Links 4/9/2023

Readers, Yves sent Matt Taibbi email saying 100+ readers had commented on “Why Do Mainstream Democrats Hate Matt TaibbI?“, and that it “must be terrible to be on the receiving end of sustained bullying.” Taibbi responded, saying among other things “Thanks for this! It did cheer me up, thank you.” Hat tip, NC Commentariat! –lambert

Patient readers, I apologize for excessive length and chattiness. I over-compensated for our weird Easter weekend newsflow by gathering too much, and there were some links I couldn’t bear to prune. –lambert

* * *

See the flamboyant grandeur of the common betta fish National Geographic

Has T. rex lost its bite? Menacing snarl may be wrong AP

The Gambler Who Beat Roulette Bloomberg


Venice Is Saved! Woe Is Venice. NYT

Global warming, home runs, and the future of America’s pastime American Meteorology Society. “We isolate human-caused warming with climate models, finding that >500 home runs since 2010 are attributable to historical warming.”

Elusive Billionaire Bets Against Europe’s Green Plans—And Mints a Fortune Bloomberg


Drought-ravaged Colorado River gets relief from snow. But long-term water crisis remains Los Angeles Times

A Mississippi city reeling from a clean water crisis sees a sudden end to trash collection NBC


Face-mask rules relaxed as hospitals to take big step away from pandemic era Independent. Ireland. Commentary:

Some go to Happyville, some go to Pain City….

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant shedding during respiratory activities International Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abtract: “Compared with patients infected with pre-Omicron variants, comparable SARS-CoV-2 RNA copy numbers were detectable in aerosol samples of patients infected with Omicron despite being fully vaccinated. Patients infected with Omicron also showed a slight increase in viral aerosol shedding during breathing activities and were more likely to have persistent aerosol shedding beyond 7 days after disease onset.” So much for vaccination preventing transmission. Also so much for Walensky’s 5-days-then-back-to-work guidance; she killed a lot of people when she cut the number from 10 days to five.

Bivalent COVID Vaccines; Can the Original Antigenic Sin be Forgiven? (PDF) (viewpoint) The Journal of Infectious Diseases. “The good news is that if new variants escape to a point where there is little cross-recognition by pre-existing memory B and T cells, then it should be possible to prime an effective primary immune response against the emerging spike protein. This phenomenon is routinely seen in untreated HIV infection where there is a much higher degree of virologic escape. At this point, hopefully the original antigenic sin will be forgiven.” To this layperson, seems like a lucid explanation of “original antigenic sin.” Readers?


China’s consumer recovery still dubious as nearly 60 per cent of households prefer to save South China Morning Post

China health officials lash out at WHO, defend virus search AP

Blinken to visit Vietnam next week, US senator says Channel News Asia


Two Years of Turmoil: Myanmar’s Spiraling Civil War The Diplomat

Rise in unlicenced garment factories fuels labour exploitation in post-coup Myanmar Frontier Myanmar


CIA chief visits Saudi Arabia to express frustration about Iran rapprochement: Report Anadolu Agency. “Blind-sided.” That’s a damn shame.

Israeli Assault on Al Aqsa is State Terrorism Tikun Olam

Israeli spyware NSO still hides among the walls of the White House Al Mayadeen


Reaction to Texas Abortion Pill Ruling: Outrage, and Muted Praise NYT

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine will ‘disappear’ as ‘no one needs it,’ says top Russian security official Anadolu Agency

Ukrainians afraid of Hungary’s expansion in Transcarpathia Daily News Hungary. Silly Ukrainians. It’s Poland they have to worry about, not Hungary!

US ‘resists’ giving Ukraine NATO accession ‘road map’ France24

Everybody in Washington wants the Ukrainian ambassador at their party WaPo

On the Threshold of a New International Order Tricontinental

* * *

Leaked military documents on Ukraine battlefield operations circulated as early as March Politico. 4/7, the first (Telegram) tranche, lead sourced to Bellingcat.

Leaked Pentagon docs show how deep US has compromised Russian intelligence New York Post (that’s “deeply”). 4/8, the second (4chan) tranche. Yves shows here that the likely source for the first tranche is Ukraine itself, painting itself (correctly) as weak, to either prevent the long-awaited “counter-offensive” or create an alibi for failure (and moar weapons). It occurs to me that the first tranche punches West, and the second East. I’d speculate that Ukraine’s goal in the second tranche would be to toss an apple of discord amongst the Russian intelligence services; perhaps the empowerment of a Russian James Jesus Angleton would be the happy outcome. Not that there’s much likelihood of that in any reality we know; the KBG has been highly competent for some time, and that includes the capability to neutralize moles, double agents, and such-like. Perhaps someone advised Ukraine to use Karl Rove’s strategy of “attack the strength“?

‘Awfully Convenient’: Leaked NATO Plans for Ukraine Should Be Taken ‘With Grain of Salt’ Sputnik. “It therefore had an impressive topicality, which at once, in Smiley’s eyes, made it suspect.” – John le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. And where did I find this link? Drudge [sighs, shrugs].

* * *

Ukraine able to resume electricity exports after six-month gap – minister Reuters

Ukrainian army failed to regain Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in October Ukrainska Pravda

Human wave tactics are demoralizing the Russian army in Ukraine The Atlantic Council

Biden Administration

Could Dementia in the National Security Workforce Create a Security Threat? RAND Corporation. Or, oddly unmentioned, brain fog?

‘We need you all’: Harris takes White House message on guns to Nashville Politico. Suddenly Harris is getting a lot of good press. Did Biden slip a cog?

The Problem With the IRS Pledge Not to Audit More Earners Under $400,000 WSJ

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

Toronto-Dominion Becomes Biggest Bank Short With $3.7 Billion on the Line Bloomberg

What I learnt from three banking crises Gillian Tett, FT

The Supremes

Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler Artifacts Washingtonian


And So It Begins: On the First Charges to Drop Against Former President Donald Trump Lawfare. Appropriate source. Lovin’ the bio: “Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.” All recommendations, apparently.

How a Drawing of Donald Trump at His Arraignment Became the First Courtroom Sketch to Cover ‘The New Yorker’ Artnet. Counting coup.

Republican Funhouse

Tennesse, Tenessee:

Tennessee’s House expels 2 of 3 Democrats over guns protest AP

Justin Pearson and Justin Jones Have a History of Breaking the Status-Quo, Even With Clothing Vogue

Capitol Seizure

Appeals court ruling puts hundreds of Jan. 6 felony cases in limbo Politico. Obama nominee. Worth a read for the issues.

Our Famously Free Press

How Fox Chased Its Audience Down the Rabbit Hole NYT. The Deck: “Rupert Murdoch A. G. Sulzberger built an empire by giving viewers readers exactly what they wanted. But what they wanted — election lies and insurrection RussiaGate and Trump Derangement Syndrome — put that empire (and the country) in peril.” Fixed it for ya. Not that the original was incorrect. Just… not as self-reflective as it might have been.

Dang. What’s that high-pitched warbling sound:

WMDs were real. The Afghan War Diaries were fake. Dude, come on. The schtick is getting old.

Herring Watch

Michigan Man Charged with Assaulting Grocery Clerk with Frozen 4-pound Herring Field and Stream

An Ode to Herring, Once NYC’s Most Abundant Fish HellGate

Digital Watch

EXCLUSIVE: First anti-aging pills to hit shelves in 2028, expert predicts – as Silicone Valley races to conquer death Daily Mail

Is Big Tech’s R&D Spending Actually Hurting Innovation in the U.S.? WSJ. Hard to see how servicing rentiers would have that effect, surely?

Zeitgeist Watch

OnlyFans Actress Filmed Sex Act at Ancient Colombian Landmark, Sparking Outrage Gizmodo

Jealousy and Its Antidote: Pioneering Psychiatrist Leslie Farber on the Tangled Psychology of Our Most Destructive Emotion The Marginalian

Guillotine Watch

$4 Trillion In U.S. Wealth Is Stashed Overseas, Much Of It In Tax Havens Forbes

Class Warfare

Civil unrest overtakes terrorism in insurance claims FT

A Historic Labor Market Recovery Apricitas

Regulators say railroads must examine how they build trains ABC. Building a train is called “blocking,” and poor blocking was a contributing cause in the East Palestine disaster (missed by Lever News but not by Naked Capitalism).

Labour shortage facing Jugiong jam factory solved by hiring country kids ABC Australia

How Zombifying Fungi Became Master Manipulators Scientific American

Antidote du jour (via):

I couldn’t find a proper bear to go with the blob (below); so, a cute fox.

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. some guy

      I will claim ( with no way to prove it) that I also understood the Israeli attack on the Temple Mount Mosque as being to provoke Hamas and others to retaliate in order to fabricate an excuse to counter-retaliate just hard enough to get Hamas and others to do some more retaliating, in order to engineer a ” threat to the nation situation” for demanding all Israelis unite and stop protesting. And especially so that all Reservists and Elite Units and etc. people show up as ordered even after the Netanyahu government de-engineers the court.

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Clarence Thomas’s Billionaire Benefactor Collects Hitler Artifacts Washingtonian

    Like so much these days, this reminds me of a Father Ted episode. ‘Funny how you get more right wing as you get older’.

    1. Wukchumni

      In terms of the post war values of all the players involved, nothing comes close to what Nazi memorabilia is worth in comparison-or the desirability, with anything Hitler related being über expensive, so while der Führer may have failed in his proposed 1,000 year plan, he isn’t doing so bad personally on the 90 year plan, with his signature on something fetching a thousand or more in the grandiose scheme of things.

      He’s our Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible & Genghis Khan all combined in one neat package, and similar to them-nobody will really remember what they did way back in the day. the name will be all you need to know in 2942.

      1. playon

        George Harrison apparently collected some Nazi-bilia. Jimmy Webb wrote a song about it – “Himmler’s Ring” which was recorded by Lowell George.

        Himmler’s ring, Himmler’s ring
        Ain’t that ring a wonderful thing
        Don’t that skull and cross bones shine?
        Some day that ring’s gonna be all mine

        Himmler’s ring, Himmler’s ring
        Don’t that ring make you want to sing?
        Now ain’t that monogram so fine?
        Some day that ring’s gonna be all mine

        Sittin’ at home on Sunday
        Watchin’ how it glows
        Try it on my toes
        Wear it in my nose
        Himmler’s ring, Himmler’s ring
        Ain’t that ring a wonderful thing?
        Don’t that skull and cross bones shine?
        Some day that ring’s gonna be all mine

        Himmler’s ring, Himmler’s ring
        Ain’t that ring a wonderful thing?
        Don’t that skull and cross bones shine?
        Some day that ring’s gonna be all
        Some day that ring’s gonna be all
        Some day that ring’s gonna be all mine

    2. griffen

      That is a curious technique of curation. Seems more believable if he took guests to a pile of burning artifacts, showing instead the why and how for spending his millions on such a weird set of collectibles. He’s like a modern villain on par with the hero Indiana Jones, or that’s my take after seeing a few of these articles.

        1. some guy

          Thomas will cling to his seat on the bench the way a limpet clings to its scar on the rock.
          He will taunt his opponents about how they don’t have a crowbar big enough to pry him off his scar on the rock, and they never will have.

            1. some guy

              Except no one was even trying to pry her off. ( As far as I know she had no wrong-doing on the bench to be used as a crowbar). They were all just teeth-grindingly waiting for her to die.

              So one could say that age had a crowbar big enough to pry her off her scar on the rock. Death is always a big-enough crowbar.

    3. petal

      PK, that was exactly what I thought of as soon as I saw the headline yesterday! “I hear you’re a racist now, Father!” One of my favourite episodes.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “CIA chief visits Saudi Arabia to express frustration about Iran rapprochement: Report”

    Why would the Saudis tell the CIA about those negotiations? They would just try and sabotage them. It must have been worse for Burns to learn that peace is now breaking out in Yemen and that the UAE are already been pulling out their troops. Meanwhile, Samantha Power was seen to be crying in a corner over all these developments-

    1. Louis Fyne

      MbS and Saudi Arabia will be visited by the Color Revolution short-bus soon.

      When you start seeing a spate of NYT articles about the lack of diversity and inclusion in Saudi Arabia (true) and the NYT “discovering” then crutching its pearls due to convicted criminals getting their hands and heads chopped off.

      (pro tip: the best way to flip over Saudi Arabia is to include the local Shia in your color coalition)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Could it be that very soon we will be seeing a major news story where unidentified F-22s will be attacking Saudi oil infrastructure? Nobody will know whose F-22s they are as they carried no insignia deepening the mystery. The European Union will say that the whole thing is such a mystery and then agree not to talk about it. The US will deny any involvement though Antony Blinken will be seen winking at people like Mitch McConnell and newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post will drop the whole story after only a day. The UN Security Council will vote to not investigate the bombing after all but China and Russia abstain while Greenpeace and Greta Thunberg will be nowhere to be seen at the catastrophic pollution set off by this mysterious attack. Such a mystery.

        1. Vandemonian

          Are you sure those were F22s? I have it on good authority (ChatGPT) that the perpetrators used a Cessna. Or a weather balloon, the second time I asked.

        2. Jason Boxman

          I guess that new Top Gun movie got the unnamed country wrong. Oops. For all the rave reviews, it was what I expected, no more or less, and mostly mediocre at best.

    2. Lex

      Why wouldn’t the CIA have known all this? Either CIA is really dumb or it’s really good at playing dumb. The whole thing’s slipping away pretty fast and unless there’s some real galaxy brain stuff going on behind the scenes we appear to not have anyone capable of handling the pace and scale of world events.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The CIA isn’t a monolith. First there is information overload and bureaucratic infighting. Ukraine and Taiwan is all the rage. Mexico is nationalizing industry, etc.

        This is the other issue. Because the CIA director thinks this is bad, this doesn’t mean the agents working the desks thought this was bad, and the diplomacy hasn’t been secret either. Most likely the President’s national security team said something about tin pot dictators always fighting in the middle east and simply ignored the Washington Post’s actual reporting. Besides the other problems with the US trying out administer the world without the competitive advantages of the past, the Saudi desk probably thought this was great news and didn’t try to raise alarms.

      2. Mildred Montana

        I don’t think the CIA is playing dumb, it really is dumb. Okay, maybe not dumb, just ignorant. Ignorant for the most part of the languages, customs, politics, and social histories of those countries it unwisely decides to meddle in. But far worse, ignorant of its ignorance.

        Recent world history is littered with messes created (in part) by the CIA’s not-so-intelligent “intelligence”. Three examples only:

        1. The fall of the Shah of Iran and the subsequent hostage-taking.
        2. WMDs in Iraq.
        3. The swift takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban after the departure of US forces.

        In all these cases, the CIA (and other government agencies) failed to predict anything correctly. But that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to stick their noses in other people’s business.

        1. Polar Socialist

          You can add Yeltsin et al. pulling the rug out from under Soviet Union at the first opportunity.

          It probably surprised most people in Soviet Union, too, so maybe some slack may be given…

        2. barefoot charley

          I remember once upon a disaster CIA reproached itself for relying too heavily on ‘sigint’–intercepted communications–and neglecting ‘humint’–that’s interacting with locals besides their poodles. That bias against engagement with wogs is one of the chronic characteristics of our ‘stupfor’–stupid foreign policy. We really don’t want to hear what they have to say, it’s not just the Russians we ignore. Our Foreign Service hard policy of rotating officers out of country every two or three years, lest they go native (or learn what they’re doing) is symptomatic. If they can’t sing ‘Gilligan’s Isle’ why talk to ’em?

    3. some guy

      The CIA should in theory be able to know all about these negotiations ongoingly without having to be told.
      Gathering intelligence is said to be their job. If one takes that job description seriously, one can only wonder at the ” failure of Intelligence” involved in failing to predict this.

  3. Wukchumni

    Fee! Fie! Foe! Frum!
    I smell the blood of an axis of evil alum.
    Be he full of lies, or be he of dread,
    I’ll grind his opinion into Fox bread.

  4. Ignacio

    RE: CIA chief visits Saudi Arabia to express frustration about Iran rapprochement: Report Anadolu Agency. “Blind-sided.” That’s a damn shame.
    If the headline is correct, no reasons to think it isn’t, the message is clear: We do not mess with that thing called diplomacy or appearances any more. You are either with me or against me. That’s it.

  5. griffen

    Broken clocks are right more often. At least with the David Frum tweet out of the way, I gain immediate laughter from this turd of an individual. “There are some men you just can’t reach…”

    I don’t see an Easter Bunny, but have a great Easter morning! And after spending two days indoors while it rained consistently, there will be, at last, a sun in the sky. Yeah it’s not much in suffering but I miss seeing that bright orb.

      1. Wukchumni

        For yours truly it boiled down to do I get a solid milk chocolate easter bunny or a hollow one?

        You could almost tell how the economy was going in the 1970’s using that gauge.

        1. semper loquitur

          Consuming milk “chocolate” is a good gauge of the sophistication of one’s palate…🧐

          1. Wukchumni

            Depends if we’re talking about that waxy sugary mud-looking slab with a few almond slithers scattered here and there within-the only thing they couldn’t cheapen out on by using something ersatz in its place, a Hershey’s bar.

                1. ambrit

                  “Melts your mouth, and your hands!”
                  This modern Hershey’s ‘Hiroshima’ chocolate is the shadow of what it once was. In fact, Japan’s no longer living treasure, Ishiro Honda made a movie about it: “The Hershey’s-Man.” A cinematic confection chock full of gooey badness!
                  See (For your daily ration of cheesiness!):

      2. griffen

        It was more a rhetorical comment(!) than an actual observation. It’s like a Clark Griswold moment, when he offers cousin Eddie to buy those poor kids Christmas presents and Eddie picks up a 50 lb bag of dry dog food.

        I’m more of an easter tinged Peeps person myself. While I do have a bag of easter eggs, but it’s the Reese’s variety.

      3. flora

        Every Easter, our local bakery makes delicious hot cross buns. That’s my Easter treat this year, (chocolate bunnies are so expensive…)

      4. ambrit

        Ditto. After the Easter Mass, (on TV for a few years now,) it is time for an Easter Breakfast of scrambled Easter eggs and soy bacon with a side of non-gluten toast, (real butter on top.)
        Who says America can’t do “Emergent Traditions?”

            1. Randall Flagg

              Hopefully the defendant will be assigned a very good shark (oops, lawyer), to assist in his defense.
              But maybe we’ll have a whale of a good time with this…

    1. Boomheist

      That’s a damn big herring, folks. When I was fishing commercially, longlining, herring was a preferred bait, and we never saw a four pound herring, ever, and we saw and cut up thousands. Two pounds max….

      1. caucus99percenter

        Two pounds, four pounds — when you net it out, the catch is, they never cod-ified roe, versus weighed.

      1. OwlishSprite

        Harris did not escape either:

        “Kamala Harris isn’t going to Tennessee to meet with the families of those who died in the horrific shooting,” political commentator Dan Eberhart tweeted Friday.

        “She’s going there to meet with Democrats who are upset over facing consequences for their actions.”

        There’s no middle ground any more it seems between the ‘left’ and ‘right’ politically.

        1. Gregorio

          One would have thought that she had learned about the concept of multi-tasking by now.

          1. OwlishSprite

            I got a laugh from a quote from one of the ‘expelled Democrats.’ “The Speaker runs the Capitol like it’s his private palace, and so there is no democracy in Tennessee.”
            Oh, dear.

      2. Pat

        The reaction was from Sky News, but the feed was Fox News. Which means that the largest cable news viewing audience in America got him making bad jokes and glad handing the audience.
        (Fox doesn’t have to point out that Biden is often inappropriate, they just let the video play. It isn’t as if it doesn’t speak for itself, and their detractors either won’t see it or will get the excuses.)

  6. OwlishSprite

    This caught my eye this morning, probably because I was wondering why Bob Lee was out wandering around apparently alone at 2:30 a.m. in such a terrible neighborhood. As my friend’s mother used to tell us, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”

    Do the homeless get that $57,000 being spent on them? Of course not. The princelings of the NGO establishments got that money — for themselves. That’s what’s made them politically powerful, enough to call the shots at city hall.

    Meanwhile, the tech barons keep the city afloat through their taxes paid, which in turn pay for the city’s homeless services — which fuels the homelessness. The taxes they pay are the highest in the nation (which, naturally, the Chronicle claims doesn’t matter to the tech companies, but that is unlikely to be true). We also know that they’re not happy now that the crime that coincides with the growth of the homeless-industrial complex has spiraled into their tech talent base. It’s not just Lee’s murder, though that’s not small. It’s that ordinary tech workers don’t want to return to the offices. The tech firms have leases in those buildings and need to utilize that paid-for space. The workers don’t want to return and many have fled to friendlier, less crime-infested climes in Texas, Washington State, and Florida. That’s leaving San Francisco with a lot of empty office space — about a 30% vacancy rate, which is one of the country’s highest — and a 30% drop in tax revenues, given that the city finances itself by a huge margin through property taxes.

    Lesson for Tech Bros: Move fast, break literally everything, suck up all the money, leave the mess behind, and for heaven’s sake, don’t ever go back.

    1. Mildred Montana

      As a true-crime aficionado I find this incident interesting. As you say, why was Lee where he was at that weird time? Where was he beforehand? Who was he hanging out with? As he walked home, was he wearing flashy clothing, jewelry, and a Rolex while thumbing an expensive phone? Were the (assumed) jewelry, Rolex, and/or phone stolen from him? Here’s the latest I can find:

      He was reportedly stabbed twice and collapsed outside a luxury residential building. The most interesting thing to me about such a high-profile case is the comparative silence of the media and police and the lack of a suspect or a motive. After all, it happened five days ago which in forensics is a long time.

      If it had been a stranger attack, I assume Lee would have been robbed and that the video cameras in the area would have picked up something. I further assume that if that “stranger”, a homeless or street person as the media is currently conjecturing, was indeed the perpetrator, (s)he would have been either quickly apprehended (rightly or wrongly) or ratted out by others. Case solved. Pin it on a homeless person. Investigators love quick solutions, especially if they involve society’s pariahs.

      Doesn’t seem to be the case here. I could be completely wrong of course, but I will suspect something deeper until further details come out.

    2. JBird4049

      At $57,000 per a year, even in San Francisco, that would get a two or three bedroom apartment. One could just give a person that amount of money and they would likely be able to rent a one bedroom apartment and live on the rest. At California’s cost of living, it would likely still be tight, but it would still be much better than what some of the souls I seen doing.

      When you add the fact that a large number of the homeless have jobs, but have to live in their vehicles or the street, it just shows more of the corruption and the incompetence that it always creates.

      If one was to make the case that the need for healthcare is the problem, again, at $57,000 per a year and using the city’s resources, surely a system could be created to provide this? We are talking about a billion dollars a year and yet proving much more than a pair of portable toilets to deal with the human waste problem, of the kind provided at concerts seems difficult. (A pair of them on a trailer parked near the methadone clinic. Even when just focused on the sidewalk or road when going by, I am really not impressed.)

      At a billion a year, the city could hire the best architects, get those emptying office spaces, and build some quality housing, but it ain’t going to happen. Do not think that it is a San Francisco problem, or a San Francisco Bay Area, or even just California, but think it a national problem as the corruption with the incompetence and the indifference are really the causes of our homeless being homeless.

      1. OwlishSprite

        The point of driving up taxes, besides making the parasites rich, is to price the poor out, who are then supposed to leave and not clutter up the place and prey on the rich on the street. But not too far, because, services like cleaning, waste, restaurants. The bright minds have it all figured out, why can’t they get cooperation??

      2. Glen

        Great ideas!

        As to health care, could people get city jobs and city healthcare? I’m sure that SF is having a hard time filling some jobs just like everybody else, maybe getting the homeless off the street, off drugs, and doing something useful would be an improvement. I’m not sure all homeless would want this, but some would. Where I live, 40% of the homeless are working, they just cannot afford housing so many of them just want to have a chance at a more normal life.

        And never forget that housing in SF is NOT the problem. Not only is there empty commercial real estate, there are many empty homes:

        San Francisco has nearly five empty homes per homeless resident

        1. JBird4049

          @Glen and @Carla.

          2% and very likely more than that of San Franciscans are homeless. Back of the envelope numbers suggest 10% of housing units are empty or over 45,000 beds. Add that most of the new builds are for the higher end or above mere middle class, which suggest some serious f—- up sh—- is going on.

          Do not forget that something similar is happening throughout out the state. It is just more noticeable in high density areas like the Bay Area in Los Angeles metro.

          (Do visit LAs Skid Row. Interesting third world, global south, banana republic nightmare fuel)

          Despite the shortages of everything, the United States does have the resources to get adequate, decent housing for everyone, but because markets, go die. Really, greed kills.

  7. Lexx

    ‘Antidote du jour’

    Husband was looking out the window a few weeks ago and exclaimed, ‘Fox!’ I don’t often hear Mr. Calm sound excited about much of anything, so my head snapped around and I rushed to the window. Sure enough, a fox with a very healthy looking tail was running up the street and between the houses in broad daylight chasing after a rabbit.

    Mange killed off so many foxes and coyotes in this neck of the woods, we haven’t seen foxes for at least five years. The last one I saw then had a very pitiful looking tail and knew it would be doomed come winter. That was the last we saw of it.

    We also have considerably fewer rabbits, diseased or healthy. Husband and his pellet gun had something to do with thinning the numbers, but cars got many more… and they seem to have an appetite for squirrels as well… so many squirrels. The latest migrant to our trees just seems… I don’t know… more paranoid than usual, skittish even, it’s been harder than usual to get a good shot. But you know surviving lulls them into a false sense of security and patience wins out every time.

  8. Stephen V

    Wow Lambert. Thanks for that little Jim Angleton link–coming as it does after we watched BBC’s excellent Spy (Among Friends) this past week. (This despite Prime making the final episode “unavailable.”)
    What a tangled web and good article by the Intercept.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Drudge Report? Made me look and then I made myself a new bookmark. I purged my rightwing links decades ago (after Iraq I no longer felt the need to care about what they thought) but am slowly rebuilding them as ‘rightwing media’ reports on stories the ‘mainstream’ media ignores.

    On the plus side, this will also help get me to wash my hands more often.

  10. RightBluff

    What do you think about calling the bluff of your local anti-immigrant party? First you ask them if they want to get rid of immigration from muslim countries? Then showing them that NATO and USA bombings are the most important reasons for large waves of immigration. If they are not strongly against and want to dissolve NATO or disconnect with the USA, you know they are a bluff.
    It could also be a way for left-wing parties to recruit voters.

  11. Lexx

    ‘EXCLUSIVE: First anti-aging pills to hit shelves in 2028, expert predicts – as Silicone Valley races to conquer death.’

    Naturally I’m fascinated by this. I was prescribed 2000 mgs. of metformin at the end of December, but only raised the amount at home to 1500.* Something about 2000 didn’t feel right physically, so I backed it down. Then at the end of March I made the jump to 2000. Numbers-wise the additional 500 made a small difference to something almost considered ‘within normal limits’.

    Lower blood glucose means lower inflammation and less of what inflammation does to a body when it’s chronic. Lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a lower likeliness to trigger diseases, e.g. heart disease, cancers, and autoimmune diseases. This doesn’t eliminate aging and death, just slows the inevitable and the number of years of feeling sick till the idea of dying starts to look preferable.

    However… and you knew there had to be a ‘however’… there is the dependence factor. I can’t skip even one dose.

    *Consequently, CVS has been frantically texting that I’m past due for a refill because they’ve been counting every pill and think I might be in deep doody. Funny how often a programmed courtesy feels like an invasive nose up my business.


      Just wait until it starts getting priced like insulin, which has supposedly been off patent for decades. Well, it has, but they only sell new “improved” at inflated prices.

  12. griffen

    Short selling reaches into the Canadian bank franchise TD Bank. TD has a large presence in the US as well, in fact they keep a large regional office nearby in Greenville, SC. Key reasons as to why the increased short interest, well it appears to be a small list. One good decision might be, just maybe, revisiting the “been on hold” acquisition of smaller lender First Horizon. Much has changed since the transaction was announced in Feb 2022.

    They can use an NC analogy. Don’t bank, or even acquire a bank with “First” in the name. And elsewhere in Canada, consumers are growing a little tighter in the wallets according to the report I was looking through.

    1. Wukchumni

      Old: Run on the bank

      New: Silent bank alarm

      Experts agree that it’s damned easy to panic online…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Some experts miss the good old days when they could simply shut the bank’s doors leaving depositors lined up outside with zero chance of getting at their own money – while wealthier clients were quietly paid out on the side.

  13. Aurelien

    “Leaked Pentagon docs show how deep US has compromised Russian intelligence New York Post.”
    Nothing in the story justifies the headline. It’s been universally noted that battlefield surveillance in this war (overhead, but also other types) makes it very hard to hide the location and movement of units. Once you see units congregating in a particular area, it’s usually reasonably obvious what they are going to do, and at any one time your intelligence on the disposition of forces will tell you broadly what the enemy’s options are. This is why the Russians have essentially attacked everywhere along the line of contact, rather than carrying out the “big arrow” attacks the western media was speculating so furiously about: it helps to disguise where your main effort will be until its too late. There’s no reason to suppose that the US (which is notoriously bad at human intelligence) has managed to penetrate the Russian system.

    In general, I think that excited hyperventilating about deception operations and hidden agendas is beside the point. These documents look authentic, and could have been leaked by any number of people for any number of reasons.

    1. Louis Fyne

      my favorite hypothesis is that the leak is due to a triggered commenter who wanted to prove his “street cred” to other anonymous pro-RU and pro-UA internet commenters, and prove his point that UA wiĺl win the war. (Versus some ingenious 4-D attempt at a larger geopolitical ouycome)

      Not the first time that such scenario happened.

      1. digi_owl

        Quite likely. Over the years there have been news about secret fighter jet documents getting uploaded to a game forum because someone was frustrated with the “inaccuracy” of the game.

      1. tevhatch

        Authentic is very probable, but as Alex at Duran noted today, that says nothing about the quality of the information contained. Larry Johnson has noted that the CIA seems to prefer to get such data from Ukraine resources, rather than get it from field agents, whom might gather information against the neo-conservative agenda and create headaches for CIA chief.
        Alex noted that UK Defense idiot with out the savant Ben Wallace used the same 97% of Russian military man-power is in Ukraine theater number, which is shows laziness and absolute contempt for the official readers/consumers of said reports. It’s almost as if why bother, what ever we write will not be read, at least not intelligently.

    2. Cetra Ess

      There may be some genuine and accurate info in the docs but this smells too much like a modern Operation Mincemeat to me. Feels like the Ukrainians want to manupulate perceptions about their divisional makeup and numbers. And you either choose to believe there are more numbers than there actually are, where they are, or you believe there are less than there actually are.

      Also, I’ve been to meetings where every copy of every piece of paper doesn’t leave the room, is carefully accounted for and then just as carefully collected afterwards. I’ve been to meetings where phones were collected beforehand and returend after. I think NATO is pretty stupid but not so stupid that something like this gets out. I’m leaning heavily toward deliberate leak. So the only question for me is which part of the doc are they wanting to BS about.

        1. Cetra Ess

          No, I caught that. It doesn’t change my mind, I can’t get past the matter of how this would even get out. If it was a genuine uncontrolled leak then it demonstrates a staggering level of incompetence, a lack of operational security, and we can assume the Ukrainians have almost certainly lost.

          On the other hand and as has been mentioned, perhaps that’s the point.

          1. Yves Smith

            I take it you have not read today’s post or the latest MSM coverage. This is a leak. The Pentagon is flipped out and Ukraine is furious. As Big Serge said, there is way way too much detail in the docs for this to be a fabrication. It has to and does tie very closely to public information (for instance, which weapons systems begin sent in specific detail, which have firm #s, which more up in the air due to arrivals) and extensive use of Pentagon jargon/acronyms. The officialdom would have simply denied that they were real and tried ignoring it and then come up with a narrative if the story did wind up getting big media coverage, as they did with the Nord Stream bombings.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Human wave tactics are demoralizing the Russian army in Ukraine”

    Lots of copium going on at the Atlantic Council. No, scratch that. It might be something else. I have read about these supposed Russian human wave tactics a coupla times before. It may be that the Atlantic Council is helping set up the narrative for when this war is over. They will say that yes, the Russians won, but through human wave tactics the Russians lost over 200,000 soldiers killed in defeating the Ukraine. It will not matter that that number will be off by a magnitude of order as it will be the narrative that will be important. It will make them feel better about their epic disaster of a policy and will dull some of the criticism that they will be getting. I guess for research they watched “Enemy at the Gates”- (3:58 mins)

    1. Louis Fyne

      Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but even “Enemy at the Gates” took artistic license with that opening scene (ammo/gun shortages, human wave attacks), that movie is very loosely based on a book (written by a non-Russian).

      The Americans inherited the German WW2 propanganda that those Russkie Hun hoardes beat Enlightened Western Europeans via brute numbers

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We hired a bunch of German officers who probably should have been handed over to the Soviets because they flattered us. Like Chalabi in the 00’s, they sold us what we wanted to hear to avoid accountability, and American rubes ate it up.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          Allen Dulles didn’t have to be sold. He took the initiative as the war in Europe was ending to shield Reinhard Gehlen & his eastern front intelligence/terror operation from the Soviets and continue their business as usual, but directed from DC and not Berlin. As Thomas Hughes, head of the State Department’s Intelligence branch during the Kennedy era, put it, “Allen Dulles had a soft spot in his heart for ‘good Germans, ‘expansively defined.’”

      2. Polar Socialist

        Yes, only one Red Army unit during the battle of Stalingrad crossed Volga in daytime and went straight to battle: Rodimtsev’s 13th Guards. As the designation reveals, the unit had already seen battle before. At first as 3rd Airborne Corps, later as 87th Rifle Division. About half of the men were battle-hardened veterans by the time of the crossing.

        During the 13th September Germans had broken trough the weak NKVD units holding the city center, taken Mamayev kurgan and were approaching the main landing site. On 14th Chuikov asked Rodimtsev is he was willing to bring forward elements of his division over ahead of the schedule even if it meant facing the full wrath of Luftwaffe and going straight into the battle against Germans holding the building above the landing.

        Rodimtsev agreed that it was the only way to save Stalingrad and promised to personally lead the attack. Chuikov hugged Rodimtsev and told him “we’re both going to die, so let’s die bravely”.

        Rodimtsev returned to the left bank to prepare his men for the crossing – and that would make a great movie by itself, I think. At least according the the eyewitnesses it was very dramatic moment when Rodimtsev gave a short speech to the first battalions to cross, standing in front of the burning Stalingrad on the other side.

        Men left all the heavy weapons behind and took just what they could use in close combat. Then they silently run to the boats and started the crossing. German aircraft, artillery, mortars and machine guns opened up regardless of the smoke screen the engineers had spread over the river, and almost half of the men were lost during the crossing. Rodimtsev’s boat took a direct hit but as he later said, he had no time to die then, he had men to lead.

        What was left of the first wave climbed up the embankment and hit the Germans with a sheer rage that won them in close combat the Mill and secured the landing for rest of the division to cross trough the night. In short, it was kinda human wave attack, but so have all landings under fire always been.

      3. R.S.

        When you’re on the receiving end, virtually every infantry attack looks like a human wave.

        that movie is very loosely based on a book (written by a non-Russian).

        AFAIR some 1970s nonfiction. BTW Zaitsev actually wrote a memoir, but it was apparently never translated from Russian.

        The Soviets for the most part had no shortages of small arms and the like. What they lacked in quantity, at least in late ’41-early ’43, was some heavier stuff, like general-purpose/heavy MGs, heavy artillery, some AA guns and similar items. That wasn’t by design: much of the materiel was lost in the summer of 1941, and a large chunk of the relevant industry was captured by the Germans, or had to be evacuated and wasn’t quite back on its feet yet.

        What did definitely happen, and on both sides, was a direct result of a successful encirclement. Units caught in a pocket spent up their ammo and fuel really quickly, in a matter of days, so their last-ditch efforts to break through sometimes looked like a human wave.

        1. tevhatch

          The TIK History channel which I linked to above had an interesting graph in another video which they clipped from David Glantz or some other new school scholar showing how the availability of mortars tracked closely with the turn-around of Soviet success.

      1. chris

        Hillary is posting carpool karaoke videos with her and Chelsea and others singing so why not? Let’s make everything that was old and rancid new again! (I won’t dignify the likes of the Clintons by sharing a link to their horrible performative crap.)

        1. flora

          oh noooos. So *that’s* why silicon valley is working on an ‘eternal youth’ pill? (Bill’s current appearance does resemble a picture of Dorian Gray.) A bridge to the 21st century and beyond! / ;)

  15. Wukchumni

    And now the end is here
    And so we face that final irony curtain
    My friend I’ll make it clear
    I’ll state our case, of which I’m certain
    We’ve lived a life that’s full of consumer goods
    Traveled by each and every highway
    And more, much more
    We did it, we did it our way

    Regrets, We’ve had a few
    But then again too few to mention
    We did what we had to do
    We saw it through without exemption
    We planned each charted course
    Each careful step proclaiming
    Our way or the highway!
    And more, much, much more
    We did it, we did it our way

    Yes, there were times I’m sure you knew
    When we bit off more than we could chew
    But through it all, when there was doubt
    We ate up what propaganda spit out
    We faced it all and we stood tall and did it our way

    For what is a hegemon, what has it got?
    If not solely itself then it has naught
    Not to pay for things that it truly needs
    And not the lucre lingua franca of someone who kneels
    Let the record shows we took all the blows and did it our way

    My Way, performed by Frank Sinatra

  16. tevhatch

    Interesting article in Grayzone, as I commented a few days earlier in NC, the influence of the Ukrainian Banderite Diaspora extends even into local public school boards in Ontario, Canada’s most populous and multicultural province. I heard about tiki torch parades and attacks on 1st nation offices in the prairie and maritime provinces, now I can really feel it.
    Kit Klarenberg, The Grayzone, 3/12/23 — A peer-reviewed paper initially approved and praised by a prestigious academic journal was suddenly rescinded without explanation. Its author, one of the world’s top scholars on Ukraine-related issues, had marshaled overwhelming evidence to conclude Maidan protesters were killed by pro-coup snipers.

    1. chris

      Aaron Mate and Katie Halper did a good interview with that expert. The evidence for the pro-Maidan forces massacring their countrymen was convincing.

  17. Wukchumni

    1 acre foot = 325,851 gallons x 7 million acre feet on deposit above me in the First National Snowbank of the High Sierra, southern branch.

    Drove home from Mammoth the other day through Walker Pass, which takes you right along the lower Kern River, which was quite the torrent of whitewater, keeping in mind that its all controlled release from Lake Isabella, and like all dams-there is a limit to how much they can let out per hour, in the case of our dam, the fusegates were maxed out @ 6100 cubic feet per second when things were looking dicey last month. 5,500 cfs has been the more typical max.

    Lake Kaweah was completely full @ 185k+ acre feet, and they’ve drained it down to 71k now with a steady 4,500 cfs dispersal rate per hour.

    There is no hesitancy to let ‘r rip as far as filling Tulare Lake goes, which will be 4 times the surface area of Lake Tahoe, and will require a few years before it finally evaporates off, the immediate soil underneath being what is called ‘Corcoran Clay’ a layer of low permeability that goes down around 200 feet, not allowing much to get down to the already collapsed aquifer, compressed by constantly pumping out water.

    What a treat the largest freshwater lake in the west will be for wildfowl, hello H5N1-really didn’t expect you around these parts, didn’t get an RSVP, and by the way expect no foul play in Hanford & Lemoore, both dairying rich cities way too close to Tulare Lake.

    1. Questa Nota

      Newsom working on aquifer refill with repurposed oil drilling rigs? Photo op, campaign contributions, more grist for 2024? /s

      1. JBird4049

        Using foresight, planning, and spending money for the future and not on the grift? Hah.

    2. chris

      Would be good if they would take the snow and make it into ice for use as meat water later in the year.

  18. Wukchumni

    Global warming, home runs, and the future of America’s pastime American Meteorology Society.
    Wouldn’t you want to correlate that with the Joy of Six (only funny if said in a Kiwi accent) in cricket?

  19. Bill

    Is this a typo or an attempt by NYT to “clean up” the estimate? (Anyway, it’s highly likely that Ukrainian KIA are “upwards” of 100K through March according to “U.S. officials” which probably means much much higher than that.

    “For example, one of the slides said 16,000 to 17,500 Russian soldiers had been killed while Ukraine had suffered as many as 71,500 troop deaths.”

    “The leaked document says that as of February, Ukraine had suffered 124,500 to 131,000 casualties, with up to 17,500 killed in action.”

    1. begob

      Scott Ritter is firm on a current figure of 320,000 Ukrainian dead. He bases this claim on the kind of modeling he used in the first Gulf War, and finds corroboration in reports of a briefing given to general Milley this week. At the same time he references the BBC figure for Russian dead. That gives a ratio of 20:1.

      1. Jason Boxman

        That’s an unimaginable waste of lives. Well done, Biden! Well done, Clinton Democrats! Not to mention the waste of resources. How many millions of tons of artillery shells have been fired? This stuff can’t exactly be recycled and reused afterwards. What’s the carbon cost of this? What a waste.

        In this world, we pay the Carbon Price, I guess, eventually.

        1. digi_owl

          They are likely smiling ear to ear while watching the value of their MIC holdings rising to high heaven.

        2. K.k

          Surely we shouldn’t be too stingy with giving credit where due. Republican party too has been knee deep in arming Ukraine and pushing all kinds of ngos to increase tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Lets not forget Lindsey Graham and John Mccains gotta fight the Russians there so we dont fight them here mantra throughout the oughts and teens. Been a throughly bipartisan affair. I remember distinctly when Trump in his typical weak kneed manor signaled he would prefer to tone down tensions with Russia and the duopoly gangsters like Mccain, Graham, and Klobuchar responded with flying out to Ukraine to assure them to not fret the silly orange man. Or when Obomber admin refused to send certain weapons to Ukraine and how the republicans went after him for being weak on Russia. The rot runs deep.

        3. Randall Flagg

          Just imagine the after effects on people and place once the depleted uranium shells are used…

  20. rudi from butte

    Happy Easter! Good reminder that the system needs a good overhaul. A complete repudiation and replacement with simple PUBLIC SERVICE. FIRST CLASS PUBLIC SERVICE with Health Care at the center. What’s the Big Deal?

    Unfortunately, the Big Deal is America has become one enormous Slum Lord and it is beyond repair simply because we don’t have the money, the resources nor the skill set.

    NYC alone needs 3-5 trillion just to untangle the utility maze and bring it up to date.

    Good Luck everyone!!! I’m heading to the Park for a couple of days. Nothing like Yellowstone in the Spring! Happy Easter/Spring.

    1. OwlishSprite

      Sounds wonderful–give Yogi and Boo-Boo a hug from me. They might be awake by now.

  21. antidlc

    re: Dr. Deepti Gurdasani commentary on relaxing of face masks in hospitals

    Noha Aboelata, MD
    After much inquiry and conversation over the past several weeks, I think I understand the plan with regards to removing masks in healthcare: they intend to normalize in-hospital covid spread. There’s no other explanation.

    It is profoundly disturbing that TPTB are normalizing hundreds of COVID deaths per day and now this.

    If people are willing to go along with hundreds of deaths per day and allowing COVID to spread among the vulnerable in hospitals, what else are people willing to go along with?

    Truly frightening and depressing.

    1. rudi from butte

      What would it take to overwhelm your local hospital? It’s smaller than you think. Much smaller. It’s scary small!

  22. lyman alpha blob

    Nicely chosen Dead link today, Lambert. That’s always been my favorite song of theirs and I was lucky enough to have them play it at both Dead shows I made it to, Oxford Speedway ’88 being one of them.

    While that episode by Tennessee Republicans was execrable and I wholeheartedly support those who were expelled, after a seven year witch hunt to get Trump for all the wrong reasons, this type of backlash shouldn’t be surprising.

    Democrat attempts to criticize these moves come off as pretty hypocritical, and not just because of their treatment of Trump. Here’s Barry O piping up in support of the protesting legislators, only to be smacked down with a reminder of how he treated similar peaceful protestors –

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Assassinating a foreign general from a country we are not at war with, fomenting coups in Venezuela, persecuting Assange – but the rest of DC agrees with him on all that.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Assassinating a foreign general on a diplomatic mission by invitation of a US ally.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Ukrainian army failed to regain Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in October”

    Originally reported in The Times but even here it is not the whole truth. There were several attempts to take over the Zaporizhzhia power plant and just not the one talked about here. I lost track on how many there were.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Is this about the attempt right when IAEA inspectors were waiting to cross over to Russian side? The one that The West at the time denied having happened and being just Russian psyops/propaganda?

      1. begob

        No, it was the one with the underwater Aston Martin. In the final scene, James Bond puts on a depleted uranium condom, but the glow-in-the-dark attracts sniper fire. He survives, but definitely won’t be getting married.

        1. MarqueJaune

          Depleted uranium condom?!? That was a good loud laugh… imagining 007 with that glowing thing… Sir Roger Moore 007 would be the perfect fit for that situation.
          Btw, the underwater car/scene it’s a Lotus (Esprit, if I do remember correctly… not that it makes any difference for this plot…)

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I tuned into the Sunday morning talk shows today hoping to here some extended discussions about the implications of the Russian victory in Bakhmut for the war in Ukraine. Or maybe something about the strikes and marches in France. Perhaps a quick mention of the growing chances for peace in Yemen growing out of the China-brokered deal between the Saudis and Iran.

      Yeah, right.

      I did get a “Day with the Ukrainian Ambassador” from Dana Bash on CNN. After a quick throwaway line about the ever-upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive, we went to Bash’s running around DC with the ambassador while she took care of Ukrainian children injured in the war and plied the American government for more money and arms. The town of Bakhmut, that even the corporate media has talked about for weeks, was never mentioned.

      The contempt the American press has for its readers and listeners is boundless. “Don’t Look Up” is a documentary, not a satire.

  24. Wukchumni

    Drought-ravaged Colorado River gets relief from snow. But long-term water crisis remains Los Angeles Times
    Doing another kayak trip down the Colorado River in a fortnight, this time leading 9 others who have never been-pressure’s on.

    In circumnavigating the Sierra last week, i’ve never seen Cali so resplendent from the constant rains, greenery everywhere… spring has sprung-lets go!

    Las Vegas and environs got tons of rain too, along with it being on the cold side, uncustomary for sin city.

    But that was then and 2 weeks from now the forecast is 85/60, nice and warm but not a torment the temperature, with the dozen or so hot springs along the way calling our names, all new to my crew-can’t wait to show them the lay of the land, the pleasure of a soak.

    Spring is also prime-time to see Desert Bighorn Sheep, about 5 years ago we watched little ones a month or so old gamboling on the slots of near vertical cliffs, sure-footed already.

    I’d mentioned previously how poor of a showing waterfowl put in on the same trip the weekend before Thanksgiving, I only saw 75-100 birds over a couple days. I’ll have to compare notes.

    Only 33 miles from the Vegas Strip, but a world away…

  25. chuck roast

    How Zombifying Fungi Became Master Manipulators

    Finally! Microeconomics that makes sense.

  26. David in Friday Harbor

    About 30 years ago I spent a weekend in Tahoe with my wife’s companions from a tech start-up. One of the 20-somethings was descended from a long line of bankers; he recently retired as an exec at a name-brand software firm.

    I watched him play roulette using a similar system to the one described in the Bloomberg piece. It was extraordinary to watch. The pit-boss began changing croupiers, but it made no difference. The young man parlayed a $300 stake into $15K over four hours.

    He wouldn’t share his secret and never became a “professional” (I did also know some of the 1970’s UC Santa Cruz mathematicians who counted cards at blackjack before the casinos went to shoes exclusively). Roulette wheels tell their secrets and can be beaten.

    1. LilD

      The Eudaemonic Pie, by Thomas Bass on the roulette gig

      Timed the speed of the rotation of the table, the ball, and could guess which section the ball would land in better than unconditional chance.

      I have seen the actual shoe device, I worked 30 years ago with a couple of these guys at Los Alamos They made good money with it, got banned, leased it to another group who used it until maybe 1998 or so

      Played a lot of blackjack in late 70s when casinos weren’t tuned in to counting, but it was hard work.

  27. Maxwell Johnston

    “Ukraine will disappear as no one needs it, says top Russian security official.”–

    For the first time ever, I find myself agreeing with something Medvedev said. At the very least, UKR within its present internationally recognized borders is de facto finito. De jure, might take a while for reality to set in.

    “The Gambler Who Beat Roulette”–

    This was fascinating, thanks for posting. I had no inkling that it was possible to beat roulette on a consistent basis. It’s amazing what some people will do for money.

    Happy (western) Easter to all. Next Sunday will be Orthodox Easter.

    1. digi_owl

      It reads like what one was looking for was a slightly off center wheel that would thus tilt the odds of where the ball landed. After that one play the odds, literally, in the same way as the house does. This by placing bets that will earn over time more than any momentary losses.

    2. Polar Socialist

      If I may, I’d like to point out that while Medvedev is the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, that does not make him security official…

      The council has consultative role without any powers, and Medvedev is only kinda number three in it. Putin as president (of the council) and Nikolai Patrushev as a sectary actually run the thing.

      Then they have Shoigu (MoD), Gerasimov (Armed forces), Zolotov (Rosgvardija), Bortnikov (FSB), Naryshkin (SVR) and Kurenkov (EMERCOM) as actual top security officials as members of the council.

      I’m thinking Medvedev’s role in the council is to be groomed to be the next president.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If the Ukraine disappears it will be because they get amalgamated into a Polish-Ukrainian commonwealth. I suppose that the idea would be a country hostile to Russia that stretches from the Baltic down to the Black Sea and will be in both NATO and the EU automatically. Unless the Russians take the Ukrainian coastline Oblasts that is.

      1. digi_owl

        NATO seem very keen on keeping Odessa at least. Likely because they were building up facilities there before the fighting kicked off.

      2. R.S.

        That’s “Poland from one sea to another!” (Polska od morza do morza!) The Intermarium project of Pilsudski, part of his “Promethean” policy, a bulwark against Bolshevism (and a way to dismember Russia). In all seriousness, sometimes it all feels like if some mad wizard had opened a century-old fridge full of crazy ideas.

        It was revived to some extent as The Three Seas Initiative by Duda in 2016. The Azov movement also had (has?) their own vision of the Intermarium, as a part of their “Reconquista” and “the Pact of Steel”, see for instance:
        Marlene Laruelle and Ellen Rivera, “Imagined Geographies of Central and Eastern Europe: The Concept of Intermarium”

        1. Polar Socialist

          In all seriousness, sometimes it all feels like if some mad wizard had opened a century-old fridge full of crazy ideas.

          Could be a sign that we are actually experiencing the accelerating collapse of the international order that was build after the world war on the ruins of all that crazy. With the demise of all the institutions and protocols created to keep them out of sight they are one by one becoming exposed again.

    4. lambert strether

      I thought Medvedov’s logic was impeccable.

      The world doesn’t need irredentist Azovs scattered all over, either — it’s bad enough as it is — but it’s going to get them. I suppose that’s a better alternative than a fascist state modeling itself on (nuclear-armed) Israel in the bloodlands between Russia and Eastern Europe. Ukrainian nationalism is corrupt at the root, unusually pernicious, and we should not support it, let alone give it state power.

  28. Dalepues

    Gizmodo article on La Piedra de El Peñol. A quibble,
    but this famous rock is 50 miles from Medellín, not 93.
    Guatapé is a lovely, colorful village with good restaurants. I’ll
    add that despite its reputation as a place for drugs and sex,
    Colombia in general and Medellín in particular are very
    Catholic and very conservative and find public displays
    like the one mentioned in the article abhorrent.

    1. big hungry joe

      If they’re so concerned about illicit sex maybe they should stop supporting the Catholic Church

  29. Wukchumni

    Saudis & Iranians linking arms in the Middle East
    And Yemen likes what she sees
    Israel is attacking the Syrians
    The Israelis are also mad at the Lebanese
    Looks like another threat to world peace
    For the envoy

    Things got hot in Venezuela
    C-I-A got caught and couldn’t do no more
    He’s got diplomatic immunity
    He’s got a lethal weapon that nobody sees
    Looks like another threat to world peace
    For the envoy
    Send the envoy
    Send the envoy

    Whenever there’s a crisis
    The President sends his envoy in
    Guns in Damascus
    Oh, Jerusalem

    Saudis & Iranians linking arms in the Middle East
    And Yemen likes what she sees
    Israel is attacking the Syrians
    The Israelis are also mad at the Lebanese
    Looks like another threat to world peace
    For the envoy
    Send the envoy
    Send for Antony

    The Envoy, by Warren Zevon

  30. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Reaction to Texas Abortion Pill Ruling: Outrage, and Muted Praise (Read it here:

    After 50 years of knowing that Roe v. Wade was on shaky legal ground, promising to “codify” it in each and every campaign and then breaking that promise each and every time (the last time being the sainted obama who, once elected, had other “priorities”) “we” were told that most abortions were by pharmaceuticals anywayzzz so not to worry.

    Now a judge in texasss who, as far as I know, has no medical degree, decides to practice medicine without a license and somehow prevent use of a medication that has been prescribed for 20 effin’ years by REAL doctors with REAL experience.

    At the same time joe biden, while shuffling around the white house looking for chocolate chip ice cream, decides to make still be-peckered men in dresses and stilettoes Title IX beneficiaries even as they punch out actual women who protest that actual womanhood is more than just a thought process, a cosmetics collection and a wardrobe.

    WTF is going on here?

    At least we have the white house Easter egg hunt to look forward to. I wonder how many eggs commander-in-chief dementia joe will be able to find.

    1. Wukchumni

      107 million* spermatozoa are on strike here in solidarity with the protest!

      *Peak content, now more like 22 million & contents may have shifted after 61 years

    2. semper loquitur

      “ WTF is going on here?”

      Massive donations to the party, for one thing, from Trans Inc. And it’s a career maker, I suspect. There was that heartbreaking video about an adoptive mother whose daughter was caught up in the pipeline. She noted that the DA involved told her daughter that they would take her case “all the way to the Supreme Court!” Sounds like a bid for a well-funded political career to me.

          1. Polar Socialist

            I’ve often heard that the concept of body shame is unknown in Cuba, because there’s not a single marketing department or an ad company on the island.

        1. lambert strether

          A classic case of idealism vs. materialism. Our betters have always been on one side of that binary. One can only wonder why.

          1. ambrit

            So, would that make most NC readers “Idealoclasts?” This is getting downright Byzantine.

    3. digi_owl

      The fall of an empire.

      Not by some external threat, but by its intelligentsia having become insular, urbanized and financialized.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Historically, empires don’t fall from external forces but from internal collapse. The people stop believing in that empire and being part of it becomes too onerous and costly. Those external forces are then just pushing on a rotten door.

    4. wilroncanada

      One thing ancient Joe didn’t get from those wo”men” in stillettos was a standing ovulation.

  31. chris

    Re: Frum claiming the Twitter files are lies…

    The ratio of the comments where responders are saying Frum is full of BS to agreeing with Frum fills me with hope. Enough people seem to disagree with Frum’s assertion that maybe, just maybe, we have a hope of moving past this bizarre censorship regime that has grown up.

  32. fresno dan
    Daniel Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant, was found guilty of murdering Garrett Foster, a Black Lives Matter protestor, during a 2020 incident by a Texas jury Friday.
    Abbott also took another shot at so-called ‘rogue DAs’ in his post, echoing language increasingly used by Texas Republicans to criticize elected District or County Attorneys of soft-on-crime policies that are contributing to rising crime rates, as well as being selective in their prosecutions of certain crimes.
    Perry was in a vehicle when he drove up to the marching protesters. The prosecution argued that Perry provoked the incident by running a red light and presented evidence that refuted the claim of a crowd-swarming Perry. They also highlighted Perry’s social media posts and texts, which expressed anger towards protestors and discussed the possibility of shooting them. The defense, on the other hand, argued that Perry acted in self-defense.
    During the closing arguments, the prosecution stated, “Garrett Foster had every right to go up to him and see what the heck was going on. And he had every right to do it with a deadly weapon, his rifle, because [Perry] was in a deadly weapon, his car.
    The defense countered by saying, “It is perfectly okay to feel sorry for Garrett Foster, but Garrett Foster made a choice that night. He came ready for a war, not a protest.”

    Foster was carrying an AK-47 rifle at the time he went over to inspect Perry’s car; Perry was carrying a revolver in the vehicle while he was working that day as a rideshare driver.
    WOW, who would think republicans would go soft on crime. I thought repubs only complained about courts NOT convicting…
    And repubs challenging the right of Texas citizens to OPEN carry rifles in public, at a protest – its like that TEXAS defense attorney never heard of the 2nd amendment?!!?? (or is it JUST black citizens…)
    And TEXAS citizens electing soft on crime prosecutors??? What is going on down there?
    What is the expression – an armed society is a polite society? – well, not in this case.

    Seriously, who was intimidating who? Who was more justified to rightly think the other was/would initiate violence?

  33. Tom Stone

    I’ve been looking at the clips of Brandon promising that Trump would never again become President and the ones where he promises that the Nordstream pipelines would never flow…
    and it scares me.
    The behavior of the Biden administration has been reckless and irresponsible to the point of insanity and there is no reason to believe that will change.
    Do keep in mind that there are a LOT of true believers who know in their bones that Trump is “Putin’s Bitch” and they are about as amenable to reason as Pol Pot.

    1. big hungry joe

      >Europe must resist pressure to become ‘America’s followers,’ says Macron

      It’s a little late for that isn’t it

      1. some guy

        And yet Macron follows the Catfood Plan for internal French society, so what kind of merely performative ” not follow” does he hope to use to divert French peoples’ attention away from the Catfood Plan?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      This was the spin in the Global Times yesterday:

      China values France’s tradition of independence and its important role in advancing the multi-polar world, and that respect was underscored by the hospitality he received in China, Cui said.

      The Chinese better not get too excited about Macron, though. His home base is a little shaky right ow.

    3. Phenix

      gets caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy,”

      I think I read this quote 20 years ago in college….

      However, things are changing. The US essentially attacked Germany and are importing German industry.

      France will be in a position to exert more influence in Europe but Macron will not be that leader. The last headline I saw regarding his domestic status is that he is facing a revolution. I have no idea what is going to happen in Europe.

    4. RobertC

      Chuck — Concur. China’s hosting of Macron was a success on several fronts including prestige and business for France. It gave Macron a win he can carry back home and leverage from while providing cover for similar minded Europeans. And then there’s Taiwan:

      “The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” Macron said in the interview. “The question Europeans need to answer … is it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan? No. The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction,” he said.

      “Europeans cannot resolve the crisis in Ukraine; how can we credibly say on Taiwan, ‘watch out, if you do something wrong we will be there’? If you really want to increase tensions that’s the way to do it,” he said.

        1. RobertC

          TRK — I’m going to disagree here. But first some agreements. Macron made a diplomatic mistake on the first day by talking twice as long as his host. And by bringing up some topics his host had ready brush-offs.

          But the optics of the other two days were superb, especially a Macron sans jacket and tie wading into the group of cheering students. Those garden settings were perfect and the contrast between the tired Xi and the energetic Macron were in Macron’s favor.

          Meanwhile economic deals moved forward, the most visible being the Airbus buy. The message to Biden was clear: Boeing has no future in China.

          You raised the Chinese perspective. For the government the visit was fully successful. Macron barely got off the ground before he questioned Europe’s interests vis a vis Ukraine and Taiwan. I expect China will obtain a much better ROI than the Scholz visit, not only while Macron is president but also in his likely future as EC president.

          Losing face with the Chinese and world community? Scholz took the lead position when he acquiesced to Biden’s Nordstream destruction.

          I’m with Chuck.

  34. Mo

    Paranoid perspective: wondering if the reason for not introducing a stand alone Omicron vaccine was to prevent the experiment which would show if those who had only the omicron vaccine were better protected than those with omicron plus original

  35. ambrit

    Happy Easter to all and a Mini Zeitgeist Report.
    Checked out Easter candy prices last week. Zounds! I ended up buying no sweet confections at all. The prices were shockingly higher than last year’s.
    Tomorrow morning I intend to amble over to the “ghetto” WalMart and see if the “day old” Easter candy is significantly reduced in price or not. My goal is 50% plus price reductions. I am not sanguine about this goal being achieved. The present “markdowns aisle” merchandise is being priced at an initial “markdown” of 25%. This includes returns and broken boxes; 25% markdown no matter the condition of the product. I have recently seen packages where a half of the product was missing and the “markdown” was still only 25%. The numbers don’t work out, naturally. When I bought one such of a package to the attention of management to try to wheedle a better “deal” out of them, the reply was; “Take it or leave it. No changes allowed.” So much for middle management’s “independence of action.”
    Stay safe! Limit your sugar intake next week!

      1. ambrit

        So says Uncle Sugar? Oh, I got a train to rob! (And, no, I did not do forty hours….) Beware the slippery slope!

          1. ambrit

            Oh! So it’s a Technocrat “sweet spot” is it? HFCS is the essence of ‘Acrobloodsugarlevelnym.’
            The more esoteric of diet among us refer to HFCS as the “Quadragrammaton.” [That Name that cannot be spoken aloud. To do so invokes Powers best left unbidden.]

  36. some guy

    I wonder if more establishent-type people would take covid brain fog seriously if it had a medical-sounding name, like ” covidementia”. Maybe Frank Luntz could work on that.

    1. ambrit

      Sorry, but “covidementia” is still too close to deplorispeak. To be acceptable to true PMCs, we need a latin based nomenclature. Say, something like; “Corona virus deplorii squeelaeee.”

  37. some guy

    Beau of the Fifth Column put out an interesting 10 minute long video-talk about the Tennessee State Legislature expulsions of two Democratic Tennessee House Representatives. He analyses the action as being designed to send a few different messages to a few different audiences at the same time. Since there is no written transcript to be read, one can only either listen or not-listen to the video.

    After discussing and analyzing the “messages” being sent, Beau expresses the hope that the relevant Tennesseans will show the Republican Ruler House that they reject the messages being sent, and fling those messages back in the face of the Republican House Ruler Authoritarians by re-electing the same two expelled legislators and sending them right back to the Republican Authoritarian House which expelled them.

    Here is the link.

  38. Tom Stone

    I picked up a copy of Whitney Webb’s “One Nation Under Blackmail” and I am impressed.
    As good as anything Robert Parry or Sy Hersh have produced.
    Very highly recommended and something I believe Yves would enjoy a great deal.

  39. skippy

    Wellie El Trump was at the big UFC fight the other day sitting ringside with Dana White receiving lots of support from the crowd. Best part was main fight where the previous champion regained his belt after losing it for the first time to his opponent not long ago in a stunning 2nd round knock out.

    Then took the mic off Dana in the ring for the post fight interview and did a emotional Survival of the Fittest speech and acknowledged El Trumpo as the greatest president ever …. crowd erupts …

    Next election is going to be a hoot …

    1. ambrit

      Looks like the Establishment Democrats and Republicans will have to settle on a Co-Dominion strategy. (It’s who counts who counts.)

      1. skippy

        My bad … it was not the last fight, but still on the main card, where Masvidal made the Trump statement along with his Elmer Fudd impersonation – I am a multi millionaire ….

        I can see it now … PMC Dinos and latter day milquetoast Rinos wage PR/Marketing skirmishes with the Trump UFC, Cryptoboyz, feral evangs, and all other manner of usian diaspora … yet at the end of the day it matters not who wins … because it will remain a two tier society of socially corrosive amassed wealth for a few and those attempting to boot strap with broken shoe strings ….

        Me and my naturalized 40 yr old Canadian [Ukrainian heritage] ex/recovering Rothbard sort work mate have heaps of fun ripping all this – stuff – to shreds … funny thing is clients are like who are these painters again – ????? – talking about geopol, economics, monetary theory, religion, et al …

        BTW just finished a huge grand Queenslander inside and out for a great multi-generational family, then on that at the end of last day thanked me for all the hard work and appreciative of how good the place looked. Too top that all off handed me an envelope with a hand written note on the back [gasp in cursive] and 200 bucks in it.

        Blessed be the pouch [safe].

        1. ambrit

          Cursive script? What next, cuneiform on clay doh tablets?
          As for the Dem Repub “divide,” I recently read that the DCCC has declared that; “The bleatings will continue until morale improves.” [Nothing about material in there.]
          Be safe.

  40. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    Bitcoin has been the rock of Gibraltar, the Everest Face value as of late, plateauing price-wise just below the summit @ $28,389, in a push from the depths of $15k, obviously many saw value and were rewarded handsomely despite possibly having to ward off written brickbats from anonymous would be dissenters online, but kudos to those who stayed the course and believed in something that doesn’t exist.


    I bought in on the basis of $56k, and am sitting pretty with @ a little over $2 in the market, watching the action.

  41. Jason Boxman

    An order of exploitation please. $388 in Sushi. Just a $20 Tip: The Brutal Math of Uber Eats and DoorDash

    At about 8 p.m. on that Saturday night, Mr. Bush was back in the Pacific Palisades alley that drivers in the area have determined is the best spot for their phones to receive delivery requests from nearby restaurants. It is often a crowded spot, with several drivers often vying for a prime location while holding their phones aloft. Nearby, couples ate sushi and sipped wine on heated patios.
    The tips flashed across his screen.
    The first house had tipped $10.
    The music teacher left him nothing.
    And the Brentwood homeowner, with that $388 order, gave just $20 — about 5 percent.

    I never order out, but on the annual occasion that I do, I pick it up myself. Delivery costs a fortune even before the tip.

  42. flora

    This is pretty good. From 2019.

    Rogan and Jonathan Haidt, author of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure . utube, ~19 minutes.

    When Did SJW Culture Start?

    There’s another segment segment of the interview titled Social Media is Giving Kids Anxiety.

  43. Jason Boxman

    Oops was a reply to myself. Mistake.

    Oh, and this, I get:

    Usually, Mr. Kravchenko, a 39-year-old immigrant from Russia, sees little reason to smile. In Russia, he said, people never smile at strangers.
    “Here, people smile — they even don’t know you,” he said. “They smile, they ask ‘How are you?’ I can’t understand what should I say. How am I? Should I tell them all my problems?”

    Seriously, I don’t get it either, and I was born here. No one actually cares how I am, and certainly no one wants to hear what I actually think. Ugh.

    This is why I prefer going for walks where there are no people. In Boston, at least, people generally ignored me. Around here, everyone has to say hello or stare incessantly at me expecting an acknowledgement, ugh.

  44. LawnDart

    Health data: New Yorkers’ life expectancy plummeted in 2020

    New York City residents saw a significant drop in life expectancy during 2020 according to newly released health data. which experts believe is connected to COVID-19 deaths,

    The New York City Health Department said the data contained in its Annual Summary of Vital Statistics showed the average life expectancy of a resident dropped by nearly five years between 2019 and 2020, and that overall life expectancy across all demographics fell to 78 years.

      1. skippyd

        More Massive attack and less DH libertarian musicians going solo and call it a band please …

        Always flummoxed about how a band that gave out LSD to the front rows for collage kids expanded the whole psychotropic thingy into a brand name to rich kids and became the largest grossing live band eva … merch … life style thingy … and an amazing tribe of moochers in tow that would even make some libertarians blush … modern musical prophets beguiling the unwashed whilst they lived large …

        WOW at watching all the rich kids that trade and barter the bootleg band audio cassettes from the old days, heaps of bong cred for having that – one tape – from that one concert, where one band member did a White Brother opium solo without the band being informed but …. zomg …

        Sorry mate …

        1. ambrit

          Sorry to perhaps set you off, but what is your take on the Topanga Canyon Scene CT?
          (The “Summer of Love” was not evenly distributed.)

          1. skippy

            Music in many ways has a religious aspect to it because it is dependent on how it effects human emotions e.g. if it does not transport people to places they would rather be, justify their currant social dynamic, or unify them in some cause – hymns in repetition from youth per se.

            Your quire is a dynamic which is very religious in its nature … pilgrims seeking the path of truth in some natural back drop and like a crack in the ground becomes a shrine because they are so ignorant about the past and have no other avenue for recourse because all their time is spent on today to survive e.g. what to ware, who to hang with, which belief to attend.

            As such your question about the TCS CT is a self fulfilling prophecy regardless of what may started it.

            1. skippy

              Its not like some bands promote cult like behavior and I have seen it first hand with DH, watched kids get sucked into that hole and never return, dead set [pun intended] have had some tell me that they changed their lives, etc … a for profit live band that’s entire foundation is built on psychotropics.

              80s South Bay Calif the only place you would hear DH is in the affluent suburbs of L.A. and then in the early 90s in Boulder CO all businesses feared the DH tribe as it washed through going from one side of the nation to the other. Biggest moochers I’ve ever seen. Have to put up security at any place with happy hour food or even known to grab food through windows. Driving poorly maintained vehicles spewing smoke and fluids and then bang on about the environment.

              Best yet was before anyone knew of the term woke I was accosted by a couple of DH young females for using the term girls in notifying them it was their shot at the pool table. Whoboy the whole thing about masculinity and diminishing them, absolute ferals. It just goes on and on and on … libertarians with fluro tribal coloured clothes …

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > WOW at watching all the rich kids that trade and barter the bootleg band audio cassettes from the old days

          Um, nobody I knew who exchanged tapes could be said to be rich.

          1. skippy

            Its like with drugs Lambert … rich kids have the money to buy the good drugs and engage in trade for expensive hobbies …

  45. Jorge

    Ha! Dementia is a major problem for the security state, not because of bomb-related brain damage, but because of age-related dementia. They’ve been employing increasing numbers of people since the mid-1940s, and a lot of them are very old now. One out of four very elderly develop some kind of dementia, and old spies don’t keep their secrets.

    They’re going to have to start custom old-age homes with nurses who have secret clearances. Good luck with that.

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