere ‘diplomatic symbolism’?”

    Vietnam may be mistrustful of China but Vietnam has something that the US does not have – a 1,297 kilometer (806 mile) border with China itself while the US has over 10,000 kilometer of ocean between China and themselves. Certainly the Vietnamese know that the present leadership in Washington would be quite happy to see Vietnam become the Ukraine of south-east Asia. Upgrading US-Vietnam relations to that of a security partnership may sound like a good idea in Washington but for Vietnam it would be painting a target on themselves. It might be wiser for them to use their close contacts with Russia to stabilize their relations with China.

    1. Lex

      Because the US almost never puts in the hard diplomatic work before these grand announcements, nothing ever comes of them. Contrast with the Iran-KSA rapprochement where immediately massive diplomatic measures start taking place. There was no announcement or handshake picture until all the pieces were in place.

      The US spends a few hours talking at a high level and then says something big is happening, which usually amounts to nothing or breaks down when the deals need to be detailed. PR exercises to win a news cycle.

    2. Mildred Montana

      >”…for Vietnam it would be painting a target on themselves.”

      The current President of Vietnam (as of March 2023) is Vo Van Thuong. He was born in 1970 in the then North and raised there. From Wiki: “In 1988, he majored in Marxist-Leninist Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Ho Chi Minh City. In 1992, he graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Marxism-Leninism.”

      That mini-bio ticks a few boxes for me. And he is only 52. That alone, in these geriatric days, is a reason for optimism.

      I only hope that that comparatively young man has also taken a few courses in recent US history, one which has been rather grim for those heads-of-state who have risked climbing into bed with her. It shows again and again that she is a fickle lover and her paramours often end up dead, destroyed, abandoned, or in prison. Her list of conquests is long.

      The question is: Can Thuong play her successfully, take his nation’s pleasure, and escape without being hurt?

  6. Wukchumni

    If you were ever contemplating a road trip through Cali, this is the year and the time is now.

    I’ve never seen the state so verdant, with flowers everywhere seemingly.

    Drove home from SoCal yesterday in a decidedly different way, in order to take in the California Poppies, and I went Hwy 14 to Palmdale/Lancaster and then took the 138 to get me back to Interstate 5, and just past Antelope Acres the show starts in earnest with poppies as far as the eye can see and lots of stopped cars with photo ops up the ying yang.

    Poppies closer to home look 22k to me, whereas everything I witnessed yesterday was 24k in color, maybe 25k?

    Fields of Gold performed by Eva Cassidy

    1. Lex

      I can only imagine Palmdale/Lancaster from Frank Zappa’s intro (particularly from Roxy and Elsewhere) to Village of the Sun. Though this is enough to know that even by the early 70’s Palmdale had expanded its economic base beyond Turkey farming.

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend lived in Palmdale in the 1980’s and commuted to Encino, enticed by the cheap price of homes there, and it crashed hard in the early 90’s and I remember walking by his hood’ and him pointing to every other house as being foreclosed and empty.

        He used to refer to the Antelope Valley as ‘the place where Jesus misplaced his sandals’.

  7. IM Doc

    I have probably a very stupid question..the article above does not really explain.

    I do not do crypto. But I have heard for years it was all online, blockchain and all that.

    How is one able then, as explained in the article, to hide 50,000 bitcoin in a Cheetos bucket under blankets in a closet? That would seem to imply some kind of physical form?

    Am I misunderstanding the entire crypto concept?

    1. flora

      This reminds me of a very old TV episode of Mission Impossible. The plot line was this: the Mission Impossible team had to retrieve a computer virus that was stolen before it could be released. It was held in an ultra-cooled thermos flask (yes, you read that right), and if it escaped from the thermos flask that held it the entire world would be in danger. (One of the unintentionally funniest TV shows ever.)

      1. Michaelmas

        flora: …a computer virus … was held in an ultra-cooled thermos flask (yes, you read that right), and if it escaped from the thermos flask that held it the entire world would be in danger. (One of the unintentionally funniest TV shows ever.)

        Nowadays, that premise is potentially more realistic than you may realize.

        ‘Biocomputers use biologically derived materials to perform computational functions. A biocomputer consists of a pathway or series of metabolic pathways involving biological materials that are engineered to behave in a certain manner based upon the conditions (input) of the system. The resulting pathway of reactions that takes place constitutes an output, which is based on the engineering design of the biocomputer and can be interpreted as a form of computational analysis ….’

    2. NN Cassandra

      Digital ones and zeroes, they still must be stored somewhere. You can store them online (then it will reside on Amazon HW or whatever cloud provider is used by given site) or you can store them on your own disks/thumb drives. In the end bitcoin wallet is just normal file, like photos or videos.

      1. britzklieg

        Yes. Crypto “wallets” are secured using a 12 or 24 word “seed” phrase so if you ever see a list of random words written on a seemingly discarded, unimportant piece of paper you too could be a crypto millionaire… access, baby, access!

        1. Jason Boxman

          The trick is to diversify it. It’s like the secrets to the affinity twin in the Earl Dumarest SciFi saga.

    3. JP

      Then there is the story of $200,000 worth of dimes stolen. My question to Wuk is how much does that weigh?

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d be looking for powerlifters, like that January 6th guy who got spotted on social media.

        Its a little over 60 pounds per $1000 face value, so we’re talking over 6 tons of Dimes!

        1. Gregorio

          Does anyone know a way to convert 2,000,000 dimes into FRNs without attracting attention? Asking for a friend.

          1. Wukchumni

            They’re all brand new 2023 models i’d imagine and (I had nothing to do with the caper) if I was the perps, i’d lay low for a year or 2 and buy a bunch of rock tumblers to turn those bright and shiny coins into dull affairs, and go on a march.

        2. GramSci

          Of course if they were old, pre-1965 dimes, their “junk silver” value would be about 20x their face value. So maybe only ~600 lbs.

          My Bohemian mother was a coin collector (what is it about Bohemians?). She left four Hills Bros coffee cans full of “collectable coins”. After she died most were essentially worthless, but we got about $2,000 in melt value from her old dimes!

          1. flora

            In the 1960s there were still a lot of Mercury dimes and Standing Liberty quarters in circulation. They were common as anything. Wish I had a bunch of those now.

            1. caucus99percenter

              And I remember, back in the 1950s as a kid, often receiving a Walking Liberty half dollar instead of the Ben Franklin one with the Liberty Bell.

              After JFK was assassinated and then commemorated on the half dollar, 50-cent pieces vanished from circulation. Did everyone keep them as mementos? Where are they now?

        1. Bob White

          i was just thinking that some people had to get through the Gov. William J Le Petomane Thruway… you beat me to it… love it! Harumph!!

  8. timbers

    Russian labour crisis looming as unemployment falls and emigration rises Intellinews

    Russian oil exports rise above pre-Ukraine war levels as India and China take 90% of Moscow’s crude The Independent


    Have 2 browsers and 2 computer monitors, one being the default Edge browser (the other one most used is Brave). I use the Microsoft Edge browser for peripheral tasks. The Edge default opening page is a blast of about 15 news headlines that quickly changes on the screen then repeats continuously. Every time – and I do mean literally every single time – the Edge browser with it’s default news opens, it features in the upper left corner an negative “news” item about Putin/Russia. The words war, war crimes, failing, demoralized, dictator, scheming, invasions, threatens and of course Putin’s long list of mental disorders ever failing heath and dozens of mysterious fatal health afflictions, are some words commonly in the headlines regarding Putin/Russia. Today’s Putin/Russia bashing headline is currently:

    Russia’s economy is hurting – and a new wave of EU sanctions aimed at crippling its ‘war machine’ are coming. Here are 6 key developments in the past week.

    This is what America is being told 24/7 on MSM news outlets.

    After opening the Edge browser, I make a point to quickly go to what I need it for and look past the deluge of propaganda.

    1. Joe Well

      I am in Mexico and it’s the same story with non stop vitriol against the president, the least bad president Mexico has had in decades.

        1. Joe Well

          I mean that Microsoft’s news in the Edge browser is relentlessly anti-AMLO, the Mexican president.

    2. Fried

      You can turn that off, of course. I have to use Edge at work, and it was turned on by default. I don’t know who thinks it massively adds to people’s productivity if they get bombarded with terrifying news every time they open a new tab.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        About a year ago Yahoo started blasting their home page with “news” from the Ukrainian Pravda, literal state sponsored propaganda.

        I am seriously thinking about my next laptop running Linux with no GUI. Retrieve my email with pine or some other old school non-windows client.

        It’s apparently how Richard Stallman gets email. I can visit NC from my phone to keep connected here. It would be healthier for sure to dump Bing, Yahoo, and all the other state-sponsored propagandists from our lives.

        1. GramSci

          Alas, ChrisFromGA, most of us have been living with hate, at least since the Donald was nominated in 2016. As if he, or Biden, or Obama, or … was ever worthy of such intense attention.

    3. jrkrideau

      Russian labour crisis looming as unemployment falls and emigration rises

      Good lord, the absolute horror of a too-successful economy! Not a single panhandler to be seen; he would be kidnapped and bribed to go to work.

      Labour shortages, especially in key areas, are not to be sneered at but does whoever is publishing this not realise that it does not seem to indicate a crumbling economy?

    4. Kouros

      After 9/11 I noticed that Toys’R Us started to pack on the shelves soldiers and tanks and other war inspired toys. Never ended.

    5. Acacia

      Edge browser is one of the first things to get shut off when I set up Windows.

      Brave and Firefox get the job done. Chrome has lots of nice add-ons, but I always feel it’s reporting back to Google. -_-

  9. Zagonostra

    Thousands of ‘Rodney King’ like storm trooper police beatings in France yesterday as the world yawns and clicks on searching for more novelty.

      1. zagonostra

        Mostly Twitter feeds. MSM outlets useless and there doesn’t seem to raise much interest in alt media space either oddly enough.

        1. Janie

          Thank you and LawnDart. Getting halfway factual world news is really tough these days. Maybe it was ever thus.

    1. Mikel

      It’s being covered, but they report about the vandalism to property (calling it “violence”) and the not much about violence against the protestors. MSM will talk about violence against police.
      Just in line with the fascism everywhere else.

    2. Mikel

      I was entertained by this comment frim a French protestor:
      Protesters in Paris forced their way into the headquarters of luxury giant LVMH, on the day shares in the company – which owns brands such as Louis Vuitton and Moët – jumped to a record high.

      “If Macron wants to find money to finance the pension system, he should come here to find it,” Fabien Villedieu, a union leader, told CNN affiliate BFMTV outside the LVMH building.

      These protestors are going to the banks and big corps.
      The press prefers to cover protestors that focus on the bought and paid for handmaidens in government. Part of that payment is to be the distraction…like rodeo clowns.

      1. jrkrideau

        Sputnik (Sputnik?) had a live feed on the demo on Thursday (2023-04-13) from the Rue de Rivoli at the Hôtel de Ville and marching down to the Place de la Bastille. I think I was watching from roughly 16:00 — 18:00 Paris time.

        Thing were pretty calm, a few smoke bombs tossed near the police (actually a mélange of forces—police, CRS, BRAV-M and others I could not identify) and a couple of trash cans on fire. One could see and hear that the security services were tense but neither they or the demonstrators looked like they wanted violence.

        The really bizarre thing was watching two little girls, 10 or 11 maybe, on push-scooters cutting across rue de Rivoli. They were clearly just out playing and the demo meant no traffic on the street.

        I did not see any children among the actual protestors. There seemed to be a pretty wide range of ages from teenagers to retirees.

        The invasion into the offices was noted but did not seem anything but a smaller number of activists having fun.

        I suspect the later fighting, clubbing, etc. was some radicals attacking the security people for publicity. Clearly the security forces were nervous enough to react.

        1. Michaelmas

          My brother, his wife and kids just returned a couple of hours ago from a weekend in Paris.

          He said it was all fairly cool, with Parisians sitting in their cafes and relaxing while they watched the riots and altercations.

          Not an unfamiliar situation to anybody who lived in Berkeley, CA, during certain eras.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Montana close to becoming 1st state to completely ban TikTok”

    This is not the act of a confident government, even though it is only a State government here. And in any case, one State trying to write a law saying what people can and can’t do in accessing the internet is a demonstration that they don’t know how the internet works. Also, what ever happened to freedom of speech. Sure, posting a stupid dance video on Tik Tok may not be seen that way but it is a form of expression so I would be prepared to argue that it is. But this may all be a trial balloon. If it somehow succeeds, what else would another government want to ban from the internet? You know that some people would be thinking of this and wanting to use Montana as a precedent.

    1. Judith

      Consider the article in the links yesterday about Marianne Williamson’s popularity among younger voters and her use of TikTok to reach out to voters. I imagine some democrats are concerned about that and might react in their usual way: silence the opposition.

    2. TomDority

      At the Federal level is the restrict act —
      This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act’’ or the ‘‘RESTRICT Act’’.
      So the commerce secretary in combination with Homeland security and domestic (FBI) and other law enforcement – state and federal – can deny access (without review or ability to question or repeal of the descision) to platforms, impose criminal penalties, confiscate physical devices, impose financial penalties and the list goes on….. basically domestic or international communications, speech, information and associations can be broken in contravention of the 1st amend, due process intervened and more.
      Seems to be authoritarian, un-democratic and unconstitutional. What do they call it when the state or government conspires with private business to effect control over its people?
      Anyway…. now we got a state testing the waters that can move up thru the Restrict Act if Restrict act goes through – If the restrict act goes through – I don’t think the supreme court can review.
      “We, the People, are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who have perverted it.” – Abraham Lincoln

      1. Norge

        At the risk of running afoul of the eminently reasonable request not to give assignments, I would love to see a post or guest post analyzing the RESTRICT ACT. I fear this act would be even more dangerous to our freedoms than the PATRIOT ACT and wonder if I am catastrophizing.

      2. jrkrideau

        Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act’

        Which is more important, the law or the catchy name?

    3. jefemt

      Montana’s Governor, formerly a congressman for a brief 2 year stint, the richest man in Congress, made his money on e services.
      Between the Governor and the State house and senate, we have the most rabidly radically ‘right’ grouping ever, running things (in my opinion, into the ground- or up to the Christian Heavens).
      Funny thing, though… someone sent me a link to biologist David Suzuki’s last episode of his great science/nature show, out of CBC Canada. 44 minutes. Clicked the link, and of course, it is geofenced.
      So, our tech governor might just be able to to geofence Tik Tok

      No broader implications whatsoever. No worries here in the Pig Sty Country.

  11. WobblyTelomeres

    I keep wondering who, exactly, keeps pushing the idea that Russia should be broken up and that the entire world should be involved in it, as if the Dulles brothers never actually died.

  12. Bosko

    Okay, I am hardly an expert in cryptocurrency, but can someone explain to me how the feds could “discover” $3.4 billion in bitcoin inside a Cheetos tin, when bitcoin is a virtual currency with no material existence? What did they find, a bunch of letters and numbers written on a piece of paper? (That would presumably be the keys to getting into whatever crypto wallet the guy was using.) One would not even need to have those letters/numbers on a physical piece of paper, of course. I read the Business Insider piece and got no insight into how such a thing would be possible.

      1. Bosko

        I take it she means keys to a wallet, but the story still doesn’t make a lot of sense. A cold wallet–basically, an encrypted usb stick–seems most likely, but the reporter might sound as if s/he knew what they were talking about if they just wrote that, rather than this stuff about ‘finding bitcoin.’

    1. Skip Intro

      They were probably USB sticks used as ‘cold wallets’ — Keys to your crypto stored in isolation from the internet. Like gold, once you have some crypto, you need to start worrying about how to protect it from being stolen, or lost. And the process of digging it up and converting it into usable currency exposes one to risk of loss as well.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I don’t see why the code could not be sourced from a book like has been done in fiction. One that never changes and is easily available like the Bible or a Thesaurus or some other unchanging book. The text or numbers in that book would be the key to that crypto and the sequence would only be know to the owner. To an ordinary investigator, it would just be one of many books on a shelf or in a bookcase.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Or what if the device was the money? It wouldn’t even have to be a USB stick, just a piece of paper with an assigned value accepted by everyone and usable without a password?

        2. C.O.

          If the book is both unchanging and common, that means it has been scanned, digitized, and added to the databases of characters used in dictionary attacks on password-protected systems. A lot would be hinging on an ordinary investigator not considering that possibility.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Analysis: Fighting erupts in Sudan after months of tension”

    The key to this civil war is to be found in the following article “Sudan: US warns Khartoum over allowing Russia to build Red Sea naval base.” Dima from Military Summary dropped a video a short while ago saying that countries like Russia and China support the government while the NATO countries support the Rapid Support Forces. Dima mentions that in the previous week, the head of the Rapid Support Forces met with representatives of the UK, the UK and Norway. I’m shocked, shocked. (5:27 mins)

      1. berit

        Persons eligible for election to high positions, are carefully vetted, cloned, assimilated, pliable, useful us-breed-lapdog. Social-democrats like liberals and conservatives. Norway is co-opted, 5-6 US bases, airfields, marinebase, radars up high and cabels on the ocean floor to help US submarines navigate and keep track of comings and goings of the neighbour over the border in Murmansk. We have no say in these matters. Foreign policy and defense decided in secret and proclaimed as sensibel consensus security. The Russians never threatened Norway, neither did the Soviet. The Red Army liberated Finnmark months ahead of Nazi-German capitulation, freeing the remaining population, hiding in caves from the nazi enemy, the soviets retreated back to Soviet-Russia according to agreement with Stalin.
        Pray tell, which representative of Norway was in Sudan, with UK and US? From UN? NATO? No mention here, as far as I know sunday evening. I’m shocked.

        1. berit

          The Norwegian embassy in Khartum hit, bombed. Ambassador said to be fine. Is this what the mention of Norway is about? I hope so.

    1. OIFVet

      Simply a coincidence, citizen, simply a coincidence. Move along, nothing to see here. Or in Peru, in Kiev, in Tbilisi, in Tehran, or any place else where people spontaneously decide that they want to have access to freedom, democracy, Big Macs, and apple pie.

      1. Gregorio

        Then they’re shocked when they actually get IMF dollar loans that mainly go to U.S. corporations for a bunch of overpriced stuff they don’t need and can’t maintain, austerity, and privatization of their infrastructure and natural resources.

        1. hunkerdown

          Hah, Argentina’s recent $50 billion only washed the oligarchs’ gains into dollars for flight. Not a single shovel was harmed in the process.

    2. Aurelien

      I doubt if Dima knows anything about Sudan. The problem is the usual one of a rushed peace agreement imposed from outside without an understanding of a context, where security forces are loyal to individuals and factions, not to the country. The Framework Agreement was intended to bring an end to military rule, and was effectively imposed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US, who all promised financial aid. But it depended on cooperation between rival military factions loyal to different people, and their merger into a new national military. This is a favourite trick of western “experts” and almost always fails: often, as here, it just restarts the war. As the AJ article says:

      “… the process was rushed and ad hoc, with the international community hoping to wrap it up in merely days or weeks in order to celebrate the signing of a new agreement, according to four diplomats that were not authorised to comment. As a result, the political process accelerated a confrontation between the RSF and army.”

      Who could possibly have anticipated that?

  14. griffen

    Robot dogs are getting put on the beat in the mean streets of New York City. Not too sure about the first installment, with the given nickname of Digidog; alas, any derivation of “R2D2” would entail naming rights and royalties going to Disney. \sarc

    Call me old fashioned, I’d give the first dog a legendary name like Lassie, or maybe Cujo for the more horror-centric film fans.

      1. bassmule

        Prediction: If a NYC police officer gets a gunshot wound this summer, Adams will have the digidogs armed.

        1. ambrit

          Yet absolutely nothing about ‘hacking’ the robodogs. When that happens, expect the armed dogs to shoot the police as well as citizens.
          Skynet, here we come!

      1. ambrit

        And K-9 has a designer collar!
        That K-9 unit has a distinct affinity to the Death Star toaster droids.
        On a more practical level, the Toaster Droids can be rigged up as mobile IEDs and remotely driven under target vehicles. So, Anti-Robodogs.
        Any nominations for this year’s eDarwin Awards?

    1. Wukchumni

      And that was why Lassie meant so much to them. She represented some sort of pride that money had not been able to take away from them, but if they made any sudden moves-Samurai Lassie.

  15. digi_owl

    Ah yes, the hibernating bears. The Norwegian national broadcaster had some really funny images of sleeping bears with towels covering their heads, as scientists had gently removed them from their dens in order to more easily collect samples etc.

    If only they could learn to leave livestock in peace…

    1. .Tom

      I thought the antidote cat must have a big appetite. Thanks for the ID. I learned something nice today.

    1. IM Doc

      We got the family up early yesterday to live watch The Holy Fire from Jerusalem and the Cathedral of the Holy Sepulchere. The internet is actually good for a few things in life. Although I do find the omnipresence of the iPhones somewhat revolting in that type of Holy event. You should move the timer to about 4:30 that is where the good stuff starts. Right at the real tomb of Jesus, the fire is spread out over that cathedral and will be in every Orthodox Church in the world over the next few weeks.

      The oldest extant event in all of Christianity, presided over by the current representative of the oldest continuous apostolic succession dating back to James, the brother of Jesus.

      Christos Anesti.
      Χριστός ἀνέστη
      Christ Is Risen.

  16. Jabura Basaidai

    Jacobin article – “…Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have defended their railroad strike vote by pointing to rank-and-file support…”
    Read an interview that Matt Stoller had with Alexandria Cortez (AOC) last week and the stench was powerful. Stoller didn’t ask insightful questions and allowed AOC to blabber the ‘i gotta go along to get along BS – AOC the ‘Progressive’ with the infamous ‘Squad’, what a freaking disappointment of the in-name-only progressive squad, my disappointment is multifaceted and has grown since AOC’s installation in the House of Representatives – most recently their abdication of supporting the railroad unions and going along with Old Joe’s union busting contract with the continuing consequences illustrated so clearly by what happened in E. Palestine and elsewhere – or the ‘squad’s’ failure to utilize the “Force the Vote” for concessions supporting ‘Medicare for All” – why does AOC and the squad support the war in Ukraine and the billions and billions of dollars of taxpayer money being sent to Ukraine when homelessness is spiking and being criminalized by local laws and SNAP and Medicaid are being cut for our less fortunate citizens and Medicare is on the block too – i’ve been against any and all wars since the 60’s, i’m an an anti-war citizen – i was proud of Barbara Lee who twenty years ago was the only member of Congress to vote against war in Iraq/Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – oh well – jb

    1. in_still_water

      The ‘squad’ and their ilk hijacked the ‘progressive’ label. The progressives – I thought – were anti-war.
      I wonder what the net worth of these ‘progressives’ are before they arrive in DC and what their net worth is today?

      1. hunkerdown

        No, Progressivism was always a movement for the PMC and totalitarian rule by expert. The feelings-based definition of “progressive politics” is disinformation.

    2. pretzelattack

      don’t forget the way AOC joined the pile on of Matt Taibbi after the Mehdi Hassan smear interview.

    3. notabanker

      AOC is yet another in a long list of data points that says the US Government, and especially the Democratic party, are incapable of reform. The best you get is a dog bone thrown your way when they have heard enough barking. The bite is going to have to be worse than the bark.

  17. flora

    re: Railroad Workers United: “We Would Never Concede Our Right to Strike” Jacobin. A response to Dems, such as AOC who said she was acting on the wishes of RWU when she voted to break the strike.

    Dems such as AOC are as shallow as they come.

    1. Jason Boxman

      That seemed clear from all the attention that she seems to crave. All that shameless self promotion, that’s a sure sign of some pathology. I was always suspicious.

  18. flora

    re:Former CIA chief says Greene ‘not fit to hold public office’ The Hill

    If Brennan hates her she can’t be all bad. / ;)

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I can’t help comparing MTG’s trajectory since being elected to Congress with AOC’s. One has become loudly anti-war and anti-Blob. The other’s picture could replace those of Hill and Bill under the word “sellout” in the dictionary.

      I wonder what would happen if a decent interviewer sat down with MTG and asked her, without cornering her, about QAnon, which she famously used to espouse. My guess is that QAnon might have been replaced in her thinking by a more complete and realistic picture of how things got so screwed up.

      After all, that’s what the second Genesis story (Adam and Eve) is: a myth about how things got screwed up. I think those of us who have been around to watch the world for a while have been working on our own edition of the 20th-21st century version of that myth. MTG is still working on her version, with the focus shifting from a pizza parlor to Langley. AOC has adopted the point of view that everything is groovy–war, let ‘er rip, the expiration of the child tax credit– as long as we use the right pronouns.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Back in the day an online political acquaintance ended up having drinks with Ann Coulter at an airport bar. Despite being in complete ideological agreement, he found her very easy to get along with.

        More and more I feel a bond with anyone who opposes the current neo/conservative-liberal order. Left-Right less relevant than 80% v 1% thinking (the missing 19% being the PMCs/Pinkertons/kapos).

        1. Screwball

          More and more I feel a bond with anyone who opposes the current neo/conservative-liberal order. Left-Right less relevant than 80% v 1% thinking (the missing 19% being the PMCs/Pinkertons/kapos).

          Me too, and I’ve quit talking to most of my PMC friends. Honestly, they make me sick.

          Just yesterday the conversation was all about how great Joe Biden is. They compared him to Applebee’s. Not the greatest, but good enough, and much better than the others. Hope for 4 more years, even though he is a “little” old.

          A little old? OK…

          One of the group, a lifelong Republican, who now loves old Joe, said he is fantastic – especially on foreign policy – where he’s been spectacular because of who he’s appointed and how they, along with NATO, all believe in “collective security.”

          Give me a break, can I puke now?

          This guy, just to give background, worships the spooks, and is probably the spaun of Dick Cheney or Bill Kristol as he thinks we should be at war with anything that moves.

          Anyone who doesn’t agree with them about anything is a democracy hating Putinist, and they honestly believe Putin is in control of most, it not all, of the GOP.

          There is no talking to these people, none. Insane, unhinged, and clueless. But they are the smartest SOBs on the planet – just ask them. I have better conversations with my cat.

          1. cosmiccretin

            I’m not surprised. Cat’s aren’t dumb (if you know what I mean). But then being smarter than these imbeciles isn’t that hard: an amoeba could manage it without even trying.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          Back in January when the House Republicans were trying to get their act together MTG noticed Jesse Jackson was sitting in a back row of the chamber. He was there waiting for his son to be sworn in, which couldn’t happen until matters were settled. She went up to him, introduced herself and had a cordial conversation. Sadly, I can’t find a link about it now.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            When I moved back to the country, one of the first skills I had to reacquire was that of politeness and civility. It’s a work in progress.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Italy’s Meloni acknowledges ‘anomalies’ in Russian escape”

    This is just a case of Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni helping the US play the kidnap game. So what happens is that the US tries to arrest Russians on whatever charges that they can come up with. They usually get a country like Thailand to do this on their behalf, even when doing so breaks local laws. That prisoner then is sent on to a US prison to be kept as a bargaining chip. That Artyom Uss is son of the governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region so would be a high value chip. A team went in and sprung him from where he was under arrest and got him back to Russia. After the Brittney Griner episode, you would think that they would back off doing this sort of stuff but it seems there is no reverse gear. And it seems that Giorgia Meloni is just another AOC.

    1. tevhatch

      The mob (use?) to rule family not in the life as out of bounds, but scum like John Bolton, and apparently now the entire US State have no code other than burn the thing down.

      1. JBird4049

        The Mob had that rule to put a block on their often fantastic amount of murder and violence. This far and no further. Interesting that a bunch of often psychopathic, murdering monsters had a better understanding of life than our current leadership.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Interesting indeed. I think the essential difference between them is that the US leadership feels as though it practically has no limits to what it can do, or at any rate would face no consequences no matter what it does. That is not the case for organised crime groups that have more powerful rivals and, of course, the law enforcement to think about. Operating under limits and with fear of consequences breeds realism and caution.

          1. digi_owl

            Kinda like how JPMorgan used to operate on the concept of being long term greedy.

            That said, i think that outside of nukes the blob in DC feel they are completely safe from any blowback from their global antics. This thanks to being isolated from most of the world via two massive oceans.

            Likely also why you see such massive reactions when a “credible” threat emerges on their doorstep, like say 9/11 (nor did they take kindly to a Russian quip about asking Mexico about housing some Russian soldiers).

    2. LifelongLib

      Dunno. The bottom line is the guy is back in Russia. Not to stereotype, but I’m sensing some Italian subtlety here.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “S. Korea, U.S., Japan agree to hold missile defense, anti-sub drills regularly to counter N.K. threats”

    North Korean threats? Sure. Whatever. Seems legit. Nothing to do with China of course.

    1. griffen

      Always a good day to cite or to quote some Mel Brooks satire ! “What’ll that a$$hole think of next!”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “US officials knew of more Chinese spy balloons, according to Pentagon leaks”

    Blinken has been trying to get an invite to China but they have been knocking him back. It has been suggested that perhaps the Chinese figured that he was going to try to embarrass the Chinese while in China – while giving them his latest lecture. That being the case, this file saying that there were four other Chinese balloons flying around the world might just be it. It doesn’t even have to be true but I would not put it past Blinken to do a stunt like this. But having these surveillance balloons named alphabetically, from A to Z, and after infamous criminals such as mobsters Tony Accardo and Donald Killeen seems like a stunt that the White House would come up with for the sake of catchy publicity. Come to think of it, they retrieved the balloon that they shot down off the east coast months ago. So where are the reports and images and analyses of this balloon then? How long do they need?

    1. nippersdad

      I am sure that it will only take as long for them to publish their findings as it will take for them to engineer something that looks like it could have the potential to maneuver a balloon over latitudes not covered by the prevailing winds.

      IOW, a very, very long time.

      Always given the thing had cameras, the images taken will have been fascinating. Who doesn’t love thousands of hours of corn field footage?

  22. Verifyfirst

    Well, Marianne Williamson posts about Covid and long Covid, so she will get a look from me if she’s still around when voting time comes. I don’t know anything about her. Here she is on Twitter:

    “Ending Covid’s health emergency status brings with it many problems, not the least of which is the loss of needed help for those suffering from Long Covid.”

    1. psmith

      I was encouraged to see that tweet about long covid, too. Breaking Points has this segment on Marianne Williamson, entitled “Marianne surges despite media blackout”:

      Krystal Ball comments that her candidacy is a long shot, but notes that because she is a best-selling author, she is known to many people who don’t follow politics.

  23. nippersdad

    Re the two Israel articles, it is increasingly looking like there will be no ability to go after China over Taiwan if Israel finally manages to bring the entire ME into conflict over Iran first. I was surprised to see Saudi Arabia enter into negotiations for a detente with Iran, it was a very smart move, but the inevitable consequence was always going to be Israel lashing out. China is doing a good job of seeing to it that we live in interesting times.

    If the usual fears about the Straits of Hormuz being blocked (perhaps as a result a of bi-lateral OPEC+ agreement?) surface again all bets are off as to who the US will support. The spice must flow, the strategic oil reserve is about half depleted, and Netanyahu needing to be protected from his own actions may not be sufficient to garner support this time.

    Those people are just loose cannons, and they need to be tied down before they blow a hole in the side of the ship. It would be nice to think that “the Benjamins” so freely provided by AIPAC may ultimately be on the side of rationality for once, and the sudden volte face on the part of the bi-partisan Israel lobby in Congress may well be a sight to see.

  24. dao is running a revolting hit piece on RFK Jr. today titled ” ‘I’m supporting President Biden’: Kennedys push back on one of their own”.

    Any candidate that supports actual change or anything that goes against Big Pharma or the MIC is torpedoed by the news organizations like CNN that are funded by them.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I watched a video from a few weeks back of Andrew Wang and Marianne Williamson talking about Marianne’s new campaign. They’fd quite comfortable with each, having become friends, as they said, during the last campaign.

      They talk about how the system was rigged against them and Bernie in ’20, and Wang related how he had recently interviewed (he has a podcast) a former MSDNC producer who told him that lists were sent around to the show of people that should not appear on MSNBC shows during the last primaries. Wang was on that list.

      The Democrats are all Roy Cohn, trained by the ghoul John Brennan and the CIA Dems.

  25. Wukchumni

    Our long playing collapse saga has kind of plodded along, we get used to the new normal as it goes, and there isn’t anything specific, its just the sum of the parts falling apart that we notice, the strident lies only meant for domestic consumption, with everybody entrenched in the old guard very much on board, and the population generally compliant, as is their wont.

    How do things accelerate in a race to the bottom?

    1. .human

      Eventually the supports are removed…errr, the bottom falls out, as it collapses in free-fall.

  26. Wukchumni

    War On Cash dept: National Parks edition

    How do you lose almost $2 for every $1 you take in?

    According to the National Park Service (NPS), last year the park collected $22,000 in cash, which cost over $40,000 to process. Cash handling costs include an armored car contract to transport cash and park rangers’ time counting money and processing paperwork. The transition to cashless payments will allow the NPS to redirect the $40,000 previously spent processing cash to directly benefit park visitors.

    Entrance and camping fees are used to improve visitor experiences in national parks. In Death Valley National Park, these funds are currently used to clean public restrooms, lead school field trips, host distance learning classroom sessions, provide emergency medical services, repair flood damage at Scotty’s Castle, and more.

    1. Alan F.

      Two comments:

      1) If you do full and accurate cost accounting, handling cash does really incur significant expense. The claimed losses seem plausible to me, partly because of my NPS-specific comments below, but also because any business that handles only a little cash has disproportionate hassle for doing so.

      2) I’m close friends with a midlevel NPS employee at a remote park. Remote parks, which are many of them, can’t use the range of municipal services and contractors that nearly any other business would use, because those services aren’t within a useful distance. Because of this, many parks have to operate a lot of very basic functions, like water treatment, electric generation, or their own telephone exchange, which cost a ton at a small scale but can’t be avoided. They are also subject to detailed federal regulations for everything. I would bet that the park above has to have a safe, trained and bonded personnel, and a scheduled armored car service to handle cash in any amount, which all costs $$$.

      I like cash and I don’t want it to go away, but we must be careful not to assume that something has no costs just because we like it.

      1. Wukchumni

        NPS has a tendency to over-do certain things, and I have a solution for them that will save them $18k a year to do whatever they want…

        Take the $22k in cash and slowly drop dead presidents from Furnace Creek to Badwater in an NPS ranger vehicle.

        Do this once a week and Death Valley NP might really catch on, imagine what happens when the NY Post posts videos?

      2. flora

        What do the NPS vendor cc fees cost them? Or are those NPS fees tacked on to the buyer’s cost?

    2. Mildred Montana

      The NPS was established in 1916. How did it manage to survive all those cash-only years? Yet somehow it did. And why can’t it today? The only logical answer is that there’s a whole lotta griftin’ goin’ on. The cash-handlers saw the NPS coming and started raising their rates and piecing themselves off.

      $40,000 to “process” $22,000? And that’s for a whole year?! So, $2000 a month. Anyone can count $2,000 in less than an hour. Hell, let me count it. I’ll do it for a hundred bucks. Delivery to bank included.

      Make no mistake. The move to “cashless” is just a way for businesses to pass on costs to consumers and profits to banks. Card-users will pay ALL the bank fees, the overdraft fees, the late payment fees, the usurious credit-card interest rates. And while big finance and big tech are laughing at those sucker cardholders, businesses are paying only a paltry 1 or 2% transaction fee.

      The symbiosis of finance and business and tech is in place. It only takes our acquiescence for it to succeed.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>The move to “cashless” is just a way for businesses to pass on costs to consumers and profits to banks.

        It is also a means to increase the control and tracking of individuals. If I pay in cash, there is no automatic recording of what, when, and where of the transaction as there is with a card. Plus, physical cash cannot removed from you legally, unless you are the police of course.

      2. Alan F.

        General response to all three replies above: I’m not claiming NPS is efficient or a model for anything. But within current frameworks, I can understand the cost issue.

        Dropping the cost of admission for all would be one option, but I’m guessing they make more on CC-paid admissions than they lose on cash handling.

        NPS is extremely saturated in internal regulations, like all federal agencies. This causes inefficiency and waste, but if you hear the stories of what is done contrary to regulations, or would be done freely without regulations, you will start to understand. It’s only moderately difficult to get hired by the feds but nearly impossible to get fired, no matter what you do. So they accumulate absolutely mind-blowing amounts of incompetence, which becomes self-reinforcing and perpetual.

        It’s a poor system. And its poor operations make it easy to understand the push to privatize, although obviously that introduces larger issues of fundamental fairness and whether we live in some kind of nominal quasi-republic, or just in a 110% pure anarcho-capitalist nightmare.

        (* still not as bad as an arachno-capitalist nightmare)

    3. Gregorio

      Why would they need an armored car service to transport $22k spread over a year? Geez we’re talking about dealing with an average $60 bucks a day here.

      1. Alan F.

        I’ll bet 99% of it is spread over just 4-5 months, but that’s still a pretty puny daily amount.

        A small private business would just have someone drop it at the bank after work. I know, I worked for several that did, and do, exactly this.

        But my reliable NPS source suggests to me that without an express regulation, different parks would come up with different ways of doing it, some of which would be fantastically stupid. Eventually some NPS employee would get robbed, and then recrimination and rule-making would start. Willing to bet exactly that happened 30-50 years ago. I don’t know if they require an actual armored car service, but it wouldn’t shock me. And if they don’t, I’m sure it’s something else with seemingly unreasonable cost.

    4. AndrewJ

      National parks really are for the middle class. Us poors can barely afford to get there, much less pay the exorbitant entry and parking fees. It’s not right that the most majestic bits of the country are accessible only to those with money.

      1. Carolinian

        Some of us are now lucky enough to have a senior pass although they are chiseling away on that.

        Just to add that state governments like mine are even more into the fees. At some of our state parks campsites start at $30 and go up from there. Bring your own accommodation.

    5. Carolinian

      An innovative solution would be to have the USG general budget handle those services and charge nothing. Oh wait that’s the way it used to be.

      Even in my memory many parks were still free (don’t think I paid to get into Sequoia) and many small sites still are–even the camping. Gingrich and his pals hated this and even wanted to sell off the national lands. But part of the logic of the old system was the very thing you mention: monetizing the parks costs money.

      But if we must have paygo then forcing you to use a smartphone to do it will meet with a lot of resistance.

      1. Oh

        Provide for an ATM machine contract and use the ATM to deposit the money. Let the ATM operator take care of moving the cash. The ATM might be a needed utility.

  27. Hegelicious

    I have been meaning to post links to some Marxist summaries. I see that there are references to Bearded One.
    Here is a new theory breakdown for you and Lambert.

    1. hunkerdown

      Neoliberals compulsively and systematically lie. If he were intellectually honest, he would have done Protestantism, the master of all of those narratives.

      1. JBird4049

        If I may say so, I would note that one has to be careful distinguishing the system of analysis (the tools) with ideology (goals and worldview).

        Karl Marx is most useful in following the money and its use in creating and maintaining the current class system; attacking Marxian analytical techniques because of the flaws he has in his proposed solutions is attacking his description because of his flawed prescription.

        The reason I am a socialist and not a communist is because of the flaws in the solutions prescribed by various communists, which deny the reality of humanity. That people are human with their own desires and sense of right and wrong. They are not machines needing to be fixed or saved by some grand system, which is also the problem with Neoliberalism or modern Free Market Capitalism less so with old fashioned Free Enterprise, but not with property, markets, or even money, themselves. Neoliberalism and American Libertarianism are ideologies using deliberately flawed analyses or tools as justification for these ideologies treatment of people as merely cogs in a machine, their value only determined by the amount of financial wealth they have. It is a way for the elites to take and hold power.

        I think this also true in some of the other -isms listed in the chart, which tends to be due to the goals of the makers of the ideologies and their analyses along with their understanding, or lack thereof, of human limitations. Maybe, I should use the word wisdom. The problem with Wokeism as I see it, is the lack of wisdom, honesty, or compassion. Even if I was to accept their worldview along with its goals, which I don’t, the use of Critical Race Theory as done by the Wokerati eliminates history, humanity, individuality, and personal responsibility in service to The Truth. Ultimately, it becomes just a power grab and a grift, whatever the truthfulness of the theory is.

        My apologies with the overly long comment. I get nervous when Karl Marx is used to justify criticisms of ideas he never dreamed of. “Bad, evil idea X. Why it must be Marxism!” One must be careful as well to separate ideas from their proponents. Sometimes ideas and ideologies are just bad, but sometimes it is the people who are bad.

        1. britzklieg

          Great comment, no apologies needed… I would have kept reading had you more to say. Marx “used to justify citicisms of ideas he never dreamed of” – spot on.

  28. Henry Moon Pie

    It’s often noted here at a blog that began its rise to prominence because of its expertise relevant to the Financial Crash, that corrupt and unethical behavior has been on the rise for some time in the U. S. I’ve heard Marianne Williamson repeat a line on various clips about $50 trillion in weallh has been transferred–and she stops and says, “No, it was corruption.” I guess she thinks, as do I, that this alarm at increasing levels of corruption is widespread.

    There are several explanations offered for this phenomenon, all of which probably are factors: loosening of regulation, regulatory capture, failure of business schools to teach ethics and the decline of religion’s hold. Another theory is that sociopaths rise to the top naturally in our capitalist system. But why wasn’t that the case back in “Leave It to Beaver” days? What has changed since those times to make the leadership of our institutions more corrupt and less ethical-more dominated by sociopaths–than 50 years ago?

    Could it be that our evolving neoliberal system is remaking those in leadership into sociopaths? Could this system, beginning with schooling and continuing into corporate and political acculturation, be gradually turning those who stay as enthusiastic participants in those worlds into sociopaths? Could it also be that as this neoliberal system evolves, apparently into full-blown chaos and overshoot, it produces worse and worse sociopaths if such a thing is possible?

    1. JBird4049

      The system is self selecting for sociopaths and criminals because being an honest person, or just being a decent human being, can cause trouble for their grifting. Criminals want to hire criminals and honest people want to hire honest people. Really, it might be better to say it is a matter of the decent or indecent hiring similar. I have know crooks or people of somewhat flexible morality still having a core of decency, which is lacking in so much of our ruling class.

      1. Daryl

        Also self selects for narcissists. If you get into one of these positions, 40% of people love you and 40% hate you just because of the letter next to your name. A constant stream of positive and negative attention that, if you’re slimy enough, well positioned enough or just willing to wall yourself off behind a bunch of yes men, you can bend into the positive. A nightmare for most people, but for narcissists it’s like a kid in a candy store or perhaps an addict let loose in the pharmacy unsupervised. Media helps by heaping attention on individuals for performances more than their actual track record. Look at Manchin or Sinema… they must have been on a power trip high like none of us can imagine for a while there.

    2. marku52

      I blame “Greed is Good” libertarianism.

      If your status and meaning come from money, there can’t be immorality in cheating to get it.

      1. JBird4049

        Sounds like the justification some use to cheat in college. “What matters is winning, which is everything. Everyone else is a loser.” Things like learning or fairness means nothing especially when a college degree can mean the difference between having a good life or living on the streets. Then there is the whole class thing where the only intelligent, worthy of life, status, and compassion are those who are credentialed.

  29. spud

    sooner or later the winners of the new global order of sovereignty and civil society, will bring this up as the first shot fired at the countries of the worlds sovereignty and civil societies, and bring them to justice.

    Blair’s Former Allies on Trial for War Crimes
    April 14, 2023

    During the 1999 conflict over Kosovo, the KLA was seen by the U.K. as terrorist, but was covertly and overtly supported by the Labour government, Mark Curtis reports.

    1. cosmiccretin

      How tragic then that the ICC has just fatally and irrevocably junked such moral credibility as it might otherwise have retained, by revealing itself to be the collective West’s poodle.

      They have brought the term “war crime” into complete disrepute when used by them. Talk about debasing the currency! They might just as well pack their bags and silently steal away.

      1. Oh

        That’s why it’s called the International Criminal Court, a place where the criminals hide! They selectively prosecute people who are named as criminal by the Western nations. No charges against Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Obama et al.

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