Links 5/30/2023

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Fat cat survives after falling from 6th floor, breaking car window Thaiger (furzy). This cat is lucky. Cats are most likely to die in falls of less than 8 stories. At greater heights, they have time to flip themselves over, and the “legs down” splayed position creates more drag, slowing their fall and assuring that their study legs, as opposed to internal organs, take the brunt of the impact.

They Cuddled a Kiwi. New Zealand Said, ‘Stop That.’ New York Times (furzy)

When digital nomads come to town Rest of the World (resilc). They have allegedly ruined Bali, but you can also blame Eat, Pray, Love.

Hidden Dogmatism New Left Review (Anthony L)


The Brain and Long Covid Eric Topol (Paul R)

The Fast-Spreading New COVID-19 Subvariant XBB Is Part of a ‘New Class’ of Omicron MSN. ma: “Not a bad piece for msn…even has a “how to mask” video embedded. Maybe it’s becoming ok to talk publicly about?…..”

Case report: Post-COVID new-onset neurocognitive decline with bilateral mesial-temporal hypometabolism in two previously healthy sisters Frontiers in Pediatrics (Paul R)


Why the climate crisis is making our insects run for the hills Guardian (Kevin W). Almost no fireflies this year. I am sad for them and selfishly for me.

Thousands evacuate from Nova Scotia wildfires Associated Press (resilc)

Why Everest base camp won’t be moving anytime soon BBC (Kevin W)


China turns down US invitation for defence chiefs’ meeting in Singapore Financial Times. The sneering by the sources is remarkable.

US-China trade talks end in more chip war salvos Asia Times

Old Blighty

Sad little boys: the backlash against Britain’s boarding schools Economist (furzy)

Labour plans to tackle housing crisis by forcing landowners to sell at lower prices Financial Times

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine in the New World Disorder: The Rest’s Rebellion Against the United States Fiona Hill (UserFriendly). Today’s must read.

Erdogan’s mediatory role on Ukraine cannot be wished away Indian Punchline (Kevin W). The US is never never never never never never gonna let China mediate. Erdogan is the cleanest shirt in that dirty laundry. But why is this bizarre idea that there will be a negotiation still being dignified?

Lindsey Graham: Russia issues arrest warrant for top Republican BBC

Norway: Russian spying prompts rethink of port access DW (furzy)

Moscow attacked by drones – mayor RT

Wagner founder scores bloody political victory in Bakhmut The Hill


Lyrics over my pay grade but that blue wig is inspired:


Leaked Report: “CIA Does Not Know” if Israel Plans to Bomb Iran Intercept (Userfriendly). From last week, still germane.

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. Still Spends More on Military Than Next Nine Countries Combined Institute for Policy Studies (resilc)

USAF Opens Bidding to Build Its 1st New Fighter in Decades Defense One (resilc)

For Memorial Day, let’s get real about the recruitment crisis Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

CIA Officers Admitted the Agency Ran Drug Traffic During Indochina Wars CovertAction. Furzy adds:

I first visited Nepal in 1979, after going to New Delhi to have Rikhi Ram Musical Instruments make me a tamboura, as I’d met a fellow Indian music sitar player, also an American, in NYC. He invited me to visit his home in Katmandu while I was overseas. While visiting, I accidentally walked into him and another fellow filling up a large talcum powder container with heroin. We were flying out of Katmandu together that afternoon, to New Delhi; I managed to keep calm while going thru the boarding checkpoint, as the agent was examining the talcum container, then let it go.

I haven’t seen him since we landed in New Delhi. I eventually heard some sotto voce rumors about him being a CIA agent, and a killer at that. A couple of years later, I got an urgent call from him, back in Connecticut….Someone had spiked his chang (local beer) with a knockout drug in Katmandu, which left him partially paralyzed. They (CIA?) flew him to Bangkok for treatment, which apparently didn’t work very well. I demurred from offering to help. I also discovered that he was still dealing drugs!!

Dems’ New Star—Manhattan Billionaire Heir Dan Goldman—Fiercely Defends Security State. Plus: Jeffrey Sachs’ Break w/ the Establishment on Ukraine, COVID, & More | SYSTEM UPDATE #88 Glenn Greenwald. Late to this. The extended segment with Jeffrey Sachs is a must listen.


You Can’t Vote Your Way Out Of A Mess You Never Voted Yourself Into Caitlin Johnstone

GOP Clown Car

What Can Ron DeSantis Do Now? New Yorker (furzy)

Book Club: Josh Hawley’s manly book gets a new cover, and Florida restricts Amanda Gorman Washington Post

Right Wing Derangement Syndrome. This is what happens when TDS metastasizes.

America’s Becoming a Suicide Pact umair haque (resilc). Hating on the states that grow and process food and produce energy. Let me know how that works out.

The Far Right Is Splintering Atlantic (furzy). “Splintering” presupposes more cohesion that I suspect is there.

Native American sues school for barring sacred eagle feather at graduation BBC (resilc)

Our No Longer Free Press

The Grayzone debates National Endowment for Democracy VP on group’s CIA ties The Grayzone. Userfriendly: “This is hilarious.”

Another Brick in The Absurdity Wall Matt Taibbi

Egg In Their Face – Two Anti-China Claims The Wall Street Journal Made Last Weeks Were Fake Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)


Nvidia Unveils More AI Products to Further Capitalize on Frenzy Bloomberg (furzy)

Nvidia’s New AI Supercomputer Is a Game Changer. Google, Meta, and Microsoft Will Be First Users. Barrons (furzy)

French Open uses AI to protect players from online abuse International Business Times (furzy)

Debt Ceiling

Biden, McCarthy’s Debt-Ceiling Deal Faces Crucial First Test in House Wall Street Journal. One contact, who is skeptical of Yellen’s June 5 “out of cash” date, points out that June 15 is a deadline for corporate income tax quarterly deposits, so if Treasury can limp along until then, it will get a big enough infusion to limp along a fair bit longer.

Debt Ceiling Deal Includes New Work Requirements for Food Stamps New York Times

The Bezzle

Quackonomics Maureen Tkacik, American Prospect (resilc). Tkacik is pretty much always a must read. She wrote the best account of the Boeing 737 Max debacle.

Inmates Await Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes: ‘I Want to Be Her Friend’ Wall Street Journal (resilc). Most read story at the Journal, which means more read than anything on the debt ceiling.

Huge Tesla leak reveals thousands of safety concerns, privacy problems ars technica (furzy)

Neuralink gets FDA approval for human trials, but others are way ahead New Atlas (furzy). Depressing that plot lines in dystopian novels are treated as business plans.

Lawyer uses ChatGPT in court and now ‘greatly regrets’ it CoinTelegraph (BC)

Class Warfare

Fake kindness, Caring and Symbolic Violence Authorea (martha r)

Death of Ownership: Companies Use Software, Subscriptions to Grab Money From Customers Business Insider (resilc). Readers have been commenting on the erosion of ownership rights.

What neo-Luddites get right — and wrong — about Big Tech Financial Times (Userfriendly)

Regents spar for 1st time in public with striking University of Michigan grad workers MLive (ma)

Why Inflation Is the Excuse for Higher Grocery Prices New York Times (resilc)

Antidote du jour. mgl:

Nene & goslings. They were near extinction in the 1950’s; now maybe in the low thousands, considered vulnerable. State bird of Hawaii. The American Ornithologist union changed the name to (uncreative) Hawaiian Goose in 2014.

And a bonus (Chuck L):

A second bonus (Amfortas, hoisted from comments):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Mildred Montana

      Here are historical birthrate charts for over 200 countries. Just pick the country of your choice.

      Current births per 1000 population: United States 12, UK 11, Canada 10.

      For what it’s worth, I live in Canada and have five nieces and nephews, all in their thirties and from solid middle-class families. Only one of them has had kids and it appears the other four have no intention of doing so.

      1. chris

        Marriage, careers, children with stable families, are all becoming signs of wealth. Which can’t be good for US society.

        My family splits along similar lines I guess. My wife and I have 3 kids, she’s the oldest of five, and all her brothers and sisters and have multiple children too. On my side of the fence, my siblings, some of whom I share only one parent with, have one kid. And the next generation on my side is an absolute disaster with single parents living with other single parents while the kids from multiple relationships deal with unstable beings who can’t control themselves in a huge multifamily camp of misery. Sending Christmas presents or help to that group is difficult because it’s just about impossible to make sure help or gifts get to the person who you intended it for, with the other kids or their parent taking it from someone else if they like it. I have no idea why child services hasn’t been called in yet. Other than this is out west and they’re not immigrants so resources and concerns run thin.

        The future from my view looks to be more Children of Men than Idiocracy.

        1. humbleshuffle

          Send the stuff/help anyway. It doesnt matter who gets it. They are a unit. Some of the kids will see the help and grow up to emulate that compassion. Because of lack of control over use my “family” did not help my single mom.

          1. JBird4049

            Poverty is very stressful on anyone. In a family with young children, it is frequently devastating because it creates, even forces, short term responses that while immediately useful are crippling in the long term.

            It is like a predator looking for the weakest member of the herd. This weakness could a person, physical or mental issues, or financial problems.

            My Dad once told me that he did not know how they managed to focus on the long term and get out of poverty unlike other people. Things were often very difficult. My parents did the steps needed, but it was when government support was greater, jobs that paid decently were plentiful, and the cost of everything including education and housing were much lower. As was the extended family being together to help. Then there is the fact that society as a whole was functional.

            While some people can claim “Cultural Marxism,” whatever that poorly defined term is, and it is true that the cultural poison imposed by the uppermost classes is an issue, and yes, even a civilizational threat, the lack of all of the financial resources including affordable housing, education, government financial support, good jobs, and both functional institutions in a functioning society is the greater, more immediate threat. With such resources, almost anything can be overcome, but if you don’t know where you are sleeping next month or where your next meal is coming from, all your thoughts and emotions are focused on that. It is worse when it includes family members because you are focused on that, which requires even more of the energy that you do not have.

            Becoming an adult, creating and supporting a family, learning to be a good person, or creating a community all requires energy and resources that increasingly do not have. This lack also creates a barely connected mishmash of a society with its institutions, the community, family, and individual that can’t be a functioning whole because it does not have the resources to be so. Much like an engine made of inferior metal or a building made with bad concrete they can do less and are more likely to break when stressed.

            I think that people are having no children because they do not have the means to do so. I also think that much of the social dysfunction is the result of the same lack of resources. Unfortunately, it also requires time to destroy, but also much more time to create. We have spent sixty years destroying all the resources and the many, many parts of the nation needed to be a nation in a country or state with pretty baubles extracted from the ruins being sent to the upper classes, really the controlling elites.

            It took roughly 250 years to build the United States of America into a wealthy, somewhat democratic country with a very broad middle class, which had all the functional parts needed to create and maintain itself. The elites have spent sixty years consuming most of it for their personal benefit. Thus creating the dying nation that cannot even do the minimum needed to live being distracted by the drugs of narcissism, rage, and delusion.

    2. chuck roast

      Ditto…five nieces and nephews and one of them has two kids…none of them, including the kids, would know Groucho from Karl.

  1. griffen

    Nvidia is just crushing it. The company shareholders and their celebrated CEO Huang, are having a May to consider for the ages. Sell in May, no way!

    The company seems well positioned to break into the $1T club for market capitalization.

    1. tevhatch

      Odd, considering Uncle Sam keeps ratcheting up sales restrictions on their chips.

      1. Mikel

        A lot gaming go on and it’s not video gaming.

        Rumored that Bezos recently bought exactly one share of Amazon.

        Say AI 300 times when talking about a company at some meeting, in a report, or in the press. It’s like clicking the heels three times and producing magic.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, G.

      In dear old Blighty, we say, “Sell in May, go away and don’t come back until St Leger day (the world’s oldest classic horse race and run at Doncaster’s Town Moor in early September).”

      The intention is, or was, to invest the proceeds at the royal meeting at Ascot (mid-June), glorious Goodwood (late July), the Ebor meeting / festival at York (mid-August), all part of the “social season”. York often coincides with the start of the (red grouse) shooting season, glorious twelfth (of August), so one may need to delay one’s arrival on the moors. Over August, there’s also racing at Deauville, so more temptation.

      One hopes NC’s racing enthusiasts Ambrit, Montana Maven and Wukchumni “weigh in”.

      NB it’s THE Derby on Saturday, 12:30 GMT.

    3. JM

      Nvidia is trying it’s best to jump from one bezzle (crypto) to the next (ai) while milking all it’s other segments as hard as they can. If they miss time it, or the ai bubble doesn’t work as well as crypto did for them it could be… problematic.

      You can only burn goodwill for so long, even in our current society. See the commentary video by Gamer’s Nexus to get a feel where their brand is headed.

      1. LY

        AI and machine learning has been the next hot thing for at least the last decade. It’s only with chat bots that are accessible to lay people has it hit the mainstream consciousness. For the product development lifecycle of complex chips like Nvidia, they’ve been at it for the last four or so years.

        AI and machine learning are used in things like portrait modes in smartphone cameras, voice recognition, fingerprint scanners, driver assist systems in autos, etc. An audio processing engineer friend and I (signal processing background in telecom) were talking five years ago about how machine trained black boxes were replacing engineer designed algorithms.

        1. griffen

          No engineer by any stretch, but that second paragraph is or seems pretty interesting. Would that technology transfer, or transition I guess, occur over any industry where a black box can be summarily upgraded or replaced ?

          I’m sorta late on these Nvidia developments so I’m just watching from the sideline.

          1. LY

            The black box, in this context, means that the engineers don’t fully understand what’s going on inside it. The implementation is a model with a bunch of coefficients/weights that gives the desired behavior. Can always drop in another model that was trained differently, giving a different set of weights.

            Training an AI/ML model is where the data crunching and powerful computing is needed. After training, running the model requires less computation resources – I’ve seen models meant to be run on Arduino microcontrollers.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “China turns down US invitation for defence chiefs’ meeting in Singapore”

    This rings really weird. So Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is under US sanctions. Not for human rights issues, not for corruption but for buying Russian military equipment. This was considered in breach of the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act also know as the 2017 Buy Only American Military Equipment Or We Will Punish You Act. Did the US think that the Chinese would be then forced to buy US military equipment – which would be of course refused? The Chinese, I would guess, are saying how can Austin meet with Li when officially he has no standing with the US. But the Biden regime are refusing to lift this sanction because they have no reverse gear and once a sanction is done, it cannot be reversed. I would guess that this is all coming out of the State Department but they no longer get to call the shots. What’s Chinese for ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’

  3. Rod

    Overwhelming Quantity of Links this morning
    reflecting of the pace and increase of undercurrents, any one think??

    1. Lexx

      I would have written ‘overwhelming quality of Links this morning’, making it difficult to decide which one to respond to first… or at all.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Agreed. A veritable “heapin’ helpin'”, to borrow from the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          [a heapin’ helpin’] of hospitality.

          Hillbilly that is.

          Set a spell, take your shoes off.

          Y’all come back now, y’hear?

          Speaking for myself only, I never wear shoes while reading NC.

  4. BeliTsari

    I’d been re-tweeting, citing, posting & donating to Max Blumenthal & GrayZone forEVER, but I’m awaiting word of a tragic, totally unexpected & unexplained air accident or structure collapse & subsequent metal fire over this one? How do WE ensure survival & recognition of the last, few exemplars of investigative journalism on a planet driven INSANE, by smirking, SNEERING, speciously oblivious, smug, denial-ridden and cravenly obsequious bourgeois asshats?

    1. wilroncanada

      I would guess that poor Ms Aun has been spending the last 50 (or so) days looking for a new job.

  5. tevhatch

    BBC is getting to be Better Bullsh*t Corporation. The article on S.C. closet creature, Lindsey Graham, claimed he spoke that Russian Troops are dying, when he said “Russians are dying”. Considering that large, perhaps majority of the deaths, of NovoRussia were civilians, many killed with US supplied long distance weapons, he’s opened himself up for a war crime charge. If the board of directors of the BBC, NYT, could join him with their incitements…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Lindsey Graham did some furious back-peddling about that comment that he made but I would be curious to know. Did he do this before or after he learned that the Russians had taken out an arrest warrant on him? The BBC is being very indignant here and are saying that it was two clips edited together to make that comment. OK, then. All you would need is for the Ukrainians to release the FULL footage from BOTH clips to see what he said when. So why haven’t the Ukrainians done that to prove their buddy’s innocence? It could be done in a New York minute but all I am hearing is crickets.

      1. Carolinian

        It sounds like the Ukrainians and Z are the ones who set Graham up for this so releasing the full transcript would be to further highlight their apparent indifference to Lindsey and his pretensions of being a foreign policy Big Wheel.

        It’s not as though Graham hasn’t made similarly stupid and aggressive remarks including saying that Putin should be killed. I don’t know why he’s even complaining. For someone like him there’s no such thing as bad publicity as long as he can still be a guest on Meet the Press.

        1. Rod

          It seems to me that our Senator, he is simply really getting with the fever raging over that tar baby.
          Tim Scott, occupied by other things, feels the same way but may be holding his tongue.
          Say—you think Tim owes a Solid back to ole’ Jimmy De Mint (step down Congressman and ex head at The Heritage Foundation)??!

  6. The Rev Kev

    “America’s Becoming a Suicide Pact”

    Uumair Haque has had several of his article feature on NC and here is his latest. The strange thing is that this article sounds like it is from 2016 when Trump had just been elected and there was a lot of hating on Red States who had made this possible. So maybe he recycled an old, unpublished article. He really gets riled up about how the Blue States are subsidizing the Red States, even though they follow different ideas and beliefs, lots of which are reactions to – you guessed it – Blue States ideas. So I have an idea. Bring out a law that says from now on, money from Blue States can no longer fund Red States. None. Along with that law, have a parallel law that states that no assets in Red States – whether it be companies, farms, businesses, etc. – can be owned by any entity, either directly or indirectly, that is located in a Blue State. Then we’ll see how that works out.

    1. griffen

      Wait, I only thought MTG was the bat-sh cray cray type to say these things out loud? \sarc

      Red vs Blue
      Blue vs Red
      Billionaires are winning the class war
      Billionaires care less whose poor or dead

      Green is the key issue, as in money and greed and the pilfering done by the well heeled and private equity buzzards mulling over which carcasses to strip next. And to add, those varied politicians that they keep in their pockets to steal a quote from the Godfather.

    2. Mikel

      No, not good.

      Not enough is being said about the migration to the South from no longer affordable areas of blue.
      There have been stories about more people doing this.

      Maybe part of the reason for tensions?

      Options need to be sustained. It’s possible the migration (state to state) will increase and after the adjusting period things could look very differently.

      It’s probably harder for people moving from to “Red” State from a “Blue” if they do not have family or background there.

      I grew up in what is being called a Red State and currently live in a Blue State.

      The state to state movement is still significant.
      And even when the people writing these types of articles are not talking about my family in the Red States they are talking about my family in the Red States. The generalizations are too sweeping. Make sense?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        You make perfect sense. Part of the neoliberal gaslighting is to never admit that most Red States vote at least 40% Blue so what people are being told is that large parts of the country where four out of every ten voters is a Democrat are hotbeds of sedition and conspiracy.

        I don’t think this is gaslighting any more. I think this Red State/Blue State rap is conspiratorially disseminated for purposes of encouraging sedition against the Constitution. Every anti-Red State screed demands that unConstitutional steps be taken to correct [whatever they’re yelling about this week].

        I tried watching Cabaret a while back, but kept having flash-forwards. #WeimarVibes

    3. rusell1200

      Blue State – Red State is mostly pretty silly.

      The divide is urban vs rural with suburban swinging back and forth. A number of Southern Red States (Texas, Georgia, North Carolina) are very closely divided by voter registration.

      Gerrymandering makes some of the States look more one color than they actually are.

      1. BeliTsari

        Both (Red) white-flight suburban & (Blue*) 70s gentrified yuppie enclave; have ALWAYS been sub-divided by income, race, upward-mobility, refugee status, connections, AGE, cognition cliques (what WOKE originally connoted), home ownership, equity, religious/cult identity, education/ certification/ skill-set éclat or a million other imperceptible granfalloons? Why Lafayette, LA is WAY less “red” than Manhattan’s UWS & I felt LOTS safer in Westy than Ambridge, PA?

        *Creative Class™ distinctions, we proles ignore

        1. ambrit

          Having been to Lafayette, LA a few times, I get your point and add that there are also distinct sub-cultures still in America. One man’s “Melting Pot” is another man’s “Pressure Cooker.” It has also been a major mistake to determine the political affiliation of an area strictly at the State level. Like Renaissance Italy, or any Feudal society, the lines of demarcation in America often hew to metropolitan boundaries. Throw in Urban versus Sub-urban versus Ex-urban and we get closer to the truth of the matter.

          1. BeliTsari

            “Day of the Dead,” had it filmed in Reagan’s Miracle Pittsburgh, would’ve… or, maybe NOT? The notion that the PMC & retired yuppies (who skedaddled white-flight suburbanite “conservative” folks, to) gentrify Black, Latino or immigrant homes from workers, they’d “minoritized” red-lined into sacrifice zones; well, it’s something missing from ofay Liberals, screaming on that OTHER reactionary & racist Republican Party. We don’t SEE other dying, poverty stricken, PASC indentured gig-serfs as preying upon us and feeding us to airborne viruses, MASKLESS. We see bourgeois landlords, bosses, creditors & tag-team kleptocrats & MEDIA as the enemy & urban enclaves are LESS defendable now, than in 1877? Armories from the Great RR Strike are used for conventions, art installations, & rich folks depend on scaring lefties by unleashing the other half of the working class, to kill, indenture or incarcerate us. What IF?

            1. ambrit

              Yes. I often hearken back to Jack London’s work on the London poor of Edwardian England, “The People of the Abyss.” Add to that, Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London” from early in the Twentieth Century. Throw in Malraux on “Man’s Fate” and a theme begins to emerge.
              Revolutions don’t just “happen” from out of the Void. There are always warning signs and portents. We just have to become scryers of the yarrow stalks.

    4. Carolinian

      I have another comment on this in moderation but while you are right that the sentiment is years out of date it seems to still be the devout belief of MSNBC-ians. Call it the Church of Colorful States.

      When I was a kid regionalism really was a thing and shows like Beverly Hillbillies were popular as a way to make fun of the rubes (while slyly satirizing the rich). But while there’s still an urban/rural divide, here’s suggesting that urban is urban whether North or South, Red or Blue, and increasingly so. A lot of commentary on the South comes from people who have never even been there, just as in the bad old radio days Amos and Andy was a show performed by white guys. Stereotypes are odious if useful to some.

    5. bayoustjohndavid

      Every liberal like Haque who still talks about blue states financing read states should be forced to read “Makers and Takers,” and then subjected to an oral exam. Start with easy questions like “Is income always reported where wealth is created?” and then move to harder questions like, “If a PE maven in New York adds hundreds of millions of dollars to his personal wealth by destroying billions of dollars of wealth in one or more red states, do you really, seriously think that those red state residents should be grateful for whatever taxes the PE guy pays in New York?”
      I guess you could make the assignment about anything by Dean Baker and make the questions about wealth created by patent monopolies.
      I said Foroohar’s book instead of anything by Michael Hudson to keep it mainstream acceptable, but I do wonder how much of the apparent donor state/subsidized state dichotomy is just an affect of financialization.

    6. Old Jake

      That’s just dissolution of the Union. Then comes the free-for-all where parts of states decide they want to be either parts of other states or completely independent. Then you have the Balkan Clans of North America. Hmmm, not a bad idea, that.

  7. John Beech

    Re: TDS . . . what part of a stolen election do Democrats not get? It’s my opinion Trump was a fool for fussing about the Dominion voting machines. Instead, he should have raised Caine about the source of the votes. My point?

    I voted in person. FL drivers license. New type, requires an act of Congress to get (birth certificate, plus passport, two forms of ID). Total pain in the hind end to acquire.

    Point being, went to vote in person, photo matched perfectly. However, they insisted I sign three times (until I could acceptably replicate a signature from ten years ago).

    So what about ballots harvested in Democrat cities. How hard were they vetted? Since there were huge numbers of mail-in ballots cast due to COVID, this is a legitimate concern on my part. And what about ballots in PA and WI accepted after the cut off? Again, due to COVID but benefiting team Blue.

    Trump was ridiculed for stating his campaign had been spied on. Turned out to be true. Trump was ridiculed for saying the Russia thing was fake. Turned out to be true. And now, Trump won’t let go of saying the Democ5rats cheated the election. I bet this turns out to be true, also.

    Difference between me and Trump is I can let it go and look forward. Suspect Republican operatives will be on the look out this time so Dems will have to find a new way to cheat. me? No doubt Trump won. Biden is still my President. Is what it is. Still don’t like it.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Had the same signature problem, but for getting a DL renewed back in like 2008. After much consternation, worker finally agreed to issue the new DL, even without a good signature match. I hadn’t signed my name much in a decade, having forgotten cursive entirely. What a ridiculous requirement.

      1. LifelongLib

        As a computer guy (retired now) I typed much more than I wrote cursive. When I have to write cursive today my penmanship is really sloppy. Unless I’m very careful about forming the letters my signature looks like a squiggly line.

        1. UserFriendlyyy

          I very intentionally make sure my signature is 1st letter scribble scribble.

    2. marym

      Many of the legal challenges initiated by Trump and his supporters were about election procedures, including mail ballot signature verification procedures, and whether particular subsets of ballots were valid, not voting machines.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        When I started writing resumes, one of the skills I promoted was my ability to accurately fake signatures on letters for clients, a skill I acquired while working in politics.

        Don’t ask.

        And no, I can’t do it anymore. Too much keyboarding and very little handwriting in this century.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      First of all, I’ve long been skeptical about electronic voting machines going back to ’04 and Ohio. Second, your litany of examples of Democrats being proven liars with respect to Trump is undeniable, and the most outrageous possibility, that HRC was actually colluding with the FBI, seems pretty well documented by Durham. Finally, I’ve learned to turn up the skepticism whenever there is a constantly repeated phrase like “unprovoked invasion” or “most secure election” evah.

    4. scott s.

      I don’t really understand why improving voting mechanics has become partisan. The “secret ballot” was adopted in the 1890s primarily to make it impossible for political operatives to coerce/pay for a vote due to lack of verification. It was a very public secrecy with curtains, poll watchers, etc. You don’t have any of that with mail-in voting.

      The second problem is lack of audit-ability. Here, the Office of Elections has argued that “audit” means reviewing tallies of scanned images of ballots, not ballots themselves. Scanned images are poor for determining “voter intent”. And that’s beside the software-based “signature verification”. You just need to “turn a knob” on the software to get any acceptance rate you want. As anecdote my 94-yo father’s 2020 ballot got thrown into the moderation queue due to validation. Not sure how/if that was resolved.

      1. Vandemonian

        Down here own under, we still have secret voting, with hand marked paper ballots counted in public. Postal votes can be applied for, and are sent in using a sealed envelope with a detachable signature block, lodged inside a second envelope – signature blocks are detached and inner envelopes pooled before opening and counting.

        Absent voting is also available – an employee of the Australian Electoral Commission will visit my 96 yo mother-in-law in her nursing home, hand her the ballot papers, and turn away while she marks them and pops them in the box.

        When I worked in a 350 bed public hospital, we had a couple of admin staff who were also trained as AEC staff. The week before the election that would tour the hospital and give every patient who was well enough the opportunity to vote in secret.

        This all seems to work, and the level of trust is pretty high (so far).

        Plus, if we vote on the day, we get to have a democracy sausage.

        1. rowlf

          Plus, if we vote on the day, we get to have a democracy sausage.

          Not. Touching. This. In. A. US. Context.

          Just not.

  8. Donald

    The Fiona Hill piece is worth reading, but her description of American “ inaction” in Yemen was dishonest. Our actions were the problem. She is more honest about past US actions— perhaps she wants to stay on good terms with current Democratic Blob members, since it was Tony Blinken during the Obama years that gave the Saudis the green light to start bombing.

    1. OnceWere

      “All this means that we need a diplomatic surge—a skillful and patient effort alongside the vital military track—to end Russia’s brutal and senseless war. Ukraine needs broad-based global support. We must push back against Putin’s disinformation and anti-U.S. and NATO narratives. The United States and Europe will have to engage the rest of the world in an honest conversation about the stakes of this war and actively listen to their feedback and concerns on specific issues. ”

      So she’s reality-based insofar as she’s capable of recognizing the terrible reputation the United States has developed for itself in the non-Western world, but still 100% convinced that she’s on the side of the angels. One suspects that her honest conversation would still founder on the shoals of that fundamental contradiction. What kind of honest conversation can proceed from the premise that your beliefs are merely the result of disinformation, mine are the obvious truth.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, despite the somewhat better diagnosis, we are back to the old Obama prescription, which has now become deeply internalized: “Every problem can be solved by better PR.”

        “Honest conversation” = America ‘splaining. “Conversation” in elite speak = a conversation between someone with presumed power and someone with not much, dressed up in fake egalitarianism.

        1. UserFriendlyyy

          yup. my takeaway too. I did actually belt out a good laugh at the bit about Russia being the last colonial empire. She decided there was a limit to the shit she was willing to eat in public in her desperate plea to convince the world that the neocons are turning over a new leaf.

      2. magpie


        It’s not reassuring that Fiona says nothing about negotiation with Russia or peacemaking, but does mention that Russia is not a legitimate country.

        Also, for The Rest to be “rebelling”, doesn’t that imply they’re subjects? Or is it too on the nose to say they’re rejecting US hegemony?

      3. juno mas

        Yes, Fiona describes the obvious in her take on the new world order, but fails to recognize the blatant destruction imposed on other nations by the US non-diplomacy. She can’t mouth mea culpa without choking.

    2. Wæsfjord

      Am I right in assuming that it is a must-read piece because it gives one an insight into the unhinged ravings of “the transatlantic community”?

        1. Bart Hansen

          Or of NATO ballistic missiles being installed just a few short minutes from Moscow, along with Russia’s historical experience with being invaded from the west.

      1. jsn

        Yes, reality has only ruptured the first bulkhead.

        But the pressure is building and each admission weakens the next bulkhead.

        The SS Transatlantic is unsinkable, you know.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      “The Fiona Hill piece is worth reading”

      Second that. The value of this is that Hill includes plenty of the shibboleths the blob denizens love to hear, whether true or not, that will induce them to keep reading. Maybe, just maybe, the coins will drop for some of them.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      worth reading.
      the Affirmations of Faith are a little less grating than…say…something from Foreign Policy…but the required shoehorning of “Brutal”, “Senseless” and “unprovoked” get on my nerves.
      i suppose that sort of thing is necessary, given her presumed audience outside the room. Can’t inject too much reality all at once….like methadone treatment for heroin addiction…taper it off,lol.
      and this paragraph is just silly, to me:

      “Perceptions are often more important in international affairs than reality; and since the end of the Cold War, Putin has persisted in portraying NATO as an extension of the United States militarily and an inherently anti-Russian institution. Unlike Gorbachev and Yeltsin, Putin has never seriously sought an accommodation with NATO. For Putin, the U.S. is still the Cold War adversary and NATO is a provocation for still being around. Putin has actively fueled China’s concerns that the U.S. is expanding NATO-like structures to Asia; and he has fed the idea that NATO expansion is the proximate cause of war in Ukraine. Both outside and inside Europe, Putin wants the U.S. and NATO gone for good.”

      ive been paying attention to putin’s utterances since the Munich Speech(like his quincenera)…he’s consistent about what bothers Russia.
      and to gloss it all as “dininformation” or hysterical fantasy is…counterproductive.
      as an American…and since DaddyBushtime…i’ve wanted to respect my country…but that would take a major mea culpa and acknowledgement that we have done little to actually earn our Beacon on a Hill self perception.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Utah Phillips quotes Ammon Hennacy, (“an American Christian pacifist, anarchist, social activist, and member of the Catholic Worker Movement and Wobbly.”) quoting Mark Twain, IIRC, saying something like “Respect for your country, always; respect for your government, when it deserves it.”

        A very important distinction.

      2. Val

        “The United States and Europe will have to engage the rest of the world in an honest conversation about the stakes of this war and actively listen to their feedback and concerns on specific issues.”

        12 months ago such unsanctioned thoughts would get one cancelled amongst the minions and moles of the very late empire.

        Trying to recall an honest conversation in Western political history is brutal and senseless, let alone the absurd pretense of these bloodthirsty authoritarian Oompah Loompas “actively listening” to “the rest of the world”. Nudge nudge.

        But for the puppet show, Hillary briefly recrudesced atter the Durham report at some festival, and as Fiona Hill introduced Danchenko to Christopher Steele, she needed to make an appearance for appearances sake.

    5. Procopius

      I need to start archiving things. I have read that one reason Saudi Arabia has not yet signed an armistice with the Houthi is U.S. opposition. Wish I knew how to track that down. Here’s a story that contains in between the lines. Rather surprised me, although I was aware that the U.S. Navy was blockading Yemen since 2015. Very little mention in the MSM, of course.

  9. Kurtismayfield

    RE: pork prices.

    The USDA wholesale prices on pork has been going down, but I rarely see a change in the supermarkets pork seems to be going up the least according to the USDA:

    The farmer’s cut looks to be similar to what they have been getting the past few years too (except for beef, the farmer’s cut seems to be increasing)

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Beef is driving the mini-packing plant phenomenon in rural areas. New lockers are springing up that only process local meat, mostly beef and pork. Low pork prices not much of a problem for them as their pork sales are driven by world class bacon (the kind you cannot buy in a store for $7/lb).

      The pork producers have been forced into bin operations like the poultry crowd and that sucks all the money out of the endeavor. I believe [please correct me if I’m wrong] that most large feedlot operations for beef sell directly to restaurant chains, leaving the beef market still open for smaller operators.

      I live in the hilly, Wisconsin-like SE corner of Minnesota, and the sheep and cattle I see at the locker were grass fed on hillsides. Not certified organic but not the kind of farmers who rush out to buy the latest supplements from Big Ag.

      That this beef is now being withheld from the big packers is by my guess probably a factor in higher beef prices. That shoppers are being gouged on pork prices at the retail level strongly suggests that grocers are profit-taking on pork to compensate for losses on beef (grocery store margins on meat are usually razor thin as meat is used as a loss leader to drive overall sales).

      Urban NC readers who sometimes visit friends/relatives in rural areas should ask about these lockers. Ours does a large volume of business with former residents who fill up coolers with frozen meat to put in their freezers back in the city. Cheaper, better, and no one makes any money but the farmers and the butchers.

      1. Rod

        Insightful observation and comment on movement that should be occurring.
        The lower Midwest—Missouri/Illinois/Indiana/Ohio should be following.
        The Farmers and Local Processors deserve it.

  10. Donnish

    As a long time Alabamian about to move to Seattle, that suicide pact hits home. It’s dead on the money. It’s rapidly become terrifying to live here. I’m a nurse, my wife is a teacher. Both of us have observed that over the last five years, people have become incredibly aggressive and hostile. Believe it or not, back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, Huntsville Alabama at least was a pretty sane area. But the descent has been rapid and scary. And the state is screwed in a few years. David Bonner the long time head of the retirement system of Alabama has been increasingly alarmed about all tax cuts passed based on huge influx’s of federal money (Covid) that are about to dry up. It’s gonna gut a state with no real infrastructure or tax base. So massive cuts in revenue leading to cuts in the few services available are gonna lead to a lot of ugliness. Glad we won’t be here.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh, only here four years in Birmingham and see no change except even more aggressive driving on some freeways. But I can see the very threadbare programs for the poor and if those get worse, Lord only knows.

      As for being a nurse, perhaps it’s different in Huntsville, but despite this being supposedly a medical town by virtue of the UAB med school, I have been appalled by the hospitals here (save for the very obviously well-funded eye ER at UAB). UAB and Grandview have pretty terrible ERs. St. Vincent has a good ER but a terrible hospital behind the ER if you have to be admitted. I have heard from people who know the system that this is no accident. Ascension (parent) isn’t at all keen about the hospital business.

      I can see how poor or clearly worse than before care could feed patient rage as a strategy to escalate. My mother’s care was horrible (they bruised the hell out of her, didn’t clean her).

      1. Carolinian

        Re America is becoming a suicide pact

        Why does capital flight take place? Well, picture yourself as an investor. Maybe even just…I don’t know…buying a home. Would you want to live in a Red State, if you had a choice? Probably not. That’s because you’d take on all kinds of risk. The risk of…being shot by some violent maniac with a gun. The risk of having a gay kid, and them being persecuted. Your straight kid getting in trouble for…reading books. You getting in trouble for “aiding and abetting” a woman. That’s all leaving aside the emotional climate of intolerance and rage. All those forms of risk are very real.

        Presumably this nonsense is being linked so we can take shots at it. I have no doubt that it is what residents of blue cities want to believe but the economic facts as well as the experience of those of us who live in a “red state”–whatever that means–say that it is pure bs. The reality is that the “blue” areas are draining population while the Sunbelt continues to grow or even boom as is happening locally and this despite our clammy climate.

        But most of all the notion that the mutterings of some politicians in our very broken democracy represent the reality on the ground is just eyewash. Here’s suggesting that across geographies the bulk of the American public are a lot more alike than they are different and becoming more so all the time. This doesn’t necessarily apply to pundits who have nothing better to do.

        1. Late Introvert

          My mortgage is $610. Yes, Blue State Americans, read it and weep. My rent in SF when I left in 2003 was $1600.

      2. BeliTsari

        Totalled a Camry in Fairfield (right in front of US Steel, wasted during a string of 84hr weeks, heading to the best buffet in Hueytown). So my boss rented me a Maxima, to kill me, shortly thereafter. My Palestinian Honda thief & Homer Simpson prototype coworkers would head up 65S towards Lakewood at 138mph each afternoon, by trusting to l’il Baby Jesus & Brembo brakes to keep us alive, exiting ~110mph. So, when we did have to contend with 3″ of wet ice, driving up from Montgomery in 1996, it did kinda resemble the first 3 minutes of The Road Warrior, enacted by the Penguins. Birmingham drivers aren’t actually “aggressive,” per-se. They’re DRUNK? You simply go faster & concentrate on not encroaching upon their psychotic meandering delusions & internal dialogues.

      3. John Zelnicker

        Here in Mobile, there does seem to be a noticeable change in the zeitgeist according to my anecdata.

        Talking with my clients, since the beginning of the pandemic, they have often expressed a growing discomfort with the direction our society and government is going.

        Interestingly, many of them have a realistic understanding of the Ukraine war and its antecedents, although there are a couple who are in the throes of Putin Derangement Syndrome.

        Another data point: my daughter has long Covid and has told me that among other symptoms, her temper has worsened, her tolerance for idiocy has fallen, and her (road) rage is much stronger than it used to be.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Honest question (as I’ve only been to Seattle once)….but is Seattle any better? (six of one, half a dozen of the other)

      As an outside, my view of Washington state is that it has this weird (by paleo-liberal expectations) alliance of anti-tax Seattle business (Microsoft, Amazon) and vanilla 21th-century identity politics.

      So pro-business policies get carte blanche treatment as long as Big Business tows the “green” + “diversity” virtue-signaling.

      Meanwhile housing prices outpace median income growth and for all the prosperity of Amazon-Microsoft-Costco, etc., none of that is trickling down to the bottom 80%.

      Have a young family on the block that just moved from Seattle—-they said raising a family there would be insane unless you were a software engineer.

    3. tegnost

      nurse and teacher to seattle…all I can say is good luck with that
      The bare minimum to have an simple barely decent life in seattle is and has been for many years at least 150,000 household income, probably more. And plenty of crazy in the war zone where one 10th of the population is being paid to off the parts of the other 90% that are unwilling slaves. It’s a bit different for those of my friends who bought in the 90’s as the home atm has a nice ring to it for those people, but even they are whinging now that interest rates are up…

    4. IM Doc

      I have just spent the weekend in the Seattle area. I have lived most of my life in the deep red areas. I now live and work in a blue area surrounded by red.

      The family and I have visited Seattle often. This is the first time back in several years. What a change. My wife was verbally assaulted three times because she kept referring to obvious middle aged males as he. One of them used the c word. The entire city looked dirty and unkept. Numerous boarded up storefronts. The tourist areas that were so busy and amazing on previous visits were a ghost town on Friday evening. The traffic was absolutely from hell. Every other car was practicing methodology for the worst high speed tailgating possible. There were gigantic potholes everywhere. When we finally reached the downtown hotel, there were homeless people, tents and human waste. I even had to stop everything and practice medicine on a young homeless kid with gigantic abscesses on his thigh. I later found out this kid also had TB and HIV. These same public health officials who have done so well with Covid are just letting this stuff rip right in our urban areas. Without a hint of shame.

      We have been to the following cities in the past year or so – Miami Dallas Houston Nashville Atlanta and Phoenix. There were occasional issues but nothing like that.

      My practice is inundated by refugees from LA SF NYC Chicago Seattle and Portland. I now understand why.

      I wish you the best on your move.

      Seattle, this time gave me a deep sense of foreboding. As if something unpleasant is right around the corner.

      1. Lexx

        The plan in mid-September is to load up the truck and 5th-wheel and go north until we can catch 90 going west, over to the coast of Washington for a few weeks, then south into Oregon and Northern California, and finally east until we get home. It will be longest we’ve been away from home in one trip.

        Every time my husband talks to his mother (she’s in Lacey), she mutters something about all the homeless people in town (Greater Olympia area). We haven’t been back in the PNW together in 7 years and neither of us has been in downtown Seattle in about 25 years, so each story I read of how much has changed, how unaffordable it has become (and the consequences) is perplexing. My memories are stuck in the 90’s. Going day-tripping up to Seattle was a treat!

        But there have been other things… the number of people who approached my husband when we were in Santa Fe asking for some kind of help with their dysfunctional, out-dated, rust bucket of an RV. Something wasn’t working and they were stuck until it got fixed and they just hoped Husband had some answers… and the right tools, time, and skills for free.

        The number of people in just the last month who have come knocking at our door selling something and they don’t just want us to buy one time, they want us locked into a subscription. They like steady revenue streams and as many as possible, thank you. They can not/will not hear the word ‘no’. We just put out a sign on the porch that says ‘No Soliciting’… for what that’s worth. We’ve never thought it so bad that we had to start with ‘no’ before they’ve knocked or rang the bell, but this spring has been the worst.

        The folks in this neighborhood aren’t wealthy but they do keep up their houses and yards. I suspect that’s all it takes now, that and cars out front that look like they run (they do)… I was in a home on an Indian Rez in Washington state, when a young woman looking for a ride to her job at the casino knocked on the door, and her first question was, ‘Do any of these cars work?’ There were several out front and all of them had been driven there that day. I had answered the door and was stunned to silence by the question. A woman behind me answered, ‘Yes, they all run. Do you need a ride?’ Yes, she needed a ride and I volunteered, in part out of curiosity. Yes, it was common to see a lot of cars out in front of a house there and none of them worked, so that had to be her opening question. We were not the first door she had knocked on.

        We were up in Wyoming on Saturday picking up the 5th-wheel. I saw a lot of homes with a lot of cars out front and wondered if any of them were drive-able.

        1. Carolinian

          We have homeless in my small city of course but nothing like when I was out West. I stopped at a McDonalds in an even smaller city in Oregon and everyone in it seemed homeless. Here most use shelters and–as everywhere–hang out at the library during the day. Perhaps it’s the much higher cost of living that forces so many onto the streets out West. Plus big cities have more nooks and crannies to hang out. Years ago there were stories about large numbers of NYC homeless living in abandoned subway tunnels and the like. I think that still may be true.

          Beneath the shining city on a hill a dystopian Hades but it isn’t new. The Great Depression was famous for those then called “hobos” and their freight hopping culture. Charlie Chaplin turned his Tramp into a huge international star. Not many movies–comic or serious–want to go there now.

      2. Rick

        I’ve lived Portland, Oregon and its metro area for the best part of seventy years. Homelessness is much greater now and is clearly a problem and the nexus for trash. It doesn’t often get noticed, but the city does work on cleaning up but are overwhelmed by the size of the problem. I see hundreds of problems reported with much outrage on Nextdoor for a single one experienced by any of my friends or family, no exaggeration. Have to wonder if that changes the zeitgeist.

        I can’t see how voting red, blue, or ultraviolet is going to change any of this.

        As for empty businesses downtown, I see as many if not more in the better off suburbs where there are no homeless camps. I feel a general malaise that persists despite the declared end of the pandemic which I believe transcends politics. Social events attract noticeably fewer people and just feel… off. Roads are fine, but drivers are not. For the first time ever I’ve seen a pattern of people just ignoring traffic lights and stop signs. I guess we live in a ‘you do you’ world now.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Codie Sanchez
    4. Americans in Mental Facilities v. Prisons
    I have a feeling we didn’t get miraculously cured in the mid-70s’

    Notice when things started to change? One more chart for this website-

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Check out this article, in particular the graph of how many large strikes were called over time. The chart showing decline in union membership also tracks pretty well.

    2. John Zelnicker

      That’s an amazing cornucopia of charts, Rev, thank you, but I was looking for an answer to what happened to cause the massive shift.

      IMNSHO, the Powell Memo was the seed cause of all of this. Although it took years to build out the think tanks and academic programs recommended in the Memo, the members of the US Chamber of Commerce, for whom the Memo was written, started implementing its recommendations pretty quickly.

      1. eg

        I’m with your explanation, but I think the whack job running that site with all the charts would have us believe it’s all due to the abandonment of the gold standard.

    3. Procopius

      I’ve been trying for thirty years to figure out the answer to, “What Happened in 1972?” Aside from the Lewis Memo in 1971, I can’t point to anything. Keynes was still accepted until the 1980s. Volcker didn’t really break the unions until the 1980s. Something changed during the late ’60s, early ’70s, and I don’t know what it was.

  12. Mildred Montana

    Re: Cats Falling

    Reminded me of a humorous conundrum once posed by a comedian:

    We all know that falling cats always land on their feet and that dropped buttered toast always lands upside down. What were to happen, he asked, if one strapped that piece of toast to the cat’s back? Which law of nature would prevail?

  13. Lexx

    ‘You Can’t Vote Your Way Out Of A Mess You Never Voted Yourself Into’

    I decided a few cycles back that it was likely that the only election my vote might matter in was local (city), and during some elections, the state. The federal election was right out. The further away and the greater the number of vested interests involved in predetermining the outcome before it’s put in front of the voters on election day, the less my vote counted. Elections have become so much performance art/team sport, where the choreography is set and fix is in.

    1. t

      same here, I undervote the pres, figuring the only way to raise my hand is by voting for the dogcatcher but not the duopoly, then at least they can see they lost something…

    2. nippersmom

      I’ve been voting for ballot referenda and state constitutional amendments and undervoting most, if not all, elected positions.

  14. semper loquitur

    Thanks for the interesting pre-paper from Authorea. Lots of examples of fake kindness spring to mind, one could say the Care™ provided by the gender “transition” industry or your local financial services institution reaching out to the “unbanked” are examples writ-large. Both are facades of kindness behind which lurk profit motives and power-plays. And school marmish concerns with things such as “Rudeness!”, that handy and smooth handled rhetorical scourge of the PMC, are often simply attempts to control conversations and behaviors.

    But, risking rattling the cups of the Bourdieu drinkers, I have to say I find the term “symbolic violence” invalid. There is no such thing as “symbolic” violence. Violence is the antithesis of the symbolic, it’s where the rubber bullet hits the nose, it is in fact the act wherein symbolic power transitions from symbolism to actuality.

    It’s not just an internally contradictory term, though. When words and ideas are declared to be violence, we start to veer into the septic bogs of personal speech suppression and media censorship. It’s why “Rudeness!” is such a commonplace amongst the PMC, it’s the equivalent of saying someone is about to harm me and therefore I am entitled to react on my terms.

    1. GramSci

      Agreed. There is nothing ‘symbolic’ about violence. Another quibble:

      «…fake kindness isn’t [ hypocrisy or] really an effort at deception. In most situations, the agents involved will rapidly decode that there is a silent whip cracking behind the unctuous voice.»

      Hypocrisy is not directed at ‘agents’ but rather at people without agency.

  15. Tricia

    On CIA drug running. Funny that serious drug issues often appear wherever the US is waging war (whether directly, thru proxies, comprador govts, etc., and whether against leftist insurgencies or govts that threaten interests, etc.).
    Southeast Asia, Latin America, Afghanistan…I would guess that there is some connection between the US and the Captagon issue in Syria.
    Drug running aids the CIA and their intel allies in other countries in their destabilization efforts, helps to fund their covert wars, and acts as an excuse for intervention (ie so-called wars on drugs). The real evidence only comes out after the damage is done.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Neuralink gets FDA approval for human trials, but others are way ahead New Atlas”

    ‘Depressing that plot lines in dystopian novels are treated as business plans.’

    Some guy on the net said that it was like if Silicon Valley dug into every dystopian story over the past few decades – and then made them come true so that they could monetize them. They have a point and I am not going to disagree with them.

  17. GlassHammer

    “America’s Becoming a Suicide Pact”

    Well with blue cities steadily turning into yuppie amusement parks you get the choice of living in a place where you can’t afford to raise a family or…living in a place where you can afford to raise a family but… the local culture is hostile to you.

    Folks need to stop pretending that there are great choices for relocation for anyone outside the top 10% of income earners.

    Moving is a massive compromise for most Americans and living day to day is just getting harder.

    1. Late Introvert

      I think it depends on your age and your life status. I moved across the country twice, to Boston in the late 80s, and to SF in the early 90s, and both moves added to my skill level and income quite a bit. Being from the Midwest this made sense for me. Moving back in the early 2000s also made sense.

      Now that I’m nearing retirement, my income is much lower, and I am married and have a kid, moving does not seem advantageous at all. I also think there was more opportunity for advancement for an eager ambitious nerd back then.

  18. Jabura Basaidai

    vernacular architecture – i like it – once on an “architectural tour” of Chicago when living there after looking at a few buildings i asked the doyen if they were all just shoe-boxes standing on end with holes poked in them for windows or if we were going to see some interesting stuff – the stare from her was colder than Antarctica –

    1. Louis Fyne

      The 1st Commandment of Chicago architecture: Thou shall not criticize Mies Van der Rohe.

      But in Chicago’s defense, Chicago’s Mies-ian buildings are done in a manner light years ahead of a typical American or European city.

  19. eg

    “why is this bizarre idea that there will be a negotiation still being dignified?”

    I think the ground is being softened for when the Western narrative of “Ukraine will get all of its territory back!” is forced to change by the brute fact on the ground of a rump Ukraine. Then “negotiations” will serve as cover for the new narrative: “Ukraine won because Russia didn’t conquer the whole thing!” This despite zero evidence that annexing the entire country was ever part of Russia’s aims to begin with …

      1. The Rev Kev

        Your comment reminded me of what I saw on the news here in Oz a few hours ago. One of our biggest cities – Melbourne – has six sister cities, one of which is St. Petersburg in Russia. So the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations got onto their case about this and with the support of only a few dozen Ukrainian protesters outside the council chambers. Well the council buckled and cut ties with St. Petersburg because of Russian aggression. The funny part was that handful of protesters had a sign to suggest a Ukrainian replacement as a sister city. Yep, they chose Odessa-

        We’ll see how that works out in the next few months.

    1. hk

      I think NATO plan, as I noted elsewhere, is to set up a F16 Alley and hope that it works the same way as MiG Alley did in Korea, in a sense.

      In Korea, Soviet pilots in MiG15s operating from China with paper thin disguise basically forced US bombers out of North Korea, to the point that, even with F86 escorts, large scale daylight bombing had to be abandoned and the prospect of US “win” became untenable. So I think we’ll see thinly disguised NATO fighters operating from Poland, Romania, and Baltic.

      The key difference, though, will be that they probably won’t be defensive the way MiG Alley was: Soviet MiGs in Korea kept to the northern 2/3 of North Korea. They basically conceded that they will not mess with US and South Korea in the South or along the battlefront, but they could and did knock US bombers out if they ventured to put pressure beyond immediate tactical front. In Ukraine, F16’s cannot stop Russian missiles. So they would have to attack, and at minimum, attacking the areas that Russia considers part of their homeland and whose population Russia has committed to defend. The limits of geography (and short legs of F16’s) makes it likely that they may show up in places outside Ukraine–Belarus keeps coming up. In Korean War terms, this would be analogous to the MiGs in paper thin disguise attacking South Korea, Japan, or even Alaska. This would have blown everything up back then and it will do the same today.

  20. Lexx

    ‘When digital nomads come to town’

    We had a coffee shop on the west side of Olympia; it’s been through several reincarnations since then. I think the owner was from upstate New York, but maybe Chicago. It’s where students and locals gathered to enjoy a stout cup of coffee, sandwiches or bagels, and a lot of caffeine-fueled conversations about everything under the sun. It functioned profitably as a coffee shop should; no one was there to work, it was about community. There were no digital zombies passive aggressively dictating the environment, it wouldn’t have been tolerated. They would have been ridiculed right out the door… by the owner and the irritated customers.

    We walked into a local coffee shop in Santa Fe back in March. We grind our own beans for our drip pot at home and I like to pick up one pound sacks of locally roasted beans wherever we travel. The space was full of silent zombies tapping away under their Cones of Silence. They’d spread out the contents of their backpacks across the entire surfaces of the tables they alone occupied, apparently rented for hours at a time for the price of a single cup of coffee. The few people there engaged in conversation spoke quietly over in a corner. Best not to disturb the zombies with the agitation of human voices, eye contact, or (gasp!) ask if it might be okay to use two of the unoccupied chairs and maybe a corner of the table… the nerve!

    The idea that I’d find the same scene as a tourist in every city in the world is a little nauseating. I put it next to the entirety of the U.S. weekend dine-in experience where moms and their broods have completely taken over restaurants and reformed them into their ‘dining/family rooms’ away from home. Their space, their social rules. They figure they’re dropping the most money to eat there, so management can shut up and fetch things while the clan relaxes for a few hours and then cleans up after them when they finally leave. (The wait staff will happily tell you tribal units make an unholy mess and they’re often lousy tippers.)

    We don’t go to those places any more, and I have to wonder how that works out for the owners of those once communal spaces, and why they don’t do more so that their establishments can to enjoyed by a wider variety of social needs.

  21. christofay

    When did the CIA know anything? (except that they definitely did not kill JFK, it was a lone wolf shooter

    1. Procopius

      I was nine years old when the CIA was created. I’m old now. They have never accurately predicted or analyzed any international development in my lifetime. They sure are good at getting tenure and promotions, though.

  22. hk

    The Fiona Hill piece is, eh, interesting.

    I suppose the goal is to establish herself as the only “sane” member if the Blob: she shares the same moral and strategic premise as the rest of the tribe, but she recognizes that the Rest of the World don’t and are, in her words, rebelling against the Blob and that this requires some fresh and flexible thinking in Washington (and since she is still a member of the Blob, it is only Washington that really matters–that attitude seems pretty apparent, I think.).

    I think I can respect where she is coming from: the piece is honest in twofold fashion–first, intentionally, about the Rest of the World not being with the Blob, and, perhaps, less intentionally, still the self-righteous and ultimately “imperialist” worldview of her tribe comes through clearly. As someone who thinks that US should, for our own good, “come home” for once, this makes for an aggravating read.

  23. Mikel

    From various articles about the NVDIA superchips:

    “The goal? Revolutionizing generative AI, recommender systems, and data processing on a scale we’ve never seen before….”

    The thing I despise most: recommender systems. Guess it’s a personal taste or due to the way I like to learn.

    “More power means larger models, meaning more nuanced and accurate text and a wider range of data for them to be trained on. We might see better cultural understanding, more knowledge of context, and greater coherency.”

    Deja vu with the promises of tech improving cultural understanding and making people more knowledgable.

  24. Jason Boxman

    So despite the date, it’s clear that the MSN article is from the BA4/BA5 era.

    For the past several months, Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have dominated COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But now, there’s a class of new COVID subvariants on the rise and one in particular is getting plenty of attention. It’s called XBB—or Gryphon—and there’s a chance it could overtake everything else out there.

    1. YOTJ

      Also, “The bivalent booster is “likely going to be protective against severe disease” with XBB, but will be “imperfect against preventing infection,” Dr. Russo says.” It’s long been established that the vaccines are not very effective at preventing infection — why do doctors still say stuff like this?

  25. The Rev Kev

    ‘The flock dynamics of sheep being guided through a gate with the assistance of sheep dogs.’

    Amfortas the hippie noted that it looked like fluid dynamics at work to which I agreed. Thinking further on it. it is like there is some sort of algorithm buried in that flock’s brains at work. The same way that trees are fractal in nature.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i imagine that me herding geese would look similar, from above.
      but me and the geese are a lot slower than either the dogs or the sheep.
      when i do sheep, i shake a bucket and they come runnin…the yelling goat has taught them bad things(like greed for feed)

      1. Irrational

        That was an fascinating clip, Amfortas. Thank you.
        @ Rev: Methinks it is about how individual particles (sheep) bounce off each other in confined space, but I guess you can call that behavioral pattern an algo.

    1. Carolinian

      I argue, rather, that the legal rights around technology and knowledge were significantly altered, specifically with respect to how those rights can be exploited through licensing and “vertical restraints.” Intel­lectual property rights have effectively become stronger in the last forty years than they have ever been before. But more importantly, the United States used to significantly restrict how owners of such property could use their rights to impose conditions on others. Free from those restrictions today, fissured companies can earn large profits from their intellectual property portfolios without having to directly control production or incur direct employment or investment spending. The origins of this fissuring are not based in technological changes, market pressures, or business strategies unilaterally chosen by corporate leader­ship. It is not technology itself that changed, I argue, but rather what companies were allowed to do with it.

      The landlords of IP? Michael Hudson says the economic battle is against rent seeking and Dean Baker has long said that patents and licensing have become an out of control engine of accumulation rather than growth.

      Anyhow much more in the article and a bit above this non economist’s pay grade but seems important.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Moscow attacked by drones – mayor”

    ‘Kiev has denied responsibility, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky saying, “we don’t attack Putin or Moscow.”

    This swarm drone attack seems to have rattled more people outside Russia than within. You can count on Zelensky to lie his face off and deny responsibility but who would believe him? And no doubt the Ukrainians had a lot of outside help in procuring these drones and organizing this attack. But the EU put out a call for the Russians not to escalate things because of this attack-

    ‘“We took note of the reports claiming allegedly that there were some drones flying over the region of Moscow. This is not really for us to comment on, we don’t know anything about the origins or about the details of it,” Stano said during a briefing in Brussels.

    “The only thing I can recall and repeat is the strong call by the EU to Russia not to use such incidents as a pretext for further escalation of its illegal aggression against Ukraine,” the official added.’

    The EU knows that Russia has escalatory dominance and are now freaking out what they might do.

  27. djrichard

    AEP: America’s Faustian Pact with runaway debt is coming due

    Looks like AEP believes the deficit matters. But not in China apparently.

    China’s fiscal deterioration has been just as bad. The difference is that China funds its own borrowing (for now) from high internal savings.

    “Foreign investors should not be blamed for starting to wonder if the US Treasuries and the dollar are still safe. We believe the US debt problem will have consequences for the markets in the not-too-distant future,” [said Stephen Jen from Eurizon SLJ, who advises Asian sovereign wealth funds]

    Ah well. Maybe those countries with trade surpluses will find other uses for their surplus dollars? Like buying goods and services from the US?

    Separately the memo seems to have gone out that the Fed Gov’s “open market operations” are impacting liquidity.

    The immediate effect of the debt deal is contractionary. The US Treasury has added $500bn of financial liquidity since early February by draining its account at the US Federal Reserve in order to keep the government going.

    This has acted as a form of quantitative easing (QE) and overwhelmed the Fed’s quantitative tightening (QT), flattering the spring rally on Wall Street.

    The process is about to go into sharp reverse as the Treasury taps the debt markets to rebuild depleted coffers. The next few months will see synthetic QT on steroids.

    It’s funny that this has become the memo du jour apparently and yet they don’t want to take that thinking further on what it means to liquidity once the Fed Gov’s balance sheet stabilizes. In that the Fed Gov is “invisible” when it comes to liquidity in the market.

  28. Joe Well

    >>They Cuddled a Kiwi. New Zealand Said, ‘Stop That.’

    Aussies much cuddlier than kiwis anyway /s

  29. Jason Boxman

    For millions of Americans with federal student loan debt, the payment holiday is about to end.

    Legislation to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending includes a provision that would require students to begin repaying their loans again by the end of the summer after a yearslong pause imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

    President Biden had already warned that the pause would end around the same time, but the legislation, if it passes in the coming days, would prevent him from issuing another last-minute extension, as he has already done several times.

    So how much money will this drain from the economy, I wonder? Slate was curious some years ago, and came up with this from 2019:

    Eventually I got in touch with the Department of Education, and after going back and forth with them for a while, they offered to pull the data for me. The grand total: $70.3 billion.

    Those payments have to come from somewhere, so heading into next year, spending might decline by tens of billions of dollars annually. I guess we’ll see what happens, who wins, and who loses in this.

  30. Irrational

    Interesting chart of prison population versus mental hospital patients. I guess this tells us prisons are more profitable or get you more votes or both.

  31. WRH

    Americans in Mental Facilities v. Prisons
    Pretty sure that graph shows that the more people we imprison the better our mental health gets.

  32. Jorge

    About the cat falling: it fell onto a car sold 60 years ago, and if it’s an MG sedan they only sold a few thousand. This is an unlikely combo.

  33. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re Quackonomics: There ought to be a way to go after people like Brothman and their allies with RICO.

  34. spud

    could not get any farther than this,

    The 2008-2010 financial crisis and Great Recession, followed by America’s domestic upheaval and the election of Donald Trump in 2016 dimmed the power of America’s democratic example. Trump’s contempt for international agreements and his flagrant mishandling of the global pandemic, as well as, more recently, the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, cast further doubt on the U.S. capacity for global leadership.

    conmpletly ignores yugoslavia which was the first shot in the wars for free trade, and of course nato’s eastward expansion, both were bill clintons debacles. you can even add Afghanistan, iraq and sudan to the list.

    and of course the financial crises started in 2000 because of bill clintons disastrous policies of repealing the new deal.

    1. skippy

      Ugh bloke Bill did not invent neoliberalism, he just advanced it post raygun … bad pin the tail on game …

      1. spud

        sure carter and reagan share some blame. but it was bill clinton that demolished the new deal and turned america into a rigged casino.

        did reagan stick us with free trade, deregulated media, deregulated commodities, deregulated banks, deregulated hedge funds, deregulated wall street, deregulated derivatives, the repeal of glass-steagle, the enshrinement of regime change policy into a government function, torture as a government policy? and there is so so so much more.

        its time to quite blaming this all on reagan, and pin it on the one who enshrined it world wide.

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