Links 5/19/2023

Dealers Proclaim a Return to Form for Frieze New York, With Healthy Sales Across the Spectrum and Increased International Traffic Artnet News

Will The U.S. Economy Pull Off a ‘Soft Landing’? Paul Krugman, NYT

Recession Calls Keep Getting Pushed Back, Giving Soft Landing Believers Hope Bloomberg


Experts see climate change fingerprint in worsening heat waves and fires WaPo. The deck: “A new study found nearly 40 percent of burned area in the West can be attributed to carbon emissions.” Study.

Climate finance needs new ideas: could this model take off worldwide? World Economic Forum


Satellites reveal widespread decline in global lake water storage Science

Shale-Oil Drillers Are Running Out of Places to Dump Toxic Wastewater Bloomberg


WHO recommends new COVID shots should target only XBB variants Reuters

Zombie COVID: Corpses can still spread the virus for weeks after death, study finds Fortune. A preprint, but there are others.


Amid G7, China hosts summit of its own with Central Asia Times of India

China banks on stability with Afghanistan belt and road agreement: experts South China Morning Post

Add China’s Recovery to the Global Economy’s List of Worries Bloomberg

The China vs US Culture Map China Charts

Global chipmakers to expand in Japan as tech decoupling accelerates FT


Myanmar’s military imported $1bn in arms since coup, UN expert says Independent


The Untold Story Of India’s First Filmmakers Madras Courier


The Global Economy’s Future Depends on Africa Foreign Policy

These ASX graphite players are helping make Africa the world’s largest graphite producer Stockhead

New Not-So-Cold War

Pressure campaign on Biden to send F-16s to Ukraine goes into overdrive Politico. Hilariously, Ukrainska Pravda repackages the Politico story thus: Pentagon reiterates that it does not object to other countries providing F-16s to Ukraine.

Russian hypersonic missile scientists are arrested on treason charges NBC

The Russian nuclear company the West can’t live without Bloomberg

* * *

Why Ukraine’s spring offensive still hasn’t begun — with summer just weeks away AP

Ukraine could join ranks of ‘frozen’ conflicts, U.S. officials say Politico

* * *

Volodymyr Zelenskyy to attend G7 in person as leaders back new sanctions against Russia FT

Ukraine Can’t Join NATO The American Conservative

* * *

St Petersburg Travel Notes – Part III Gilbert Doctorow. Goods in the stores.

Biden Administration

Fed Officials Face ‘Loathsome’ Playbook for Debt-Ceiling Standoff WSJ

Republicans Want to Impeach Mayorkas. How About Giving Him a Medal? The Washingtonian

How reliable are Biden’s climate commitments? Politico

The Supremes

Supreme Court rules Twitter not liable for ISIS content SCOTUSblog. Section 230 still in place.

Spook Country

The United States Needs a Moonshot to Prevent Extremism from Metastasizing The Hill. Sounds like a job for The Censorship-Industrial Complex!

Elon Musk is right: Bellingcat is a Western ‘psy-op’ Aaron Maté

Digital Watch

A secretive annual meeting attended by the world’s elite has A.I. top of the agenda CNBC. Bilderberg. AI and robots are good proxies for depopulation.

G7 leaders call for ‘guardrails’ on development of artificial intelligence FT. There’s that “guardrails” trope again.

Here’s Why AI Girlfriends Are Going to Make Everything So Much Worse Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer

* * *

Popular Android TV boxes sold on Amazon are laced with malware TechCrunch

Feral Hog Watch

Wild ‘super pigs’ are rooting toward Minnesota. The state wants to keep them out. Investigate Midwest


Marburg Virus Disease: Global Threat or Isolated Events? Journal of Infectious Diseases. “Thus, Marburg virus disease is not an immediate global threat to us living in non-endemic areas, but local and international public health officials need to be on high alert to protect vulnerable populations and ultimately populations across the globe. Aside from preventing Marburg virus disease introductions into our countries, we should bring countermeasures in the field to control Marburg virus disease in Africa. Those opportunities exist now, we should not miss them because of real or perceived social or economic barriers.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why the U.S. Should Close Its Overseas Military Bases Foreign Policy

Realignment and Legitimacy

Durham Report Reveals the Real Threat to “Democracy” – The FBI Weaponized by Democrat Party Affiliated Elites Black Agenda Report

* * *

Christian School in Michigan Sued for Alleged Failure to Prevent Student’s Abuse The Roys Report

‘Too much’: Parents ask court not to release writings of Nashville school shooter ABC

* * *

‘Succession’ season 4, episode 8: ‘America Decides’ NPR. It’s a documentary.

Guillotine Watch

The Newest College Admissions Ploy: Paying to Make Your Teen a “Peer-Reviewed” Author Pro Publica

Justice for all? Times Literary Supplement. John Rawls.

Class Warfare

Striking WGA Late-Night Comedy Writers Launch YouTube Show Lampooning The Studio Deadline. Here. On the strike issues:

The Disappearing White-Collar Job WSJ

Could 300,000 Job Openings Be Fake? Here’s Why Goldman Thinks They Might Be Forbes

Here’s How Much Wealth You Need to Join the Richest 1% Globally Bloomberg

The war on Japanese knotweed Guardian

No Mow May: A Gateway To Better Landscape Management For Bees Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

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. Helen B

    Hi All. I have the opportunity to ask a Bank of England panel one question about Central Bank digital currencies next week. I was planning on asking the panel what problem CBDC’s are intended to solve? Does the comment community have any concise and pointed questions they want answered in case I get a follow up question?

    1. TomDority

      What back-up and emergency restoration procedures in place should information become corrupted and or compromised or access to digital services be broken?
      for one

      1. square coats

        I think this would be a great question too. I don’t know how concise your question has to be but if you are allowed the space/time, it might be helpful to include a brief example of some incident that has occurred in the recent past that gives people good reason to not trust how CBDCs will be handled/implemented.

    2. Kevin Smith MD

      I asked Bing Chat:
      “I have the opportunity to ask a Bank of England panel one question about Central Bank digital currencies next week. I was planning on asking the panel what problem CBDC’s are intended to solve? Can you suggest concise and pointed questions you’d like answered in case I get a follow up question?”

      That’s a great question! Here are some additional questions you could ask the panel:

      How do CBDCs differ from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?

      How would CBDCs improve financial inclusion?

      What are the potential cybersecurity threats and theft risks associated with CBDCs?

      How would CBDCs be used to provide “innovative and value-added” ways for homes and businesses to make payments and transfer funds?

      I hope these questions help you prepare for your panel. Let me know if you need any more information. 😊

    3. Objective Ace

      Rest assured they have heard this question many times now and are prepared. You will get a cleaned up canned version of how it is necessary to protect us from extremists, Russians, and terrorism and maintain US control

      There was an interview with. Christine Lagarde was caught off guard by this question and lays it all out explcitly.

      You might do better starting with the answer: is it really worthwhile to enact a whole new currency system that restricts our freedom to stop some small small likelihood of terrorism? Couldn’t we say the terrorists have won if that’s necessary

        1. Revenant

          It was a Vovan and Lexus prank call, where they pretended to be a Ukrainian official (Finance minister / CB official / Zelensky). Hope that helps you to find it.

          I posted it in comments at the time for a couple of days and it got lifted up into links a day or two later.

    4. Mr. Benson

      “As CBDCs are ‘programmable’, their use can be restricted to only allow certain individuals to use for certain purposes. What protections do you think are needed to ensure that this feature of CBDCs is not abused by issuing governments?”

    5. lambert strether

      How about:

      1) Do you believe physical cash should be outlawed? If no:

      2) Do you believe all retail establishments should be legally mandated to accept physical cash for the infefinite future?

      1. vao

        They might reply this is outside the purview of CBDC. How about:

        Will it be possible to deposit cash (i.e. banknotes issued by the central bank) and have one’s corresponding CBDC account credited, and vice-versa, that is, withdraw any amount from the CBDC account in cash (i.e. banknotes issued by the central bank)? If not, why not, given that these are the same currency, issued by the central bank?

      2. Helen B

        Thanks to everyone who put forward extra questions about CBDCs. I will see what I can sneak through and report back. I don’t have high expectations of candour but we’ll see what they say.
        Cheers people.

        1. Revenant

          I am too late for the question to be asked not I would be interested in this answer:

          – if CB’s issue CBDC to replace private bank money, the CB will generate seigniorage income on the entire stock of broad money upon this issuance; depositors will have transferred their bank deposits into CBDC; and either private bank balance sheets will receive an equal value increase in shareholder equity because their deposit liabilities gave been released or the CB must impose a reserve requirement that forces private banks to draw equivalent CBDC funding from the CB. The result is a private sector looting of the seigniorage value, either directly to shareholder equity or because the CBDC assets of the CB, that is good faith and credit of the state, are recycled into private banks to fund all speculative bank lending, like a giant national hedge fund LP investment. Which approach to unjustly enriching bankers will you take – or will you recognise that nationalising broad money can only be accomplished justly and equitable through nationalisation of the deposit taking and payment systems?

    6. WRH

      how will CBDC’s be used to tighten the chokehold of the security state on ordinary citizens?

  2. griffen

    How much to join the 1% globally. Lot of variation in the listing. I would have cynically assumed, that the barrier to entry in the US would be nearer to $10 million instead. What is really wild to consider in that context, is how many entertainers, celebrities and athletes are rolling in $15 million to $50 million per year in their simple contracts and or including endorsements. Is Stephen Colbert really worth what CBS pays him? Others mileage may vary.

    Some are quite arguably earning their keeps. But a couple of mediocre years in your middle 30s, in a US professional sports league, and you can still make ridiculous salary demands. You don’t have to play exceptional or even consistently good in the playoffs anymore, or elevate your professional team to .500.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Given the constant demand for new material for people to watch on their phones, many in the entertainment industry (and I include all sports in that category) have gained significant earning power — although those earnings remain unequally distributed.

      I see it as the middle phase of a bubble. We’re still ramping up to maximum watching capacity, with a lot of opportunity for people to get in on the game and get their cut (witness the rise of DIY platforms like YouTube, TikTok, podcasts, etc.). At some point, there will be more material than eyeballs, ears, and time, and then one would expect a significant pullback, if not outright collapse. I don’t think it’s happening any time soon, and in fact, may be delayed if the economy doesn’t do well. The fortunes of the entertainment industry can be counter-cyclical, as people turn to it for relief from their own difficult situations.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Each sports league is different. In the NFL, plenty of guys just want to get to the pension and get out. The salary cap may exist, but only a few guys are trying to play beyond the pension. The result is many guys simply get out with their prime years ahead of them, even when they can still play. It’s why even late draft picks are so valuable. Teams know the bottom half of the roster doesn’t see an extra season, doubling the league salary as worth it with cte. The guys who stay simply fight over the same share of the pie. Baseball some salaries skyrocketed in the 90’s, and gms saw the 31st shortstop is not 200 million worse than the best shortstop. Money has moved to relievers and utility guys. I

        1. juno mas

          Baseball is really Pitchball. Half the players on a baseball team are pitchers! (Good pitching defeats good hitting.)

          Great hitters who can hit over .300 (30% of at bats) and play a decent defensive field position are rare ($$$). Players who can run fast (play the outfield) and hit the league average (.235) are valued and get paid. If you can consistently hit good pitching over the fence (no defense for that) then you too are valued (despite any defensive limitations) as a designated hitter (DH_$).

          If you can consistently throw strikes at 100 MPH and slider at 90+ then you get $$ for the last 3 outs of a game.

          The average length of a Major League baseball career is 7 years. It takes 10 to earn a lifetime pension.

          I looked at the competition 50 years ago and decided university was the best option.

        2. The View From How Street.

          It’s difficult to qualify for the NFL player pension even if a player is active and on the roster. Once the player qualifies the amount paid out accrues with the number of games played.

          NFL careers last on average 3.3 years. To qualify for a minimum pension payment a player would have to be on a roster for two years with a minimum of three games played in each year.

          The minimum salary in the NFL is currently 750,000 USD, The average salary is 2.7 million USD. This is heavily weighted towards a handful of player positions, quarterbacks, receivers what have you.

          By design the current CBA allows NFL management to favor youth due to lower salaries on first (rookie) contracts. Older players whose careers survive their first contract are usually more expensive and more likely to be released in favor of a cheaper contract and a younger player.

          It’s likely the churn at the bottom of the roster has more to do with management salary cap planning and not a lot to do with players retirement choices.

      2. Louis Fyne

        —-At some point, there will be more material than eyeballs, ears, and time, and then one would expect a significant pullback, —

        We are already past the event horizon—-I’ve lost countless hours watching professional mechanics fixing cars, amateur gardeners planting veg, a French chocolatier crafting statues out of chocolate, etc.

        There is a whole world of great content outside of the legacy networks and sports. (granted you’re swapping Youtube-Google-Alphabet for CBS-Disney/ESPN)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > There is a whole world of great content outside of the legacy networks and sports.

          I agree. The question is whether “creators” (vile word) can make a living while making their art, or craft, or whatever it is. It would be a wonderful world if they could, but I’m not sure that’s the world Our Betters have in mind.

      3. digi_owl

        If we could access the combined total of the Hollywood vaults, i’d say we are long past the point of “more content than a lifetime of watching”.

        And frankly i think i would prefer the subtle bowdelrisation of yesteryear over the overtly partisan slop being released today.

      1. Mildred Montana

        According to the Forbes link, luxury-goods purveyor (Louis Vuitton) Bernard Arnault is currently worth $233 billion, making him the richest man in the world. Nothing remarkable about that—until one notices that his net worth in 2014 was a mere $33 billion. So it’s increased 7X(!!!) in only ten years.

        Something is seriously wrong with a world economy in which something like that could even be considered possible, let alone actually happen.

        1. digi_owl

          And economists would see nothing wrong, as to them one luxury car equals a thousand sub-compacts in the grand scheme of things. After all, the same amount of money changed hands. Who cares if the latter kept more people employed for longer.

      2. digi_owl

        Aztec or Egyptian?

        Never mind that they are already leaving ever more elaborate monoliths all over.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is Stephen Colbert worth 50 million? No. There was an article about this sometime ago, but they arent paying Colbert/Fallon/Kimmel for viewers but to play golf with advertisers and provide the illusion of a glory age of network TV. If they made a measly million a year, they wouldn’t evoke illusions of being Carson. At the same time, there is a reason the writers are on strike.

    3. Mikel

      “…many entertainers, celebrities and athletes are rolling in $15 million to $50 million per year in their simple contracts and or including endorsements…”

      But look at that as support for a kind of ecosystem.
      Teams of an assortment of agents, managers, stylists, tech support (have to considee these days), lawyers, financial management, PR, and a variety of assistants.
      Probably forgot some other possibilities.
      It’s a mix of at least some of those elements over time.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Salt water disposal wells–

    The first case I ever had before the New Mexico OIl Conservation Commission back in the 80s was an application for a salt water disposal permit for ARCO. My job was to prepare the ARCO geologist to testify before the commission in support of the application, then represent ARCO at the hearing. The ARCO guy was nice enough. He had some pretty charts prepared to submit as evidence. He told me this was his last rodeo because he was about to retire.

    The commission held its hearings in a large rectangular room with a giant conference table in the middle. Until your hearing came up, you sat in one of the chairs that lined the walls, and when called, you and your witness sat on one side with any party opposing your application on the opposite. Everybody in the room was either a lawyer, state official or a geologist. Until the case was called, you had no idea whether you would have opposition or not. My ARCO guy did not expect opposition.

    When the case was called, opposition showed up in the form of an independent operator represented by the king of New Mexico OCD attorneys, Tom Keleher (who is still practicing!). After I led my witness through his testimony and submitted the charts, Keleher proceeded to demolish the old fellow, getting him to admit that the ARCO salt water disposal well would inject water in the formation so close to the independent operator’s well that the neighboring well would start pumping more water the oil. The application was denied. Ouch.

    From then on, my approach to preparing witnesses changed dramatically. Several months later, I was in my office preparing four young Texas Oil & Gas geologists to testify before the OCD. As we went through a neophyte’s case, he cried out, “Whose side are you on?” One of his colleagues, whom I had prepared for a case a few weeks prior said, “Beiieve me, when you get in that room, you’ll be glad for this grilling.”

    What do you do when so much salt water has been injected back into the Earth over the course of 6 or 7 decades that any new water will damage the productivity of neighboring wells or, as the article pointed out, cause freaking earthquakes? Build a pipeline and dump it in the ocean? Who could have imagined such a dilemma forty years ago when I was doing this? Unknown unknowns in the limits to growth.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Capitalism is destroying the entire planet. It’s now clear, and yet we persist.

      Fun times ahead!

      1. Questa Nota

        Is there an efficient market in subterranean injection wells? Surely a case study is circulating with spreadsheets, discount rates, returns to investors and simplifying assumptions! /s

    2. redleg

      What I’m used to seeing as one of those geologists is injecting the salt water back into the oil bearing strata to force more oil out of the formation. Oil generally floats on water, and the salt water came from there in the first place.
      I really don’t care for hydrocarbon projects, as they are all catch 22. Mining is cleaner, water wells even more so.

  4. Ignacio

    RE: Why Ukraine’s spring offensive still hasn’t begun — with summer just weeks away AP

    The article doesn’t make any sense, IMO. It blames it all on delayed deliveries and training but at the end of the day even if training is completed soon and deliveries rushed in a few weeks there is the sense that what has been announced is not enough for a counteroffensive. The thousands of soldiers and the hundreds of machine guns counted there don’t look enough for that. Only if most of the troops and deliveries have been hidden from public scrutiny by at least an order of magnitude Ukraine might have a chance to maintain a counteroffensive. The numbers given so far don’t do the trick. But, is it possible to hide such a large army?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      We “trained” the afghan national army for 20 years, and, pretty much from the git-go, remained a few months away from “turning the corner” for every one of those years.

      We “trained” up the commanders who pilfered the grunts’ pay and we “trained” up the ghost soldiers, and when the corner turns didn’t come, we “trained” ’em up harder.

      In the end, of course, we fled with our tails between our legs, left billions in the same materiel we “trained” ’em up on, and they took that “training” and materiel and joined with their “enemies.”

      americans loves ’em their sequels.

      1. vao

        Wasn’t there a country called Vietnam where the USA strenuously trained and prodigally armed the local military for decades — eventually for naught?

        1. digi_owl

          And both instances had local “contractors” clinging to aircrafts because they knew they were dead either way.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      No. The only real opportunity was the Russians would hold land where the didn’t have enough troops/firepower, but besides making Kiev bleed, the Russians are likely just waiting to pounce. They don’t want to pounce until Kiev commits.

      What Ukraine needs to do is to open advances on the entire front with a huge mobile force they can direct to Russian weaknesses. It’s just the material and resources get bombed. Ukraine won’t be able to supply large concentrations to make a breakthrough work, and the Russians already showed they will withdraw before getting bogged down.

      We supplied Kiev with weapons like javelins in the expectation the Russians would race and get bogged down leading to a guerilla war. The West has continued to supply and pay the Ukrainian government salaries, keeping things which otherwise would have collapsed.

      1. Ignacio

        By your account then, best way then to delay the Russians pouncing would be keeping announcing that Greatest Counteroffensive that never comes. It makes sense for those that still put their hopes in the sanctions believing Russia will be in tatters anytime soon.

        1. GF

          While doing what is suggested, the Russians will keep advancing. Probably not a good strategy for Ukraine.

      2. digi_owl

        From day one Russia has claimed that they were out to safeguard the Russian speaking oblasts from ethnic cleansing, while NATO has been trying to talk this up like it was the prelude to WW3.

        Thus far, the Russian claim seem closer to the truth…

    3. ambrit

      “But, is it possible to hide such a large army?”
      From what I have seen and read about the capabilities of drones in the battlefield, not to mention satellites, I would say no. A counter-offensive is usually a grand tactical level, even strategic level affair. Fairly long lead time and large assembly points, supply dumps, and other support zones. The Ukraine might get away with some tactical counterstrikes, but overall, things look grim for Kiev.

      1. Louis Fyne

        The most humane thing to do (for Ukrainian middle-aged conscripts—-the eligible 18-25s are already dead or have draft deferrals) would be to unconditionally surrender.

        Not holding my breath of course.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          There are plenty of reports that if they try that (surrender) they get shot in the back or hit with artillery from the Ukrainian side. Likely accompanied by Azov enforcers who goad the sheep into battle.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          They will likely only succeed in forming a salient rather like blowing up a balloon which as it stretches will becomes ever thinner – especially on the flanks & with 3 very well constructed defensive lines on lowland with artillery etc placed on the high ground, the Russians might well withdrawal before sticking a large amount of pins into it.

          1. marku52

            Word is that the small advance they succeeded in creating N of Baqmut cost over a thousand men in one day. Horrible

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              Killing fields in a variation on a theme of concentrated & now a vastly more efficient echo of events such as the WW1 Ypres salient, enabled by a bunch of criminals pursuing a form of genocide on it’s young & not at all young men. While the majority of Western populations gladly suck up their own propaganda pretty much like the Germans did in WW2, from the likes of the BBC who have forgotten or are conveniently ignoring their own excellent documentary series called The Nazis – A Warning From History.

              I guess that reality will bite eventually if we all survive, as when Germans on the margins were shocked to see Allied Forces moving into their supposed eternal 3rd Reich..

    4. tevhatch

      The name of this war could be Operation Depopulate Ukraine Rump State, Sell Off To Wall Street, and Then Refill With Imported Slave Labour. It’s the first step in re-running June 22, 1941 “Operation Lebensraum” hoping for a different outcome.

      What’s that oft repeated saying… if at first you don’t suceed, ….. try, try again or was it something about expecting continual repeating to achieve a different result being the sign of insanity?

      1. ambrit

        The meld of the two aphorisms would be: “If at first you don’t succeed, go insane.”
        I will suggest that our Western elites have already internalized the new and improved aphorism.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Hmm…that begs the chicken or egg question. Don’t succeed and then go insane, or be insane to begin with and then not succeed?

          1. ambrit

            I prefer the latter. It cuts out the middleman, the phenomenal reality that imposes success or failure. Much easier to “manage” the “narrative” that way.
            To put it in Infotainment terms; ‘Cause and effect’ is replaced by ‘special effects.’

      2. Vandemonian

        …or this version:

        “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”

        ― W.C. Fields

    5. Michaelmas

      Ignacio: The article doesn’t make any sense

      It was pitifully vaporous, and that last quote used to wrap the piece was particularly stupid.

      But you should pity, too, the poor SOB journalist assigned the task of writing it with so little real-world evidence to support the slant that she’s expected to take. And if she doesn’t slant it the way her editors expect, she’ll get fired — if not now, then later.

      For all we know, she wrote it as weakly as she did deliberately so she won’t get picked on again for this kind of piece. I’ve been a journalist and I’ve done that.

      1. Ignacio

        Yep Michaelmas. It was re-fried material written to somehow sustain the narrative, doing their best to avoid asking the correct questions to the anonymous well connected sources.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “‘Succession’ season 4, episode 8: ‘America Decides’ NPR.”

    ‘It’s a documentary.’

    Of course if you want a real documentary, you can always watch HBO’s new doco series on Finland’s Sanna “party girl” Marine-

    Seems that when you do a good job for the WEF, that they give you media exposure to really make you look good afterwards. Just ask Obama how that works.

    1. ambrit

      I think that Netflix has set a new lower bound for “documentaries” with their “Cleopatra” infotainment. It’s all part and parcel of the moderne trend towards the “management” of the “official narrative.” We have fully entered the sphere of Humpty Dumpty in “Alice”: “When I use a word…it means just what I choose it to mean.”
      Stay something or other.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s not working and people are starting to make a stand. On Rotten Tomatoes for example, “Cleopatra” has achieved the lowest rating in their history with an audience rating of 2% and a critics rating it at about 11%. If Netflix had labelled it fiction then it would not have been a problem but a documentary is supposed to be truth based somewhat. The Critical Drinker really savaged this series- (10:21 mins) – lotsa swearing

        1. ambrit

          “It’s not working and people are starting to make a stand.”
          People will “…make a stand…” only if they know that something is wrong. Cleopatra is an outlier here. Most ‘educated’ people know who Cleopatra really was. Thus, they can see through the sleight of hand the producers of the program tried to carry out. What about items that the ‘educated’ public has little or no knowledge of? Wouldn’t this give the producers of the infotainment the power position in the situation? Then, the ‘management’ and ‘manipulation’ of the responses to the farrago in focus would become critical.
          For example, the YouTube site “Metatron,” which specializes in antiquities was scathing in it’s denunciation of the “Cleopatra” program from a historical perspective. Suddenly, YouTube demonetizes the site. The Producer/Presenter laments that his revenue stream is vital for the continuance of the endeavour. Covert censorship has happened. The “official narrative” is being defended against criticism.
          See, Metatron on Cleopatra:
          See, Metatron on demonetization:
          Anyway, to paraphrase Dr. Franklin; “It is a free Internet, if you can keep it.”

          1. lyman alpha blob

            This Cleopatra controversy, or at least the part about her ethnicity, is much ado about nothing. Yes, the Ptolemies were Macedonian Greeks, but even Ptolemy’s boss Alexander, much to the chagrin of some of his fellow Macedonians, partnered with a non-Macedonian woman, Roxanne, and had a son by her. Ptolemy I took power in the late 4th century BC and it was over 250 years before Cleopatra came along. Perhaps the Ptolemies stayed on the reservation for the better part of three centuries, stuck with inbreeding (IIRC there is plenty of evidence of brother/sister marriage in that clan, including with Cleopatra herself), and never mixed with the locals at all, but that seems doubtful. It’s quite possible that Cleopatra looked very different than her distant ancestor. Or maybe not.

            The thing is, the ancients didn’t seem to care, so why is it such a big deal for moderns with no way to prove anything?

            That being said, the whole show sounds like a disaster based on what I’ve read and the links you provided. So thanks for the heads up – I’ll be skipping that one. For anyone who would like to learn more about her, I did find Stacy Schiff’s book on Cleopatra to be a decent read several years ago, given what little is known about Cleopatra from the historical and archaeological record.

            1. Polar Socialist

              There a plenty of concurrent paintings, statues, reliefs and coins depicting Cleopatra, so her looks are kinda not an issue.

            2. Paradan

              Greeks first moved to Egypt around 700(?) BC, there was a merchant quarter and the Pharaohs kept a mercenary unit of Hoplites since they were the best heavy infantry in the world. So even before Alexander, it was pretty cosmopolitan.
              The royal incest stuff was more of a Pharaoh thing, King Tut for example. Cleopatra and her brother were both contenders for the throne, and were in the middle of a civil war when Caesar showed up. If she could be Queen by bonking her brother, she wouldn’t have had to bonk Caesar.

            3. some guy

              If somebody asks the question ” so . . . what race do you think Cleopatra was?”, I can think of two equally good answers.

              1: “What race would you like her to be?”
              2: Whatever race the Egyptians say she was, that’s what race she was. The
              Egyptians are the experts on that.

        2. digi_owl

          I need to dig up the source, but i think that site has been caught suppressing the audience rating in the past when it didn’t line up with the MSM zeitgeist.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Obama got great media exposure immediately after being released from his petri dish, and never really had to do anything, though of course he was always happy to oblige his Superiors…

      1. Questa Nota

        Book deals will do that for folks!
        Now, back to the Vineyard, or Hawaii, so hard to choose. /s

      2. Michaelmas

        Michael Fiorillo: Obama got great media exposure immediately … and never really had to do anything, though of course he was always happy to oblige his Superiors.

        I beg to differ.

        In 2007-2008, Obama got more money from the financial industry than any other US presidential candidate in history, because the smarter heads at places like Goldman Sachs and elsewhere had gamed out that a Great Depression-sized crash was in the offing and therefore they needed to promote the best candidate to prevent another FDR-type figure and New Deal 2.0 happening in that crash’s wake that they could find.

        Obama was that candidate. And indeed in the wake of a Great Depression-level crash, he managed to (1) prevent any possibility of a New Deal 2.0; (2) forestall any real reform; and (3) further enrich the rich in the US while further immiserating the vast mass of Americans.

        Those are not inconsiderable achievements.

        1. Mildred Montana

          What a waste his oratorical skills turned out to be. In 2008 I desperately wanted to believe him and his inspiring speeches about change. Although, knowing a bit about how Washington works, I also harbored some skepticism. As things turned out the score was, skepticism 1, belief 0.

          If he hadn’t been a fraud, if his intentions had been good and his populist appeals honest, he could have been a second FDR, with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate for years.

          Alas, he was a fraud. But his deceptions redounded in an unexpected way. A deceived and angered American electorate rejected Obama’s heir-apparent Hillary in 2016 and elected an otherwise unelectable Donald Trump. Who is still with us and on the cusp of winning the 2024 Presidential election.

          Thanks Obama! Are you proud of your offspring?

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve mentioned this before, but Obama was truly the Jackie Robinson of the Presidency, that is if after 8 years in the Bigs, Jackie had a .201 average with 23 dingers, attempted to steal bases 32 times and got caught on 24 of those occasions, and a fielder prone to making unforced errors.

          2. some guy

            Obama is proud of all the money he has made and continues to make. Obama will be even prouder if he can become America’s first billionaire ex-president.

            If someone tried to raise your complaints to Obama himself, he would deflect them with beautiful bafflegab. But to himself, he would be thinking, to paraphrase Otter from Animal House, . . . ” You fucked up. You trusted me.”

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Exactly: he did nothing, and let things happen according to the interests of his funders. Banksters allowed to walk, PE taking over single family home-ownership, the Heritage Foundation’s health plan. His letting things happen was the betrayal and foreclosure on a second New Deal of which you speak

          1. some guy

            My memory is that he did some very overt somethings to protect, immunize and impunify the black hat financial perpetrators. His Attorney General Holder refusing to prosecute alleged criminal enterprise after alleged crimina enterprise on the excuse that they were too big to allow to fail was not “nothing”. It was “something” specific.

            So he didn’t just let things happen. He made things happen to benefit his owners and sponsors. He actively stood between ” the bankers and the pitchforks”. He actively prevented consideration of National CanadaCare or even “public option” ( with a little help from Senator Baucus). And so on.

  6. timbers

    Amid G7, China hosts summit of its own with Central Asia Times of India

    What’s G7?

    More seriously

    Russian hypersonic missile scientists are arrested on treason charges NBC

    Could not find anything of substance on Yuliya Talmazan the author of the above, except pictures of a very young woman. She is saying Russia’s crushing failure of its hypersonic missiles due to Ukraine shooting so many of them down has led to Russia charging it’s hypersonic scientists with treason.

    Her report was so bizzaro maybe G7 is a new party drug and she’s taking it.

    1. jo6pac

      I can’t find anything at different Russia Press and web sites. I thinking just more western propaganda.

    2. Kouros

      And about 6 or 7 young Ukrainians that have recorded and posted the Patriot 32 launches and then being taken out of commission were arrested in Kiev. So what gives?

  7. flora


    ‼️ All Americans *need* to understand the Durham Report’s dire implications for their democracy:

    : “The most dangerous development of all in the US is that the Security State is fully liberated… to use their investigative powers to manipulate our politics, control the outcome of our elections, and destroy any political leader that gets in their way…

    We really are a democracy in name only—that IS the definition of a Deep State, a permanent power faction that operates in the dark and with no constraints.”

    1. Lexx

      The equivalent of the SIS, that wasn’t officially acknowledged until 1994 as MI6?

      I just finished watching ‘A Spy Among Friends’ on MGM+. Good entertainment value to watch Damian Lewis and Guy Pierce dance around each other, and I think the first week via Prime is free. Lewis’ ‘Elliot’ describes the SIS as a secret club of upper class men who are recruited and act by a different set of rules, that is to say ‘no rules’, in the interest of the British government.

    2. Acacia

      Agree with all of this, though I’m puzzled as to why people keep talking about “democracy”.

      The USian political system was designed as a republic, not a democracy. “If you can keep it”, etc. With the rise of the national security state and the corruption of all branches of govt, the republic has devolved into a Flexian oligarchy. There’s also a “blob” which encompasses a variety of competing power centers.

      Everyone paying attention has seen at least mention of the Gilens and Page study, which concluded that the US today is an oligarchy. Greenwald must know about this as well. If anything, the US is “a republic in name only”. It’s thoroughly controlled by private interests.

      So why “democracy”? It just sounds shrill and slightly absurd.

      What am I missing here?

      1. hunkerdown

        “Democracy” is the inverted-totalitarian church to brace the republican state and provide it with theories of property to realize.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      And in that same episode, I appreciated Greenwald’s diplomatic and balanced criticism of Krystal Ball’s “red line” statement in the RFKJ interview as opposed to the hit job Jimmy Dore attempted. Hey Jimmy, since you’re accusing Ball of being a shill for Pfizer, did you hear her ask RFKJ about nationalizing the pharmaceutical companies at an earlier point in the interview? Strange sort of shill. RFKJ, BTW, had no interest whatsoever in such a policy because “the profit motive is human nature.”

      Is Dore such a wild-eyed Covid denier because a lot of his income depends on people hanging out in poorly ventilated bars while he vents his anger? How does that feel, Dore? The Jimmy Dore Show was so much better when Aaron Mate was hosting.

      1. semper loquitur

        I’m surprised Mate wants anything to do with Dore. He does have his own show, maybe two. I listen to Dore to hear his oftentimes funny rants but he has been off the rails on COVID since the beginning. I listened to his show on RFK, Jr. and Krystal and I appreciate you righting the slant he laid on her.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        In his most recent show, Greenwald puts forward a more expansive critique of Krystal Ball’s “red line” vaccine comment.

        He points out, accurately IMO, that use of the term “red-line” is an establishment tactic for labeling someone a nutjob who should be summarily dismissed, regardless of any other positions he or she may hold on other issues with which one may wholeheartedly agree. (This is exactly what the dems have done with RFK, Jr. in declaring that biden has no “competition” so there is no need for primary debates.)

        By her own admission, Ball has not done anywhere near the research on vaccines that RFK has. Under those circumstances, Greenwald suggests that, as a “journalist,” she should have kept her personal feelings to herself and encouraged a debate on the subject. He notes that she expressly refused to do that.

        It seemed to me that Ball was comfortable with her “red-line” position and didn’t really want to be “persuaded,” but I lost respect for her as a “journalist” awhile ago. While I wouldn’t call her a shill for big pharma, truth be told, in this interview she struck me as a bit of a vaccine karen.

        Greenwald said that RFK will be doing an interview on his show soon. I will be looking forward to seeing how a real journalist does it.

        1. Screwball

          I watched the Breaking Points interview with K & S. I expected her to attack RFK Jr. because of her long time stance on COVID & the vaccines, along with her friendship to Marianne Williamson, which is his competition. She didn’t disappoint.

          A couple of things I found interesting. They were interviewing a guy who they wanted to paint in a bad light IMO, while a book about his father was on the shelf behind them. I wonder if they gave him the most uncomfortable chair in the studio on purpose?

          She drove me away from their show long ago. I don’t want to watch MSNBC light. After this show, given the comments under that video on their YouTube page, I’m sure not alone. I wonder how many subscribers they lost due to that interview. I’m guessing quite a few. The comments were brutal, and there were many.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Had to watch Jimmy Dore to find out what was going on.

            Went straight to the video comments. OMG. You’re right. They were brutal. So glad to see that people weren’t buyin’ what krystal was sellin’.

            Interesting that Marianne Williamson “officiated” krystal’s wedding a week or so ago.

            krystal really screwed the pooch on this one.

          2. notabanker

            Ball still lives in the delusionland of make believe where the Democratic Party can be reformed, and even if it isn’t it is better than orange man. In some ways, she is a more dangerous hypocrite than the MSNBC’s she espouses against. At least they are consistently crazy. Ball tries to come off as sane until the stakes really matter, then scurries back to the fold. Imho, Emily is the only one worth watching on that show. That may just be my bias, but it is what it is.

    4. Screwball

      I wish more understood the implications of the Durham report. Unfortunately, about a third of the people wouldn’t read or listen to Glen Greenwald because he is a Russian asset. They are counting on the democrats to save democracy, and the world itself.

      I hope they don’t blow it up before they save it.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        McCarthy is talking this morning about expelling Schiff, and Anna Luna (R-FL) has introduced a resolution to that effect. That would drain a few bucketfulls of nasty stuff from the swamp.

        As for Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper and the head conspirator, HRC, it will take a miracle.

        1. Screwball

          I would love to see Schiff gone. I have read Pelosi is behind a plan to get him into Feinstein’s seat, but only internet rumors at this point. Wouldn’t surprise me though.

          As far a miracles…I agree.

          1. Questa Nota

            Vultures, jackals and politicians, nature’s early warning system for eons.

            Schiff and other pretenders to the throne wouldn’t last long if there were legitimate, honest, open journalists and media companies on the case.

            1. Kouros

              Why are you insulting the vultures and the jackals, who have a well established and necessary role in the ecosystem?

    5. Alice X

      Does anyone have a link to a PDF (rather than a SCRIB) of the Durham report. My computer would like to read it to me.

  8. Carla

    The article states there are 40 million acres of turfgrass in the United States, with 2/3 of that being home lawns. However, the U.S. currently has about 890 million acres of land “in farms.”

    If even half of that is represented by industrial agriculture, that’s still well over 10 times the acreage of turfgrass. My guess is that industrial agriculture represents an exponentially bigger threat to bees and other pollinators than home lawns.

    Here is my question: is it possible that No Mow May is just another example of putting the solution for critical societal problems on the individual? Kind of like telling people that the problem of plastic pollution can be solved by making sure to use your blue recycling bin?

    1. tevhatch

      “By saying digesters do this wonderful environmental thing, you’re necessarily saying ‘and we want to keep factory farms fast food, roasted chicken at Costco, etc. around.” Knowing the real issue is key.

      Mono-crops are mostly about feeding meat, domestic and foreign, as cheaply as possible and in as massive** a volume as possible. **When people talk of grass feed beef, at one time they meant meadow feed beef. Now hay is too often the reality.

    2. curlydan

      Absolutely another push to make the individual feel guilty. I don’t like lawns, but rather than “No Mow May”, how about “No Mo’ Roundup… Ever”. Of course, that would require pissing off a major corporation and ending their profit stream–or maybe their “litigation payment stream” might be more appropriate now.

      Besides the plastics recycling and mowing blaming, there’s also the individual water usage (“don’t flush toilets”) as ag producers grow almond trees in a drought or grow tasteless tomatoes in winter.

      All these articles focus on what “we” can do to address this problem. The most important thing we can do is recognize and pressure the largest producers of the problem.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I would differentiate between the recycling scam and No Mow May. While we thought separating into the blue bin was helping the problem, it was just shipping the plastic to be dumped somewhere else. The pollinators will actually benefit from an unmowed lawn.

      As for the shifting of the burden to individuals, there’s no question about it, whether it’s an effort to get individuals to do something socially beneficial that corporations should be doing too or the general message in our society that it’s up to the individual to protect themselves by buying themselves out of problems that we should be solving as a society. But the individual does have a role to play in doing socially beneficial things, and it seems to me that should be an empowering thing. We’re a society wandering aimlessly when there’s an existential crisis going on that we can participate in addressing in many different ways. Also, we play a role as citizens best summed up as not voting against every attempt to price gasoline at its true cost to society.

      There are all kinds of excuses for us to do nothing. The rich should be doing the most and they’re only making things worse. Society working together could solve these problems more effectively. It’s too late; we’re screwed. All true. But skilled gardeners like you can do a lot by setting examples, etc. And Carla, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, and that you already do a lot. I empathize with and share the anger you feel at the unfairness of it all.

      1. tevhatch

        I suspect No Mow May is one of the least direct impactful things on profit margins of large corporations, and if it bandages the soul, it may well have a direct positive effect on profits. Never-the-less, it is a good, if less so than a insect/bird friendly yard that the HOA won’t allow, because of corporate profits.

    4. juno mas

      From my observations most suburban lawns are infested with plenty of flowering clover. Stop mowing. Let the clover flower and the bees will pollinate it. Eventually the clover will take over and the bees will be happier. So will the teens doing the mowing.

      Eventually, the local government creates a no-lawn ordinance and flower friendly landscaping emerges. Bees are now very happy.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Leave the lawn alone until it over-grows. Leave alone the dandelions and other “weeds”. Create a habitat for bees, those critically important pollinators. Party or relax or sun-bathe on one’s deck, if one must. Leave your lawn alone.

        Incorporating these suggestions into a catchy government advertising campaign is simple: Bee Happy! I offer this with no expectation of royalties or compensation of any kind, unlike the many capitalist mercenaries in today’s society who sue to protect their most banal or trivial copyrights.

        Bee Happy, everybody!

        1. herman_sampson

          At least one local business (American Art Clay, Indianapolis), in an older industrial-park like road has signs in their front yard “Native Prairie Plant Project: supporting habitat for birds, butterflies other wildlife”. I had ridden past there 2 weeks ago and it looked like they had not mown it. Maybe that’s a project anybody could join.

  9. kramshaw

    Russian hypersonic missile scientists are arrested on treason charges NBC

    The photo they ran with–depicting Vitaly Klitchko inspecting the downed wreckage of a hypersonic missile–is quite misleading.

    Firstly, its from earlier in the month, not the recent attack on the patriot missile battery.
    Secondly, it really doesn’t look like Kinzhal wreckage… the Kinzhal is much larger and has different nose cone angles. Big serge talked about this image when it came out:

    1. Polar Socialist

      I recall somebody pointing out that the dimensions and especially the very strong cone match rather well the Soviet BETAB-500 concrete piercing bomb. The tip of Kinzhal is not thick steel, but just an aerodynamic cover.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      And while the article invites, indeed sets up that inference that the Russians have rounded these guys up because the missiles were shot down (even though they weren’t), buried in the article is a little problem with timing:

      The Russian state media agency Tass reported on the arrests of Maslov and Shiplyuk last summer and on Zvegintsev’s this week. It said Zvegintsev was detained about three weeks ago and is under house arrest. NBC News could not verify those details.

      This is “journalism” in the 21st century. How skillful are you at misinforming the public?

      1. Lex

        Thank you. I was going to point out that the arrests were much colder than the media coverage portrays.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Also they were not arrested because issues with the missiles, but because Maslov and Shiplyuk allegedly lectured and collaborated with China and Zvegintsev published in an Iranian journal. As far as I could understand, they were arrested by the economic security department of the FSB, so basically people who look after commercial secrets, not state security.

          In all the cases, other researchers from the same institute had checked that there were no secret information in the papers or lectures. Understandably these researchers are now concerned that unknown people are making different interpretations of what is secret information and even persecuting researchers, while not sharing this new interpretation.

          So the institute has publicly challenged the prosecutor to either release the researchers or tell the scientific community clearly what they are accused of.

          Oh, and they are not directly working on hypersonic missiles, they basically work on experimental devices for high-velocity air flows, a.k.a. high mach wind tunnels. Which of course are a big part of designing anything hypersonic.

          1. Paradan

            MIC has been whinging to congress that they dont have a hypersonic windtunnel, and that they need one to make the weapons requested. When one of these guys was arrested last spring, I figured it was counter-espionage or just to protect they guy from blackmail by USA.
            Maybe the fear is that China is to intertwined with US industry and the tech could “leak” through.

    3. magpie

      Gotta love how the NBC Khinzal story and Simplicius’ column from May 17 (with all its links) are almost completely contradictory. This polarization of every event gets tiresome. I absolutely understand why people who aren’t used to this either zone out or just follow what the corporate news says.

      Remember during all those years of wars in the Middle East when the ‘other side’ basically had no voice of their own? There was Al Jazeera and the Arab journalists who managed to get their writing to the West and the odd Robert Fisk types who offered alternatives to the garbage on cable. This time it should be different. I might’ve thought all the easily available (online) coverage of this war from the other side would boil away the media’s imperial fluff in some kind of Telegram Effect.

      No such luck!

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        And there was the Daily Show. Stewart and company and their humor was a refuge of sanity amidst the war madness. I will always give them credit for that despite the route some of group have taken since.

  10. Lexx

    ‘The war on Japanese knotweed’

    Q: How do the Japanese control knotweed?

    We moved two daylilies from a spot where it looked like they were struggling from too much shade, and added a lavender I was assured could survive a Colorado winter. We hanked out two varieties of plants that proved too invasive: Russian sage and trumpet vine. The Russian sage was putting out deep runners everywhere, including in the middle of the roses, where they were safe for that season unless we wanted to lose a lot of skin trying to remove them. There’s one sage remaining for the sake of the bees who seem to love them.

    Trumpet vine is an exuberant vine that blooms on the ends of the growth. The pair overran the trellis every summer and attached themselves to the painted eaves and dug into the wood. I cut it back in the fall and again through the summer. I told myself I could just be content it was a lovely variegated vine, but this year we pulled them to be replaced by two red clematis plants, of the variety that blooms on new wood every year so I could cut them down to within a foot of the ground come fall.

    Neither of those two would been deal breakers had we chosen to sell the house, much less lawsuit worthy for failure to disclose. The Brits take their gardening very seriously. ;-)

    Meanwhile. we’re anticipating the return of last year’s Japanese beetles in even larger numbers… shudder.

    1. Revenant

      British insurers take their profits very seriously! That’s what drives the disclosures on the property sale documents.

  11. Carolinian

    Re Deadline and the WGA show–if the writers want to make a case for themselves then shouldn’t they have some funny jokes? But maybe you don’t get the good jokes for free.

    I can’t say I’m really moved by their plight. If the current late night TV lineup went belly up that might be a good thing. Meanwhile the seriousness with which the networks take their work can be demonstrated by the fact that many of the early Carson shows were lost as NBC erased them to reuse the expensive videotape.

    The entertainment industry is undoubtedly an extreme example of the USA winner/loser hierarchy.Still, this may be a rather shaky vehicle for any revival of populism.

    1. Questa Nota

      Watching old Carson shows reminds one of how there used to be adults who had fun in non-scripted environments. The publicists hadn’t yet gotten a toehold, and the producers still thought about engaging entertainment instead of stage-managed pre-release tours to push some movie or, gasp, even a book.

      Guests even took risks, let their hair down, joked with one another and generally looked like they really were having fun. People responded more favorably to that than they do to the current group of hectoring, scared children.

  12. ChrisFromGA

    Just speculating, but I don’t believe Zelensky ever returned to Kiev at all. The meeting with the Chinese envoy may have taken place in Poland, or could have been just another Zoom special, with Z in front of a green screen on a US military base.

    He’s now jetting off to the Arab League summit, and then (maybe) Japan for the G7 meeting. I say maybe, because one source I read said it was another Zoom call for the Z-man.

    Perhaps he can have a coffee with Bashar Al-Assad in Saudi Arabia, and they can compare notes on surviving foreign invasions.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Zelensky is going to end up a serial pest in the same way that Harry and Meghan are now. They really should get together and do a fund raiser sometime.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Imagine a coked-out Z barreling down the NJ Turnpike, in his bulletproof Mercedes.

        Reason enough to never drive again.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe he too can go on a world-wide privacy tour. You will know when he is done when South Park does an episode on him. In fact, it may have already started. A French comedy show had a go at him and talked about his ‘traveling circus’ and the Ukrainians flipped out. Oddly enough, it proved very difficult to find a link to this story and finally found one on the Hindustan Times. Strange that-

      2. Howard

        Another possibility is that Zelensky could end up like Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, or Muammar Gadafi.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Spider Hole

          Sing to the tune of the classic “Spiderman!” theme song:

          Spider hole! Spider hole!
          End your life in a spider hole
          Dig a hole, any size
          Play stupid game, win stupid prize
          Look out! You’re in a spider hole

          Is it wise? Listen bud
          You’re the West’s sacrificial blood
          Will a drone, shoot you dead?
          Take a look overhead

          Hey there! Life in a spider hole

          In the chill of night
          Nightclub scene far behind
          Like a stream of Kinzhal light
          Death arrives just in time

          Spider hole, spider hole
          Friendly neighborhood, spider hole
          History, you ignored
          Treachery, your reward

          Look out! Z-s in a spiderhole!

        2. tevhatch

          Neo-Con Saint Maximizing Profits’s gospel says someone is trying to predict if he’s more valuable as a leader of a government in exile or as a martyr. We’ll see how that calculus turns out, maybe very soon.

      3. semper loquitur

        Fundraiser? I see a musical in the making. Let’s call it “Keeeev on Park Ave”!

        The story:

        After the fall of Ukraine and Poland’s admission into the Russian State, erstwhile comedian and newly single political marionette Zelensky moves to NYC for brighter horizons and fewer red dot sights coming through the windows. Leaning upon his dwindling stash of refugee relief funds, he manages to find a place on ritzy, ditzy Park Ave. Returning to his artistic background in an effort to shore up his rapidly evaporating money, he takes up a position as a nude pianist in a local leather bar.

        Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan, fleeing new California regulations on consuming public attention and organ thieves sent by Prince William, decamp for NYC as well. With Harry’s last few connections greasing the wheels and Meghan’s PhD in theoretical quantum physics barely paying the bills, they find themselves across the hall from Zelensky. The three meet when Harry and Meghan are unsuccessfully attempting to operate a washing machine while Z empties the change machine for poker quarters.

        Instant pals, they soon decide to pool their resources and seek their fortunes together. When Meghan’s theoretical claims are proven to have been generated by assigning different shades of pastel to various sub-atomic particles, her career tanks. An empty fridge, cancelled Burburry purse subscriptions, Internet clipped. What to do?! Then, that skilled showman Z lights upon an act!

        The curtain sweeps back from the stage upon which Zelensky, resplendent in a sequined OD green t-shirt and nothing else, warms up the crowd with a few ribald ditties from his time LARPing in the trenches. The Broadway crowd roars it’s approval and yellow and blue confetti tumbles from above. With a hands-free flourish of the keys, a turgid Z leaps like a gleaming, gravelly voiced gremlin onto the top of the piano to introduce the second half of the routine.

        The lights switch to the opposite side of the stage and reveal H and M’s latest act. “The Comedic Stylings of Madam Meghan and Princey!” This all-live, all-nude ventriloquist act features M as the ventriloquist and H her affable, goofable companion. The crowd laughs and begs for more as M skillfully manipulates H’s b@lls. Watch him squeak and squirm!

        For the finale, the three launch into a hearty song of social media saturation, money laundering, and moonlit walks along the Ave! The trio is joined by an All-Star chorus of media mediocrities desperate for any airtime. Don Lemon lends his tones of sonorous vapidity! Brian Stelter sings sweetly and cavorts in the buff, flirty and fresh! Chuck Todd snivels! With a rousing crescendo, these paragons of non-utility bring the show to a close, leaving laughter, tears, and shortened attention spans in the hearts of audiences far and wide!

          1. ambrit

            Don’t forget what Mom always said; “If it starts to sting, see the doctor. We’ll understand.”

    2. Vandemonian

      “ Perhaps he can have a coffee with Bashar Al-Assad in Saudi Arabia, and they can compare notes on surviving foreign invasions.”

      Maybe not. I saw in a Telegram post that the Syrian delegation (including Assad) didn’t bother putting on their headphones for the translation while Z was speaking.

      1. Lex

        And then Zelensky decided he would compare Ukraine to the plight of terrorized Israel.

  13. JW

    ‘Ukraine could join ranks of ‘frozen’ conflicts, U.S. officials say Politico’
    Arrogance personified.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Pathetic, but it represents a certain kind of psychological progress. They’ve gone from dreams of a glorious Ye Olde Greateste Counteroffensive Since Normandie, to a frozen conflict with neither side really winning.

      Out of the denial phase, into bargaining?

    2. Polar Socialist

      Well, creating and sustaining frozen conflicts is what NATO was meant to do from the beginning. So far it has had some notable successes, like Libya and Afghanistan. Even Korea could be seen as a dress rehearsal.

    3. The Rev Kev

      For it to be a frozen conflict, they would have to get Russia to agree and hold their lines where they are right now. After all the blood and treasure that they have spent, anybody think that they will do so and wait until the west rebuilds the Ukrainian military for another go at them?

    4. Maxwell Johnston

      The word “could” is working overtime here. I doubt that RU will tolerate a frozen conflict, not after all that has happened. RU will establish facts on the ground, even if it takes years. But the final outcome will be definitive.

      Zelensky is certainly taking quite the extended trip abroad! It reminds me of the anabasis of The Good Soldier Svejk. Gosh, one almost wonders if he’s not too keen on returning home…..

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Here’s Why AI Girlfriends Are Going to Make Everything So Much Worse”

    When the Twitter files came out, lots of people were shocked at the number of actors that got to say what appeared and didn’t appear on Twitter whether it was the spooks, the FBI (or do I repeat myself), the Democrats, the White House, Big Pharma, etc. Just imagine when all these AI girlfriends and boyfriends are widespread, how many of these same actors will demand to have their own “inputs” into these AIs. The fun and games start when a judge accepts the direct verbal testimony of an AI against a former user in court.

  15. fjallstrom

    Saw news in printed media in the category of “at least it isn’t as bad as in the US” that cost of US rental nurses increase from 4.7% in 2019 to 38.6% in 2022, as I understand it of total cost of nurses in hospitals (so percent of dollars, not people).

    Stated source was some association for US hospitals (no link or formal reference).

    I figured people here might be interested as it lines up with a lot of observations I have read here.

  16. petal

    Re “the new college admissions ploy”: Have been running into this lately. Rich doctor here asked my boss if his (minor) kid could spend time in our lab doing research and that it had to be before his college applications go in. Kid already has wealth and connections on his side, along with athletic ability in an unusual sport. Him being a minor caused a lot of problems as it meant I’d have to jump through all sorts of administrative hoops (state bureaucracy) for the state and college to okay him spending time in the lab. We’d also have to schedule 2 adults to be in the lab at the same time he is. That is getting difficult because the group is small already and shrinking and people are working from home when they have things like data analysis to do. It was the bane of my existence for a while until the college legal team made the decision that the state laws could be wiggled around, so I’d not have to get the okay from the state. Before this decision was made, I was being forced to be on the hook if anything bad happened. We had to all go through background checks and sign a code of conduct form. The father was pushing so hard-like a rottweiler with a bone. Nothing is ever enough for these people. The rich get richer. It makes me sick. I commented to the legal team that this whole “Who does mom and dad know?” setup is inherently unfair from an economic standpoint because not everyone has these connections that allow for these kinds of opportunities and that it favors the already rich and connected, and that we may be missing out on kids that are interested in science, etc. I played the DEI card but from an economic standpoint. I said this kind of opportunity should be open to every kid in the area. The attorney agreed with my point and was going to look into it. Felt like even that tiny crumb was a huge victory against this stuff. It probably won’t go anywhere because who are we kidding, this is the Ivy League and the PMCs must defend their position at all costs, but still.

    1. The Rev Kev

      My sympathies, petal. If that kid had received even a boo-boo in your workplace, their parents would have sued everybody in sight.

      1. petal

        Thanks, Rev Kev. You are right about that. I was really sweating it for a while, and of course my boss didn’t give a *familyblog*. Kept thinking about all the ways things could go pear-shaped. The father is still pushing hard, wanting the kid to start a month from now. I’m sure he’ll want the gold-plated recommendation letter(s) and to be included on a paper even if he doesn’t qualify according to our lab standards for authorship. It’s all so corrupted.

  17. Ghost in the Machine

    ‘Too much’: Parents ask court not to release writings of Nashville school shooter ABC

    I am usually not very curious about the writings of the mass shooters. But, with the obvious concern of authorities and now the agreement of victims, I am curious about this manifesto. If it is just hateful rantings, then not so interesting. I am wondering, though, if it will be thought provoking. A painfully lucid critique of our soul crushing economic system? An excruciating detailed description of abuse by someone powerful or an institution? I guess the danger is if it is rational in its critique, grievance, etc. no matter how irrational the response, it might motivate copy cats. I am actually unsure what is right to do in this case.

    1. tevhatch

      The parents purpose could be very mundane. The parents are likely members of the cult running the school, who’s past and maybe present leaders have a record of sex crimes. The cult tells them what to do, and they do it. Slava Ukraine and all that?

      So many powerful writings are ignored, but people fill up between the ears on malarkey because they are afraid of death and social isolation. There is no real threat to society in those papers, but what they preach at that school is pure toxin, no one is going to ban that.

      1. tevhatch

        One interesting thing, very American. All your rights (I call them privileges, because they are so easily suspended) go poof at the hint of a crime.

    2. Wukchumni

      The WaPo & NYT published the Unabomber’s manifesto almost 30 years ago and the situation was of course different and yet similar-an unknown mass murderer/maimer was using the mail as his delivery service, and I remember reading it and thinking that his assertion that technology was going to be the ruin of us, didn’t seem all that far-fetched and much nearer now.

      I’d hate to give the green light to every nut-job Steely Dan enthusiast after they’ve committed a high velocity atrocity though, by publishing their manifesto-deservedly or not.

      1. Mildred Montana

        I too read the Unabomber’s manifesto and thought, like you, that it was not the ramblings of a madman. It was surprisingly coherent and well-written. Maybe one did not agree with it but it was his opinion and everybody’s got a right to that.

        In the case of the Tennessee shooter however, I support the parents’ wish. Based on nothing, since details are scarce. The shooting was of course a tragedy, with many victims beyond the dead. I would hazard a guess that the shooter’s parents are also victims. A child of theirs did something unpredictable, unthinkable, and unforgiveable. They will be living with that the rest of their lives.

        No need to add to their pain by releasing the writings, with the further danger of exposing them to harassment and the possibility of physical harm.

        1. ambrit

          If the rumours of sexual abuse at the hands, and other appendages, of school officials or hangers on are true, there well could be a real possibility of said physical harm coming from the same perpetrators of the abuse. People like that usually have no scruples when it comes to protecting their “reputations.”
          A neutral arbitrator is needed for items of this nature. Over time, the trend in such ‘redactions’ is always towards the covering up of real crimes by “important” persons.
          Again, the authorities might be afraid that if the names and supposed offenses of the local elites are made public that the public might “take matters into their own hands” and liquidate said local elites.
          Add to the above that the locality seems to be a firearms rich zone, thus increasing the chances of vigilante justice breaking out.

          1. JBird4049

            Jeffrey Epstein was murdered for very good reasons for even in this corrupt age child rape is a dangerous accusations especially with any real evidence; if the parents of the children or the staff were accused by the shooter, very likely others would find credible evidence, and just what would be the fate of the accused regardless of their power and influence?

            Yes, mass shooters are evil, but while we do not know how to guarantee the creation of angels, we can guarantee the creation of monsters, with the younger the material, the easier the creation; if the shooter was just such a creation, they are just as much a victim as their victims with the ultimate and greater evil being the child abusers themselves.

            Yes, if what I write is true, then they better hope that the shooter’s writings never see the light for then their own lives would not be worth a bucket of warm spit. Honestly, while I would intellectually grieve at such violence, emotionally, I would choke at having any grief. Sad, but in these days, is this unexpected?

        2. juno mas

          The Unabomber’s manifesto was published to see if anyone would recognize his writing style. Apparently, his brother did.

      2. tevhatch

        I’m the only person I know in my 60+ years meat space that admitted to reading Ted’s manifesto. Lots of claims from people met on-line also turned out to be bunk when I started asking questions. I guess I’ll eventually run into an AI bot who’ll perform correctly. This is a long way of preparing the ground for the questions: Is it the existence of a manifesto, or the reading that might trigger copy-cats? Is it more powerful an effect than the media circus? Who measures such things?

        I know of only one person who did a study, wish I could recall their name now.

        1. Wukchumni

          You don’t want to call them ‘assault rifles’ because that gives the gun-nuts a hollow talking point, so i’ve gone with another metallic object that’s oddly similar.

          1. JBird4049

            Huh? Words have meaning as does honesty. If you cannot agree with the meanings of the words, just how can you have a conversation, or even say what you mean? I say you cannot.

            I have had enough of all the partisans, from the pro-life/pro-choice to the neoliberal/neoconservatives free marketeers to the proponents of the security state using weasel words and slippery reason.

            It is how a economic liberal becomes a stalinist or a defender of human rights becomes a supporter of terrorism. Lately, the IdPol, trans rights advocates have taken to doing just such. Often it is the use of dishonest conflation and expansive definitions. Use honest, accurate, strong words to support or attack a position. To do otherwise makes a mockery of argument, debate, and consensus and makes a functioning society damn near impossible.

            1. Wukchumni

              Oh, there’s lots of words for guns, one of them hardly used anymore is ‘gat’ which was short for a Gatling Gun. Please whatever you do-don’t describe a revolver as a gat, as there is oh so much intellectual dishonesty therein.

              1. JBird4049


                (Pardon me, I need to roll my eyes.)

                Hey, it is okay to disagree with someone even vehemently. I am just saying that accuracy, if for no other reason in that it helps to creates honesty, which is important, else the reasoning or argument, tends to becomes a mockery, an insult, or even a lie, for an argument, regardless of the claim’s end’s truthfulness.

                1. Wukchumni

                  I’m all for mockery @ this point where guns have more rights than humans in our country.

                    1. JBird4049

                      We need mockery to make the argument that corporations have more rights than people especially with the married idea of money is speech and immortal, richer than god, corporations? Yes, the occasional apologist for corporations will accurately say that legally corporations are not people, and I assume that they are right, but if it waddles, quacks, and looks like a duck, it’s effectively a duck.

                    2. ambrit

                      Fear not. A lot of us have internalized the use of euphemism in nomenclature as a means of evading the burgeoning Censorship State. Consider it, if you will, as a form of Jive Talk. Incomprehensible to the ‘straights,’ but effectively a verbal symbolic language for the Neo-Beats.
                      When one speaks outright and directly to Power, one is challenging said Power. If so, fair enough, but be ready for the obloquy that results.

        2. some guy

          I remember reading somewhere ( and search-obstruction engines will not help me find it) that the very first original definition of steely dan was a long strong steel bar to be used with a heavy hammer for breaking up concrete, concrete sidewalks and other such things, before the invention of pneumatic jack hammers. William S. Burroughs did not invent the word ” steely dan” which was an already existing word when he re-purposed it.

    3. B Flat

      The papers should be published, heavily redacted if necessary. The killer was herself a copycat, the playbook is already very well known. So the risk of not releasing it is in creating the impression of protecting Hale because of her trans status. There are various comparisons out there, but to me this secretiveness is most like the handling of Ft Hood shooting.

  18. Wukchumni

    Numismatrix News:

    Soon perhaps the most valuable coin ever will be minted, and why bother making just one measly trillion $ coin when you can make as many as you’d like, in order to get our economy revitalized.

    P.T. Barnum has already been on a U.S. coin, so there is precedence, if the U.S. Mint needs help figuring out who to have on it.,_Connecticut,_Centennial_half_dollar

    In other numismatrix news, Bitcoin has stumbled a bit-confounding investors who thought it was all that.

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm…. that Numismatrix’s “special friend” wouldn’t be the Denominatrix, would it? Time to ‘whip up’ some enthusiasm.
      Get back to the “defensible position” as quickly as you can.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry if I was imprecise in my phrasing.
          If I was of an adversarial nature to the Mountain Dwellers, I would have put it to him like this; “Assume the defensible position.” I harbour no ill wiles towards the Count of California Coins. (Some think that he might be the long lost Count of Monte Crispo, but only the next fire season will settle that question.)
          Keep fortifying the Mountain Redoubt.

    2. indices

      In American numismatics, I have always thought of the commemorative half-dollars as one of the most interesting (and beautiful) subsets of them all. Every coin tells a story. Originally a Bridgeport native here.

  19. Val

    The United States Needs a Moonshot to Prevent Extremism from Metastasizing.

    How about a mandatory brain vaccine against recombinant euphemism?

  20. tegnost

    Wash monthly…

    Whereas Democrats once felt pressure from working-class Americans primed to blame unemployment on immigrants, today’s tight labor market, which contributes to inflation, sorely needs fresh workers from foreign lands.

    After that mayorka…oops malarkey, I could go no further…
    Everyone knows that if the rich get enough then some should start trickling down…
    Don’t not vote, vote with vengeance

    1. notabanker

      Vote for who? The nutjob Democrat who have bailed on the lower, middle and middle upper classes in favor of fascist corporate donors, or the nutjob Republican the Democrats sponsored in the primaries to run against?

      Sorry, voting is never going to solve this countries problems. We are way past the point of no return.

      1. tegnost

        who is worse?
        The worser of two evils….
        it was dems last time and biden is pedal to the metal…
        who gets us to the cliff edge faster?
        Vroom vroom

    1. some guy

      Does Japanese knotweed run so very amok in America or Canada as it apparently does in England?
      If not, why not?

      If I had a small problem patch of Japanese knotweed, I would keep cutting its shoots and stems off to use for compost and/or mulch. I think if one harvested new stems long enough, the roots and rhizomes would eventually wear out and die.

    1. Yves Smith

      Jacob Dreizen dismissed this as the first effective Russian psy-ops:

      INFOWAR MILESTONE: Russ psy-ops finally competitive, reach world-class Ukr Psy-Ops Command (“TSYPSO”) level, seeking to ride on Khmelnitsky-area uranium fire panic by creating, widely disseminating spoof/mimic webpage pretending to be from Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland. Page purports to track atmospheric contaminants, claims brief but HUGE spike in bismuth level. No doubt, 1/2 my dear readers have fallen for this already. 3 problems: (1) Page is spoof, not searchable from univ. main site. (2) Polish govt already monitoring atmos. radiation w/ tens of stations, all readings normal, AND no one monitors bismuth, what they monitor is microSieverts/hour of actual RADIATION, (3) High school chemistry, folks!!! Look at periodic table, uranium does not decay into bismuth within days. More like, hundreds of millions of years. LOL.

  21. gf

    The United States Needs a Moonshot to Prevent Extremism from Metastasizing

    This link is “the rand blog”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      From the Rand article:

      On the topic of violent extremism, one area of consensus that emerged was to apply a public health model for prevention, one that draws on behavioral health and social services, schools, and employers to help address extremism.

      So they’re going to let ‘er rip?

  22. Laura in So Cal

    Job Openings:

    My 19 year old who is home from college has been looking for a summer job for the past 3 weeks. He has applied to maybe 2 dozen listings on the internet for mostly entry level retail positions at places like Old Navy, Harbor Freight, Autozone, etc. He has gotten no call backs to come in for an interview even though these places have both the online listings and store signage inviting people to apply.

    He finally got an interview for next week, but this was gotten thru networking. His Dad is a frequent customer and friends with a long time employee at a local motorcycle/watersports shop. He reached out to see if they had any summer openings and it turned out they just had someone leave so we’ll see how it goes.

    For all the moaning and groaning about “no one wants to work” employers don’t seem eager to hire.

    1. chris

      Yes, for kids getting paid internships or other good jobs, it is totally about who you know and how parents can leverage their connections to help their kids. And kids themselves look at work differently regardless of how they get it. I recommend this book if you want to read something discussing recent phenomena and analysis of this topic. It is not your grandpa’s job market for kids!

    2. Don

      As a recently retired former retail business owner (maybe I should have some cards printed up), I found that most job applicants either didn’t read or didn’t comprehend or were not interested in what the job posting actually stated. If it read, (in addition to offering excellent compensation, benefits, perks, opportunities for advancement, etc.), for example, that applicants must have knowledge of, or a passion for, or at least a vague interest in food and Asian cuisines, most applications (almost 100%) made no reference to this requirement, instead claiming to have such things, again, for example, as a passion for software development and animation. Only those who at minimum acknowledged our requirement, were called for an interview. For every 10 interviews set up, ±1 applicant actually showed up (or even made an effort to cancel). We were among those moaning and groaning about “no one wants to work”.

  23. Willow

    Why is Zelensky everywhere except in Ukraine? Doesn’t want to be trapped in Kiev when Russian offensive starts? Or is there a risk of a coup?

    1. Polar Socialist

      As a native Russian speaker, he might have noticed all the demands in Russian media for decapitating Ukraine after that Kremlin strike.

      Or maybe he just sleeps better when the security around him is not provided by Pravyi Sector.

    2. Roland

      Because the most important part of his job is to run around the world, begging for money. UKR’s war effort depends on foreign aid, and the foreign aid partly depends on publicity. That’s Zelensky’s job, and he does it reasonably well. He seems to have a pretty good understanding of the sort of people who post little blue-and-gold flag gifs in their social media. Not surprising–Zelensky made his career in mass-media entertainment, and he’s putting his experience to use.

      Is it humiliating to fight a war pleading on your knees, flattering a bunch of over-rich nobodies? Yeah. He’d probably rather be a warlord winning famous battles at long odds. But he can’t do that, and he knows he can’t. So Zelensky sticks to what he can do: fundraising and fanservice. Having committed himself to the war, it’s the best he can offer his country.

      Zelensky does more good for his cause taking a show on the road, than he could sitting in a HQ bunker in Kiev. His mistake was the war itself, rather than the way he’s fighting it.

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