Links 4/3/2023

One iguana’s taste for cake leaves a young girl with a mysterious malady CNN

Seeing is more than believing: Exploring ‘de Sitter space’ to explain gravity in the expanding early universe


The US leads the world in weather catastrophes. Here’s why AP

Squirrels live longer in leafier parts of London, air pollution study shows Guardian


New water-based battery could help reduce dependence on lithium for energy storage Interesting Engineering


Covid Status Check: Masks Are Back, States on High Alert Amid Spike in Cases; UP, Kerala Mull New Strategies News 18

Fatigue is common among older people. Finding its cause is important Washington Post. Not paywalled.


Report: Israel tech sector still among world’s strongest Al-Monitor

Israeli high tech’s ‘political awakening’ evades a violent truth +972 Magazine. The deck: “High-tech workers say the new government’s plans could harm their sector. But history shows the industry actually thrives off of volatility and violence.” From Feb. 9 but still germane.

French intelligence infiltrated Lafarge, collaborated with extremists in Syria: Ex-CEO The Cradle

Old Blighty


Russia identifies India, China as its main allies a day after Finland’s NATO membership gets green signal The Times of India

India-China border now stable, situation of ’emergency control’ over: Chinese diplomat The Tribune


Why China launched a cybersecurity review into US memory chip maker Micron Technology and what could happen next SCMP

Huawei: good results in tough times Asia Times

Anti-China ‘propaganda’ stokes fears as Michigan town weighs Gotion factory Bridge Michigan

New Not-So-Cold War

To the Last Ukrainian: An American War The Postil Magazine

Descent into Hell: Europe’s top diplomats are nearly at the journey’s end Gilbert Doctorow

Waiting for nuclear night… Al-Diyyar

Details emerge of blast that killed Russian blogger RT


US, UK and German tanks not built for Ukraine war Asia Times

Armsmaker Rheinmetall sets up maintenance hub in Romania for Ukraine weapons Reuters


Japan Breaks With U.S. Allies, Buys Russian Oil at Prices Above Cap WSJ. (guurst). From the article: “Japan got the U.S. to agree to the exception.”

Blinken and Lavrov discuss WSJ reporter’s arrest RT. Will Blinken get on the horn soon to discuss Assange’s release?

Sanna Marin defeated by Finland’s conservatives in tight race BBC “The election was largely fought on Finland’s public debt as all the mainstream parties backed Nato membership.”

South of the Border

American cities want to recycle their plastic trash in Mexico. Critics call it ‘waste colonialism.’ Grist

Mexico Charting Its Own Path Toward Energy Sovereignty Eurasia Review

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Up to 30% of jobs to be cut by enlarged UBS, Tages-Anzeiger reports yahoo! finance

Swiss prosecutors have opened an investigation into the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, report says Business Insider

Biden Administration

The Rage of the Corporate Lawyer BIG by Matt Stoller


Trump and Fox re-embrace amid a larger media blitz Politico

Can Gavin Newsom kinda but not really run for president and still do his job as California governor? Los Angeles Times


Imperial Collapse Watch

Could Maine be first state to Defend the Guard? Responsible Statecraft

Realignment and Legitimacy

What makes Paul Vallas the “Democrat of choice” for powerful Republicans? The Triibe

Democrats en déshabillé

Positively BEGGING You The Baffler

Police State Watch


Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

These high-tech diapers double as urine tests ZME Science

Groves of Academe

Letter from an English Department on the Brink The New York Review. The deck: “At the English department I chair, our major has grown by more than 40 percent in the last two years. We are being driven to the edge of extinction anyway.”

Ambitious parents are spending hundreds of thousands on consultants to help get their kids into Ivy League schools, report says Business Insider

Supply Chain

Opec oil producers announce surprise cut in output BBC

US fuel oil stocks drawn, highest Gulf Coast production since 2019 Hellenic Shipping News

Re: Oil/Inflation/USD-Clash of the Titans Kaoboy Musings

Class Warfare

Planned Parenthood affiliate fires two union leaders, disciplines entire bargaining team Minnesota Reformer

In Montana, an Avalanche of Wealth Is Displacing Workers In These Times

Tesla and Musk Lose Ruling on Factory Union Issues The New York Times

A long thread worth reading:

Guillotine Watch

Why You Should Aim For $2 Million For Retirement Seeking Alpha


Should you ask ChatGPT for medical advice? We asked an expert — and ChatGPT USA Today (Kevin W)

My phone, my credit card, my hacker, and me Business Insider. The deck: “Verizon, Chase, the police — they were all useless when my identity got hacked. Then Psycho Bunny came to the rescue.”


Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Dancing Queen by ABBA)

    (This one’s for Alex Christoforou, of The Duran YouTube channel. Ursula von der Leyen hopes to fail upward by October, from running the EU Commission to running NATO — from windmills to weapons, where the real money’s at.)

    Ooooh, take a chance
    Grab the prize
    Forget your Great Reset franchise
    Ooooh, you go girl
    Wear camo green
    Ursula’s war machine

    Ursula von der Lies-A-Lot
    Freeze n’ Seize is the best she’s got
    Now she’s scrounging for weapons
    For counteroffensive spring
    Zelensky gets everything

    Any actor could be That Guy
    Mothers weep while he gets high
    Von der Liar will dump him
    When Nuland gives her the nod
    ‘A victim of circumstance’
    The end of his high finance

    But Ursula shall be seen
    So discreet
    NATO’s brand new queen
    By Halloween
    Buying bombs for the war machine, oh yeah

    Take a chance
    Grab the prize
    Forget your Great Reset franchise
    Ooooh, you go girl
    Wear camo green
    Ursula’s war machine

    Europeans see what goes on
    You leave ’em freezing and then you’re gone
    No more talk about climate
    It’s shells and rockets for you
    A much bigger cash advance
    No end to your high finance

    And Ursula shall be seen
    So discreet
    NATO’s brand new queen
    By Halloween
    Buying bombs for the war machine, oh yeah

    Take a chance
    Grab the prize
    Forget your Great Reset franchise
    Ooooh, you go girl
    Wear camo green
    Ursula’s war machine

    Ursula’s war machine . . .

    1. The Rev Kev

      Drat. When I saw that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’, I thought that it was going to be about Finland’s Sanna Marin because she just got the boot. :)

      1. Antifa

        Yeah, Alex Christoforou was trying out new Dancing Queen lyrics in his April 1st YouTube video (18:45 minute mark), but about Sanna Marin. But Sanna is going to go spend more time with her family now, while Ursula is moving up to NATO royalty. If she can grab the brass ring.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Rumour has it – according to Alex Christoforou – that Sanna Marin has been making all those anti-Russian statements so that she might get the NATO top job. The UK wants it to be their Defence Minister – Ben Wallace – but the word has gotten out that they want it to be female. Thing is, Ursula made a total hash of the job when she was Germany’s Defence Minister so if she gets this job, it will be a win for the Russians.

          1. wendigo

            Chrystia Freeland didn’t increase defense spending in her latest budget so that must have hurt her chances for the NATO top job.

            Too bad, a lot of us were wishing her success in moving to a new position.

                    1. wendigo

                      That is probably a better description of her actions

                      I was just thinking of her support for the wars in Libya,Iraq,Syria and her in general support for US actions.

          2. tevhatch

            It will be a win for the MIC-IMATT, but first she has to win a knife in the back fight with Canada’s Deputy PM and Banderite-in-Chief Chrystia Freeland.

            1. irrational

              Great lyrics.
              In terms of logistics I suspect they would have to extend Stoltenberg for another year to get Ursula the job – having a Commission president leave before time has not happened before and as the deal-making Commission-Council-Parliament is more and more linked the less likely it is.

  2. Carla

    Re: article on Covid-19 in India:

    “Those suffering from lifestyle diseases, aged people, pregnant women and children must exercise extreme caution. They must wear a mask while interacting with others. If they have any Covid-19 symptoms, they must undergo a Covid-19 test,” Veena George said earlier this week.”

    Putting all the onus on the most vulnerable people, as neoliberals everywhere take unlimited joy in doing.

    1. jobs

      Neoliberals LOVE the Cult of Covid. Scaring people for control and profit. Despicable. At least the masks are coming off, both figuratively and literally.

      1. some guy

        If you claim to consider covid to be a little flu, you can show your sincere belief in that claim by setting out to get covid as many times as you can, to show how safe it is.

        And make sure to go maskless, so we of the reality-based covid caution community can recognize you as one of the Typhoid Mary covid spreaders, and avoid you when we see you coming.

  3. griffen

    Not being a UK citizen my one cynical take on spending funds to generate official portraits of His Majesty…it’s money well spent to make someone not attractive appear to be ? Let’s face it, in America we waste much more on making our shiny F35’s look better on the ground where they belong. But it’s different over here, it’s a jobs program for Raytheon in Fort Worth.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Details emerge of blast that killed Russian blogger ”

    Almost certainly the work of the Ukrainians through a local but it fits a pattern. When the Russians score a major military victory, the Ukrainians do some sort of lethal stunt that even if it does not change the course of the war, but looks good in the media. So the Russians have just captured the center of Bakhmut and raised their flag over the administrative building. To distract the news of this happening, the Ukrainians murder a Russian military news blogger – Vladlen Tatarsky- through a bomb in St. Petersburg. I guess that in the end, the Ukraine may end up winning the media war so the Russians will just have to settle for winning the military war. I note though that when the head of Wagner – Evgeny Prigozhin – raised the Russian flag over that admin building, it had the inscription ‘Good memory to Vladlen Tatarsky’ on it. But as sure as god made little green apples, the Russians will deal out some payback for this murder.

      1. R.S.

        Yeah, a clueless young idiot. Reported to do some paper-pushing job in an office, while dabbling in various “activisms” (something about eco-feminism or fem-ecology, anti-corruption, anti-regime and whatnot). She was reportedly asked by her Ukrainian friends to assist the Just Cause, and the figurine, she was told, was a spy bug or something like that.

        1. Polar Socialist

          The story is that she belongs to Navalny’s organization, her husband left Russia to escape (possible) mobilization and that having mental health issues she was easy pickings for Ukrainian agents.

          I certainly may get the nuances wrong, but to me it feels that the Russian media is almost sorry for her.

        2. digi_owl

          This conflict has made some weird bedfellows.

          A generation ago someone of her interests would not be within a stone throw of fascists, or stones would be flying.

          1. R.S.

            It didn’t start last year. And I just don’t get how it works. I lost the plot many years ago TBH. What can hardcore leftists, libertarians, mental health advocates, science evangelists, charity fundraisers etc etc have in common?

            The only thing they seem to share is a weird, almost knee-jerk reaction to “the regime”. The funny part is that they can’t even describe what “the regime” actually is. When asked, they fall back to
            buzzwords or some weird Russian catchphrases I can’t fully grasp, like “if you have to explain it, there’s no point in explaining it”.

              1. R.S.

                Not an open worship I would say. I can only report what I’ve managed to glean. Something like ingrained sense of belonging or identity of some sort. “Emigration without emigration”, “being an expat in your own country”, something like that. Or maybe being enamored of “the West” that has never actually existed, a modern Prester John’s kingdom.

                I remember one girl, she was a “neurodiversity advocate” of some sort. And she repeatedly insisted that she was born a Russian but “chose to be culturally American”. She’d never been to the US, her English was, let’s say, barely adequate, and there’s no single standard American culture I’m aware of anyway. Talk about being thrown for a loop!

                Some other guy was much more cynical. He said that one had to work really hard to be “accepted by the West”, and those who couldn’t prove they were “good enough” would be used and thrown away. But “being accepted” was still a noble goal in itself. Like if “being a Westerner” were a hallmark of human quality of some sort, and the West had a God-given right to dispense … something I can’t put my finger on.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Russians taking the center of Bakhmut and raising their flag over the central admin building. Rumour has it that in order to inspire his fellow Ukrainians to fight to the death for the rest of that city, that Zelensky will rename Bakhmut as Zelenskygrad. :)

        1. Skip Intro

          That’s it Rev… I feel a song coming on!
          Sung to the tune of Istanbul Not Constantinople

          Bakhmut is now Artyomovsk Russia,
          Now it’s Artyomovsk not Bakhmut in Ukraine
          Now don’t go back to Bakhmut by airplane
          Just give it a try, and you’ll probably die.

          Every gal in Bakhmut has fled now
          if she hasn’t then she’s quite likely dead now
          If you’ve got a date in Bakhmut still living she’ll be waiting in Artyomovsk

          Even old Niu York was once Novgorodske
          Why’d they change it I can’t say
          Maybe they thought Uncle Sam would pay!

          Yes Bakhmut, Ukraine’s Artyomovsk, Russia,
          Now it’s Artyomovsk not Bakhmut in Ukraine
          Now don’t go back to Bakhmut in springtime
          Just give it a try, and you’ll probably die.

      2. LawnDart

        Well, if you’re the west, none because Bakhmut isn’t important anymore, unlike last week when it was in Ukrainian hands.

      3. Martin Oline

        It will take some time to get used to the fact that Bakhmut is now Artemovsk but I will try. Artemovsk is a major hub with four rail lines and five major highways meeting there, or it could be five rail lines and four major highways, I forget. To make it easier I tend to think of Artemovsk as the equivalent of Kansas City. It is only important to the Royals and Chiefs fans and has no strategic value. /s

    1. ChrisFromGA

      “winning the media war so the Russians will just have to settle for winning the military war”

      Taken to its’ logical conclusion, that might resemble something like Bagdad Bob or maybe the Japanese still fighting WWII on some island in the pacific in the 70’s.

      Newsflash, circa 2025:

      President Zelensky declares Ukraine is winning, from his hacienda in Uruguay.

      Meanwhile, IMF delivers the 116th tranche of economic aid to Ukraine, the capital of which is now located in Brussels. 99% of the aid will end up in think tanks in Brussels, DC, London, and Paris. Or to pay government salaries of workers now emigrated to Germany, London or the US and living it large while the locals eat bugs.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Good point.

          How about, dateline 2025:

          The state of New Jersey was renamed “New Kraine.” All former residents have been forcibly removed and relocated elsewhere within the Northern Hemisphere. Repopulation with former Lviv, Odessa and Kiev residents has begun.

          Governor Zelensky expressed thanks to President Harris and proclaimed that “not one inch” of New Kraine would be ceded to that evil Putin fellow.

          As Russian troops did not succeed in taking Warsaw, the president of Poland asked for a similar deal with Pennsylvania.

  5. Jason Boxman

    From: My phone, my credit card, my hacker, and me

    Suzanne Lynch, the director of the financial-crime program at Utica University, told me that taking cards out of the mail has actually become more common since 2015, when most credit-card companies began embedding their plastic with microchips. In the face of the new technology, Lynch said, thieves simply altered their strategy and went “old school” — stealing cards rather than counterfeiting them.

    Remember when we adopted these annoying chip-based credit cards, but without the critical PIN part that they’re using in Europe. Yeah. Oops.

    Whoever hacked my identity, it makes sense that they started with my credit card. That explained why they decided to SIM swap my phone in the first place — so they could intercept the fraud alerts and use my card with impunity. And because they stole my card out of the mail, they had my address, which made it easy to gin up a fake ID to show Verizon. Once they were in control of my phone number, it was just a race against time to swing by the Apple store and Gucci and Psycho Bunny before I discovered the hack and blocked their access to my accounts.

    That wouldn’t have worked at AT&T, where they refused to talk to me because there’s a fraud alert on my credit reports, but instead would call corporate while I’m standing there; And AT&T screwed up their verification system, so I was asked questions from other people’s credit reports and never could verify my identity. Good job, AT&T! It might have worked if I didn’t have a fraud alert, though; we’ll never know.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It was interesting reading this article and seeing how the scammers took control of her digital life but I did have a thought. Imagine, just imagine, that the Feds had gotten their way and abolished all notes and coins leaving only digital currency. How would our intrepid reporter have fared in a cashless society? How would she make rent, buy food, fill up on gas or anything else? Without family behind her, she could have found herself living on the streets while trying to fight to get her identity back. That would have been a neat trick that.

      1. ambrit

        May I suggest that it will be a neat trick, that.
        One thing I have learned from watching the “official” response to the Coronavirus-19 Pandemic is that those “in power” do not give a [insert expletive here] about ‘ordinary’ people and whether or not they live or die.
        “Excess” population dying off looks to be a secondary objective of the Digital Currency Policy.
        It is soon to be no longer the case that: “You are either with us or you are against us.” It will be: “You are either with us or you are dead.”
        Go long the Jackpot.

    2. Mildred Montana

      >”Remember when we adopted these annoying chip-based credit cards, but without the critical PIN part that they’re using in Europe. Yeah. Oops.”

      I refuse to use tap-cards at all. The risk of my losing one and having the finder ring up some quick charges is too great. But, in the case of my debit card, wouldn’t ya know it? Whenever the bank sends me a new one it’s a tap-card. I am forced to visit my bank branch to have the tap feature disabled in favor of good old-fashioned PIN. Why does it do that? Tap should be opt-in, not opt-out

      For those with visual or manual dexterity issues, they’re perhaps a necessity. For everyone else, just asking for trouble.

      1. ron paul rEVOLution

        You can snip off a corner and break the internal RFID circuit. It will then default to a chip card. This is the first thing I do when I get one of these.

            1. OwlishSprite

              I used a flashlight under my card and was able to see the configuration. Mine is actually a lot different than the diagram, but it is possible to make a cut through the top if you are careful not to damage the magnetic strip. Not sure if that will cut the connection to the chip though. Don’t know if I need the strip, unless for non-chip reading machines.

      2. Duke of Prunes

        IIRC, I was reading on a tech site that the tap was actually more secure than the chip reader… something about the tap protocol assigning a temporary, one time use, CC number to the transaction so if someone were to steal it (by intercepting the information transferred during the tap), it would be useless. Did this article say otherwise?

        If you could be so kind, please help me understand why the taps are bad.

        1. hunkerdown

          Security against a particular threat, such as a replay attack, is a potentially verifiable property that might be compared against others of its kind in terms of multiple criteria. “Security” against nothing in particular is an emotion.

          Whose perspective is being elevated by a scope that begins at the POS or ATM swipe and ends at the card issuer’s ledger? Certainly not the person who finds their physical card stolen and misused, or the person who nonetheless has to enter their assigned 16 + expiry + CVV2 into some Internet shopping cart or utility payment site. Card networks and issuers are happy to have another reason to deflect fraud claims, to be sure.

      3. square coats

        Is there a difference between this problem and the fact that afaik it’s usually or always possible to use a debit card but select “credit” and not be required to enter a pin for the transaction?

        If that sounds snarky I totally don’t mean it to be! I just tried to figure this all out for the last 20 minutes but for some reason my brain can’t hold all of the different cases against each other at the same time, not to mention that then I saw multiple people arguing on the internet about rfid vs nfc and have also gotten confused about whether it’s possible to DIY disable the contactless readability without also disabling the chip readability entirely.

        I finally got my first new fangled kind of debit card a couple months ago and hate my bank so would love to sort this without having to go in…

    3. Nikkikat

      AT&T is a nightmare company. My father had TV, landline, internet and cell phones all AT&T. It became a nightmare. At least some part of that bundle was NOT working at all times. They had blinking boxes all over the house. When we tried to close the accounts I gave a wrong password. They put a security alert in the account at a call center in India, it became a worse nightmare. Took three months before I could close accounts and get rid of them. To transfer phone number to a cell phone from another company was another 3 weeks. Then when you return the equipment they claim you did not return it and continue to bill you for another couple of months. This company is way too big with many different private companies calling themselves AT&T covering different parts of the company. I will never ever have anything to do with them again.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”I will never ever have anything to do with them [AT&T] again.”

        But what’s the option? The communications industry is an oligopoly with only a pretense at competition and virtually no regulation by government.

        My (Canadian) pet peeve: Why is it that when I sign up for some service (cable or internet for instance) I start paying *immediately*? But when I want to cancel, well, “Sorry, you can’t cancel until the end of the month.” So I’m stuck with paying for a couple weeks of unwanted service. And Consumer Affairs does nothing about this blatant abuse of customers.

        Like banking, communications is a racket. A fee-extraction business. It operates on this MBA-approved model: Steal a few dollars from tens of millions over a long enough time and pretty soon ya got yerself an immensely profitable business.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Tell me about it; So when I spoke with the credit department about my credit alert on file, they really couldn’t help me and successfully verify my identity, so they suggested I call the credit bureaus and talk to them about it.

        It wasn’t clear what they expected me to say? Hi, I’m calling because AT&T told me to tell you that you need to do _something_ to my credit file so AT&T can conduct business? No one at AT&T could explain _What_ I needed to say to the bureaus. These were the most moronic conversations I’ve maybe ever had.

        Needless to say, I never did get AT&T cell service. And authenticating at a store with all my identifying documents was somehow not possible.

        Verizon was a joke, too, I showed up for service with my OWN phone, and I had to go through an extensive identity verification with corporate, while sitting in the store, because people steal phones… but I wasn’t applying for credit, I brought my OWN phone. So my time was just wasted. Moronic.

      3. Carolinian

        My brother has had terrible experiences with ATT so their bad company rep is widespread.

        As for the card story in Links–if the new scheme is intercepting new cards from inside the mail system (and I’ve had it happen to me) then perhaps people should at least have the option of picking cards up in person at the bank. I would be glad to do so for the extra security.

      4. eg

        This is why I don’t bundle — cable, internet and phone are all with separate entities.

    4. digi_owl

      Sadly even Europe is adopting the PIN option Americanism. Used to be you had to swipe and enter pin for any payment here in Norway, but now any sum below some threshold value do not need a pin. All the more to get us away from using physical cash, even as we have random payment and digital ID outages. I used to be gung ho about the net, but of late i have become the family luddite.

    5. Adam

      AT&T is at the top of my list for corporations I will go far out of my way to avoid. I came to realize that every person I had to interact with (In store salespeople, in store managers, legal, corporate and installers) were all blatant liars.

      I had a security system from them a few years ago. Their equipment was consistently malfunctioning, the worst being a bad alarm that leading them to call the police several times on Thanksgiving. AT&T said they had to keep calling the police because we couldn’t provide them the right “passcode” and that the passcode had no hint. It turns out that it wasn’t a passcode, it was the name of my favorite band but while changing internal systems, they deleted the prompt. I had to take them to arbitration to pay the $700 dollars in false alarm fees from the police as well as to have them return every penny I paid for that service. There were half a dozen other major issues as well. Total nightmare.

  6. griffen

    Aiming for retirement. Well I’m on exactly within the cohort being discussed in Table-2, and I have a current plan for retirement…it’s just a plan tinged with hope. Annualized Inflation trending down to 3% to 4% would be perhaps a better trend than Inflation under 2% and ZIRP forever. I mean we are seeing the pertinent issues once the Federal Reserve kicks the table and smashes that punch bowl.

    A minor quibble with their modest growth estimate using 7%. I’d take that return rate for the next 15 to 25 years and not think twice. Further into the article they do report the longer run return is based on the past 50 years. I just think it’s a choppy road to get there. Others mileage may vary.

    1. Silent Bob

      This caught my eye:
      “In fact, many people do not want to retire early, as they think a 9-5 routine keeps them younger, healthier, and engaged in meaningful work.”
      I suspect staying younger, healthier, and engaged in meaningful work has precisely nothing to do why people are working longer.

      1. Pat

        I think there are people who feel that way. They are people at the top end of careers they love who have a certain level of autonomy both because of what they do and there status in that field. It is also less than ten percent of the retirement population.

        Most others are making a calculated extension meant to increase retirement income (an extra year or two meaning they have several hundred dollars more a month). OR those who already figured out how not so far their possible retirement income will go no matter what they do and like eating and paying for their drugs.

        1. Revenant

          My mother is working full-time at 79 as a medical secretary (she has Mondays off but does a 12h day on another weekday). She plans to retire when her boss does (20 years younger than her!).

          She does it in part for financial reasons (while she can travel independently, she wants to go on holiday, eat out etc.) but her main reason is to stay compos mentis. She loves meeting the patients, organising their care, organising her boss etc. and she has watched retirement diminish her friends. They are all scared to do anything new or unplanned and cannot cope with more than one or two engagements a day. She finds it keeps her sharp, remembering who has to go where, when, for what procedure and grappling with technology. She has the luxury that it is an office job so she can do this.

      2. JP

        When you are over 65 it is amazing how quickly the skills that were well assimilated and assumed to be permanent can get rusty. One day you reach for something and it’s not there.

        I am happy to be only part time retired. I call it keeping one ore in the water. Still making some money. Still paying in to social security.

    2. fresno dan

      respectfully, its not your returns, but your political system that protects you.
      returns won’t matter. Saudi Arabia is either allied with Russia OR is giving us markets, good and hard (OPEC cuts production). The leaders in Europe don’t care about the standard of living of the people they “represent”
      In the USA, we are funding Ukraine pensions, but there is some doubt about funding US social security. Protecting freedom, blah, blah, blah and as Bette Midler told us, we gotta make sacrifices for Ukraine…
      and I note, without an inflation protected income stream, we are doomed.
      Today’s question: who is more likely to fully fund social security: dems or repubs?

      1. harrybothered

        >Today’s question: who is more likely to fully fund social security: dems or repubs?

        My educated guess, based on past experience and knowledge of our representatives in Congress, is neither (nada, nope, never.)

        1. fresno dan

          yeah, it was a trick question
          The two parties have been working a long time to reduce the wages of wage earners. Now they will turn their attention to strip mining social security and medicare

          1. The Rev Kev

            Not strip mining but privatizing it to Wall Street so that they can get their hands on all that money.

        2. griffen

          Priority one, maintaining our defense and military industrial complex. All other priorities are rescinded.

          To use a paraphrased line from Alien, once the remaining crew figures that Ash is not A. their actual friend and B. not actually a human.

  7. ron paul rEVOLution

    >NEW: Inside No Labels planning for a 2024 presidential campaign: Joe Lieberman won’t say Biden is an acceptable candidate.

    Can Lieberman please go away now? Please? What’s the point of even nominally having two parties if Joe Biden is considered a left-wing extremist?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      No Labels exists to keep Republicans who might be embarrassed by voting for Trump types from voting for Team Blue or not showing up and voting down ticket for other Republicans. It’s an organization of DLC trash and Republicans who like New York.

      It’s an outlet for people worried about the Teabaggers making the GOP seem too flamboyant.

      1. some guy

        Perhaps the No Labelizers were also worried about a genuine choice such as a combination of Gabbard and Kucinich or other such were able to fill the ” give us a choice” void. So they will fill it up first to stop something better from filling it.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “French intelligence infiltrated Lafarge, collaborated with extremists in Syria: Ex-CEO”

    I’m thinking that Lafarge itself acted as a cover for spook operations. And the reason I say this is that back in the 90s Hilary Clinton served on its board of directors and accepted its generous donations. A coincidence too much? But I was reading about this cement factory in the Jalabiyeh region of northern Syria during the war. There was not only a contingent of French special forces there but also a contingent of US special forces. I had the impression that the cement factory was their base with which they coordinated activities with ISIS and al-Nusrah Front in Syria but now that they had to a fine of $778 million to the US and plead guilty to supporting terrorist organizations, it seems to show a lack of gratitude. It was almost certainly the US that made Lafarge stay in Syria while they – wait for it – supported terrorist organizations.

  9. LawnDart

    Re; Waiting for nuclear night…

    Offered as a counterpoint:

    Russia is not interested in launching a nuclear strike on Europe

    Moscow does not plan to launch a nuclear strike on European countries, as it plans to cooperate with them in the future.

    This was stated in an exclusive interview with TV and radio company “Tavria” by the head of the State Administration of the Snigirevsky district of the Kherson region, political scientist Yuriy Barbashov.

    “Nuclear weapons contribute to the destruction of economic infrastructure. In this regard, Russia is not interested in striking European countries, because in the future it plans to cooperate and build a single political space,” he said.

    The Russians are coming, right after they defeat the “Nuclear Satan.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I had trouble making sense of this link so I scanned around to a few other items posted on the Reseau International, and met with similar difficulty understanding the content. I located the “About” link at the bottom right corner where I looked for information about the background and funding for the site. Rather than some description of the site’s provenance I found what read more like a mission statement/manifesto. Whose money backs this site?

          1. square coats

            The newsguard thing says it’s ad revenue and reader donations, which could totally be true, especially if it’s mostly republishing.

            The first time I sent one of my friends a link to an article from Grayzone, which he hadn’t heard of before, he kept musing about who might be funding them and for some reason it took me months to realize he, being used to mainstream corporate media, didn’t understand what independent media is.

            I’m not trying to say this site is on par with Grayzone as I hardly know anything about it and it certainly is purposefully not transparent about who runs/maintains it/etc.

  10. MT_Wild

    Chines grad students – I worked in a University geography lab at the turn of the century that had a DOD remote sensing project. Basically automated object ID from real-time imagery. Pretty clear military applications.

    There were four Chinese grad students working on that one….

    I’m not saying throw all the Chinese students out, but maybe we watch where their working? I think it would be great to keep them all in the humanities. I’m sure the CCP needs more gender studies Ph.Ds.

    1. tevhatch

      Who would you replace them with? There is a labour shortage USA, highly skilled, intelligent labour with American nationality, that isn’t interested in get rich schemes, that is. Lockheed was told to start from scratch after their most recent attempt to get a hypersonic missile working failed. That’s what using poorly skilled engineering can get.

      1. Craig H.

        That labor shortage would disappear in an instant with higher wages.

        The Chinese labor has the advantage that they will live on rice and ramen and 6 to an apartment. Natives over the age of 18 ain’t gonna do that.

        1. tevhatch

          Any Chinese labour that can design hypersonic missiles will not work for rice and ramen, nor live 6 to an apartment. However, that sort of thinking would explain why many Chinese are now leaving the USA and returning to China with their skill sets, rather than put up with people who promote such tropes.

          1. ambrit

            I know not about the Chinese in America, but I do know from first hand experience that Mexican trades workers will come North for a year or two to earn enough money for something of value back home. They will live six to an apartment, eat tortillas and tacos and work like mad for that defined period of time. This is the Southern face of the “cheap labour” so beloved by capitalists. [There is a fairly large trailer park west of here that is mainly Mexican, Guatemalan, and old fashioned Indio. Many of the tradesfolk who live there are pretty darn good at their jobs.]
            These are the people who have replaced the former American working class. Noting that a group that suffers a noticeable drop in their standard of living is prime material for a true revolutionary movement, I can see why racism, wokeism, and opioid addiction have been so assiduously cultivated in America. They have managed so far to diffuse the anger and resentment building in the downwardly transitioning working class.
            One major tell that America does not have a functioning Left is that it has not all been burned down yet.
            Stay safe.

            1. tevhatch

              Mexico has rocket / scram jet designers with expertise in hypersonic design immigrating into the USA? Again, I doubt they’d live 6 to room in that case.

      2. Skip Intro

        Another way to look at it is that the US is benefitting from foreign (publically funded) educational systems, having dismantled its own. One wonders what will happen when the Biden/Bush nutsies foreign policy team expels/interns these students and engineers.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        “There is a labor shortage USA, highly skilled, intelligent labor with American nationality, that isn’t interested in get rich schemes, that is.” That sounds like a talking point from the widespread propaganda pushing for increasing H-1B quotas or adding a new security classification category for information non-citizens could handle while working on u.s. military projects.

        If the u.s. has a shortage of highly skilled, intelligent scientific and technical labor — it is by design. The public education mills are given good material to work with. Why do u.s. universities find it so difficult to find u.s. students to train in their graduate scientific and technical programs? Why is it especially difficult to locate u.s. scientific and technical labor doing technical work after some age in the fifties or sixties?

        Lockheed cannot get their hypersonic missile working? Are you sure poorly skilled engineering is the root cause of the problem? Perhaps there are problems with the management of the hypersonic missile program or problems with the procurement processes and the way the vast rivers of DoD funding are spent. Try to get an accounting for where all the money goes.

        1. tevhatch

          Believe it or not, you’re making my point. Poorly skilled engineering is a symptom, right up there with naked imperialisms, which always eats the republic hence no investment in education, government involvement in the drug trade, etc; all symptoms.

          1. Martin Oline

            You may have a point about new engineers. I was once given a print with a 1/4 – 20 tapped hole through a 1″ thick plate and the engineer cautioned me that if I tapped from both sides (given the plate thickness) I would have to use a left hand tap on the bottom. I pointed out it would be right hand from either side but it had to be done in one operation or the threads wouldn’t align. I did it from one side but it proves your point, they don’t make ’em like they used to. A cantankerous engineer once remarked about graduates of a certain school “They teach them just enough to be dangerous.”

            1. OwlishSprite

              I read about the ‘intelligent pigs’ that they run through oil and gas pipelines to detect problems that could result in rupture or leakage, and the mechanical engineers made them so they actually detected (too much) stuff. They were ordered to dumb them down. I can see where good engineers would not last long in the present environment. Funny, I can’t find that article any more.

              1. some guy

                If you have the exact url where you found that article and can put that exact url into the Internet Archive Wayback Machine search-space just exactly the way they like it, you might be able to find it there.

                If it ever got there.

              2. zapster

                I used to work on those pigs. Yes, the sensitivity for both the insides and outsides of the pipe can be calibrated easily.. all the way down to where they won’t detect major cracks. It’s necessary for varying sizes of pipe within certain limits, but a company that wants to misuse it certainly has the option.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            Highly skilled engineers cannot change bad management practices that cut corners, compress schedules, and squeeze out deadlines following some Gantt chart emphasizing funding milestones. Poorly skilled engineers are products of a poorly operating educational system including lack of hands-on training as opposed to the current sink-or-swim system for handling new engineers. A lack of incentives — like career longevity, stable employment, decent compensation, and a Corporate dedication to producing excellent products and building long-term engineering capability keep many of those you have characterized as only interested in get rich schemes. Financial Corporations are less concerned about products than profits. Engineers are treated as overhead items that undercut profit margins and become disposable as soon as a program ends.

        2. Bugs

          Maybe everyone over 50 is pushed towards the door, taking generations of knowledge with them. Know someone there around that age and he’s counting the days until he can get a pay out and leave, because they don’t give him interesting work anymore.

      4. MT_Wild

        In this case, 4 more American students. If the program wasn’t any good, I doubt they would be paying for it. My understanding is that universities like these students because they pay full out of state tuition.

        Its not a supply problem, its an allocation problem. We have plenty of students here who are capable of this work. They are just going into other fields.

        1. chris

          We have a supply problem because the market is really skewed. A lot of people don’t want to go to grad school in engineering. Think about it – you just went through 4 years of grueling work, and you can get a job that starts at 60k$ or more a year, with benefits. Now, would you like to forsake that opportunity, and ignore the time value of money that you’ll never make back from your additional 2 – 4 years of hard academic labor… or, would you like to start working and get a car that doesn’t break down all the time? Keep in mind, your friends with jobs will be sending you pictures of their apartments and new cars while you’re still sucking down Ramen. The path of a dedicated grad student in the sciences is not fun. But if you’re really committed to a life of the mind, it’s the only way to get those research experiences.

          But what a lot of people have been doing for decades now is a project based masters degree. Which is great. You can get that taking a couple classes after work for a few years. You write one paper. You graduate with the same MS as if you had slaved away in a lab. But you didn’t. You didn’t do any novel research. You basically took more school to get another degree.

          All this is what you’re fighting with increasing the population of home grown grad students. And then you add the funding aspect… there are so many reasons why you have to be crazy to go to grad school in the sciences.

    2. LawnDart

      Apparently the Chinese have figured-out how to defy the laws of physics, or so USA DoD and MSM would have us believe. If true, these are some hella-smart grad students.

      When I read this, I had to double-check the date (nope, published April 3rd): it seems the “spy balloon” canard just won’t die… from NBC News:

      Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from sensitive U.S. military sites, despite U.S. efforts to block it

      The Chinese spy balloon that flew across the U.S. was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to block it from doing so, according to two current senior U.S. officials and one former senior administration official.

      China was able to control the balloon so it could make multiple passes over some of the sites (at times flying figure-eight formations) and transmit the information it collected back to Beijing in real time, the three officials said…

      At the altitude the balloon was at, prior to its sudden decent, wind-speeds are anywhere from 20-100+ MPH… so, they’re trying to tell us figure-eights… in a f#@kin balloon…

      Better whack me a few times in the head with that shovel they’re using, because I’m still not getting it.

      1. wendigo

        But it gets better.

        ” Once the balloon’s existence became public, China increased its speed, officials said, in an attempt to get it out of U.S. airspace as quickly as possible.”

        Should have made it public sooner, before it got to Montana.

      2. LifelongLib

        I don’t know about figure-eights, but apparently that type of balloon can be navigated by adjusting its altitude to a level where the wind is blowing the way the controllers want the balloon to go. Last year a U.S. company was able to send a couple of balloons to Hawaii that had been launched in Georgia.

        1. wendigo

          Google’s “Loon” balloon project was capable of figure 8’s so it is possible that the Chinese balloons did do everything as described.

          It just seems funny to suggest China reacted to making the balloon public.

    3. Big Chungus

      Yeah you’re right man we should totally institute a racial surveillance state that’s a great idea

  11. Alice X

    The migrant mother photo was done by Dorothea Lange.

    From Wiki:

    Dorothea Lange (born Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn; May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression.…

    1. The Rev Kev

      The woman in that photo was also very interesting-

      ‘The subjects of Lange’s photography were always nameless. Roy Stryker, a manager of the FSA’s photographic project, had his photographers practice contemporary social science techniques in captioning their images. This allowed the subjects to be viewed as common men and women under unfortunate circumstances that the Roosevelt administration was trying to improve. Several decades after the photograph’s publication, a journalist found the identity of the iconic photograph’s mother – Florence Thompson – discovering that she was born in 1903 in a Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma. She married at the age of seventeen and had six children until her husband died in 1931. In 1933, she became pregnant again. Fearing that welfare authorities would take her child away, she moved back to Oklahoma. In 1934, her whole family moved out to Shafter, California where she worked in fields and began a relationship with James Hill. She had four more children with him. When Lange met Thompson, Hill and Thompson’s sons were out looking to get their car fixed. In 1958, 22 years after the photograph had been published, Thompson saw Migrant Mother in a magazine and wrote to the magazine asking them to recall all unsold magazines to protect her and her family’s rights. At that point the photograph had become public property and its publication was far beyond the reach of Lange’s control. Once Thompson and her family came to know this, they withdrew their complaint and now speak positively about Lange’

      Regardless, it is a great photo that.

      1. Alice X

        There is a contemporaneous back story between Dorothea Lange and John Steinbeck which I don’t recall clearly now and don’t have time to research, but for now there is this:

        Handwritten Letter from John Steinbeck to Dorothea Lange written three months before Lange’s death. Dated July 3, 1965:

        “Dear Dorothea: Thank you for sending the picture. Nothing was ever taken that so illustrated that time, a strange time but surely no more paradoxical than the present. We have lived in the greatest of all periods. If the question were asked, if you could choose out of all times, when would you elect to have lived. I would surely say — the Present. Of course we don’t know how it comes out. No one ever does. The story ends only in fiction and I have made sure that it never ends in my fiction. There have been great ones in my time and I have been privileged to know some of them and surely you are among the giants. And if I, who am not religious, offer my prayers for you, it is because God did not beget prayers — prayers created the Gods — and kept them in their places too. Bless you! And thank you again for remembering. Affectionately John Steinbeck How I wish I may do it as gallantly as you.”

      2. marym

        Library of Congress – Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives

        “In total, the collection consists of about 175,000 black-and-white film negatives and transparencies, 1,610 color transparencies, and around 107,000 black-and-white photographic prints, most of which were made from the negatives and transparencies. The collection was transferred to the Library of Congress in 1944.”

        Click on Collection Items for prints available on-line

    2. Mildred Montana

      This is an utterly fascinating article about Lange’s iconic photo. There were five others in the same series and they show how that one came to be chosen.

      The article also includes a photograph of Lange herself and some spicy quotes from the subject of the photo, Florence Thompson. Thompson (who was Cherokee, not white) talks with some bitterness about how her “fame” changed her life. Hint: It didn’t, not at all.

      Well worth reading in its entirety. As Paul Harvey famously used to say it’s “the rest of the story”.

      1. Alice X

        An important bit is that the pose in the photo was staged. Florence Thompson and her kids, while no doubt distressed with their economic situation, had agency and flourished.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Japan Breaks With U.S. Allies, Buys Russian Oil at Prices Above Cap”

    ‘Citing energy needs, Tokyo won exception to rules binding G-7 nations’

    Probably Washington went to Tokyo and told them to stick to the $60 a barrel limit. But then the Japanese explained that if they did that, their economy would be reduced. And as they want a massive military expansion with lots of American military equipment being purchased, a reduced economy would mean that they would not be able to buy all that American military equipment after all. So sorry. So then the MIC got onto Washington and told them to give Japan a dispensation or no more political donations.

    1. fresno dan

      so supposedly oil will go over 100$ per barrel now that OPEC will cut output.
      The only question I have is: is OPEC an active ally of Russia in the Ukraine war?
      this is capitalism boys – we have something you desperately need, and can’t get anywhere else (really, cutting off that oil from Russia was not very capitalistic) and you are gonna pay…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hmmm. I’d go with Door Number Two. The main priority of the oil-producing nations will be protecting their revenue stream – not keeping oil prices low so that it helps old Joe get re-elected. Like you say, cutting off Russian oil – or trying to – seems to be a massive own goal. So yes, Capitalism still rules. And by that I mean real Capitalism and not the sort practiced on Wall Street. Certainly old Joe has not endeared himself with the oil-producing nations. In fact, it would not be beyond old Joe to go off script in his next State of the Union speech and shout ‘Name me a world leader would change places with Mohammed bin Salman! Name me one!’

        1. tevhatch

          IMHO the oil producers may be just as interested in watching Joe continue to drain the oil reserves in the USA as the price jump now. Once the reserves are empty, then not only will they have greater pricing leverage, but greater leverage in stopping any USA attempts at a take over. “Oh, you want to invade? Well, we’ll put the oil fields out of production for a long time and with help of our friends make it very costly for your empire to stay put.”

          Money is important, but only if you get to use it. Locking it up in US Bonds that can be taken at a moments notice doesn’t do much good to a country who wants rainy day money.

          1. Paradan

            We are totally capable of being self-sufficient for oil and gas.

            I was thinking that maybe the oil production cuts are part of a more sophisticated attack. If the price of energy goes up globally, then many countries will be forced to default on their dollar debts or face starvation. Then the new non-dollar trade block can step in and save the day, accusing the IMF and friends of extortion. The only problem with my theory is there’s too much wealth tied up in dollar investments, and crashing the IMF seems like it would hit the dollar hard.

            1. Lex

              Are we? We can produce a lot gas via shale drilling and we can produce a lot of light crude. But unless we start refining a lot more oil we’re not really self sufficient in the oil products we need. India, for example, has somehow become a prime source of imported diesel.

            2. digi_owl

              Last year of Russian sanctions have shown us that oil differs from place to place.

              The Russian oil for example is apparently better suited for producing diesel fuel than most others in Europe.

              Or it may be that you can’t just dump any old oil into a refinery, as they are set up to process a specific type of oil at time of construction and will need significant retooling to take on other kinds.

              Supposedly Venezuela has that issue, as the chemical composition of it’s oil is such that the only refinery configured to handle it is found in USA.

              1. tevhatch

                Venezuela has a refinery, but in an own goal, the USA under Obama, Trump, and Biden have sanctioned the supply of maintenance items so that the refinery can not operate currently. Venezuela is cooperating with Iran to attempt a restart with Iranian supplied parts.

            3. Scylla

              Well, yes, if we put ourselves on a war footing to produce the rigs, infrastructure, educate geologists, engineers, drillers, and encourage real conservation, we could probably become self-sufficient in oil (we actually are fairly self-sufficient in natural gas) for a short time, and at great cost, but that would simply bring the day closer that we empty the ground beneath our feet. As someone who studied oil and gas geology I can tell you that “Drill baby, drill!” is more accurately stated as “Drain America First!”
              If American security is actually the stated goal, you should advocate that we cut production to the bone (cannot cut it off entirely, as shutting in wells on some reservoirs will actually damage the reservoirs), and import every bit of oil we use, until it’s gone everywhere else, then, once high prices have pushed demand down and gotten rid of all the superfluous uses for oil, we start pulling our own out of the ground again.

      2. Albert Hoffman


        since we can get it here if the brandon admin would untie our Petrol industry

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Her website at appears very promising but also suggests to me that Taber may be at a possibly dangerous turning point. My impression is that she is attempting to find meaningful paid work doing what she trained for through her schooling and life experience. She has spent 8 years “…running a successful consulting practice…” presumably consulting on “…food and farm policy, management practices, the ins and outs of manual labor, and strategies to make a food system that works for everyone.” Who pays for consulting services like that, and actually wants to make a food system that works for everyone?

      1. some guy

        Well . . . members of the small but growing Organic and Regenerative Organic Farming communities would like a food system that works better for more people ( including a larger number of smaller-per-farm farmers) than the Agribusiness Industrial Complex works.

        And since Organic and Regen-Organic add up to a few billion dollars of sales and product per year, they would have enough money to pay such a consultant at an okay rate.

  13. Not Again

    Why You Should Aim For $2 Million For Retirement

    I knew I shouldn’t have bought that bigger yacht. Oh well, only $1,999,000 to go.

    1. chris

      I didn’t even have the heart to read that article… does it explain how people should manage to get that much money? Assuming any number of crashes and resets and inflationary binges between now and whenever you retire?

  14. fresno dan

    Since 2000, white working-class Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 have been one of the only demographics in the world that has seen its life expectancy fall.

    By now, this is an old story. We’ve been hearing about “deaths of despair” since 2020, and really, since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, which zapped our nation’s somnolent elites into taking notice of working-class America’s crisis.
    I’m here to report that, seven years later, on the cusp of another presidential campaign, those elites have learned approximately nothing. Republicans have tried to capitalize on our anger and bitterness, and they’ve made great headway—but they offer little in the way of a serious agenda to rectify the cascading crises that have beset the American hinterland…..This should surprise no one. How can the party of free markets be expected to fix problems that were mostly created by. . . markets.
    The American left isn’t sure what to make of people like Mike or his family or mine. The white working class used to be the focus of the American left, but the left abandoned us amid the tumult of the late 1960s: Vietnam, the civil rights movement, women’s rights, the radicalization of the campus, the upending of traditional mores and family structures. That was when the paradigm started to shift from a class-based politics to a politics of race and sex.
    Just another article about deaths of despair and the abandonment of class based politics. Absolutely nothing new to NC readers…just another story of one of the victims.
    I don’t know why I don’t just ignore them – it just depresses me

    1. ChrisPacific

      The American left isn’t sure what to make of people like Mike or his family or mine.

      Yes they are: Stereotype them as Trump voters, racists, sexists, deplorables etc. (take your pick) and convince yourself that they are responsible for their own problems. Then ignore them.

  15. flora

    From a Taibbi – Russell Brand interview:

    Matt Taibbi discusses disturbing new findings in the Twitter files.

    Aspen Institute discussions in 2021 revealed their Orwellian plan to rollout legislation in the EU/US designed to ensure complete control and immediate surveillance over media content monitored by AI.

    see also the RESTRICT act, Senate bill S.686

    1. OwlishSprite

      This does not surprise me. I worked at the Aspen Institute once upon a time, and it is a creepy place.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Many a plot to privatize the public schools has originated or been nurtured there, as well.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      There was a reddit thread yesterday about this life expectancy map. It was full of typical divide and conquer rhetoric. The overwhelming consensus was that the low life expectancy is because they’re Republican Trump voters, and, therefore, they deserve their poor health, and it’s their own fault for being stupid. There were a couple voices of reason getting shouted down pointing out that it’s the poverty stupid, not politics.

      I wanted to point out that in Michigan the reddest counties map to Detroit, Flint… not exactly “Trump Country”, but definitely high on the poverty scale, but I don’t post on Reddit because they would have been voted down anyway.

      1. JBird4049

        Not all, but many people will insist on seeing things in a certain way and only that certain way; that much of the country is an economic sacrifice zone, a dead place, with steadily decreasing opportunities just for survival cannot be the fault of the neoliberal Democrats. It fits in with Hilary Clinton’s Disposable BS and the Twitterati and I think much of Reddit are over represented by the Credentialed Class or their Wannabes.

  16. Tom Stone

    The sooner King Charles attains his wish of being reincarnated as a sanitary napkin, the better.

  17. pjay

    – ‘Trump and Fox re-embrace amid a larger media blitz’ – Politico

    The Democrats’ ‘Get Trump’ reality show is really paying dividends. It has increased Trump’s visibility, increased his popular support, and united the Republican Party, including all its potential Presidential candidates, against this latest lawfare stunt. A lot of the Republican “support” for Trump is through gritted teeth, but they have no choice; Trump controls the base. Fox News had to capitulate for the same reason.

    Now all we need is for the “two Joes” – Lieberman and Manchin – to convince Party leadership that they need to move even further to the Right. We might be rid of the Democrats completely then. Maybe we could start over.

    1. Screwball

      The democrats hate Trump so much they are trying to get him re-elected. And they tell me they are the smart ones?

      I’m guessing there will be house parties just to watch the perp walk. Complete with cheers, corks popping, confetti, champagne, maybe even a band or two. It will be the greatest thing EVER – they finally got him. Until they don’t. Crocodile tears to follow.

    2. fresno dan

      So, according to Reuters, this is a live feed of the Trump airplane. No departure time set. Will it equal Nixon leaving the White House in that helocopter?

      We might be rid of the Democrats completely then. Maybe we could start over.
      Yup. And we need to get rid of our de facto ban on 3rd parties, otherwise our 2 new parties will in short order morph back into a uniparty.

      1. pjay

        I love that live feed of the Trump plane! The idea of perp walks, champagne, and the Nixon comparisons made me laugh, because you *know* that’s what a lot of bubble-ensconced Democrats are thinking. But that plane is not going to sail off into the sunset with Trump. It’s fueling up for a bombing run into the heart of the Blue Kingdom, with an army of lawyers and, more important, media and PR troops. They had better be ready – but I bet they’re not.

    3. flora

      Best of all, John Bolton, mr. milk mustache himself was on the Sunday morning talk shows explaining why the GOP should reject T. Always a thoughtful voice. ahem. / ;)

      1. The Rev Kev

        John Bolton could always question Trump’s judgement and point out that Trump was stupid enough to pick him as part of his administration but you watch. If Trump becomes President in 2024 again, Bolton will be there knocking on the door demanding a post.

  18. semper loquitur

    The new politics of gender identity | Kathleen Stock

    Kathleen Stock protests against viewing gender identity as a private mental state.

    To watch Kathleen Stock’s full debate with Tommy Curry and Aaron Bastani on the topic of freedom of speech at universities, please visit:

    Kathleen Mary Linn Stock is an outspoken gender critical feminist whose views resulted in her being targetted by the group anti-terf Sussex.

    Her ultimate resignation from the University of Sussex sparked intense debate on freedom of speech at universities, the need to voice controversial opinions and the potential dangers such open debate posed to both trans people and women.

    A great, short interview with philosopher Kathleen Stock about the “trans” ideology. The interviewer is useful in that he earnestly asks a series of fallacious questions that come up often in defense of the “trans” identified. Stock was kind to him, I would have torn him to pieces.

    1. begob

      I’m not sure she’s right about testosterone causing aggression – here’s Robert Sapolsky on the subtlety of its effect – so it’s not a useful marker for her argument. But it does seem obvious to me that social conditioning is the overwhelming criterion when setting government policy, rather than catering for every individual preference.

      I wonder if the assertion of sexual identity in ways that compromise other people is just a reduction of liberal idealism to the absurdity of an arm wrestle over who gets to be more free.

      1. semper loquitur

        Thanks for the link, I’m going to listen to it later. Here is a metastudy from PubMed that shows a weak but significant link between testosterone and aggression in two categories, baseline and change, but not in causal.

        Is testosterone linked to human aggression? A meta-analytic examination of the relationship between baseline, dynamic, and manipulated testosterone on human aggression

        Testosterone is often considered a critical regulator of aggressive behaviour. There is castration/replacement evidence that testosterone indeed drives aggression in some species, but causal evidence in humans is generally lacking and/or-for the few studies that have pharmacologically manipulated testosterone concentrations-inconsistent. More often researchers have examined differences in baseline testosterone concentrations between groups known to differ in aggressiveness (e.g., violent vs non-violent criminals) or within a given sample using a correlational approach. Nevertheless, testosterone is not static but instead fluctuates in response to cues of challenge in the environment, and these challenge-induced fluctuations may more strongly regulate situation-specific aggressive behaviour. Here, we quantitatively summarize literature from all three approaches (baseline, change, and manipulation), providing the most comprehensive meta-analysis of these testosterone-aggression associations/effects in humans to date. Baseline testosterone shared a weak but significant association with aggression (r = 0.054, 95% CIs [0.028, 0.080]), an effect that was stronger and significant in men (r = 0.071, 95% CIs [0.041, 0.101]), but not women (r = 0.002, 95% CIs [-0.041, 0.044]). Changes in T were positively correlated with aggression (r = 0.108, 95% CIs [0.041, 0.174]), an effect that was also stronger and significant in men (r = 0.162, 95% CIs [0.076, 0.246]), but not women (r = 0.010, 95% CIs [-0.090, 0.109]). The causal effects of testosterone on human aggression were weaker yet, and not statistically significant (r = 0.046, 95% CIs [-0.015, 0.108]). We discuss the multiple moderators identified here (e.g., offender status of samples, sex) and elsewhere that may explain these generally weak effects. We also offer suggestions regarding methodology and sample sizes to best capture these associations in future work.

  19. Lexx

    “Fatigue is common among older adults.’

    ‘Are you sleeping more and enjoying it less?’ and how would you know? How does one acquire the evidence that prove or deny restorative quality sleep?

    Serotonin is manufactured in the gut by serotonin-producing bacteria. Not all your serotonin, but most of it. Consider what the human gut goes through in Western culture from birth to age 60. Add in contracting Covid-19 and/or several rounds of Covid vaccines.

    Continuous sleep deficiency underlies immune deficiency… but there’s no pharmaceutical remedy for this imbalance. No profit as yet.

    My mother said that every time she went to her doctor to complain about something, he just told her she was getting old (rather than confront her again about her diabetes and lifetime of smoking).

    1. OwlishSprite

      Being an old, I notice that what I eat has almost everything to do with my level of energy. I have had to adjust my diet to non-processed foods completely. Having complete control of what kinds of fats and how much and what kind of sodium and off-label ingredients are in my food is the only thing that works for me now. However you all feel about organic food, it tastes and smells like food, not perfumey whatever. When I feel OK, I can exercise, and I can sleep. I think it’s difficult for some people to get wholesome food these days.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Ditto. Removing the last of the processed food from my diet seems to have set my body free. Instead of getting aches and pains from doing hard work I find myself feeling stronger.

        I don’t eat a huge variety of food, but so long as super hot peppers are in my diet, it never gets boring ; )

      2. Lexx

        I think they’re confused about the word ‘wholesome’. Rice is thought to be a whole grain and nothing remains in my diet that will result in a blood glucose spike higher than rice. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s white or brown. I might as well munch on cookies. Where the spikes come from and the inflammation that follows varies with each individual. It sounds like you’ve unlocked what food does for you.

        1. OwlishSprite

          I have medical histories of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease in my family. A kind doctor told me in my 20s that I needed to watch what I ate to avoid these propensities. A lot of veg and tofu for me, miso, kimchi, big salads and local beef and eggs, goat milk/cheese–a Japanese type diet suits me best. And food combining so that I don’t eat animal proteins and bread/potatoes together, etc. It took time to learn, but it works.

    2. Publius Flavius

      My mother who died last year from cancer was told by her ‘dawk ter’….the pain in her leg was due to age…..a tumor that had metastasized probably from her lungs was ….OLD AGE.. no tests …no concern…criminal..

      I hate our ‘medical’ system.

  20. garden breads

    Regarding thread about whites migrating the from the south weren’t former slaveholders. In late 60s I was with a white working class organization which allied with some “southern” groups and the Chicago Black Panthers as described by Colette Gaiter in her widely republished article “When Black Panthers Aligned with Confederate-Flag-Wielding, Working-Class Whites”. Until recently my congressman was former Black Panther Bobby Rush (who Obama primaried for his seat and lost). Some of the “confederates” knew very well that their grand grand grand-pappy fought for the Union but flew the stars and bars because the way they were treated and portrayed. Not that all were necessarily race-free, but they knew who the common enemy was.

  21. Calundrum

    Newsom, eminently not qualified to be president.

    In 10 years, Newsom 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.”

    “Open the Books reveal that large corporate campaign contributors gave campaign cash to Gov. Newsom and separately received significantly more in state payments – corporations gave $691,615 in campaign donations and received $1.9 billion in state payments. That’s a very nice return on investment – a $10.6 million investment for a $6.3 billion return. Open the Books had to sue and then had to file 442 California Public Record Act requests – one with each state agency – in order to obtain California’s line-by-line spending by state agencies, because California’s Controller, Betty Yee, rejected their sunshine request for state spending, claiming she “couldn’t locate” any of the nearly 50 million bills she paid in 2019.”

    Newsom unveiled his scaled down blueprint for the California bullet train four years ago, he proposed building a 171-mile starter segment in the Central Valley that would begin operating in 2030 and cost $22.8 billion.

    Today, the blueprint is fraying — costs now exceed future funding, an official estimate of future ridership has dropped by 25%, and the schedule to start to carry people is slipping. That’s raising fresh concerns about the future of the nation’s largest infrastructure project. etc. etc.

    1. JBird4049

      I would not blame Governor Gavin Newso completely for the disaster that is the bullet train as that was former Governor Jerry Brown’ baby. However, on the homelessness, Governor Goodhair owns it as despite the endemic corruption in the various levels of government in California, he could have done a great amount towards solving it especially with his political and social connections. The nearly two decades in government shows that.

      Much of what is going wrong with the state is a lack of concern with running the government, but instead a great concern with running the gravy train than any real inability or incompetence. The incompetence is there, but it is not the greatest problem.

  22. BlueMoose

    Anyone else questioning the official memo from McDonald’s regarding upcoming layoffs?

    In the internal email, McDonald’s said it was closing its U.S. offices for those three days for employees’ comfort and privacy, as well as for timing since it’s a busy travel week ahead of Passover and Easter.

    I suspect they just don’t want some 50 year old guy that has invested his whole life in this to show up at the office with a shotgun after he gets his layoff notice virtually.

    Apologies: not related to any of great links today. Maybe more tomorrow after layoffs start.
    More corporate nonsense:

    McDonald’s reorganization will include deprioritizing and halting certain initiatives, Kempczinski said back in January. At the time, McDonald’s said the layoffs weren’t a cost-cutting measure, but instead are meant to help the company innovate faster and work more efficiently.

    1. ambrit

      Someone seriously needs to doxx the McDonald’s upper management. Then have a company wide 12 gauge #4 steel shot cartridges give away. A little “forced retirement” for the upper management would be salutary.

  23. Alice X

    >Seeing is more than believing: Exploring ‘de Sitter space’ to explain gravity in the expanding early universe.

    I have to read this piece again because I didn’t get the explanation. In any event I’ll readily admit it would be way over my head, except in a nutshell version. When I was very young I read the Christian Bible, at least one version, but I quickly thought: this doesn’t do it. Like the Jodie Foster younger character in the movie Contact, I wanted a telescope to look for myself. Unlike her I didn’t keep at it, but I’ve always been fascinated.

    Here’s what I think I know. The first image of the early universe at about 360,000 years is said to be this:

    It’s lumpy and there must have been time and gravity in the Einstein sense.

    But it would be 180 million years before the first stars.

    Nothing can travel through space faster than the speed of light so
    why can we see this picture now? Because space itself can and did expand many times faster than the speed of light.

    The earliest universe, before it started expanding was uniform. It did not have time or gravity in the Einstein sense. Since it didn’t have time, it can’t be known how long it existed. Or if that is even a way to put the question.

    Ok, so those are extremely simple descriptions. I can’t fathom how all of a sudden the Universe had time, gravity and expansion.

    1. Not Qualified to Comment

      What you’ve stated as facts (“Nothing can travel through space faster than the speed of light” etc.) are in fact assumptions, or working hypotheses. Part of Darwin’s problem when he proposed evolution as explaining the origin of species was that at the time there was no way to explain how the sun was able to burn at a steady rate for the millions of years evolution required – nuclear physics was still a generation in his future.

      We currently know of nothing that can travel through space faster than the speed of light but that doesn’t mean there isn’t, and perhaps future generations will sneer at us the way we sneer at Darwin’s critics. In fact quantum entanglement demands that altering the ‘spin’ of a twinned particle instantly alters the spin of its twin regardless of the distance between them, so it seems there is something ‘faster than light’. We just currently have no idea what it is.

      So while your questions are valid it’s a mistake to assume we should have all the answers, as their absence doesn’t invalidate the questions. What they can do is to clarify the known unknowns.

  24. MT_Wild

    $2 million for retirement. Is that really “guillotine watch” or ” accidental truth”.

    If they say $2 million maybe you can squeeze by on $1 million. Kinda let’s you know where you stand and what you have coming in “retirement”*

    * I use that term in context of race horses and earthside replicants.

  25. JBird4049

    >>>Planned Parenthood affiliate fires two union leaders, disciplines entire bargaining team Minnesota Reformer

    If the article from the Minnesota Reformer is accurate, it looks like Planned Parenthood wants to put the proles or serfs back into their proper subservient place using dishonest methods.

  26. Glen

    This talk gets very interesting, and discusses much of what is discussed here. I’ve skipped to the start of the interview:

    The Great Tech Billionaire Escape w/ Douglas Rushkoff | MRLive – 4/3/23

    Sam and Emma host Douglas Rushkoff, professor of Media Studies at Queens College, to discuss his recent book Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires.

      1. notabanker

        Thanks for that, I had no idea there was a fund raiser going on, I pay more attention during the week than on weekends.

      2. Keith in Modesto

        So no Water Cooler until the fundraiser meets it’s goal? I skimmed through the fundraising announcement and missed that, if that’s the case.

      3. LaRuse

        I was out of town all weekend and am still catching up on a backlog of blog posts. Thanks for pointing this out. I paid a little into the Hamster Fund.

  27. digi_owl

    The amount of rah rah about Finland’s NATO membership among supposed smart people is deeply worrying.

    Either that, or the reach of cyber command is far wider and deeper than anyone should be comfortable with.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I do draw some premature schadenfreude from the mental image of some of the most long term NATO proponents of Finland winning the election and having to be the ones who in a few years will go to Putin to beg his benevolence and improve the bilateral relations.

      Without the cheap Russian energy and the purchasing power of Saint Petersburg, Finland is just the distant fringe of a suffocating European economy.

      1. digi_owl

        Flippin’, now it just dawned on me that USA basically bailed out Nokia and Ericsson by scaring “everyone” away from buying Huawei equipment for their new mobile networks.

    1. Tim

      I have a $60 Lizard, but it was 2-3x that to diagnose she was constipated because she got too fat and I should be feeding her less. The lizard is supposed to get yearly checkups, but no way I’m ever going back unless she stops eating completely.

      Pets are the only object in the world who’s value increases by 100x once purchased, and drops to less than zero if you ever try to sell it.

  28. fresno dan,in%20a%20Horse%2DDrawn%20Carriage&text=March%2031%2C%202023%203%3A27%20p.m.&text=When%20police%20officer%20William%20Henry,issued%20the%20president%20a%20warning.

    When police officer William Henry West pulled over Ulysses S. Grant for speeding in a horse-drawn carriage on the streets of Washington, D.C. in 1872, he issued the president a warning. The very next day, however, West caught Grant in the midst of another race with his friends.

    Looking like “a schoolboy who had been caught in a guilty act by his teacher,” as West recalled to the Evening Star in 1908, Grant reportedly asked, “Do you think, officer, that I was violating the speed laws?” Answering in the affirmative, West replied, “I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the chief of the nation, and I am nothing but a policeman, but duty is duty, sir, and I will have to place you under arrest.”
    The Evening Star report is the only detailed account of Grant’s arrest; as the Post notes, “standards of journalism, particularly with quotations, were not as rigorous back then as today, *** so it’s nearly impossible to know whether this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Still, the fact that Grant was arrested for speeding isn’t in dispute: In 2012, Cathy Lanier, then-head of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, confirmed the story to WTOP, adding that officers “actually stopped and cited” Grant for speeding on three separate occasions.
    news and/or history to me. If not for Trump’s legal woes, I never would have known this
    *** ironic

  29. paddy

    usa, uk, german tanks not “suited” to russian ukraine threats:

    survivability is a suitability feature in the usa’s dod operational test requirements list.

    after problems with usa weapons susceptibility to potential enemy fires congress enacted a requirement for “live fire testing” with ordnance the system could face.

    it is hard to comply with bc it suggests tester blow up new things like expensive and short stocked f-35’s, and ford class carriers. the tests on ford class were watered down bc only one example!!!!

    abrams tanks may be delivered before the enactment.

    there were a couple of live fires on abrams’ in iraq that are troubling!

    it is likely that all three brands of tank developed in the 1970’s are not suited to modern atgm etc.

    the other problem with 3 brands of tank adding up to about 2 us army armored brigade numbers is the gross inefficiency of sustaining these ‘small number’ systems in the harsh battlefield environment.

    any logistician asked about supplying tanks would tell the “boss” only one design otherwise we cannot support!!

  30. Wukchumni

    April skiing in the High Sierra is usually a ski early and then quit as the snow melts out under sunny skies around noon, a condition called ‘mashed potatoes’ which is no fun as the snow with the consistency of a slurpee left outside, tends to grab at the bottom of your planks-no thanks.

    It was nothing like that today @ Mammoth, maybe 15 degrees on the slopes and oh so cold, with the frozen terra firma a little icy, didn’t they get the spring skiing memo?

    I’m blown away by what has the look of a walled medieval city, with ramparts rising 20-35 feet all over town, in this-the biggest amount of snowfall ever recorded in what is usually one heck of a snow catcher locale in normal times…

  31. some guy

    Here is a neat animated bar-chart for the prices of various categories of things since the GFC of 2008 until now. It is from the ” dataisbeautiful” subreddit. As I look at it, it looks like the price of various aspects of survival has gone up or very up, whereas the price of various aspects of mere toys and amusements and entertainments have gone down or very down.

    Here is the link.

  32. some guy

    And here is a little sign posted by a Seattle business explaining why they have gone tip-free. ( One hopes that they have raised the wages of their workers to a decent living-wage level. They probably have to charge a decent living-wage price for their ice cream to be able to pay a decent living wage. If so, one hopes the customers cheerfully and agreeably pay that decent living-wage price.)

    Anyway, here is the link.

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