Links 5/29/2023

Without Fear Atmos

No A/C? No problem, if buildings copy networked tunnels of termite mounds Ars Technica

Inside the world’s longest-running mermaid gathering: ‘The first place I’ve truly belonged’ The Guardian


American investors are challenging Canadian climate policy through an old NAFTA system The Narwhal

Frustrated by outdated grids, consumers are lobbying for control of their electricity Grist


Colorado River water deal: a bandaid or real progress? Liberation News


Old Blighty

Supermarkets price caps for bread and milk could be introduced by Rishi Sunak as stubborn inflation sends the price of groceries soaring in cost-of-living crisis Daily Mail

The Lucky Country

REDACTED: Your right to know Crikey. On how Australia’s broken FOI system sets secrecy as the default.

La belle France

France Just Got Another Warning Over Its Credit Rating Bloomberg


Indian official suspended for draining dam to retrieve smartphone Al Jazeera

India’s first census of waterbodies is a much awaited one but experts question the methodology; here is why Down To Earth


‘Wang hong’ culture booms in China as more young people dream of becoming influencers Straits Times

Doctor-influencers are going viral in China, provoking authorities Rest of World

Beijing to cooperate with Brussels in investigating sanction-circumventing companies if provided with evidence Pekingology

European Disunion

Germany launches police-state crackdown on climate protesters WSWS

Poll shows increased support for Germany’s AfD Al Mayadeen

New Not-So-Cold War


Post-Bakhmut scenario in Ukraine war Indian Punchline

Russian Ambassador to UK: ‘We Haven’t Yet Started to Act Seriously’ in Ukraine Sputnik

What really happened to Russia’s reconnaissance ship in the Black Sea? Intellinews


Polish parliament passes bill to create commission investigating Russian influence Notes from Poland

Western states still buying Russian oil and gas – minister RT

The Race To Dominate The LNG Sector Is Creating A Buyer’s Market OilPrice

Pro- and anti-government protesters defy storms to rally in Belgrade Intellinews


Recep Tayyip Erdogan is re-elected as Turkey’s president The Economist. The deck: “The best chance in a decade to repair its democracy is lost.” Yves notes that “they concede this is a democratic outcome because the dumb rural voters favored Erdogan. So Economist makes clear only what elites want = democracy.”

World leaders congratulate Turkey’s Erdogan on election win Al Jazeera. Interesting contrasts.

South of the Border


Between the US and Mexico, a Forgotten ‘Desert of the Chinese’ New Lines Magazine


Saudi Arabia in talks to join China-based ‘Brics bank’ Financial Times

The Middle East Stabilises, Against the Backdrop of a Great Unravelling Al Mayadeen


Many GOP insiders fear that Teflon Don is back Politico

Ron DeSantis Thinks There’s a Fashion Magazine Political Bias Against Wife Casey Because She’s a ‘Conservative’ Yahoo!

Debt Ceiling

Debt ceiling agreement locks in Biden’s proposed defense budget Defense News. $886 billion, a 3.3 percent increase.

Biden Agrees To Strict Work Requirements, Cuts To Avoid Default HuffPost

Biden says he’ll explore 14th Amendment for future debt limit debates The Hill


GOP Clown Car

Graham blasts defense spending in debt ceiling deal as ‘a joke’ The Hill

Woke Watch

Is Your Favorite Brand Too Gay? Is It Gay Enough? The Deep Dive


‘Enormous Policy Failure’: States Throw Hundreds of Thousands—Including Many Children—Off Medicaid Common Dreams

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

US bill to protect reproductive health data is dead. Here’s why you should care anyway The Register


‘They’re afraid their AIs will come for them’: Doug Rushkoff on why tech billionaires are in escape mode The Guardian

Autonomous F-16 fighter jets being tested by the U.S. military CBS News (Video)

Class Warfare

The Death Penalty for Homelessness Counterpunch

The pointless, misleading, cynical—and really weird—fentanyl ad campaign 48Hills

The Bezzle

The Carvana Story: From Boom To Bust The Deep Dive

Wall Street’s Next Big Play Is Garbage Wall Street Journal

Zeitgeist Watch

The odd appeal of absurdly long YouTube videos that play nothing on purpose The Verge

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Sardonia

    “Inside the world’s longest-running mermaid gathering: ‘The first place I’ve truly belonged’ The Guardian

    Anheuser-Busch executives – “Maybe we can reverse our plunging sales by putting out a special-edition can for the Mermaid-Identified.”

  2. Lambert Strether

    Project NextGen may have survived Biden’s budget deal:

    See last bullet, page one. Of course, we’ll need the actual text….

      1. Questa Nota

        Both parties in the piñata-fest benefit.
        People get attention, pretend that they are being heard and move on to the next shiny object.
        Pols get cash and pretend to follow the will of the voters, then hide the donations, gifts and bribes.

        Removing the patent dishonesty from the process won’t happen. The will to power among the elected, anointed class makes them do whatever is necessary to stay in power. When they can get paid from so many solicitous, duplicitous parties then why not take the cash and dispense it at whim, or at least toward those needing succor or suckers.

        The hard part is hiding the cash sources from voters as the latter might get suspicious upon learning how much lucre flows from Big Pharma and other malefactors. Nah, too much attention required.

      2. hunkerdown

        The state exists to administer slavery. Everything else is emotivism. Here the emotions desired are rivalry and bloodlust, the emotions that generate Western society. The two parties arose to serve that need. No others will be admitted.

  3. Samuel Conner

    Re: the CV wave in China,

    the thought occurs that, given the concerns about immune dysregulation in Long COVID and the implications of impaired “immune surveillance” for suppression of micro-tumors, in future in China, “long term tumor management” may be the mother of all Pharma profit opportunities.

    Perhaps that’s what will cool down the current tensions in that part of the world. China can have Taiwan, as long as it keeps its markets open for Pharma, and respects IP.

    1. jsn

      Does nothing for the Military IC, and Medical IC workforce is mostly abroad or optimally exploited already, so not likely until our oligarchs decide amongst themselves if they prefer war or peace, and then only if they’ve chosen peace.

      And the Ds are all mixed up on this: the Big Ag/Pharma IP rent extraction machine on the private side of the fascist deal vs the neoindustial warfare thing on the Glob / Statist side of the fascist bargain have fundamentally incompatible outlooks.

      Until one side of the uniparty decides and acts on whether it’s more important to crush the poors or bomb the world we’ll be stuck in our optimal state of dysfunction where we reliably fuck up everything we touch, which has the singular benefit of being predictable.

  4. griffen

    Carvana rose quickly, and Carvana eventually fell downward. While it isn’t a ruse or even a pyramid scheme, it just reveals how easily duped that an investing public can be during the high flying times; the dual structure of the IPO is not particularly unique to this company either.

    I would not trust the Garcia family in their next or any future business venture, but that’s just me. Maybe they go a different direction, start a high priced tequila business if that isn’t played out yet.

    1. Benny Profane


      Sounds to me that they got theirs. All you need is that one deal, and the smarts and discipline to avoid dumping all that money into another game. Always, other people’s money.

  5. Kengferno

    I’ve been reading about the demise of Carvana for a few months now as I was thinking about selling my 2009 Honda Fit. At first I didn’t think they’d be an option even though I heard they paid ridiculous amounts for crappy cars. Surely no one would give me a dime for my beater. But I went to the website, and entered the info, being overly honest. So, even though the driver side window doesn’t work and I was quoted by the Honda dealership it would cost 2500 to fix and the ac didn’t work and that was going to cost 1000. Also, it kept draining batteries and needed jumping all the time. And I told them all this and They still gave me 3250 for it and even picked it up! I thought it might be worth 500 in a trade in.

    I then turned around and bought a used Tacoma (I live in the semi-boondocks and need hauling ability) from a local place for a great deal and everything, bizarrely, worked out.

    So Carvana may be going under, but they’re still operating as if everything was fine. Weird

    1. griffen

      Not being certain about your specific example, I will add that locally in South Carolina I see all manner of older model “beaters” that look horrific from just the exterior driving with a temporary tag. There are plenty of one off used car dealers with zero brand affiliation. Yes it is prohibitive to fix the automatic powered windows but that price sounds high; granted in 2018 the pricing might have been less just on the inflation adjustment. Added, my example is for a 2008 Accord that appears to be in good working order ( after various repairs like fixing a bad cylinder – yikes ).

      Maybe you also just timed it right and they don’t figure to reset their pricing model quite yet!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Just peeked at listed prices. Lower mileage Honda fits from that time are listed around 9 to 13k. The dealership uses deal in new parts. I don’t know if it’s in their model, but carvana likely has a salvage and used parts operation or a Walmart/supplier like reputation with salvage yards.

  6. R.S.

    Re: GUR: “Hackers ransack the bank accounts of Russian pensioners…”

    Not sure about GUR, firebombing and all that, but fraudulent calls were a very vibrant and thriving business pre-2022. So common that “a call from a bank security service” became a boring joke. The estimated damage was from ~$1bln (the police) to $2+bln (the banking community) a year.

    And it seems the calls were indeed coming mostly from Ukraine. All my Russian contacts confidently report that after 24.02 the calls just stopped completely, and resumed on a much lesser scale only several months later. The pre-SMO estimates were that there were some 800-1100 “call centers” in the city of Dnipro alone (src in Russian from 2021)

    Sberbank has released several reports on their findings, including the ones from various captured call centers (mostly in Russian, a link to one of those in English)

    Ukraine has abandoned almost all legal cooperation with Russia after 2014, the only way to open a case was to go there in person. And more than half of the population are native speakers (no accent or anything), so they had no problems finding “operators”. Appropriated money was typically laundered through crypto and then split between Ukrainian law enforcement and call center owners.

      1. R.S.

        I’ve never heard about actual hacks (that is, purely tech stuff). It’s always some sort of “social engineering”, a phone call pretending to be a police investigator or your relative or whatever. Or someone contacts you and says they’ve sent you money over SBP (instant payment via a phone number) “by mistake” and wouldn’t you be so kind and all the rest.

        My guess is those guys just prefer to be called “hackers” not con artists they are.

  7. Morpheus

    It now appears that Lindsey Graham did not connect the killing of Russians with “the best money we’ve ever spent” (see, e.g., Andrei Martyanov ( This begs the questions: why did the Ukrainian government release a video suggesting he had? What do they gain from doing this? It also makes me wonder weather the US government will have any response to their supposed allies showing a senior member of Congress in such a bad light. I am not a Lindsey Graham fan, but it seems to me he has every right to be p—-ed off.

    1. The Rev Kev

      He’s only p***** off because he was caught on film saying what he really thought. The Ukrainians probably released that film as that is exactly what they think too and were agreeing with him. For all we know, Graham may have been sharing one of “Sniffy’s” recreational treats which made him open his mouth up.

      I have also seen videos of Joe Biden over the years that showed him to be one of the worst and most despicable of human beings but should he be p***** off because those videos surfaced on the net? Professionals always say that the mic is always on. Same with video cams.

      1. Questa Nota

        Miss Lindsey, that celebrated, practically even renowned officer in the JAG Corps, certainly knows how to wow his donors. Since the Karate Kid name is taken, he could opt for the Ladybug Kid, then proceed to training like Jag on, Jag off.

        1. John Beech

          Using ‘Miss’ is not only derogative but uncalled for and displays an astonishing lack of knowledge regarding how many cultured southerners speak. The Senator is not someone I am especially fond of – but – I have known many who are straight as an arrow who have the same gentle and soft manner when speaking, which he displays. Especially when in this day and age someone’s sexual orientation is a meaningless subject of conversation. Or is it the case when you’re yourself uncomfortable with men who like men and thus, use this as an opportunity to display your bonafides as a manly type? No matter the reason, for shame to stoop to such snark in a forum where some decorum is observed.

          1. Questa Nota

            I don’t care how Lindsey Graham speaks.
            I do care, and object to, what he says.
            He is unfit to be a Senator.

      2. TimH

        I heard years ago, paraphrased: “Treat every inter-personal interaction as an interview”. Or, don’t exhibit any behaviour that you wouldn’t like to see on the front page of the Daily Mail. And that absolutely includes what you send in emails and texts, whether at work or not.

        1. The Rev Kev

          A good rule of thumb is not to say something about a person that you would not be comfortable with saying to their faces. Too much stuff always gets back when talking with other people.

          1. anahuna

            I adopted that rule for myself, experimentally, so long ago I can’t even remember why it appealed to me at the time. I do remember discovering that it forced me to consider and reconsider the first rash words that sprang to mind and eventually, to come to an understanding of the person in question, until what I ended up saying could in fact be said face to face. Meaning, it changed what I felt as well as what I said or did not say.

    2. Diogenes

      Whatever Lindsey Graham did or did not say, mandarins of the high councils of U.S. foreign policy officialdom have made no secret of their policy view of killing Russians for the sake of killing Russians.

      Witness MIke Morrell, at that point former acting, and aspirationally future CIA Director, saying as much quite plainly on a national television broadcast.

      (linking to as YouTube has memory-holed the original)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Back in 2015 as the Russians were going into Syria, there were a few US officials who were gleefully looking forward to sending Russians home in body bags and were saying so on TV. Oddly enough, this was the same time period where US officials were blowing a gasket over a bs rumour that the Russians were offering bounties on dead US soldiers in Afghanistan.

        1. Diogenes

          It’s neverending source of wonderment to me how much of official caterwauling about the misdeeds of others, whether imagined or real, makes more sense when considered as monumental acts of psychological projection.

          1. hunkerdown

            IMO, and pace Bourdieu, they make a lot more sense as rational acts in maintenance of symbolic capital.

    3. Bart Hansen

      Speaking of Martyanov, on his web site is a series of videos. If you scroll down, past Lindsay down to a series of four videos, the second one in that series is of a woman who is walking around the Gorky Park neighborhood. It was filmed this past Friday. She appears to be asking for donations, either to herself or a charity.

      About an hour and seven minutes into her video you will come to what is called Friday Night Dancing at Gorky Park. As Martyanov says, the people are definitely out enjoying the warmer weather. The woman is a bit jerky with her camera, but there are several videos from last year done by a man who is better at filming the dancing.

    4. hk

      If he didn’t say that, that was one heck of a move by Ukrainians (and typical, too). Too clever by half and alienating/embarrassing their own allies….

      1. hk

        Now that I’d heard what Graham is now claiming he said, it’s still nuts and something suitable coming out of a still treasonous South Carolinian.

    5. anon in so cal

      Warmonger Jack Keane said essentially the same thing in February 2022:

      “So, for $66 billion what we’re getting is Ukraine is doing the fighting, they are literally destroying the Russian army on the battlefield [aka “killing Russians].”

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Lindsey Graham: “The Russians are dying… it’s the best money we’ve ever spent.”‘

    Lindsey Graham will have you know that he said no such thing and that it is all Russian propaganda. The Senator explained that what he told Zelensky was that ‘it has been a good investment by the United States to help liberate Ukraine. So who are you going to believe? Lindsey Graham or your lying ears?

    Of course Lindsey Graham also twice called for Putin to be murdered which as somebody pointed out, you never heard being said of world leaders during the First Cold War.

    1. Pat

      At that point people still remembered Nuremberg. They still recognized war crimes, and no American politician or bureaucrat would have advocated for assassination, directly or indirectly out of self preservation. As people died or lost their memories of that time, they ignored ever increasing destruction of social norms. Now no one bats an eye, and it becomes the one crime a group that indict Donald Trump for littering totally ignore.

  9. Roger Blakely

    ‘Wang hong’ culture booms in China as more young people dream of becoming influencers Straits Times

    This article is paywalled.

    Here is some other stuff:
    “Wang Hong is a Chinese term that has a direct translation to English as digital or internet celebrities.”
    “Instead of YouTube, Chinese citizens use Youku. Instead of Twitter, Chinese citizens use Weibo. The list goes on.”

    What Wang Hong kids got Lambert Strether ain’t got?

  10. begob

    Anyone have good sources on Budanov in Ukraine? Mercouris has described him recently as sinister, and the first thing I found on him was a video on Odyssee (nothing propaganda-free on YouTube) in which he states the intention of killing the three million ‘altered mind” Russians in Crimea: it was in Ukrainian, so the translation could be dodgy.

    1. timbers

      Have only heard what you mention from Duran. My take is – he is basically a glorified terrorist in a official government position based on his actions. If Russia ever does decide to label Ukraine a terrorist state, Budanov’s elevation to in rank/function would be a good reason.

      1. Polar Socialist

        According to an interview translated by Awful Avalanche Budanov is one of the craziest Ukrainian ultras. For him reaching the 1991 borders is just a beginning.
        I’ve seen some speculation (perhaps at the same site?) that Budanov and Syrsky are backed by the UK, whereas Zalushny is/was backed by the US.

    2. anon in so cal

      “Kirill Budanov, the head of Ukrainian intelligence, threatens to “physically eliminate” 3 million Crimeans for having the wrong mentality when they occupy the peninsula. Nazis openly talking about ethnic cleansing and genocide. These are the crazies Europe supports and arms.”

      “3 million…not just disloyal…physical elimination”


      Video of him saying this at the twitter link:

      1. hk

        Yes, but it’ll be extermination for human rights. (Something that that vampire Holbrooke would have said if he hadn’t met divine justice already.)

      2. R.S.

        If the video is not faked somehow, the translation is accurate. 3 millions “not very loyal people” – “They’re not disloyal, they’re people with altered psyche/mind”, then he says they’ll have to “bring them to justice”, and the justice for certain people is physical elimination.

        Reminds me of his interview published by Yahoo News not so long ago.
        Budanov said, “Don’t continue with that topic. All I will comment on is that we’ve been killing Russians and we will keep killing Russians anywhere on the face of this world until the complete victory of Ukraine.”

      3. begob

        The interview those exercepts are taken from is on youtube – I time-stamped the final segment : what one source translates as “physical elimination”, this one puts as “re-education” – if in fact the pictures and words even match the same segment.

        More information rasputitsa!

        The whole thing is worth a watch, if only for the account of the attack on the airport in Kiev on the first day of the invasion. Nothing outside the usual tropes of Ukraine propaganda. (But it has horrible Geraldo-style music playing over the background.)

        1. Once Were

          He says “reeducate those who can be reeducated”. What might happen to those who can’t or won’t be reeducated is not specified but it’s clear that it’s not agree to disagree and peacefully coexist.

  11. flora

    Memorial Day 2023.

    From the US Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

      1. flora

        Interesting modern interpretation snippet but omits the overarching importance of the Enlightment and the rights of man movement/philosophy entirely, which is an error on the part of the screenwriter(s). Maybe the full movie brought those things out. This snippet did not. (Yes, there were contradictions in the original Declaration just as in the Magna Carta. Never the less….)

        The Enlightenment and the rights of man

          1. The Rev Kev

            Listening to that conversation, you can see the seeds being planted for the US Civil War about 85 year later only they could not see it. Got a longer comment in moderation at the moment and it mentions that that snippet was from the 2008 TV miniseries “John Adams.”

            1. flora

              Yes, exactly so. Memorial Day observances began as a way to honor the fallen Civil War soldiers in both the South and the North. Then it became a day to visits family grave sites and decorate them with flowers. It used to be known as Decoration Day.

              1. bassmule

                from the story:
                “New-York Historical Scholar Trustee David Blight speaks about a Memorial Day celebration that took place on May 1, 1865. That day, Black workmen went to the site of an outdoor Confederate prison in Charleston, South Carolina, and reburied the dead Union soldiers that had been left in a mass grave. They built a high fence around the property to protect the site, then joined with white missionaries and teachers in a march of 10,000 around the grounds.

                Trustee Blight believes this event—which he discovered during the course of archival research—to have been the earliest Memorial Day, founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration.”

                The First Memorial Day

                1. flora

                  Well, bipartisan in the sense that we all are Americans. The “bind up the Nation’s wounds” as Lincoln said is important here.

                2. marym

                  For a long read and a longer timespan: David Blight’s Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory.

                  From the prologue:
                  Three overall visions of Civil War memory collided and combined over time [1863 – 1915]: one, the reconciliationist vision, which took root in the process of dealing with the dead from so many battlefields, prisons, and hospitals and developed in many ways earlier than the history of Reconstruction has allowed us to believe; two, the white supremacist vision, which took many forms early, including terror and violence, locked arms with reconciliationists of many kinds, and by the turn of the century delivered the country a segregated memory of its Civil War on Southern terms; and three, the emancipationist vision, embodied in African Americans’ complex remembrance of their own freedom, in the politics of radical Reconstruction, and in conceptions of the war as the reinvention of the republic and the liberation of blacks to citizenship and Constitutional equality. In the end this is a story of how the forces of reconciliation overwhelmed the emancipationist vision in the national culture, how the inexorable drive for reunion both used and trumped race.

                  The “reconciliationists of many kinds,” North and South, had numerous political, economic, and social motivations.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The Declaration of Independence was absolutely a child of the Enlightenment – as was Thomas Jefferson who was the main author. People forget but in this era monarchy was the norm for most governments and the American Experiment was radical and truth be told, frightening to monarchies.

          That video snippet, by the way, was from the 2008 TV miniseries “John Adams” and here is another snippet from it-

 (2:30 mins)

          1. flora

            Monarchs claimed to rule by divine right.
            The Declaration states the divine, the creator endows all men with inalienable rights.

          2. Bruno

            “the American Experiment was radical and…frightening to monarchies”
            Which, no doubt, is why Louis XVI incurred such (eventually bankrupting) debts to support it.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              he was trying to stick it to England.
              like the usa funding the mujahedeen.

              1. Michaelmas

                Amfortas the hippie: he was trying to stick it to England.
                like the usa funding the mujahedeen.

                Exactly so.

                Continued French intervention in America was only funded by issuing large quantities of new state debt. This created massive inflation and immiseration for everyone except a rentier class of elites who lived on the interest from the debt issuance.

                Till 1789-99, when those elites had to take severe haircuts.

                1. Late Introvert

                  I’m on episode 32 of the Revolutions podcast, which is about 4 years into that time. The host joked that he could do 100s of episodes on the topic.

            2. Mildred Montana

              Yes, that was his first mistake. With it, he fell into the quicksand of revolution. From which he was ultimately unable to extricate himself, his queen, or the monarchy of France.

              But he was a stupid man married to a stupid woman. Rather than accepting the inevitability of the Americans’ desire for independence or then, a decade later, agreeing to the French revolutionaries’ offer of a constitutional monarchy, he instead resorted to all sorts of deceits and evasions culminating in his attempted escape to Austria.

              It was foiled and the grudging respect the French people still had for him turned to contemptuous anger. Two years later he and his empty head were separated. His queen and hers followed soon thereafter.

          3. tevhatch

            Jefferson did not think the enlightenment and the club privileges there in extended to the unenlightened as determined by class / sex / race or other accidents of birth.

            We the Elites, Why the US Constitution Serves the Few; by Robert Ovetz


            Written by 55 of the richest white men of early America, and signed by only 39 of them, the constitution is the sacred text of American nationalism. Popular perceptions of it are mired in idolatry, myth and misinformation – many Americans have opinions on the constitution but have no idea what’s in it.

            This book exposes the constitution for what it is – a rulebook to protect capitalism for the elites. The misplaced faith of social movements in the constitution as a framework for achieving justice actually obstructs social change – incessant lengthy election cycles, staggered terms and legislative sessions have kept those movements trapped in a redundant loop …. Robert Ovetz’s reading of the constitution shows that the system isn’t broken. Far from it. It works as it was designed to do.

            1. flora

              And yet, it was the seed idea from which all else follows. If they’d proclaimed themselves distant cousin monarchists they’d have no purchase on the nascent American polity. If they instead proclaim themselves not monarchists they cannot later try for a do-over. That ship has sailed.

              1. tevhatch

                Seed idea? The Declaration of Independence is mostly borrowed writing for a rushed job. The US Constitution is based on UK system, but with some original careful thinking hashed out over years of debate about how to keep the marching morons on-side yet out of power.

    1. Bruno

      Jeffersons first draft followed the Enlightenment formula (though including the extremely unenlightened term “Creator”) of “Life, Liberty, and Property.” But his fellow secessionists, for whom other human beings had no such right but were themselves their property, refused the word and so J scribbled in the meaningless phrase “pursuit of happiness.”

      1. Bruno

        The central purpose of the separatists is perhaps best expressed in this passage:
        –“He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States…[by] raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.” (those “Lands,” of course, were the homelands of the authentic American peoples. If Parliament had been willing to “Appropriate” those lands, and the rest of the north American continent, to George Washington and his gang of Virginia-based land speculators, how far could the secession have gotten?)

        1. Bruno

          The US practice of accusing its adversaries of the crimes it itself intends has frequently been noted among us. It is expressed quite clearly in the only place in the Declaration where the authentic American peoples are even mentioned: “He has…endeavoured ro bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
          In those few words, the Founders adumbrated the entire process of continental conquest.

          1. hk

            Jefferson almost accused the British monarchy of aiding and perpetrating slavery, as I understand it, but even he thought that went too far.

      2. hunkerdown

        So, Calvinist authoritarianism dressed up in flowery Enlightened prose. Sounds about right.

        As I’ve said before, freedom FROM religion is the correct goal.

        1. Harold

          I Don’t think Jefferson was a Calvinist. More like a Deist, who believed in an impersonal creator God.

    2. skippy

      The first drafts are interesting imo – pursuit of Happiness = pursuit of Property …

      Then again the whole thing has to be put in the historical context, of the day, and not just right swipe to the here and now.

      1. spud

        all the tools to do away with oligarchy and institute socialism is all there in the constitution and the writings of the majority of the founders.

        Did the Founders Hate Government?

        Orwell’s insight – that who controls the present controls the past, and who controls the past controls the future – could apply to the American political debate in which the Right has built a false narrative that enlists the Framers of the Constitution as enemies of a strong central government, writes Robert Parry. In the … Continued

        Robert Parry ,

        March 24, 2012

        “Many of these Americans have forgotten a basic truth: that the Great American Middle Class was largely a creation of the federal government and its policies dating back to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. For many Tea Partiers, it is more satisfying to think that they or their parents climbed the social ladder on their own, that they “didn’t need no guv-mint help.”

        But the truth is that it was government policies arising out of the Great Depression and carried forward through the post-World War II years by both Republican and Democratic presidents that created the opportunities for tens of millions of Americans to achieve relative comfort and economic security.

        Those policies ranged from Social Security and labor rights in the 1930s to the GI Bill after World War II to Medicare in the 1960s and to government investments in infrastructure and technological research over many decades. Even in recent years, despite right-wing efforts to choke off money to government research, federal programs – such as the Internet – have brought greater efficiency to markets, as well as wealth to many entrepreneurs.”

  12. Carolinian

    Water article

    Another disincentive for change is that capitalism is always able to find ways to profit regardless of the catastrophic outcome for the people. Like vultures circling around dying prey, financial speculators are buying and selling rights to diminishing Colorado River water resources. Co-founder and president Matthew Diserio of the Manhattan-based hedge fund, Water Asset Management, described water in the United States as “the biggest emerging market on Earth” and “a trillion-dollar market opportunity.” WAM and other investors are buying up farmland in the West, not for the land itself, but for the water rights that come with the farmland. This is likely the same reason behind Bill Gates recently becoming the largest single owner of farmland in the country. A drier future with water scarcity guarantees a sound return on these investments.

    Rather than addressing the problem the new proposal merely bribes the vultures with public money so they will cut back a bit on water use until after the election. Perhaps the problem is not so much capitalism but rather our all too corrupt politicians. You can blame that on capitalism too but a general decay in honesty seems to also be at work.

    1. hunkerdown

      “If only the wood chipper were being driven with MY grace and style”

      No, that’s just something the class who shall not be named tells themselves so they can convince themselves that they are entitled to a working class, an argument that can be rejected with absolute contempt.

    2. ambrit

      To be fair, the intersection of “dishonest” and “capitalism” is Neo-liberalism.
      Many place modifiers before the word ‘capitalism’ to hammer home various points. In and of itself, “capitalism” is neutral. It is merely a tool. What purpose it is put to is a function of the wielder’s ideology and philosophy.
      To steal a trope from the ultra anti-firearms zealots; the best way to eliminate the evils of capitalism would be to remove it entirely from the Public’s possession. In this case, Public is all inclusive. Since this strategy eliminates any Exceptional category, it can be seen to be the essence of Egalitarianism.
      Stay safe.

      1. bdy

        Let’s quibble! Capitalism is hardly neutral. Its ideology is that accumulated wealth — capital (or hoarding if you’re me) — is fundamental to getting goods to market. Capitalism is hardly a tool — its tool is capital. The Capitalist devotes thierself to acquiring capital and using it to implement big plans. Those plans are never neutral. Neo-Liberalism enlists the State in the Capitalist project. It’s entirely independent of honesty, which allows its agents to operate dishonestly, whenever. But Gates doesn’t really need to dissemble for his water hoarding plan to pan out. And the only state support required are the neo-lib go-to’s: contract enforcement and securing property.

        “Free Markets” is the angle by which Capitalists declare their neutrality, but it’s just branding. In fact Capitalists take a side in every exchange, conflict or negotiation they engage: the side of profit. Markets are regulated. “Free markets” really means the rule of the contract, which is the ultimate giveaway to Capital interests over the interests of labor and purchasers — by monopoly, monopsony, cartel pricing, legal markets, rent seeking, control fraud, finance and a host of other mechanics best illuminated here at NC. That’s why Capitalists champion the contractual market as “Capitalism” and contend that it represents some kind of pure, fair condition that respects the commitments of consenting adults.

        Bullshit. Contractual markets funnel resources to the rich. Capitalists fight (sometimes within the “rules” but more often within grey zones of calculated risk and plausible deniability) to corral and implement those resources at the expense of others, and tell themselves that the secondary effect of some distribution of goods makes their activity neutral. It does not.

        Markets and exchange are here to stay for as long as there’s property. Capitalism though, might or might not survive the jackpot. See N.K. Jemison’s The Fifth Season for a convincing depiction of how real material scarcity changes the way communities view and tolerate hoarding — a less fun theoretical counterpoint to Gibson’s Klept-State outcomes.

        1. ambrit

          Going to have to sleep on this one. Good points, but I ‘feel’ a different framework is possible.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan handed out money to supporters outside the polling station where he cast his ballot in the runoff election’

    You think that if old Joe stood outside of polling stations paying Americans the $600 that he owes them, that they might vote for him?

    1. Mildred Montana

      If I were an American I would, and in a twinkling if he showed some understanding of the current economic situation and raised it to an inflation-adjusted $800.

      Regardless of price however, in a pretend-democracy my vote would always be for sale. They get theirs, I get mine.

    2. britzklieg

      I remember being paid $10 by a Michael Bloomberg pollster, hanging outside the 96th Street/B’way Starbucks, before Mike’s final (3rd and and illegal) election as mayor of NYC. It wasn’t specifically a bribe (I was not required and did not vote for that ratbag) but the intent was clear enough. I assume handing out money is not a tribal ritual for the Bloomberg’s.

      1. anon in so cal

        “Biden’s Final Pitch To Georgia: Vote Blue And $2,000 Checks Will ‘Go Out The Door Immediately’”

        “A day before Georgians head to the polls to decide control of the Senate, President-elect Joe Biden sought to cast the election as a choice between immediate stimulus relief or months of gridlock, promising that victory by Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff would mean $2,000 stimulus checks would be sent out.”

    3. Cetra Ess

      I would be interested to know which issues and stances Americans can be easily bribed on, easily persuaded with money, in other words, aren’t very principled about. The results would probably be interesting and I wonder if it would be a useful gauge. If I gave you $200 would you give up your privacy? How about $2000? Is there anything you wouldn’t move on for any price? In dollars, how strongly do you feel about democracy? Transparent government? And how does this change as you go up the income ladder? If you’re affluent/wealthy are you more or less principled?

      Was just remembering that story in Freakonomics of the lunch/bagel thief who turned out to the the senior partner in the law firm. Not proof, but the anecdotal evidence was that the lower your income the more honest and principled. Would have been interesting to extend that experiment.

      1. LifelongLib

        I suspect the well-off lunch thief is an outlier. People like that have a lot of semi-legal ways to manipulate the system to their advantage. Maybe just as unprincipled as open theft but a lot smarter. On the other hand, years ago when someone stole my son’s bicycle out of our yard, the cop who responded said they were seeing a big increase in petty crime. He said that always happened during times like that. It was a recession period when a lot of people were being layed off. “Your son’s bike is probably under some other little kid’s Christmas tree” he said.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
          I’ve seen lots of funny men;
          Some will rob you with a six-gun,
          And some with a fountain pen.

          “Pretty Boy Floyd” Woody Guthrie (Woody’s version)

  14. Benny Profane

    DeSantis whining about his wife not on the cover of Vogue confirmed to me that he is such an unlikable little b****, but, on second thought, since it’s been reported many time that she runs the show, maybe that was all her doing. But he’s still a charmless, whiney b****, either way.

  15. herman_sampson

    YouTube playing a blank screen for hours: could John Cage’s estate sue for copyright infringement on 4’33” ?

  16. jefemt

    Teflon Don The most toxic of PFOA’s…

    “I could pour a bottle of Nikwax TX Direct ™ on myself and then spray myself down with two cans of Scotch Guard ™ and then eat three Happy Meals ™ in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and NOTHING would happen to me!!”

    Reagan was a piker…

  17. Mikel

    “The Middle East Stabilises, Against the Backdrop of a Great Unravelling” Al Mayadeen

    “In his speech, President Al-Assad spoke of the opportunity this wave of discontent and anger has provided to the Region to revise its dispositions – away from Western dominance and intervention:

    “Today we are facing an opportunity to change the international situation that appears in the form of a unipolar world, a result of the dominance of the West, who lacks all ethics and principles … This historic opportunity requires the Arab World to reposition itself and invest in the positive atmosphere of reconciliation that preceded today’s summit”, Al-Assad added, referring to recent diplomatic initiatives which resulted in Saudi Arabia’s resumption of diplomatic ties with Tehran and Damascus.

    President Al-Assad also stressed the need to consolidate Arab culture in the face of “modern liberalism, which targets the innate affiliations of man and strips him of his morals and identity”.

    This latter point by Al-Assad — ‘the cultural danger’ associated with contemporary woke liberalism — is noticeably becoming a global theme, as states emphasise the wish to manage lives in their own way of being…”
    Putin, Xi, Assad…

    So far, in their speeches I don’t see the same fire against neoliberal economics that I do for culture wars (real, imagined, and perceived). The lip service that I do see from them and officials in their governments/administrations against the current global economic order could easily be described as concern for crony wealth in the face of sanctions.

    I continue to have my suspicions of a future that is more like multipolar economic neoliberalism.

    1. Mikel


      ‘Wang hong’ culture booms in China as more young people dream of becoming influencers” Straits Times

      It’s things like this that me laugh and consider that the USA is so rabidly greedy, it doesn’t know when it has already won as much as it hates to admit losses.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      lots of people have been asking me about things like Woke, “cultural marxism” and what “The Left”(sic) is up to.
      the bud light thing especially seems to have folks all riled up, and their searches land them on the Jordan Peterson bizzarroworld.
      …and one of the main confusions is “why would they coddle an extreme minority, while alienating a large majority, and screwing themselves, re: profits?

      when i’m allowed to hold forth at length…and fend off parroted petersonisms….i start with base and superstructure…and the current Class Structure of the West.
      ie: Oligarchs, their managers(PMC) and the Rest.
      no matter what beer you buy, nor which big box you shop at, that $ still goes to more or less the same people…those at the top.
      so such questions are still in the proverbial box.
      to get outside that box…or, indeed, in the tall grass across the parking lot from the warehouse where the box is kept….a lil cui bono is in order.
      what is the effect of these tempests in teapots…aside from shifting profit from buddywiser to…corona or what ever?
      the answer, of course, is to double down on the myriad divisions within and among the Lower Orders….keep us’n’s fighting each other in the mud…and never getting around to comparing notes…or even considering who it is that might be the real enemy of mankind.
      sadly, i’ve found that…just like D vs R…or Lakers vs Spurs,lol…folks have difficulty rising above the fray sufficiently to wrap their head around such concepts. ergo, the frelling Frankfurt School guys were right…that we are so invested in,and enveloped by, the current order, that…as Jameson said, “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”.
      since the advent of actually existing Commie/Socialist revolutionary and/or electoral success, the goal of the Masters has been to prevent its spread…to nip it in the bud wherever it may appear to germinate(witness the history of the CIA, since inception).
      its always been a war on our minds…and the Masters have won, at least for now.

      i tell my interlocutors that what scares me is what happens when the USA Empire faction of the global elite cohort discovers that it cannot stay in power any longer….wether from outright defeat, loss of dollar-rule, or simply some critical mass of deligitimacy…
      Putin and Xi and many others in ROW have been pretty consistent that their aim is for US to back down from the hegemon perch and turn inward to its many domestic issues….but i can’t see any appetite at all for that,lol.

      1. Mikel

        “i’ve found that…just like D vs R…or Lakers vs Spurs,lol…folks have difficulty rising above the fray…”

        I did LOL. Because, as a former NBA watcher and Laker fan it was easier for me to rise about the D vs R fray than the Lakers vs Spurs fray.

        “…since the advent of actually existing Commie/Socialist revolutionary and/or electoral success, the goal of the Masters has been to prevent its spread…to nip it in the bud wherever it may appear to germinate(witness the history of the CIA, since inception).”

        It’s so reflexive now that they nip it in the bud wherever they imagine it might germinate.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Divide and conquer is definitely a big part of the elites’ strategy. Then there’s the question of how we’re all reacting to that effort to set us at each other’s throats. I think the reaction among people who belong to groups like Moms for Liberty is akin to what Fiona Hill said about the emerging attitude of the Rest of the World:

        In the so-called “Global South,” and what I am loosely referring to as the “Rest” (of the world), there is no sense of the U.S. as a virtuous state. Perceptions of American hubris and hypocrisy are widespread. Trust in the international system(s) that the U.S. helped invent and has presided over since World War II is long gone. Elites and populations in many of these countries believe that the system was imposed on them at a time of weakness when they were only just securing their independence.

        There have been some sweeping cultural changes in the United States during my nearly 70 year life, or it might be more accurate to say that some parts of our society have experienced these changes while other subsets of the culture have resisted them. What these reactionary groups resent the most is the way changes in values are coming from above–universities, NGOs, school administrators, the federal executive and courts–and there has been little discussion within our society about whether these changes are desirable or necessary. Given that some of the topics are those most likely to arouse strong emotions, especially when children are involved, the approach has been extremely arrogant and disrespectful toward the more traditionally minded. Obama’s “clinging to guns and religion” remark comes to mind.

        This elitist approach is employed across all policy fronts. There is no effort to bring citizens up to speed on the problems we face. Instead, decisions are made at Bilderberg or the National Security Council or elsewhere in the Blog with no citizen input. Those decisions are then handed to the politicians and media spokesmodels to sell to the public using every trick in the Bernays handbook. When people catch on, they’re pretty pissed and looking for a way to get back whether through boycott of products or loud school board meetings. I happen to like the growing skepticism on the right toward the multinationals and their marketing. If they were just more interested in the BS we’re getting about climate or endless war instead of marketing to transpeople, we might be getting somewhere.

        1. LifelongLib

          Along with everything else, the “Left” in the U.S. has a big PR hill to climb. I regularly encounter people who think Joe Biden is “Left”.

          And I have to wonder if an actual workers’ party here wouldn’t look more populist than what is usually called socialist. Maybe not as overtly racist/xenophobic as some in the past were, but socially conservative and more interested in getting a better deal under something not too different from the existing system than in overthrowing it for something completely unknown. A nation of shopkeepers and carpenters rather than one of government employees.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            you forgot Yeoman Farmers.
            and the smell that goes with it…expropriation from Native Americans…no longer obtains(and i’m descended from them anyways)
            “a nation of shopkeepers”…i know that phrase, but i cannot place it.
            regardless, i’m down with distributing the means of production as widely and wildly as possible.
            and add in a maximum wage(including capital gains, etc), and it would be even better.
            maybe a lil Georgism thrown in, too

            1. The Rev Kev

              “a nation of shopkeepers”

              Napoleon used it to describe England at the time.

    3. Roland

      The Russian and Chinese states are capitalist oligarchies whose current leaders would be pro-Western, if only the Western capitalist oligarchs would accord them the dignity owed to peers.

      Bashar al-Assad was trying, during his first decade in power, to bring Syria into line with the Washington Consensus, with an array of privitizations, subsidy cuts, special economic zones, forex liberalization, a stock market, and bank deregulation. Arguably, the social division caused by the reforms was important among the causes of the civil war.

      But there’s a struggle over the shape of globalization. Is it going to be a genuine worldwide concourse of all capitalist oligarchs, or is it going to be nothing more than Atlanticism writ large? In a way slightly reminiscent of the time before the Great War, the finance capitalists got the whole world, but they can’t play nice with each other.

      Note that “Atlanticism” is just a euphemism for pan-Anglo nationalism. All the “pan-” nationalisms tend to be problematic, and pan-Anglo nationalism most of all. When a pan-Anglo says, “global community,” they mean American Empire.

  18. chuck roast

    The Middle East Stabilises, Against the Backdrop of a Great Unravelling

    Alastair Crooke is an exceptional short-form writer. He is cogent, concise and his analysis packs a wallop. Clicking on his name brought me to other Al Mayadeen pieces he has authored. All well worth my time, particularly regarding the Zionist internecine conflict in Israel.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah, he’s one of my go-to’s.
      like Pepe Escobar, he gets tangled up in himself, sometimes, but he’s well worth reading for an alternative perspective on great big things that approved media largely ignores.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Is Your Favorite Brand Too Gay? Is It Gay Enough?”

    Been a very long time since I saw the word gay in the title of an article. A very long time. I really don’t think that most people care if somebody is gay or not because, you know, it is the 21st century. LGBTQIA+, however, is another animal and is almost purpose built to be weaponized. So when I see lesbians being discriminated against by the rest of this community, you know that something is wrong. And a lot of people got their back fur up when they saw women in sports losing to men who identified as women. And don’t forget we are talking here about prizes, cash payments and even scholarships at stake. And women were supposed to smile and support this happening to them. Sooner or later there was going to be push back against this whole idea and the Bud Lite fiasco was the bridge too far. Anheuser-Busch has already lost about $15 billion and not just in the US either. Hard to say how far this is going to go but I certainly hope that it does not have a lasting effect on the gay community. The ultimate touch stone I think is fairness. And a lot of people were seeing too much unfairness going on as well as injustices, hence this reaction.

    Just logging off for the night so happy Memorial Day guys.

    1. Bugs

      Tell me about it. There’s also the little issue of the B in that acronym that never gets any respect from the other letters.

      1. barefoot charley

        You’d think those who’ll sleep with anyone would have lots of friends, but their friends observe about them, “They won’t commit to *anything*!”

      1. The Rev Kev

        From that great article-

        ‘We have taken a terribly wrong turn in allowing pharmaceutical companies to construct lifelong patients out of healthy children.’

        The same could be said of vaccines and public health.

  20. John Beech

    Yves notes that “they concede this is a democratic outcome because the dumb rural voters favored Erdogan. So Economist makes clear only what elites want = democracy.”

    And how is this in an conceivable way different than in America except rural America was beaten when votes were gather in certain places in a manner contravening state laws and established norms under the guise of COVID? Or is skepticism regarding the 2020 vote in this regard, not permitted?

  21. Mikel

    Read all the terror experienced by the passengers on aship that needs to be rebranded as theme park ride: “The Titantic Experience.”

    Why? Because the last line of the article is the kicker. After all that and the damage sustained:
    “The Carnival Sunshine is now sailing on a five-day Bahamas cruise and will return to Charleston on Thursday.”

    1. LifelongLib

      A historian once said that in terms of seamanship and attention to duty, the Titanic was probably better run than are most ships today. I would imagine encountering weather like that was common in the days before good forecasting, and that crews prepared for it and ships were designed for it. Just from pictures the Titanic looks a lot more seaworthy than those cruise ship floating motels…

  22. John Beech

    Is Your Favorite Brand Too Gay? Is It Gay Enough? The Deep Dive

    What’s wrong with products being sold on their merits instead of companies inserting themselves into the public discourse? I run a business and approve the ad spending. Honestly? I can conceive of no possible way to market to Democrats without alienating Republicans, or vice versa. So basically, once a company adds their thumb to the scale, they automatically give up a certain portion of the possible market.

    Strikes me as Self-inflicted Marketing Mistakes 101 . . . what am I missing?

    1. timbers

      I work in Cambridge MA. Most of my co workers are suburban. Mocking ridiculing the whole LGBT+ political correctness woke transgender stuff, is huge. Great way to chase voters away. Which is not to suggest voting changes govt policy.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I agree with you, and that’s why the Supreme Court ruled in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc that commercial speech is entitled to some First Amendment protections:

      Writing for the majority, Justice Harry A. Blackmun noted that “the particular consumer’s interest in the free flow of commercial information . . . may be as keen, if not keener by far, than his interest in the day’s most urgent political debate” and that “the free flow of commercial information is indispensable.”

      The problem is that American advertising has little interest in informing citizens about the specifications or even the merits of a product. Since the days of Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, advertising has aimed to use the insights of psychology into our emotions and hang-ups to manipulate us into buying products we don’t really need. Those same advertising techniques are applied to politics so that politics is now less about issues and more about lifestyles, self-perception, group identity.

      Since political party preference has become part of Americans’ “lifestyle,” advertising that ties products to a particular lifestyle to which people aspire is now, as you point out, bound to get tangled up with our political polarization.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. the wokerist bud light ad campaign may have worked better for zima or chardonnay or something.
        are appletinis still a thing?

        around here, of course…the beer of the true worker is keystone light(ugh!)…which i wouldnt even consider Kinderbeer.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            when i was undergrad, it was milwauki’s best(sic)(“beast”).
            nasty, nasty.
            now, 35 years later, cant believe i drank so much of that swill.
            (what we could afford)

            1. ambrit

              When I went to the Poison Ivy League college in New Orleans, the beer of choice was a local brew, Dixie Beer. Very good stuff.
              We knew someone who worked at the old brewery on Tulane Avenue. He told us that the water for the brew was obtained from a very deep artesian well. As the joke goes; “It’s the water!”
              A distant rival, Bear Whiz Beer:
              I’m almost tee total nowadays. A good beer or nothing is now my motto.

              1. petal

                ambrit, I’m laughing about the “very deep artesian well” in NOLA. Too funny!
                I can’t drink anymore due to illness, and I don’t miss it. Well, I miss a glass of good Finger Lakes wine once in a while after a crap day, but that’s about it.

                1. ambrit

                  Granted. New Orleans geology shows three usable water layers below ground. One at 200 foot below surface, the next at 400 feet below surface, the third at 700 feet below surface, and the last at 1200 feet below surface. The lowest sand layer, all deposited atop the Pleistocine layer, suffers from salt water intrusion. Some fresh water can be found in it, but one needs to look to wells in and to the north of New Orleans. All three of the shallower strata are used for fresh water supplies for various entities. (Industrial concerns usually have their own water supplies here. Such as breweries.) So, I know not whether or not a sand layer from 700 to 900 feet deep is considered a “deep” bore, but around here, it is the deepest available source of consistently fresh water.
                  The Public water system draws it’s supply from out of the Mississippi River. New Orleans has generally been considered to have one of the best water filtration systems in the world. The price per thousand gallons is probably prohibitive for industrial strength uses, hence the private wells. However, it is a little known ‘Badge of Shame’ that the stretch of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans is locally known as “Cancer Alley.”
                  For New Orleans water resources, from 1956:
                  Sorry to hear about the lack of drink, but keep yourself hale and hearty. The best from the Sothrons.

            2. petal

              Oh yes, Beast! Those were the days! I am with you on that-I suppose whatever got the job done, right?

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                i’m still a big beer drinker.
                i prefer the dark german varieties,,,Spaten Hefeveissen is still my all time fave.
                but i settle for Shiner Bock.
                getting it by the keg saves us 3 or 4 hundred dolars per month…altho its difficult to calculate thus, since a full keg lasts a month and a half.
                we drink lots of beer around here…between me and my Eldest and his buddies…and my workers(who’d rather drink that shitbeer).
                and i used to be a full time drunk…30 years ago, when i was on the run and on the road.
                i try to keep the drunkeness to twice a week, these days.
                mostly successfully.
                i no longer beat myself up about what has always been a part of my life.
                (my flag has always had a middle finger on it)

    1. Lambert Strether

      Apparently, guard brutality and prison rape aren’t a sufficient deterrent, so we’ve introduced debt slavery. From the article:

      [A] 2022 legislative measure creating a $50,000 buffer prevents collections from many inmates

      At $300 per day, $50,000 = ~167 days. That’s not a long sentence. Doing some quick figuring from a cursory search:

      Average length of stay nationally is 2.7 years or 985 days (2018). 985 – 167 = 818 * $300 = $24,5400.

      $24,540 seems insane, so maybe readers can correct. At the very least, the average Connecticut prisoner would emerge with a very large debt.

      Why don’t we just go full neo-liberal, tear down all the prisons, and go with ankle bracelets and slavery? If we want to make sure criminals never “pay their debt to society,” we’ll just jigger the numbers….

      Adding: Many opportunities in the yard work field!

      1. tevhatch

        Why don’t we just go full neo-liberal, tear down all the prisons, and go with ankle bracelets and slavery? If we want to make sure criminals never “pay their debt to society,” we’ll just jigger the numbers….

        Too late to go for the patent, it’s been commercial practice for decades.

  23. timbers

    Graham blasts defense spending in debt ceiling deal as ‘a joke’ The Hill

    Graham might spend his time better wondering how Russia can spend $40 billion/yr (pre Ukraine war) and hold her own against USA’s trillion-ish/yr budget AND the Collective West/NATO, combined. Russia has a basically socialized state owned model I believe. My guess is there is a lot less corruption and grift in Russian military spending. And less “profit margins”.

    1. Glen

      I had the same thoughts, and found this gem while reading up on the Russia hyper sonic missiles (from the 9K720 Iskander Wikipedia entry):

      In 2006, serial production of the Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile system was launched, and the system was adopted by the Russian army.[1] The production cost of the missile system was reported in 2014 to have been slashed by a third by cutting the 20% markup applied by the missile manufacturer at each stage of the components supply chain from a cumulative 810% to markup of 21% applied only to the finished product.[17]

      I suspect Russia has been working hard to root out the remnants of the economics left by Rubins, Greenspan, and Summers after they “saved the world”:

      Time Cover Feb 15, 1999,16641,19990215,00.html

      The Three Marketeers,33009,990206,00.html

      America is still firmly embracing the legacy of Rubin, Greenspan, and Summers so it would be very interesting to learn what changes Russia has made to their economy. One observation I would make is that they don’t have a FED that spews trillions when Wall St gets a hangnail, or re-writes FDIC/SEC/FED regulations over a weekend when billionaires think they MIGHT lose money.

      As to Graham, he might just be worried that a debt ceiling on defense means his MIC kickback is in some sort of danger. Fear not oh mighty Senilator Graham, with your mighty regulatory oversight, the American MIC will remain the world’s best at over charging and under performing!

  24. boomheist

    Re: homeless deaths: I think it is just a matter of time, maybe one or two or three years, before some states and cities begin moving all homeless people to camps out in the open lands. And it feels as if the general population will support it, too. This is because when homeless camps start really annoying the PMC urban elite and city shoppers and shop owners a consensus will build to solve the problem once and for all by removing people, maybe to fema camps, there to be housed and kept until sober or they find an actual real job somewhere with housing. And this solution will be either supported or ignored by everyone else…..

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      fwiw…and if my unpopulated far place is any indication…there’ll be plenty of rancorous NIBYism in the hinterlands where “suitable” Camps will be located.
      hell, these folks get all riled up over windmills and battery storage facilities…while ignoring that theyve been living next to a giant substation for fifty years.
      and no doubt the do gooders in big cityland will name these efforts along the lines of “Sanctuaries”…thus subconsciously linking them with various, half-mythological “Liberal” big city immigration things.
      should be a lot of fun.
      i will admit that i could use a couple of subsidised cost folks for farmhands who just need 3 hots and a cot(real beds, really…and we eat real well)…but…like my hysterical neighbors, i’d worry about screening candidates for meth(or worse) and untreated mental illness.
      meat of nut: this wont go anywhere, save by force of will from on high.
      and even then, it’ll be a fight with the local bougie class.
      …and “Hoovervilles”(“Bidenvilles”) is too juicy to be passed up…and not without some historical honesty, to boot.
      better to divert some of the Ukronazi welfare to housing.

      1. Pat

        It isn’t really out in the country, but we are seeing some version of this in NYC vs. upstate counties for migrant housing. The counties that are fighting it are winning so far. I am pretty damn sure that tent cities with even less financial support will find that the limited upstate support for migrants they have seen so far also disappears when it is the homeless.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      And combined with that, a push similar to what’s going on in Canada to make it easy to opt for euthanasia. After all, even tents in the desert will cost something. And all those nursing homes with Medicaid patients will be a target as well.

      Soylent Green” was quite prophetic.

    3. ambrit

      I have been joking in public about local abandoned mall space, especially here in the half horse town, the old Sears building, being repurposed as FEMA Re-education camps. People used to look at me ‘funny’ when I made the joke. Lately, some people have been nodding their heads in agreement, and not just the “regulars” who know the joke and the joker involved.
      Stay safe! (Don’t forget that the original “Men in Black” film had Tommy Lee Jones explaining that said Men in Black worked for FEMA. The most powerful organization in the Federal Government.)

    4. Lambert Strether

      > moving all homeless people to camps out in the open lands

      I don’t even know the etiology of homelessness. There were homeless in Boston/Cambridge when I lived there in the 80s and 90s, but nothing tents under every highway overpass, as today. I assume that when private equity scooped up our real estate after the Great Financial Crash and during Obama’s recovery, and that’s why the homelessness has escalated so much, but I don’t know. Does anyone know of an economic perspective on homelessness, instead of a “social justice” (NGO) perspective? Clearly whatever we’re doing isn’t working. Unless it is, of course.

    5. Acacia

      Not sure if this is happening to homeless in your area, but in California the police have been pushing homeless around for several decades now, at least. They’ll build a camp in one place, and then the police will rout them. Lather, rinse, repeat. I’ve just assumed this has been happening in many cities, but honestly idk.

      My guess is that police and local authorities would try to send them to something more permanent, e.g., camps, but as Amfortas says, there will be NIMBYism everywhere, and police jurisdiction is limited, so what they want to do vs. what they can do are likely quite different. Also, it’s well documented that the homeless themselves don’t want to go to “shelters” because the chances of becoming victims of crime are higher in these putative “safe” spaces.

  25. Jason Boxman

    I can’t claim credit necessarily for this idea as a middleschooler, but it seemed obvious to me even then that these things must be huge resource piles:

    Efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and to reuse materials are making it more profitable to mine landfills for energy and sift through refuse for the hot commodities of the green economy, such as detergent bottles and cardboard boxes.

    Wall Street’s Next Big Play Is Garbage

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i have been a pioneer of this landfill mining(i prefer diversion…its cleaner) in building the things i need out here for decades…and now, the policy suddenly changed at the city/county dump and they dont want people picking through the metal pile.
      i suspected some new bidness model was afoot.
      i still run off with discarded lumber without any problems, however…maybe a tiny bit of side-eye.

      1. LifelongLib

        Years ago I heard that the average house building project wastes 35% of its lumber. Apparently this is because it saves more money to just grab the first piece of wood that’s big enough and cut it than to hunt around for a piece that’s only a bit larger than what you need. There were (are?) people who make a business out of cutting discarded lumber to standard dimensions and reselling it.

    2. Richard

      Actually, the profit is where it always is, in the grift.

      The last two paragraphs from the linked WSJ article :

      “That profit forecast assumes two prices associated with every million British thermal units of gas. WM is counting on the actual fuel selling for $2.50, which is lately about the price of gas from geologic wells. Another $23.50 is anticipated from renewable-fuel credits, which is in line with recent trading, according to energy-information firm Platts.
      The outlook doesn’t count the $250 million or more of tax credits WM expects for building new gas plants.”

      What should be done, is the garbage should be burned in a waste to energy facility and the ash landfilled. Plastic is essentially congealed oil. Modern filter systems make pollution undetectable outside the facility.

    3. digi_owl

      Why does Keynes statement about filling old coal mines with refuse come to mind?

  26. Wukchumni

    Insurance company tv commercials tend to be slapdash, there’s a maniac specializing in mayhem, a talking gecko, a duck, an emu and it’s stupid human pet, Flo-always in white apron, a professor of sorts who’s just an actor, a black fellow with an authoritarian voice, Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski & Shaquille O’Neal as experts in insurance coverage, and then Jake from State Farm-who in theory will always be there for you, although we only ever hear his voice… now silenced in California.

    1. Mikel

      Yep, was just reading about State Farm in Cali:

      “Last year, American International Group notified the state’s insurance regulator that it will exit the homeowners market..”

      And it’s not the only place where insurance companies are nervous:

      1. Wukchumni

        I wonder when other carriers say no mas?

        It’d put quite whammy on used and new home sales…

        1. chris

          It will, whenever it happens. There was a proposal, thoroughly libertarian in origin but actually interesting for once, that post Katrina the best way to house people and regrow the city was to make it so that no one could qualify for home owner’s insurance. It was acknowledged this would mean that no one would get a mortgage, which was allegedly the point. The values of all property would be kept low and the city could “heal” naturally without government or insurance overlords intervening.

          I’m not sure what would have happened if they had tried that in places like the 9th Ward. I know that in most of the US the idea of property not being an investment and not appreciating in value over time is more heretical than suggesting Mary was raped by a Roman soldier. But maybe the time has come to suggest we officially break the relationship between home ownership and investment properties for good. A home is a place where you can afford to live which provides safe shelter. Nothing more. If the market for housing is effectively destroyed because no one else can get a mortgage then maybe we’ll see that idea come to reality.

          Of course, perhaps even that apocalyptic market scenario is too optimistic. These days, who’s to say a bunch of PE hacks wouldn’t just buy up the whole of California if given the chance? Then they could push that risk into another market and no one would care that State Farm or others weren’t covering residential properties anymore…

          1. Jorge

            Only the very desperate, and the stupid, would invest. The place would become a super-slum death trap.

            The right way to handle NOLA is to rebuild the barrier islands so that NOLA doesn’t get hit by super surges.

        2. Pat

          If flood insurance is any indication, I would think that it will happen very soon. But the availability of government based insurance will keep the market from crashing. Most coastal properties should never be rebuilt, but… (remembering a particularly odd John Stossel ‘report’ on the subject. Spoiler alert he was one of the beneficiaries.)

      2. chris

        AIG tends to cover large risks and high value properties more than anything else these days. Not sure how much of an impact their leaving the Cali market would be.

      3. Jorge

        The finance hierarchy, as I understand it, is:
        * Stock market = dumb money
        * Bond market = mid money
        * Insurance market = smart money
        * Reinsurance market = genius money

        Reinsurance is “wholesale insurance”: Insurance bundles your policy with hundreds of other policies and sells the bundle to Reinsurance. Reinsurance takes on (or maybe shares?) the burden of reimbursement, and Insurance sells more policies.

        Behind the scenes, what has probably happened is that Reinsurance has told Insurance “we’re not going to buy Cali policy bundles any more”.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Shaq got caught up in the crypto scam and now needs a cash infusion greater than that provided by “The General.” He was on a show the other day with Patrick Mahomes, and when the conversation turned to Mahomes’s ankle rehab, the new GOAT offered that he was playing some basketball and getting his jump shot back in form. After all, Mahomes was a Texas district high school basketball MVP (to go with two NFL and two SB MVPs), a skill set that shows up whenever the Chiefs are inside the opponent’s 10 yard line. (The Chiefs continue to tease Mahomes’s behind-the-back passing to go with his no-look and jump passes. Presumably, he’s also learning to bounce pass a football.)

      So Shaq pipes up and challenges Mahomes and teammate Travis Kelce to a 2-on-2 match-up against Shaq and former UNC and NBA guard Kenny Smith, now a broadcaster. Mahomes agreed as long as Shaq would first try to cover Kelce on a pass route.

      Mahomes, who was also drafted by the Detroit Tigers out of high school because of his 96 mph fastball, was on the show to promote an upcoming celebrity golf match where he and Kelce will take on Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in golf.

  27. spud

    on the canadian climate policy and free trade, just TRUMPS getting rid of the fascist bill clintons policies of corporations calling the shots through the so-called investor disputes, make trumps single term one of the most important presidencies of the 21st century!

    now to do that was pretty easy considering from 1993 onwards, not one thing has been done to bolster civil societies till trumps actions.

    when will the fraudulent humanitarians and environmentalists finely acknowledge the contradictory absurdities of supporting free trade? we can never recover till bill clintons disastrous policies are reversed.

    remember, trump freed mexico from bill clintons policies so that their civil society can now try to have democratic control.

  28. Tom Stone

    A few remarks on my Hospital experience: I provided my own 3M Aura N95 masks and a small HEPA air filter, this was not a problem, the airfilter was in my room when I surfac3ed and an N95 had been properly fitted while I was in the recovery room.
    During the pre Op I was properly masked, the CNA’s wore surgical masks and none of the RN’s were masked.
    On the ward (They kept me overnight) it waspretty much the same, worker bees were masked, the RN’s were not ( except for one).
    I brought in a copy of the “People’s CDC” ADA /Covid workshop and the reaction when I asked several of the nursing staff to look at it was revealing, you’d a thunk I was asking them to look at a picture of a nude Dick Cheney.
    Except for the discharge nurse who was clearly senior and NOT to be fooled with.
    We had a nice talk about the new ASHRAE standards, once those are formalized nurses will have some cover, until then any Nurse challenging the droplet goons will be looking for a job at Walmart.
    The procedure went very smoothly with no complications, I should be done with the Narcotics and cleared to drive again in a week or less.
    Pro tip, I took half a dozen pink roses in with me which went to the admissions clerk and the first half dozen people I dealt with.
    Any time spent charming the nursing staff ( Please and thank you go a long way) is time and effort well spent.

    1. Pat

      I’m so happy it seems to have gone so well. Even if there were too many people playing Covid roulette, it appears that there was consideration for your concerns and for your health.
      May recovery be smooth and easy.

    2. playon

      “…until then any Nurse challenging the droplet goons will be looking for a job at Walmart…”

      Pretty crazy considering there is a shortage of nurses these days.

      1. ambrit

        Don’t forget that any amount of “pain” is acceptable for the ‘masses’ to bear before ideological purity is compromised in the slightest.
        We now live in a “stupid” timeline, where certifiably ‘crazy’ people are in positions of authority.

    3. ambrit

      Glad to see that you did well. Back surgery is scary at the best of times.
      Take your time recovering. I hope the Park Rangers co-operate.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > until then any Nurse challenging the droplet goons will be looking for a job at Walmart.

      Is that what the nurses said — not in so many words, of course — or an interpretation from their actions?

      Sounds like the treatment went well, so good. And roses for the nurses is a good idea — perhaps that’s why they listened at all!

  29. Pat

    Lord, I hate to say it but DeSantis may have a point about fashion magazines and conservative women, even if I don’t think it applies to his wife (I don’t remember many big photo shoots with Governor’s wives…)
    Of course my solution and his would be vastly different. I didn’t want to see big photo spreads on Kamala, Jill Biden, Michelle Obama, Hillary,…. any more than I want to see them on Mrs De Santis or Nikki Haley. At least Melania Trump was a fashion model, but not her either. I would ban them all.

      1. ambrit

        Perhaps a fashion contest between female political wives and politicas? (For the ideologically “pure,” men included too.)
        I’m all for a contest sponsored by Hustler Magazine. (Perhaps a spread titled” “How DC’s “KY” Street makes political sausage.”)

        1. Pat

          While there would be a crass honesty about that, I would probably go for some version of Michael Moore’s suggestion of NASCAR jumpsuits for politicians, only with a tattoo twist. I can’t decide if the prime sponsor aka biggest owner should “decorate” the forehead or the buttocks. Sure some people might not think it fair that the significant other of the politician should also be labeled but they are partners and in most cases benefit from the arrangements so I’m down with it.

  30. rowlf

    For this Memorial Day weekend near central Georgia there was a meeting of the council Thai Buddhist monks and bhikkunis in the US. The local abbot had everything very well organized, and it was great to see that all of the expansion of the monastery used (Dormitories, huts and tent platforms. Some local monks traveled to attend and some visiting monks stayed in hotels.). There were about 250+ monks attending and Sunday’s alms procession was impressive. The local police chief attended and was honored as the monastery tries to mesh with the community and neighbors. Lots of metta.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Autonomous F-16 fighter jets being tested by the U.S. military”

    The Russian military sees those autonomous F-16 fighter jets being tested and raises them the S-350 air defense system. What is that when it is at home? It is a medium-range air defense system that works without human input and is fully automated. So while that F-16 autonomous jet fighter is still being tested, the S-350 is already in production, deployed to the war zone and has already taken out at least one Ukrainian Mig-29 over the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The combat crew let the artificial intelligence detect, track and engage that fighter while only monitoring it.

  32. spud

    the u.s is unhappy mexico will no longer be a free trade human and environmental degradation feeding ground for financial parasites. there i reworded it for what the article really means.

  33. chris

    Mr. Tisdale appears to have gone around the final bend in his latest, titled, “The moment has arrived: Biden must give Ukraine all it needs to win”. I think this is my favorite line from the article:

    Biden should listen to Antony Blinken. His secretary of state has spotted a pattern over the past year: Kremlin warnings of retaliation and direct confrontation rarely amount to much in practice. The Russians huff and puff – but mostly bluff. Putin is not entirely stupid. He knows he’d never win a fight with Nato, let alone survive nuclear warfare.

    I can’t believe the results of the NATO aligned forces in Ukraine so far have given anyone the confidence to suggest that Russia “could never win a fight with Nato”. I can’t believe the response of the pro-Ukraine political forces is that Russia will do nothing no matter how many redlines NATO and the US crosses. I can’t believe the US could be pushing this while Turkey and our other NATO allies are either spent or antagonistic to increasing support for Ukraine. Where exactly does Mr. Tisdale suppose the materiel is going to come from?

    Why is it that NATO and the US are terrified of peace? Why is it that PEACE is the one solution to the current situation in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, etc. and it is also the one thing the US apparently cannot abide? Why are maniacs like Tisdale allowed to continue to share their madness without any countervailing force arguing against them?

    It is my sincere hope that my country stops being the driving force for pain and misery in the world.

Comments are closed.