Links 4/7/2023

This cat, nearly 32 years old, has a shot at being the oldest feline in the world FOX

Flamingos form cliques with like-minded pals (press release) University of Exeter

Snake Discovered That Actually Does Cartwheels, And We Have Pics to Prove It Science Alert (Chuck L).

Elephants may be domesticating themselves Nature

The Active Management Delusion: Respect the Wisdom of the Crowd Enterprising Investor. But not, it seems, for capital investment. Honestly, could sortition be worse?

Could Direct Indexing Lower Your Taxes? Morningstar


Study: Sea-level rise is double-edged sword for carbon storage

Someone is torching trees in Northeast Los Angeles, prompting fear and an investigation Los Angeles Times


Lake Mead water level rises, defies projections KTLA


Real-world effectiveness of primary series and booster doses of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine against Omicron BA.2 variant infection in China: a retrospective cohort study The Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “Inactivated COVID-19 vaccines provided modest protection from infection, very good protection against pneumonia, and excellent protection against severe/critical COVID-19.” I kinda work on the theory that Covid spikes are bad, and for a minority, spike factories can be really bad. So I would very much like to see a study comparing and contrasting mRNA vs. inactivated virus technology for Covid (which I assume would have to be a natural experiment (or a challenge). If there is such a study, I didn’t get the memo. Readers?

Toward a Universal Definition of Post–COVID-19 Condition—How Do We Proceed? JAMA:

“[T]here must be one agreed universal definition of this condition; with one title that can be adopted by all studies in the future. We would suggest such a definition to be “signs and symptoms following initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, that persist for more than one month (in mild cases), and more than three months (in cases severe enough to warrant oxygen support), which have a disproportionately severe effect on a patient’s quality of life, far beyond what is expected from their initial infection.” The difference between this definition and existing ones from NICE, the CDC, and WHO is that it takes into account disease severity from initial COVID infection, therefore acknowledging that PCC is different than recovery from a straightforward pneumonia, which if severe enough, can also take a prolonged period for patients to fully recover. Our suggested definition also acknolwedges that PCC can be present even in those whose persistent symptoms can be explained, since the explanation may involve a long-term consequence of acute infection. … While some organizations, including the WHO and JAMA Network journals, prefer the term post–COVID-19 condition, we prefer the term long COVID, since this was the term originally developed by patients, not clinicians, to raise concerns about the impact of their symptoms on their well-being.

As You Grieve, Your Brain Redraws Its Neural Map Psychology Today


The warm embrace and the cold shoulder: China mines Europe’s fractures during joint visit Politico. Much hilarious detail.

Exclusive: China plans $500 million subsea internet cable to rival US-backed project Reuters (PP).

China’s Historic Preservation Challenges JSTOR Daily

Florida’s ban of Chinese drones leaves local fire, police scrambling to rebuild fleets Local10

How a fight between 2 Indonesian youths sparked scrutiny into the wealth of civil servants Channel News Asia


What to know about the XBB.1.16 COVID variant causing concern in India ABC

European Disunion

Protesters storm BlackRock’s Paris office holding red flares and firing smoke bombs CNN

French strikes and popular mobilizations continue, contesting not only retirement rollback, but also police brutality and authoritarian politics The International Marcist-Humanist

Strikes in Germany disrupt flights and trains, ‘paralyzing’ Europe’s biggest economy CNN

Farmers’ Revolt New Left Review. The Netherlands.

Dear Old Blighty

Schools in England brace for more strikes as NEU rejects pay offer Guardian

Junior doctors in England: share your views on the BMA strike Guardian

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine readies spring offensive expected to be largest mobilization since war with Russia began FOX. The deck: “Ukraine’s spring offensive is expected to be at least twice the size of its fall mobilization.” “Twice the size.” Like a boxer who can’t make w]eight?

* * *

Minsk deal was used to buy time – Ukraine’s Poroshenko RT. But what if the truth is even more Byzantine:

Finland Gives NATO a King in the North Foreign Policy

Russia Is Winning in Georgia Francis Fukuyama and Nino Evgenidze, Foreign Affairs. The deck: “America Needs to Get Tough on Tbilisi.” Francis Fukuyama? Dear Lord. Also, to the Blob Copy Desk: I believe the term of art is “git tough.” No thanks necessary!

A Singular Reality, or Not MR Online

* * *

State actor involvement in Nord Stream pipeline attacks is ‘main scenario’, says Swedish investigator Reuters. Must be small state; they used a small yacht.

Cisco Moscow trashed offices as it quit Putin’s putrid pariah state The Register. The deck: “Even destroyed spare parts, then may have rubbed salt into the wound by filing for tax write-offs.” Classy!

Biden Administration

A Valuable Early-warning System for Disease Outbreaks Could Be Shut Down Scientific American. “The Biden administration’s proposed 2024 budget does not include any mention of the CDC’s wastewater surveillance system, and public health funding bills have repeatedly stalled in Congress.” The feeds are going out all over America. We shall not see their data again in our life-time. (Actually, I am more optimistic than that. But holy moley!)

READ: Pentagon’s Afghanistan withdrawal report to Congress The Hill

Biden admin releases new Title IX regulations on transgender issues in schools FOX. I would have to parse this carefully…..

The Supremes

Clarence Thomas Secretly Accepted Luxury Trips From GOP Donor ProPublica. Musical interlude.

Los Angeles Times reported about Justice Thomas’ gifts 20 years ago. After that he stopped disclosing them LA Times (Furzy Mouse).

B-a-a-a-d Banks

A month after liquidity shock, how’s banks’ lending business looking? Marketplace

How SVB-Like Risks Confounded Tokyo’s $5 Trillion Man Forbes

The Bezzle

Tesla Employees Reportedly Passed Around Images Of Crashes, Road Rage And Owners’ Kids Taken By Car Cameras Forbes. Best headline, though TechMeme’s rubric is even better: “Tesla staff privately shared video’s from customers’ car cameras from 2019 to 2022 in one-on-one chats, including of a car hitting a child riding a bike.” This is the culture the pushing AI on us….


ChatGPT Opens Door to Four-Day Week, Says Nobel Prize Winner Bloomberg. For five days pay?

Artificial intelligence: ChatGPT statements can influence users’ moral judgements (press release) NewsWise. Don’t tell marketing! Oh, wait…

Among all of his mistakes, don’t forget Elon Musk is singlehandedly crushing a big chunk of Internet research for no good reason Nieman Labs. The deck: “Access to Twitter’s API has been mostly free to researchers for more than a decade. So how does $210,000 a month sound?”

Apocalyptic AI The Convivial Society

Meta releases AI model that can identify items within images Reuters

Samsung’s AI photo feature adds creepy teeth to baby photos Boing Boing

Supply Chain

Samsung to cut memory chip output to tackle global glut as profits tumble FT

Zeitgeist Watch

Nashville killer Audrey Hale slept with journals on school shootings under bed, court docs reveal FOX. Key points as I keep saying, unaddressed, even by FOX: “[T]he Covenant School, where the killer was once a student,” and the manifesto, “yet to be released.” One might wonder if there was some triggering event at the school. One might also wonder why the “manifesto” is still under wrapsMR SUBLIMINAL Being doctored at the FBI‘s publication has been so long deferred.

What does it mean to be a boy online in 2023? FT

‘Objectivity’ Obliterates Empathy and Curiosity FAIR. Can’t we have all three? Or is this a trilemma?

“There’s Gold in Them Thar Fungi”: Cordyceps as Cash Crop JSTOR Daily. What could go wrong?

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Fire and Rain by James Taylor)

    Just yesterday mornin’ our little secret came out
    The millions in gifts you gave me are in the news
    You’ll say we’re just friends, and I’ll do a big pout
    But there’s just no defending what they accuse

    I’ve been well and truly bought
    Dark money flows will all be publicized
    There’ll be no more trips on your jet and on your yacht
    And then there’s all those Federalist guys

    Won’t you pick up the phone there, Harlan?
    I only serve as you command
    And there’ll be legal bills you can help me pay
    If we don’t talk this will get out of hand
    And I’m not a crook if I was led astray

    I’ve been well and truly bought
    Dark money flows will all be publicized
    There’ll be no more trips on your jet and on your yacht
    And then there’s all those Federalist guys

    I go back in my mind to an easy time
    When I was your favored son
    I did suppose that my brown nose
    Would have kept that safe and sound
    Now I’m spending my time on the telephone line
    Dealing with what’s going on
    I need marines or a man of means
    If I hope to stick around

    Oh, I’ve been well and truly bought
    Dark money flows will all be publicized
    There’ll be no more trips on your jet and on your yacht
    And then there’s those crazy Federalist guys
    They’ll all be mad as hell, now
    And there’s the IRS coming back around now,
    I’d like to see you, love to see you, once again now

    1. Cameron Jones

      Oh golly these are so good! Is somebody, somewhere, actually performing these Antifa ReCover-songs? I will sing this one all day.

  2. ArkansasAngie

    Nashville shooter …” … some triggering event at the school….”
    Blaming the victims are we?

      1. IMOR

        I would guess they haven’t seen your comments on the Covenant School suspicious happenings ten years gone.

    1. Carolinian

      Nothing is more predictable than that some on the left would attempt to say this latest school shooting was all the fault of the religious school because of the shooter’s trans status. In fact some early reports suggested she picked that school only because other schools had better security. She did apparently attend the school as a child.

      As for “One might also wonder why the “manifesto” is still under wraps,” those same early reports have said the trans community is the one vehemently opposed to releasing the manifesto. After all it might not accord with the above narrative. News must be managed, not reported, if a single issue is all you have to talk about. Much better to condemn the shooter and her actions, as we do with all these incidents.

    1. Grebo

      The track I assume is real. The speculation that the P8 dropped a weapon which took out three pipelines I think is doubtful. More likely it dropped a sonar buoy that triggered bombs which were placed earlier. That would make it consistent with Hersh’s story, except his P8 was Norwegian.

  3. timbers


    Am seeing various reports that Biden and now Blinken are getting busy signals when phoning XI and XI won’t return their calls. Gee wonder why? Someone is looking isolated but it is not Russia.

    So sad. What are Biden and Blinken going to do? Write XI letters? It must be some sort of misunderstanding.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Misunderstanding (Blinkens lament):

      There must be some misunderstanding
      There must be some kind of mistake
      I was waiting by the phone for hours
      You were late

      Now it’s not like me to say the right thing
      But you could’ve called to let me know
      I checked your number twice, don’t understand it
      So I went home

      Well, I’d been waiting for this next summit
      I thought that maybe we could spin and blow (hot air)
      Never dreamed I’d have this feeling
      But seeing you is believing
      That’s why I don’t know why
      You didn’t show up on Skype

      There must be some misunderstanding
      There must be some kind of mistake
      I was waiting in the metaverse for hours
      You were late

      Since then, I’ve been running around trying to find you
      I went to the places that you always go
      I rang your embassy but got no answer
      Jumped in my car, I went round there
      I still don’t believe it
      Vlad was just leaving

      There must be some misunderstanding
      There must be some kind of mistake

      1. timbers

        I prefer the line from Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 when Dr Benell calls the operator to put him through to the FBI in Sacramento.

        “Those circuits are still busy, Dr Benell. Would you like me to keep trying?” for the upteenth time as he realizes the operator is among the Body Snatched.

        1. square coats

          I like to think that, if there’s a particular person who’s responsible for taking the calls and informing Biden/Blinken/whoever makes the calls that Xi isn’t currently available, that this call taker is no doubt impeccably polite to the point of infuriating Biden and Blinky, and it must be a lot of fun to be able to do that. :)

    2. Mildred Montana

      >”Someone is looking isolated but it is not Russia.”

      Is it any wonder? Since the end of WWII and the immediate rise of the national security state, America hasn’t sought for alliances. As the only super-power it has merely tried to set up puppet dictators in vassal countries. If a country so chosen for this uniquely American form of “alliance” refused to go along with its demands it was put on the “Enemy” list. Wasn’t it GWB who said, “You’re either with us or you’re against us?” Well GWB, it looks like there are many against us. And that enemy list grows longer every day.

      Back in 1986 Gore Vidal wrote a prescient essay called “The Day the American Empire Ran Out of Gas”. In it he advised an alliance between the US and Russia to counteract the rising Asian powers, China and Japan. At that time of course the Cold War with the USSR was still pretty hot so those war-mongers on the National Security Council (est. 1947) didn’t even think about it. How can we possibly form an alliance? The USSR is communist! The USSR is an enemy! Even though, to more clear-thinking people, it posed little danger to the US itself.

      If only the NSC had taken Vidal’s advice. It wouldn’t now be so isolated. But of course it doesn’t take advice. It only gives it.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Good point. I can’t think of a single country that is in an “alliance” with the US on equal terms. They’re all either supplicants, bootlickers, or in such an advanced state of decline (Old Blighty, Japan) as to be effectively worthless in a real war.

  4. chukjones

    “Strikes in Germany disrupt flights and trains” I like the nod to Capitalism from CNN, “Nationwide strikes in Germany — among its worst in decades ” Only “the worst” if your a capitalist. Add CNN to State Disinformation outlet from yesterday’s links.

  5. DorothyT

    Washington Post

    NASHVILLE — The Republican-led Tennessee House voted Thursday to expel two Democratic lawmakers who halted proceedings last week to join protesters demanding gun-control legislation after a mass killing.

    One couldn’t help but notice that most of the protesters were white and young.

    1. Wukchumni

      The generation born around 9/11 has only known the veneration of guns-which have won just about every legal battle when pitted against humans since then, why wouldn’t they emerge victorious once again in Tennessee?

      1. foghorn longhorn

        I saw the photo of the 3 yesterday and that was my first thought, I know who’s getting kicked out.

    2. FredW

      I haven’t been following this super closely, but one impression I get (and I’d be glad to be better informed) is that the Democrats and allies have wanted to make sure to kill any interest or discussion about what motives or even alleged justification a trans person may have had in attacking a Christian school and so have, rather successfully, made the narrative all about gun control. The reaction demonstrations seem larger than usual to me and the downplaying of motives, e.g., suppression of the “manifesto”, seems striking.

          1. Wukchumni

            Flip Wilson was the token drag queen in the 70’s.

            Paul Lynde was the token gay man in the 70’s.

            That’s all you need to know, really.

            1. Yves Smith

              No, he was doing female impersonation as part of a comedy routine along with nearly all straight male characters.

              Flip himself was NOT a drag queen.

              He created Geraldine as a vocal impersonation and when he got his own show, upgraded her with the full costuming. I bought recordings of Wilson’s routines before he got his show.

              See Flip doing Geraldine (along with Rev and The Devil) while wearing a beautiful suit on the Ed Sullivan show:


              1. Wukchumni

                My bad, you’re right it was just a character, but the only hint of anything trans on tv 50 years ago, versus say the UK which had a long history of men in frocks.

                That clip brought back memories…

            2. skippy

              The gay blokes I’ve know say after 50 heaps of blokes jump paddocks … does that make them token in the theatrical sense – IQMWLTK …

              But hay … have you ever had a Doc Savage looking bloke tap you on the shoulder and ask for a dance, whilst out with a collage girl from University of Tennessee [virgin vault dorm]. Best dance club she said, brought mate from 101st that was almost a spitting image of Bowie and from Nashville originally [got ludes from Elvis Dr] and bi lol, this ranger sheepishly replied … not my type as I grappled with my mind at the time … that was late 70s ….

              Then again I know of an instance where about 8 white collar drug dealers coming from upper middle class and wealthy were celebrating a huge deal. Hundreds of thousands before each person, getting so high, until, one bloke on a lark asked how much for someone in the room to give oral to someone else. It was all good fun until the numbers were getting so high that lets not go there because we’ll all have to live with it later on ….

              As such I find the idea of token a spirituous label because like it or not its all fluid … lmmao at the military …

  6. griffen

    Twitter is no longer in the interest of pretending to make money, and even fail at doing that, so they will be charging for access to their API twitter data resource tools. Hurry, someone better call the Whambulance and alert all authorities, for this meanness and monstrosity of a corporation. Charging to access their data! Another crying river of an article, laying the blame and source of all modern ills upon Elon Musk.

    Michael Bloomberg, of that Bloomberg Markets fame, wrote the book on this topic. Charge for any and practically all data that people, once upon a time, had been able to get their hands on for free or relatively accessible. Ask anyone who worked in fixed income or equity market settings, and they will tell you. Free data is likely worth what you pay for it in 2023, but others mileage may vary.

    1. Bacon

      Twitter is a public website and generally its data is made freely available through the app or web page.There are many other ways to programmatically gather that data but generally they are more resource intensive for the provider of the service than an API tailored to this type of use. Yet again, this truly is Elon shooting himself in the foot because of a lack of technical understanding.

      Just because the big brains in charge of capitalism can’t find a use for data hardly indicates its uselessness. There is a wide range of significant research being done with the unique dataset tweets represent.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        Re: “Twitter is a public website…

        Not really. Twitter is a web site that is made available to the public. It is owned by a corporation backed by a small number of individuals (Musk has some co-owners), who are under no obligation to make the site, any or all of it’s postings, or it’s underlying data available to the public in any form, for free, or for pay. Likewise, they are under no obligation to support research by those outside their organization that might find value in their data.

        My advice is that if you want to research social media phenomena, work with an organization that is aligned with your research goals, and exhibits a high level of intelligence and integrity. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up covered in mud, with only a pleasured pig to show for your efforts.

        1. GramSci

          “… if you want to research social media phenomena, work with an organization that is aligned with your research goals, and exhibits a high level of intelligence and integrity and can spare $210,000 per month.

          … as if there are lots of such organizations …

          but Elon is probably confident he can find at least a few such organizations aligned with his research goals.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Sure, you can try to scrap data, but given the volume of information that flows through Twitter, you’d need to deploy a sophisticated setup utilizing a massive number of nodes, like a bot net, to get at what you want in parallel to avoid getting throttled or banned by Twitter, assuming they have enough people to actually implement countermeasures to scraping at this stage. So you could try this, and it might work, but there’s a much higher barrier to entry. And you’d need to re-structure the data you do get out and normalize it.

      3. notabanker

        Sorry but the only one who is lacking in technical understanding is yourself. Twitter is a not a public website, it is a privately held company. As user of their software you agree to a terms of service contract and in that contract you grant Twitter world wide license to use your content basically however they see fit:
        By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods now known or later developed (for clarity, these rights include, for example, curating, transforming, and translating). This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, Retweet, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.

        If they decide that terms and conditions of content use require compensation for API access, then they are well within their legal rights to charge for it. If they decide to let the government censor your content, they can. If they decide to hand over your content to the government to prosecute, or persecute you, they can. Whether the government can legally do so is a whole different story.

  7. zagonostra

    >French protesters with flares storm BlackRock offices in Paris

    Not sure why the every escalating French protests are not getting the coverage they deserve.

    Some of the Twitter feeds of police in their storm trooper garb cracking protestor’s skulls are truly dystopic.

    1. Aurelien

      The short answer is that the situation in France is extremely complicated, and doesn’t fit into any simple political paradigm. To understand it you need to be reasonably familiar with French politics, the Constitution and the way that government and parliament work. As a result, the MSM can’t find an angle to exploit, and is reduced to writing about what it understands: essentially the political struggle going on at the moment, or some of it, anyway. “Alternative” news sources meanwhile, tend to speak to actors they find sympathetic but who are, like Mélenchon’s LFI, frankly marginal to the process. The rest is basically human-interest stories, devoid of context.

      In case it’s of interest, I devoted this week’s Substack essay to trying to explain what seems to be happening now and might happen shortly. It’s at:

      1. Michaelmas

        @ Aurelian/David —

        Just to say I liked your previous entry, ‘The Threat of Back to Normal,’ quite a bit.

      2. Bugs

        I thought your essay linked to above, especially the first half, was an excellent primer on the state of French politics today, and how we got here. Beautifully written as well.

        I agree that without some background on who the players are in this drama, and what motivates them, the foreign, meaning anglophone, MSM really doesn’t know how to put the events into an easy to understand context that their audience can identify with. It reminds me of when the Gilets Jaunes were at their height of protest and I told an American colleague that I had a lot of sympathy for their demands and supported the cause, without being out in the streets myself. He was appalled because he thought they were the French equivalent of MAGA – that was apparently the reference he got from the US media. It confused me but I didn’t really have a way to explain it to him because he was so put off by it.

    2. Nealser

      I was in Paris two weeks ago for a conference. Passed many of the Gendarmerie in their storm trooper garb preparing for that nights protests. The strange part of see these guys up close, is that they were happy and smiling as they marched through the streets. Like ‘party’s on tonight boys’.

  8. Ali

    State actor involvement…
    Parenthetically : on Asiatimes, ZEIT journalist Holger Stark is quoted as saying that officials in Germany, Sweden and Denmark had decided shortly after the September 26, 2022, pipeline bombings “to send teams to the site to recover the one mine that has not gone off. He said they were too late; an American ship had sped to the site within a day or two and recovered the mine and other materials.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Has anybody asked the US government for images and a detailed report on that recovered mine so as to determine the identity of the country that set those explosives?

      1. NYT_Memes

        Shortly after the Nord Stream sabotage Diana Johnstone wrote “Omerta in the Gangster War”, which best explains the official stance within NATO. In spite of Seymour Hersh officials are still trying to hold to the preferred handling of this massive crime. Similar to the 3 monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil). As a reminder I have linked to the article, in case anyone missed it.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        At this point, it doesn’t matter what the u.s. gov or cia or whatever says, or what the relentlessly propagandized and cognitively challenged american public “thinks.”

        The other billions of people on the planet know what happened with Nordstream.

        Xi won’t pick up the phone and Iran and Saudi Arabia have reached some sort of agreement. There was a video of an African leader on The Automatic Earth the other day chastising america for lecturing anyone else on the subject of “democracy.” Russia is pulverizing Ukraine and the French people are attacking blackrock.

        Discipline will not be imposed on the biden regime from within. The rest of the world has had enough. The only thing that remains to be seen is what life will be like when the good, ole u s of a no longer runs the global show.

    2. NN Cassandra

      Hersh mentioned the same thing in his latest installment. IMO this basically seals the deal. If Americans knew where to pick up the unexploded mine and then just ran away without telling anyone… Also if EU officials knew about this, it means they are lying right from the start, just carrying water for CIA, all the “investigations” are not even a joke.

      It would be interesting if anyone would be able ask a few probing question about this. Like if officials can confirm or deny this happened, that US ship was sailing around the pipes just after they exploded and before others got to the place, what they did or didn’t find there, etc.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My gut is the private discussions among euro politicians back in late 2021 was absolutely deranged to a point where Hollande’s confession is probably lipstick on a pig (a need to disrupt the New Silk Road at all costs to maintain control of trade routes). Not only will Euro politicos have directly damaged their economies, they will have created conditions where Euro companies will be the ordinary target of global backlash. These same politcos can’t walk away from the Ukraine project because the reputation damage has been done. If they lose Ukraine, they will have nothing to show.

        The Biden people were also likely obviously nuts. Zelensky threatened to build nukes after he met Harris. Long term falling under the influence of Biden is not a good look given Biden is a thug and a moron.

  9. fresno dan

    A Singular Reality, or Not MR Online
    The “singular reality” (my phrase) on display here is the imagined reality in the mind’s eye of Beltline/Pentagon global strategists. Few readers will be surprised at the cravings of neoconservatives to control every inch of the planet. Many readers will be surprised to learn about the bipartisan nature of the vision and strategy, and the wide shifts of heretofore accepted perspectives, following the collapse of the East Bloc. Most shocking for readers of this volume will likely be the apparent embrace of the huge dangers of nuclear war now staring us in the face.
    Not news to NC readers, but unfortunately for the MSM informed, it would be a surprise, as the belief that there is battle royales ongoing between the red and blue, repub and dem, when in fact on most substantive issues, they don’t disagree at all. The illusion of choice, you can vote for peace by voting for dems…

    1. pjay

      Taibbi starts by saying this:

      “I’m going to be interviewed on MSNBC today by Mehdi Hasan, the author of a book called Win Every Argument. I’m looking forward to it as one would a root canal or a rectal.”

      “I accepted the invitation because it would have been wrong to refuse, on the off chance he was planning a good-faith discussion. If you’re reading this, things have gone another way.”

      So I’m assuming the interview did not go well. Does anyone know?

      You are right that it is epic. I won’t call it a “rant” because that would not do it justice. Very good.

        1. semper loquitur

          I found this interesting:

          “The Win Every Argument author further pointed out that Taibbi claimed “the EIP was partnered with the government Cybersecurity Infrastructure Agency—CISA—to censor Twitter,” but the reporter mixed up the government agency with the nonprofit firm Center for Internet Security.”

          so I did a quick check on the CIP and found that, while they aren’t the government per say, they are very, very closely affiliated with it:

          “CIS is home to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center® (MS-ISAC®), the trusted resource for cyber threat prevention, protection, response, and recovery for U.S. State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial government entities, and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center® (EI-ISAC®), which supports the rapidly changing cybersecurity needs of U.S. elections offices.”

          So the CIP is a private branch of the governments cyber defense network……I’d bet they work hand in glove with CISA. A mistake is a mistake but it strikes me as a distinction without a difference if the CIP did censor Twitter.

      1. Socal Rhino

        Hasan picked up on two errors in the voluminous reporting, which Taibbi acknowledged and corrected, and Hasan otherwise declined to address the substance. As Taibbi said, no good faith shown.

        I found it instructive to see the twitter accounts retreating the “gotcha” moment amplifying the supposed takedown of the expose including a retweet by a well known and charismatic union leader.

        1. pjay

          Thanks. More or less what I feared. It takes a certain special skill to be able to resist a live media ambush. Jeffrey Sachs has it. Taibbi is much better with the written word. Hasan knew exactly where to attack Taibbi for maximum effect. Unfortunate, for now the whole liberal bubble will “know” that they can ignore what Taibbi and others have worked so hard to uncover.

          1. GramSci

            “Taibbi is much better with the written word.” Yes, writers tend to think before they publish their conclusions.

            Incidentally, this is why the decline in literacy has been so tragic for modern civilization.

            1. digi_owl

              Because thanks to touch interfaces the corporations no longer need a literate workforce. Just have them point and grunt like good little primates. The rest can be overseen by the new (age) priesthood reciting their latin from the virtual pulpits.

        2. Martin Oline

          Hasan likes to win every argument, much like the woman in this cartoon. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

      2. fresno dan

        I last appeared on MSNBC six years ago, on January 13, 2017, to talk with Chris Hayes and of all people Malcolm Nance, about the then-burgeoning Trump-Russia scandal.

        The Trump-Russia story was white-hot and still in its infancy. That same day, news leaked from Israel that Americans warned the Mossad not to share information with the incoming administration, because Russia had “leverages of pressure” on Trump. Asked by Chris about the scandal generally, I made what I thought was a boring-but-true observation, that we in the media didn’t “have any hard evidence” of a conspiracy, just not a lot to go on. This was the TV equivalent of a shrug.

        Nance jumped on this in a way I remember feeling was unexpected and oddly personal. “Matt’s a journalist. I’m an intelligence officer,”*** he snapped. “There is no such thing as coincidence in my world.” Chris jumped in to note reporters have different standards, and I agreed, saying, “We haven’t seen anything that allows us to say unequivocally that x and y happened last year.”

        “Unequivocally” seemed to trigger Nance. With regard to the DNC hack, he said, “That evidence is unequivocal. It’s on the Internet.” As for “these links possibly with the Trump team,” he proclaimed, “You’re probably never going to see the CIA’s report.” Nance went on to answer “no” to a question from Chris about whether leaks “were coming from the intelligence community,” Chris wrapped up with a sensible suggestion that we all not rely on a parade of “leaks and counter-leaks,” and the segment was done.

        To this day I get hit probably a hundred times a day with the question, “What happened to you, man?” What happened? That segment happened, but to MSNBC, not me.

        That exchange between Nance and me was symbolic of a choice the network faced. They could either keep doing what reporters had done since the beginning of time, confining themselves to saying things they could prove. Or, they could adopt a new approach, in which you can say anything is true or confirmed, so long as a politician or intelligence official told you it was.

        We know how that worked out. I was never invited back, nor for a long time was any other traditionally skeptical reporter, while Nance — one of the most careless spewers of provable errors ever to appear on a major American news network — became one of the Peacock’s most familiar faces.
        Rumors and character assassination became the order of the day with regard to Trump. I get tired of explaining that I am not defending Trump, I am defending objectivity, critical thinking, and reality.
        And again, not only is it the reporting, it is also the non-reporting or de-emphasis. After months and months, and months of charges, nothing said after Mueller found NO BASIS for any of it. No introspection, no self reflection, no analysis of who was believed who shouldn’t have been, and why the truthful and correctly skeptical were ignored…
        I think it is pretty obvious now that MSNBC starts with an agenda, and and finds ANY source to support their predetermined conclusions and excludes any information that would reporting supporting the agenda.

        *** Nance served in the United States Navy from 1981 to 2001. As a U.S. Navy specialist in Naval Cryptology, Nance was involved in numerous counter-terrorism, intelligence, and combat operations. He garnered expertise within the fields of intelligence and counterterrorism.
        UH, so what was Nance when he appeared on MSNBC? He was NOT a US intelligence officer at the time – so was he getting, illegally, information from actual intelligence officers??? Funny how that question was not asked….

        So, I didn’t see the interview.

        1. digi_owl

          “I get tired of explaining that I am not defending Trump, I am defending objectivity, critical thinking, and reality.”

          And that has been the overall loss of the last 10-20 years. If you rise any sort of question, you are the enemy full stop. Unquestioning obedience to the humanities spiel is expected and demanded, or face excommunication.

            1. notabanker


              During his presidential campaign, Biden made several promises … He promised to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, to end the war in Yemen, and to treat Saudi Arabia as the “pariah” he considered it to be. During his first year in office, Biden largely abided by these promises: he downgraded the U.S. military presence in Iraq, pulled some advanced military installations out of the Gulf region, released an intelligence report that accused Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) of complicity in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, disclosed a report on 9/11 that potentially implicated Saudi Arabia, refrained from providing Saudi Arabia with precision missiles for its war in Yemen, engaged in negotiations to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, and refused to communicate with MBS.

              Then Ukraine…

              Biden prioritized finding alternatives to Russian energy sources. He approached Venezuela, considered allowing more oil to flow from Iran, and contacted MBS and Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), the president of the UAE, in an attempt to convince them to increase oil production. The first two strategies did not prove fruitful, and reports indicate that MBS and MBZ refused to take his calls.

              Then Biden goes to Saudi-
              Saudi Arabia refused to normalize relations with Israel, did not promise to maintain any potential increase in oil production, refrained from taking sides against China and Russia, and directly challenged Biden’s comments on human rights. It would be difficult to say that Biden’s visit succeeded in restoring historic U.S.-Saudi strategic relations. Overall, his visit was a response to the world’s energy crisis instead of a recognition of the need for a frank strategic conversation between the two countries.

              The whole paper is worth the read. If they were legitimately surprised, then this admin really is a total clown show. Children playing with matches and a tank of gasoline.

              1. Procopius

                I don’t have a link, but I remember that Blinken’s first public announcement about “renewing” the Iran agreement was that they would not yet talk with Iran “because the United States will not negotiate from a position of weakness.” Ever since then he’s been faithfully following Israel’s desires, dragging the talks out with demands the Iranians cannot comply with.

      3. Lexx

        Nope, I gotta guy so good at root canals you could look forward to the procedure again, never mind why.

        I’d have gone with ‘I’d rather french kiss a rabid badger’. It used to just be ‘a badger’ but then someone posted a super cute photo of their pet badger wearing a bowtie… awwww! Hmmmm, maybe. So, now it’s ‘a rabid badger’.

  10. Jeff Stantz

    RE: Apocalyptic AI

    To put this another way, the Enlightenment—and, yes, we are painting with broad strokes here—did not do away with the notions of Providence, Heaven, and Grace. Rather, the Enlightenment re-framed these as Progress, Utopia, and Technology respectively. If heaven had been understood as a transcendent goal achieved with the aid of divine grace within the context of the providentially ordered unfolding of human history, it became a Utopian vision, a heaven on earth, achieved by the ministrations Science and Technology within the context of Progress, an inexorable force driving history toward its Utopian consummation.

    Wonderful! I have been having conversations with friends regarding the same point but in reference to Capitalism. But how I see AI: Humanity unbound by their physical being to work for the glory of profit. Sort of an enlightenment that takes the pain and suffering out of work.


    1. digi_owl

      Yep. Just look at the latest utopian take on scifi, transhumanism. Where the core idea is that if the mind is just data, then it can be copied around just like any other file.

      1. LifelongLib

        What if consciousness is more like a field generated by a physical brain (or brain analog)? Or the more fringe view that the brain is like an antenna that receives an instance of a universal consciousness? Either way the individual consciousness is tied to a particular physical brain or brain analog, no way of transferring it around short of a brain/head transplant (which has actually been proposed in rather gross detail…)

  11. griffen

    Clarence likes to travel, and who would turn down a chance to travel to Indonesia in such a high style. I would be hard pressed to say no to that as well. \SARC

    Crow is a real estate magnate from the state of Texas, and I recognize the last name quickly from my 9 or so years living in the DFW metro area. I’m shocked but not all that shocked after all I guess, these billionaires can plunder and stash funds to their liking. Guess the stash also includes high ranking government officials and a Federal Supreme court sitting justice. And we thought the rich and elite just gathered unto themselves professional sports teams?

    1. Antifa

      (melody borrowed from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash)

      When Clarence was a little boy, his Granny told him, ‘Son
      Only work for rich men if you aim to get along.
      Doncha be a field hand — you be an Uncle Tom.
      If you serve wealth and power — rich folks will grease your palm’

      That little boy he listened, he got a law degree
      Then went to work for rich men as right wing as could be
      In ’91 they shoved him onto our highest court
      Even pubic hair on cola did not lose their support

      For thirty years he’s been there, but he never followed rules
      ‘Cause honesty and ethics and truth are traps for fools
      He has a private mission laid down by Opus Dei:
      ‘If you serve wealth and power, good things shall come your way.’

      Now his life is just a prism, and when people look inside
      They see the many ways he cheats, the rainbow of his lies
      His pretense of position is now as plain as day
      And even all those rich men hope he’ll just go away

      1. flora

        Wow! Scans perfectly.

        Justice Thomas was nominated to the bench by Missouri GOP Senator John Danforth, (whose Senate seat was later filled by John Ashcroft).

        Justice Thurgood Marshall must still be rolling in his grave. / oy

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Cisco Moscow trashed offices as it quit Putin’s putrid pariah state”

    Obviously Cisco has learned from the French to destroy any infrastructure behind them when forced to leave a place. But at least there will be no blowback from Cisco doing this and there will be no consequences for them in either Russia or other countries abroad. That would be bad that, m’kay. And it is not like that destroying their offices and then trying to claim a tax write-off could ever be construed as tax fraud. As they still have a presence in the Russian Federation, that could tie them up in years of investigations. Hmm. I wonder if Cisco has done that elsewhere or has done so in some US States.

    1. c_heale

      Cisco used to do this back in the old days when a company wanted to install a rival network. It’s SOP with them.

      1. Frank

        It was the Russian branch, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the spare parts earmarked for destruction somehow fell off the back of the truck on the way to the waste facility.

  13. Wukchumni

    A friend did the snow survey earlier in the week for Panther Gap @ 8,650 feet in Sequoia NP, and there is 254 inches-or a little over 21 feet on the ground in this, the winter of record in the Southern Sierra.

    Thanks to orographic lift, the amount of fallen snow during storms pretty much increases exponentially, and there’s almost 6,000 more feet of Sierra, I shudder to imagine how immense the snowpack is in the higher climes…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Forgive me for saying so but that sounds like that it could make for some pretty deep tree wells. I was watching that video of that guy that happened on a snowboard while skiing and realized that somebody was trapped in one upside down. he got the guy out but it was only about five or six feet deep. Having one over twenty feet deep sounds lethal.

          1. johnnyme

            Back when Saturday Night Live was funny, noted 20th century philosopher Jack Handey pondered this in one of his “Deep Thoughts” segments:

            If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

      1. Wukchumni

        Generally, tree wells are largely only a danger @ resorts where skiers or snowboarders coming down the mountain are caught unaware. Schlepping up a mountain under your own power is a much slower gig.

        The big issue will be hikers/backpackers attempting to do their thing in the summer months, as the Sierra has a reputation as a most gentle range where everything dutifully pretty much melts off for most enjoyable walks from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but not this year.

        Add in swollen creeks, rivers, and go-fever by those who have scant experience with such things in the good old summertime.

    2. JP

      The news keeps siting the snow depth to sensationalize the historic amount. I finally found the real water content on Cal State Water Resource site.

      For our local southern sierra there is 61.8 inches of water in that snow. That is impressive. If he lake bottom is of similar area to the mountain tops it would raise the lake a corresponding five feet. So long Alpaugh.

      1. Wukchumni


        When i did snow surveys for the state for a few years @ the site just below Farewell Gap, the state of the art 1912 (and never improved) measuring equipment stashed in tree limbs came with 8x 2 1/2 feet pipe sections, each with small holes the length of them, and you screwed them together, weighing the completed section with the scale in the surveyors pack before and after hitting dirt, and then measure depth of snow, weigh it again you’ve got the water content.

        Repeat 4 more times at different plots @ the site, to average it out.

        The most sections I ever used was 4.

  14. fresno dan
    The other day I wrote about the correlation between political ideology and assumptions about how many unarmed Blacks are killed by police. In it I discussed a study done by the Skeptic Research Center that showed that people who identify as liberal are least likely to guess how many unarmed Black men are killed by police.
    Not by a little, but by a lot. Almost none of the liberals guessed in the right range–the number is about 10 a year–and over half guessed that the number was between 1000 to 10,000.
    TODAY’s RANT I am going to do something I NEVER do – semi defend the media. So the Hot Air article’s sole purpose is taking its mandatory position of attacking “liberals” and the main stream media. Which to me is a big part of the problem with most media today. Can we have factual analysis without assigning negative attributes to particular groups – the problem with this article for me is that its main purpose is simply to insult “liberals.” (conservatives don’t have misconceptions???) I actually learned something from the article. Of course, in a free enterprise system where eyeballs are money, measured disspassionate articles don’t bring home the bacon. There are facts available, but you have to work too hard to get them.
    The other thing about the article is…wait for it….the article gets its FACTS from that bastion of “liberal” hatred of America and police and spewing of nothing but lies from….the Washington Post database on police shootings….how in the world can Hot Air trust such a source???
    Uh, so why didn’t Hot Air use a much more reliable, truthful, and noble “conservative” database on police shootings???? OH! there is no such database??? (actually I have read a number of “conservative” think tanks on the issue of police shootings but the actual databases seem to be from the media) I could say this is because “conservatives” hate black people, or that police can do no wrong, so that is why there is no such database. My own view is that repub policy is pretty much to not question the police, but in deplorable conservative land (to stereotype), I think many with preconceived notions… would be amazed how much cynicism is expressed about the police by these “conservatives”.
    SO I think far too many people in the US are shot by police. On the other hand, with so many people carrying guns, I would be very afraid if I were a cop too….

    1. jsn

      If you don’t measure police shootings, politically they didn’t happen. It’s very simple.

      As simple as ending the COVID pandemic: quit measuring it.

      It’s still out there killing hundreds a day and “that’s normal”. Like what blacks have been told to accept since Reconstruction.

  15. Mikel

    “Protesters storm BlackRock’s Paris office holding red flares and firing smoke bombs” CNN

    Other moves by protestors may have been akin to going for the head or jugular of Macron and his administration.
    Storming BlackRock: that’s going for the heart of the banksta boy.

    1. c_heale

      The UK government only negotiated with the IRA after they bombed the City of London. And wasn’t Macron a banker?

  16. flora

    Women’s Swimming Star @Riley_Gaines_
    has been violently assaulted by TRANS Activists while giving a speech on women’s sports at San Francisco State University.

    A Transgender Male, wearing a dress, punched Riley repeatedly while the Trans Mob chased and harassed her until she was forced to take shelter in a locked room. All because she was speaking about women’s rights.

    1. griffen

      This will go south quickly, if she brings security detail along on her next speech. One of the tweets below include her giving testimony, I think it was the above swimmer, about sharing a locker room with a fully intact 6’4″ male (by intact, well you know it’s a floppy weiner in a girl’s locker room setting).

      I would encourage anyone facing a threat such as the above to bring a few friends.

      1. Janeway

        Jacob Dreizen had a recent post on his blog that had an interesting take on the historical craziness of America. As he wrote (edited for clarity):

        “But, the crazy still originates with the USA. Starting with the Salem Witch Trials. Yankee-dom’s Protestant-messianic (Puritan and Quaker) foundation. Circa 1900, mobs of axe-wielding religious freaks began destroying saloons (bars) in Kansas and nearby states.

        By 1919 in the middle of a pandemic (!!!) And about 20 years after the whole thing had started they had brought enough middle class opinion (and politicians) to their side that a majority of U.S. states voted for a constitutional amendment to ban (with some loopholes) the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. As if this was Saudi Arabia.

        On the plus side the Prohibition Era gave us the term “Mountain Dew.” What sugary, caffeinated soda will the Tranny Era stamp a name upon?”

        1. flora

          “Circa 1900, mobs of axe-wielding religious freaks began destroying saloons (bars) in Kansas and nearby states.”

          He takes up the standard narrative, missing the bigger question. Men who drank away their wages left their families destitute, and married women with children had little to no opportunity to either work for wages or keep the wages they earned, the wages belonging to the husband as his right. Men who got drunk might be killed in brawls or accidents, again leaving their wives and children destitute, or beat their wives and children more than when sober. There were no safety nets for the poor back then outside of charity. There were no womens’ shelters. Divorce was out of the question.

          Prohibition began as an attempt to protect women and children. It didn’t work of course, but the social impetus behind the movement wasn’t lunatic. (Not that lunatics didn’t join.)

        2. Wukchumni

          I X-dress sometimes, trying not to appear to be a Baby Boomer, henna tats and and all that. You rarely see a Boomer ink’d up, so you can pass.

          Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent was quite eye opening.


          1. digi_owl

            Completely aside, but for some reason i got reminded of some sleeves i saw for sale on a novelty site years ago. Basically they were nylon tubes with your typical colorful tattoo patterns printed on. Idea being that one could put them on to go “rebel” for a night on the town etc. Not sure how they looked in actual use though.

    2. hk

      Wonderful, crassest male chauvinism masquerading as “equal rights “. “Civil rights” equivalent of “bombs for peace”?

      1. digi_owl

        I can’t stop wondering if this can be traced back to 9/11, and a resurgence of “warrior” worship pushed by the blob in order to swell Pentagon ranks without a draft.

    3. Carolinian

      Just to repeat from a recent column by Alatair Crooke

      Woke defies nomenclature by treating politics as a matter of personal moral hygiene: It isn’t something you ‘do’; it is what you ‘are’. You think ‘right thoughts’ and utter ‘right speak’. Persuasion and compromise reflect moral weakness in this vision.

      Protesters who see the the suppression of others as their natural right are promoting sociopathy, not liberation. It’s the same attitude as that of our elites merely disguised as protest.

        1. flora

          adding: when right-leaning Turley sounds more sympathetic to the ‘Berkely free speech movement’ than the current so called leftist mob of ‘free speech only for that which I agree with’… what can I say.

  17. Craig H.

    Snake Discovered That Actually Does Cartwheels, And We Have Pics to Prove It

    The last time I saw a snake in an urban environment was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. It was late in the afternoon on a very hot day and the cement was hot enough to cook an egg on. He or she crossed the sidewalk in front of where I was walking at a distance of 30-40 feet. Hauling ass. The bulk of its body was a foot off the ground and it was bouncing as it snaked along. My first impression was not “woah a snake!”. My first impression was “what in hell is that?” By the time I figured out it was a snake it had disappeared from view.

    I have searched in vain for video documentation of this behavior. I don’t even know if the snake biologists have a technical term for it.

    1. MT_Wild

      Heat stress is a problem for snakes. Their ability to absorb radiant heat is great when its cold, but turns lethal quickly if they can’t escape it. Urban environment are giant heat sinks, and likely pose a real problem for them.

      Sidewinders evolved their form of motion to keep their body off of hot desert sands.

      You were watching a snake have to freestyle.

    2. semper loquitur

      In a related vein, I have watched a northern water snake sitting with it’s head just above the surface of a river I used to frequent while in school. Turns out, they will hook their tails under a submerged rock and scan their surroundings. With only their head peeking out above the water line, they must be a lot safer from predation.

  18. thoughtful person

    Anecdote #1: Sitting in a hospital waiting room for routine treatment. 2 staff (both unmasked, pull up masks when patients come close), and 4 patients. Masks in “use” are surgical or a homemsde fabric one worn below nose of course. Most of these 6 are occasionally sneezing and coughing. Looks like we are ready for xbb1.16, 1.31.

    Anecdote #2: last weekend went to visit Dad at assisted living in NC, his facility closes their dinning room during covid and rsv outbreaks still, so he had asked us to get a pcr test if we could (as opposed to the usual home instant test). We scheduled testing at a local Walgreens here in Central VA. Arrived ahead of our specified time by a couple min and got in line at the drive through. There were 4 cars ahead of us. After about 15 min one, and then a couple min later another car, gave up and left. Now just 2 ahead of us but no movement. Finally 25 min? after our arrival the drawer popped out and the 1st car picked up a bunch of prescriptions. Then the car ahead of us pulled up and nothing happened. 5 min later we threw in the towel, went home and did our instant home tests.

    I’ve heard labor shortages are bad, and I’ve heard from others they’ve had a hard time at other pharmacies.

    Not sure how much testing is getting done these days!

    Now we usians appear to be in the denial phase. I’m guessing when our Tcells are finally used up by multiple infections, we’ll really see hospitals fill up. Next winter is my guess.

    1. Cassandra

      My anecdotes:

      1) Our favored pharmacy, part of a very small local chain, has had no drive-thru service more often than not for the last year and a half. Sign says “due to staffing issues.” Large help wanted signs by the door, often you get in and find only one person behind the pharmacy counter trying to do everything. When there is a second person, tech or cashier, that person is generally a new face and clearly unfamiliar with procedures.

      2) I went to a small market last Friday. The little Mexican restaurant next door had a sign on the door apologizing for being closed that evening “due to lack of a server.”

      3) Our local ice cream stand has been trying to line up staff for the summer. Opening day is a month away. Their fb page is pleading for job applicants, asking if anyone has teenagers looking for a summer job. The posting said, “If we cannot find workers, we will not be able to open this summer.”

      Stay safe out there…

      1. Wukchumni

        Our drug store which had been in business since 1963, closed down last month, and probably the biggest reason was AirBnB’s indirectly.

        You see there are about 350 short term rentals in tiny town, and our full time population base is around 1,500 now, versus 2,000 before the garage mahals done showed up.

        25% of the drug store’s business went away, so they did too.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The warm embrace and the cold shoulder: China mines Europe’s fractures during joint visit”

    I heard that when Ursula von der Leyen got there, that she started to lecture the Chinese on the rights of the Uyghurs. If true that, I wonder if she said so with the implied threat that Xi could find himself with an arrest warrant taken out on him by the ICC over this issue. The Chinese know that she will probably be the next NATO secretary general and that NATO wants to push itself in the Pacific against China meaning that she will be leading this charge. I think that they have her all figured out.

    But the Chinese appealing to the immense ego of President Emmanuel Macron with parades and banquets was certainly a great idea. Still, some of the stuff that he said must have rolled a few eyes. Like when he said ‘I know I can count on you … to bring Russia to its sense and bring everyone back to the negotiating table.’ The Chinese know full well that it is the US and the EU that has totally refused to negotiate any peace at all and when they suggested it, the US thumped that idea but hard.

    But if Macron suggested that Xi gets in contact with Zelensky and wouldn’t it be a good idea, I am sure that they replied ‘Indeed it is, beyond question, at the appropriate juncture, in due course, in the fullness of time.’

    1. tevhatch

      I heard that when Ursula von der Leyen got there, that she started to lecture the Chinese on the rights of the Uyghurs.

      She probably had her phone on record mode as she was auditioning to the MIC-IMATT for her new job at NATO, and the competition is stiff.

  20. semper loquitur

    re: Title IX

    “The Biden administration is rolling out new Title IX rules to expand the meaning of sexual discrimination to include gender identity that would prevent schools and colleges from banning transgender athletes.”

    Ah, the post truth age. So now the definition of sexual discrimination is being expanded to include…..people of both sexes. Which effectively guts the concept of sexual discrimination. And negates the reason Title IX was created, to protect women’s sports. Trans is misogyny in heels.

      1. semper loquitur

        Well, he knows which side of his bread is buttered. The trans lobby and the biomedical/pharma complex are huge donors to the Democratic party. Plus, there are all those extra “girls” for Joe to sniff! It’s a win-win!

        1. flora

          Yep. He loves girls and young women. Wonder if he’ll try sniffing Lea Thomas’s hair. (rhetorical question)

        2. Wukchumni

          To go to war over altered gender or altered agenda is about all the shonky Donkey Show can perform.

          1. flora

            Where’s AOC and Nancy and DSW on this issue? not a peep. Fairness in sports competition as in a level playing field? Not a peep. But they do get lots of pharma money, so there’s that.

            1. flora

              At the same time this bs is destroying womens sports, men who compete as men in mens sports and are found to be doping steriods are disqualified as having an unfair advantage over non-steriod using men competitors.

              So Lance Armstrong loses his titles and is barred from pro cycling, but Lea Thomas wins medals and is touted as an example of fairness in sports. Go figure.

              And we used to test Soviet women for steroid use in the Olympics as having unfair advantage.

              1. semper loquitur

                Stupidest timeline ever. I watched a video a few weeks back in which Trump had Riley Gaines speak, I think at CPAC, about women’s sports. He was slobbering over her and leaned in to kiss her cheek which she barely tolerated from the look in her eye. It struck me that women are being trapped, on one hand you have the intellectual and moral degeneracy of the trans lobby assaulting women, literally and figuratively, and on the other hand you have the intellectual and moral degeneracy of the Right waiting with open arms to shove women back into their “traditional” roles. Traditional as defined by men, that is.

                Here is a video by Kara Dansky via Women’s Declaration International talking about Matt Walsh and how he has ignored the radical feminists who are fighting the trans cult. He has stated he is actively looking for allies but has refused Danksy’s attempts to work together:


                She claims, correctly I suspect, that the radfems need to reach American liberals with their message if change is to happen. This is hard because the American media, richly funded by the trans lobby/pharma/biomedical complex, is all on board with the erasure of women. (We should add American education as well.) She thinks that the radfems must try to use people like Walsh to achieve their goals. Apparently trans makes for strange bedfellows. 😁

                1. flora

                  Thanks for the link.
                  an aside: one of my co-workers is a transwoman. I can only think this sports bs will make her acceptance in the wider world that much harder. She’s a scientist, isn’t trying to compete in women’s sports, and is fairly sensitive about the broader social acceptance issues she and other trans face in the larger world.

                  1. hk

                    That’s a fairly typical problem with politically correct stereotyping, I think.

                    To so many of the elites, being true to X identity means fitting the cartoonish stereotypes of their own making. This is prejudice/racism masquerading as “enlightened” thinking that actually complicates the efforts of people in various, eh, “categories” to fit into the larger world.

                  2. semper loquitur

                    “I can only think this sports bs will make her acceptance in the wider world that much harder.”

                    I’m reading Helen Joyce’s Trans and she points out that the trans-industry does little to help the actual trans identified. They are often poor, lack healthcare, and are socially isolated. Useful for riling up into a mob but little else. Trans Inc. doesn’t give a fu(k about them. It’s more about life-long “transition” treatments to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and the whims of wealthy perverts being played out for their gratification.

                2. ambrit

                  “Apparently trans makes for strange bedfellows. 😁”
                  No truer words were ever wordsmithed.
                  You win the Meta Pun Award!

  21. MT_Wild

    Zebra stripe Pleco. Back in 1998, they were $249.99 each and where selling like hotcakes at the worlds largest fish store in Pennsylvania. Unlike many pleco species that get large (2-3′) these stay small and are attractive.

    Some hobbyists had bred them successfully in captivity, but most were still wild caught. I hope that has changed.

    Currently available for $425.99. Seems like pretty decent price stability given inflation.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Finland Gives NATO a King in the North”

    Pretty sure that soon that the Finns will find that they will become a pawn in their own country. Both Finland and Sweden were more or less de-facto members of NATO so the Russians will not be surprised. But for the Finns? They have just gone from a quiet backwater that was enjoying a lucrative relation with the Russians to a frozen version of the Fulda Gap. NATO will now start building bases and instillations and guess who will have to pay the billions for it. Any independence that their armed forces enjoyed will now be subsumed to Brussels and they will have to confirm to NATO standards, whether they think that it is a good idea or not. As soon as Finland joined NATO, the Russians sent a YARS missile – a MIRV-equipped, thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile – to the bordering town of Vyborg to let them know that their days of solitude are now over and that they get to play in the bigs now.

    1. Vandemonian

      I think they’re mirrors, Mark. I’ve been using both interchangeably for quite a while.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Is Winning in Georgia”

    I had thought that Francis Fukuyama had changed since his end-of-history days but he hasn’t learned a damn thing. America Needs to Get Tough on Tbilisi? Seriously? For not being in lockstep with NATO in spite of the fact that NATO has already thrown them under the bus once before back in 2008. And admiring Mikheil Saakashvili who was the guy who led Georgia into that disastrous war while calling him a reformer. He doesn’t even acknowledge that Georgia’s “agents of foreign influence” law was actually modeled on US law. And all Fukuyama can think of is to demand that Georgia be sanctioned by the US. Does this guy even look out the window anymore? Or even read a newspaper. Fukuyama’s time is over and like Kissinger, he is now a has-been. Time for the realists to push aside guys like him and take over.

    1. digi_owl

      Fukuyama is the poster boy of post-cold war DC.

      They sit over there behind the Atlantic moat and dream a fever dream of opulence.

  24. Sub-Boreal

    Yellow wader territory ahead:

    Bonnie Henry is back at it, with yesterday’s announcement that most remaining COVID protections, or “restrictions” as she and the obedient local media call them, will be lifted in British Columbia health care facilities and long-term care institutions.

    Not everyone was getting with the program, notably Dr. Lyne Filiatraut, a retired emergency room physician who led the successful 2003 SARS control effort in Vancouver:

    Filiatrault said that the province’s approach of focusing on COVID-19’s acute impacts to health is neglecting the long-term impacts that the still-circulating virus can bring.

    “Excess deaths in Canada are now even higher than what they were during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020—even after accounting for deaths from heat waves and the toxic drug crisis—according to ongoing research from Tara Moriarty, an infectious diseases researcher and associate professor at the University of Toronto.

    “Everybody is behaving as if the pandemic is over,” Filiatrault said. “And I don’t blame them, with the message they’re getting by our public health officer.” []

    As my lucky timing would have it, I needed to visit my local hospital a couple of days ago for an imaging procedure, and everyone – staff, patients, and visitors – was still required to wear a mask, although I seemed to be the only person with an N95. After this retreat on safety, I’m even more motivated to stay healthy and away from healthcare spaces!

    Additional commentary and reactions here, here, and here.

  25. Wukchumni

    Baby’s First Beretta®

    Sure your little bundle of joy can’t even hold it’s head up, but is that any reason for your pride and joy not to be armed & dangerous?

    The idea that a little tyke doesn’t understand words in no way means threats aren’t out there, and eternal vigilance in a bassinet with a Beretta will ward off those that might attempt to ‘hold them up’.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Farmers’ Revolt”

    Loved the bit where the educated elite were talking about how ‘voting restrictions – on the elderly, the ‘undereducated’, those in rural constituencies – might be necessary to override their resistance.’ It’s amazing how they are ll aboard with democracy – until they don’t get their way and they have a hissy fit about it. We saw the same in the UK after the Brexit vote and in the US after Trump won the 2016 election. Maybe those elites will want to go back to the old days where in order to vote, you had to own property. Yes, farmers would qualify but they are easily overwhelmed in numbers by their betters. This is still a fascinating analysis this article and I wonder if it is a sign that people are no longer satisfied for the technocrats to run their countries, especially since these same technocrats seem to be only running their countries into the gutter. I am sure that Rutte will not take this challenge to his authority laying down and he has probably set his security and police services onto this movement to try to break them up. It’s the democratic way. Just ask the Dutch elite.

    1. GramSci

      “Maybe those elites will want to go back to the old days where in order to vote, you had to own property.”

      The modern, American way is more efficient: One must own property in order to educate one’s children. The votes of those raised in poor school districts, who are uncomfortable reading more than 140 consecutive characters, can be easily manipulated by electronic means.

    2. R.S.

      Nothing new here. “Progressives” throughout the Eastern Europe have been fancying similar ideas for a while. AFAIK it started in Poland during the 2007 elections. Some opposition progressives ran an unofficial campaign with the slogan “Hide grandma’s ID” (Schowaj babci dowód), sometimes “… and [her] mohair beret” (i moherowy beret). That is, “hide her papers so she cannot vote” (those countries use voter ID in one form or another), and “the woolen berets” were “the conservative old farts”. Similar slogans were used in Belarus and in Russia in the 2010s. The idea was that “the old farts are voting for the regime, let us the young and progressive ones change this”.

      1. digi_owl

        Makes me think of the “ok boomer” meme that floats around in certain internet circles. Funny thing is that most of what gets labeled “boomer” online is more accurately related to gen X or millennials (not that i have much like for these vague labels).

        Ageism has always been a thing, but it seems like it has taken on a new fervor after social media etc.

    3. OwlishSprite

      I had heard that the Electoral College was instituted to ensure against ‘mob rule.’

      1. The Rev Kev

        After the US invaded Iraq twenty years ago, one of the first things discussed was whether they could bring in the Electoral College into Iraq’s political system. I guess because it has proved so effective in American politics.

      1. Martin Oline

        The Robert Kennedy comments are at 1 hour 9 1/2 minutes from the start, Barnes said he has volunteered for the campaign for what ever they want him to do. I went to his campaign’s web page yesterday and gave $10 – the minimum. As far as Twitter ‘leftists’ all I can say is “On the Internet nobody knows you’re a CIA agent.” The deep state will try to destroy him in the media. He has openly said he believes his uncle and his father were victims of a conspiracy to defraud democracy. The Trump donation page has a requirement you allow them to send you robo-calls and texts in order to give poor little Donald money. No such requirement at Team Kennedy, they ask you to volunteer but that is all. Team Kennedy

      2. Carolinian

        Kunstler boosting. The wife committed suicide. He’s now married to Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

        Kunstler’s thesis that the JFK assassination changed everything is dubious to say the least. Kennedy wasn’t even very popular at the time and even his supposed starry eyed notion of the moon landing was about taking on the Soviets. If you are going to be an iconoclast a bit more rigor needed. But he is right about one thing.

        More proof — as if you needed more — that we live in a mentally ill society is the apparently broad acceptance of the idea that “Joe Biden” will run for president again

  27. TimH

    On car interior cameras a la Tesla employees sharing pics.

    This data is excellent training for very accurate face recognition of the drivers (and passengers, although the ID isn’t guaranteed, although phone BT connection would give that away).

    Don’t tell me that Tesla isn’t selling this.

  28. Wukchumni

    The young Ernest Hemingway, however, working for the Toronto Daily Star in 1921, crossed the frontier from France at about that time and managed to be equally gloomy from the other side of the fence:

    There were no marks to be had in Strasbourg, the mounting exchange had cleaned the bankers out days ago, so we changed some French money in the railway station at Kehl. For 10 francs I
    received 670 marks. Ten francs amounted to about 90 cents in Canadian money.

    That 90 cents lasted Mrs Hemingway and me for a day of heavy spending and at the end of the day we had 120 marks left!

    Our first purchase was from a fruit stand … We picked out five very good looking apples and gave the old woman a 50-mark note. She gave us back 38 marks in change. A very nice looking, white bearded old gentleman saw us buy the apples and raised his hat.

    ‘Pardon me, sir, he said, rather timidly, in German, ‘how much were the apples?’

    I counted the change and told him 12 marks.

    He smiled and shook his head. ‘I can’t pay it. It is too much.”
    He went up the street walking very much as white bearded old gentlemen of the old regime walk in all countries, but he had looked very longingly at the apples. I wish I had offered him some.

    Twelve marks, on that day, amounted to a little under 2 cents. The old man, whose life savings were probably, as most of the non-profiteer classes are, invested in German pre-war and war bonds, could not afford a 12 mark expenditure. He is the type of the people whose incomes do not increase with the falling purchasing value of the mark and the krone.

  29. Jeff W

    “…we prefer the term long COVID, since this was the term originally developed by patients, not clinicians…”

    There’s something about the term “long COVID” that just sounds so ungrammatical to me, I can’t stand it. Maybe it’s just me. (Something like “long-duration COVID” sounds fine.) I’d prefer “post-COVID-19 condition” but I’m neither a patient nor a clinician, if either of those categories is afforded greater weight. (And do WHO and JAMA Network journals really style “post–COVID-19 condition” with an en dash as the quote does? That seems awfully weird to me.)

  30. Tom Stone

    What is an “Assault Rifle”?
    There’s the dictionary definition, there’s the PMC definition and there are State by State Definitions which are the ones that can land you in a State Penitentiary for years.
    In California you need a flow chart to determine whether what was once a legal firearm is now a Felony to possess.
    Illinois and Mass are also among the States where committees of Politicians have defined what an ” Assault Rifle” or “Machine Gun” is.
    If you inherited a rifle or carbine that has a detachable magazine it would be prudent to check your local laws and ordinances because Jail sucks.
    The saddest to me are the people who think their M1 Carbine is legal because Grampa bought it from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship…it might be legal and it might be a “Machine Gun” because it has M2 reciever cuts.
    You can find the California Flow chart at Cal-Guns.Net

    1. Polar Socialist

      In the army I was told an assault rifle is a personal, rifle caliber weapon that can momentarily have a very high rate of fire to suppress the enemy during an assault – no matter which side of the said assault you are. And that’s exactly how I was taught to use the one assigned to me.

      Why would any civilian want or need to one is beyond me. Emptying your magazine in a few seconds is fun (when you’re 19) but it gets old fast. The way wars seem to be fought today, I don’t think even infantry needs fully automatic rifles.

      1. digi_owl

        Reminds me that the British army was slow to adopt automatic fire rifles.

        And i think the most issued M16 these days is burst fire, because them conscripts kept flushing whole mags into the bushes in Vietnam.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The British Army introduced the Martini-Henry rifle in 1871 which was a single shot rifle. There were repeaters and bolt-action rifles available but the British Government thought that with faster firing rifles, that the soldiers would ‘fritter away’ their ammunition away. This was in an era where after a battle, that British Regimental Quartermasters were expected to not only account for all ammunition expended but even the boxes that they were packed in-

      2. JBird4049

        >>>Why would any civilian want or need to one is beyond me.

        I do not believe that is the point of Tom Stone’s comment. Just what is an assault rifle or assault gun changes from not only over time, but state to state as well, making what was legal for generations in a place illegal. California’s legislature not only has created a nonsensical list of features that defines what qualifies a weapon of being an illegal “assault gun,” but has made it so complex that a flowchart is needed to follow the law. No joke, or hyperbole, here. Gun owners are the bull to the legislators’ picadors and the picador’s job is not to kill. Maybe a rodeo clown is the better term as the clowns provide the distraction needed to prevent the rider from being dead.

        From what I understand, the simplest definition of what an assault rifle (assault weapon being hopelessly muddled) is a select fire rifle that can usually change from semi automatic to usually fully automatic; most new rifles and handguns are semi automatic, including hunting rifles, which makes banning the scary assault weapon impossible including in California.

        This is where the deliberately confusing maze of gotcha rules comes in. It is banning something without banning it. And if some honest person trips over the rules and winds up in prison, so what?

        However, it is not just guns, but free speech, abortion, everything really especially all the rights under the Bill of Rights that are threaten here. For example, legally the police cannot kill, beat, or steal, but as a practical matter, they do because of the maze of judicial exceptions and carveouts, as well as legislation.

        Really, it is not in the interest of the political establishment to permanently ban, accept, or seriously change in any real way guns, or abortion, or poverty, or even healthcare because that reduces the handles available to rouse supporter, get those votes, or most importantly, those sweet, sweet donations, really bribes, that make living so enjoyable.

        1. Procopius

          Well, it seems to me that >90% of mass shooting events are done with M-15 copies, maybe plus a semi-automatic pistol. Why don’t we outlaw the M-15s, and see if things get better?

  31. OwlishSprite

    “‘Objectivity’ Obliterates Empathy and Curiosity”

    Some people see empathy as a weakness to be exploited with cons and scams. I think between objectivity, empathy and curiosity, exploiters (predators) see objectivity as the most dangerous. Just my take after a lifetime of resisting seduction techniques of various kinds using ‘objectivity.’

    1. Late Introvert

      As they say around here, that’s a damn shame.

      A senior intelligence official called the leak “a nightmare for the Five Eyes,”

      Mick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, said the leak of the classified documents represents “a significant breach in security” that could hinder Ukrainian military planning. “

      The second half of that story is the usual NYT BS about Russia Russia Russia.

      Popcorn emoji!!!

  32. Wukchumni

    I heard at some line em’ up against the wall affairs in the past, those on the receiving end debate over what sort of rifle is delivering the final installment in their lives, not to mention what caliber bullet is loaded in the chamber…

    …enjoy that last smoke~

  33. spud

    most likely posted years ago here, but a nice refresher.

    The regulations were initially weakened, then abolished altogether in 1999 under President Bill Clinton and the guidance of his top economic advisors—Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Lawrence Summers.”

    Class & Inequality
    Neoliberalism’s Bailout Problem

    Mainstream economics ignores the massive government interventions that “free market” capitalism requires.

    Robert Pollin

    Gerald Epstein

  34. Harold

    Instead of objectivity, what about suspended judgment? You can suspend judgment, ideally, not indefinitely but until you feel there is credible evidence to believe something. It’s not a matter of not making a choice, but of choosing advisedly.

  35. Greg

    Late comment but couldn’t resist

    “Must be small state; they used a small yacht.”

    Must be deep state; they went more than 80m below.

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