Links 5/6/2023

Inside the fight to save a beleaguered butterfly High Country News

Four-year-old toddler climbs 52-foot-high walls, her mom says she just ‘goes for it’ FOX

Neighbors Solve Mysterious NJ Pasta Dump Case NBC


Insights: AI is booming – so is its carbon footprint Bloomberg

Changes in digital behavior can reduce carbon emissions: Research Anadolu Agency

Amazonian dark earths enhance the establishment of tree species in forest ecological restoration Frontiers in Soil Science. Worth a read for soil mavens.


WHO declares end to Covid global health emergency STAT. Still up:

The emergency WHO worked so hard to prolong and institutionalize….

Disease experts warn White House of potential for omicron-like wave of illness WaPo

* * *

CDC’s Rochelle Walensky resigns, citing pandemic transition AP. White House statement. No succcessor named. Odd. Anyhow, good riddance. Meanwhile, CDC remains committed to the vax-only bit:

And speaking of testing–

Thousands of COVID tests recalled over bacteria risk, FDA warns MSN

US CDC head steps down, Dr. Shah could be next in line WGME. Shah could be an improvement:

Or not–

The Truth About Nirav Shah The Maine Media Never Told You Them Maine Wire. From the right, but documented. Discouraging.

* * *

The CDC is changing the way it monitors COVID-19 in the U.S. LA Times:

New cases of the pandemic virus, which has caused 1.1 million deaths in the United States and 6.9 million deaths worldwide, will eventually be lumped together with influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and other infections that can cause pneumonia and death in humans.

The CDC will still be able to alert communities to upticks in coronavirus spread based on its continued tracking of emergency department visits, COVID-19 hospitalizations and wastewater surveillance from local sewage plants. Reliable statistics on COVID-19 deaths will lag behind other data.

[Nirav D. Shah, the CDC’s principal deputy director] said the CDC’s plan will yield a picture of the pandemic virus that is “superior” to the data it gathers on flu and RSV. However, the agency’s website will no longer offer detailed insights on local conditions that many Americans had come to rely on. And the data that will be posted will be collected and updated less frequently.

It was a neat trick to frame everything as “personal risk assessment,” and then deprive us of the data we need to do that. And Shah seems to have bought into it.

* * *

Intra-Host Evolution Provides for the Continuous Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Variants Virology. From the Abstract: “[W]e estimate that in hospitalized COVID-19 cases, variants with multiple mutations may emerge locally in as little as 1 month, even in patients without overt immune deficiency. Surveillance by sequencing for continuously shedding patients, patients suspected of reinfection, and patients with diminished immune function may offer broad public health benefits.”

Deep Phenotyping of Neurologic Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Neurology (RS). From the Discussion: “This comprehensive analysis of a small group of patients with neuro-PASC revealed a disabling but difficult to characterize syndrome that develops even after relatively mild COVID-19. A common feature is memory impairment. Microsmia was common, although none of our patients had anosmia. CSF analysis showed immunological abnormalities. The strengths of our study are the research-based evaluation of a relatively homogeneous cohort, including advanced spinal fluid analysis, imaging, and autonomic testing. Clinically, our cohort presented with symptoms similar to those described in reports from larger cohorts and surveys, with fatigue and cognitive impairment being the most common and debilitating symptoms, with a high rate of psychological symptoms and substantial adverse effect on quality of life.” Press release.

* * *

Anti-mask grifter takes aim at germ theory:


The true battleground in the US-China cold war will be in Europe South China Morning Post

Top Chinese Digital Banks Report More Bad Loans but Higher Earnings Caixin Global

Chinese fast fashion giant Shein denies low prices due to forced labour Channel News Asia


Calls for ‘chief heat officers’, urgent action plans as deadly heatwaves hit India Channel News Asia

What the U.S.-China chip war means for India Rest of World

Perils of new multilateralism Business Standard

US, Saudi Arabia welcome start of direct talks between Sudan’s warring parties Anadolu Agency

Dear Old Blighty

Schedule of events for the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III France24

The power behind the throne Politico

Puffed up, Slapped down London Review of Books. From 2017, still germane.

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia’s Prigozhin says Wagner fighters will quit Bakhmut to ‘lick our wounds’ Channel News Asia. I don’t know what Prigozhin is doing (or taking). At a minimum, his shenanigans are bad for business. Maybe oligarchs shouldn’t be running armies, even private ones?

Chechen leader says his fighters ready to replace Wagner Group “cannon fodder” in Bakhmut Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

Russia’s jamming of US-provided rocket systems complicates Ukraine’s war effort CNN

Ukraine’s Air War Heats Up Foreign Policy

* * *

Neocon propaganda outlet busted! Nonzero. The ISW, a nest of Kagans.

Their democracy:

* * *

Russia Says It Has Billions of Indian Rupees That It Can’t Use Bloomberg. As Yves predicted…

Pollution Reveals What Russian Statistics Obscure: Industrial Decline WSJ

A Bipolar Order? New Left Review. Applying dietristic hermeneutics….

‘Nearly A Third Of The World Economy Is Now Subject To Sanctions’ Moon of Alabama

South of the Border

Former President of Mexico Revealed as CIA Asset Orinoco Tribune

Biden Administration

Biden names Neera Tanden as his domestic policy adviser Politico

Biden says not yet ready to invoke 14th Amendment to avoid debt default Reuters

The Supremes

Clarence Thomas Promises To Adopt Code Of Ethics For The Right Price The Onion

Capitol Seizure

What seditious conspiracy means in Proud Boys’ Jan. 6 case AP

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

SEC probing First Republic Bank executives for insider trading, Bloomberg reports Reuters (Re Silc).

‘No One Wants to Be Short’ Into Weekend Is Mantra Driving Bank Rally Bloomberg

Have short sellers been tanking bank stocks? Group wants SEC to investigate MarketPlace

Reverse ATMs take bills, dispense cards as stores go cashless Axios. The beauty part is that little bit of unused cash remaining on the card after the user throws it away…

Digital Watch

Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? The New Yorker

Legendary Horror Manga Creator Is A Little Worried About AI Artwork Kotaku. The deck: “Legendary Horror Manga Creator Is A Little Worried About AI Artwork.” I dunno. AI art has a very high baseline for creepiness right out of the box.

Google Plans to Make Search More ‘Personal’ with AI Chat and Video Clips WSJ. The deck: “Changes aim to respond to queries that can’t be easily answered by traditional ‘10 blue links’ web results.” It’s been a long time since the 10 blue links. Back then, I could find stuff.

Class Warfare

Find a Writers’ Guild Picket Line Near You Payday Report

Kill OSHA: Then Shoot, Stab, Suffocate and Drown the Agency Confined Space. More on Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.

The problem isn’t “corporations”. It’s capitalism Carl Beijer

How to win at cards and life, according to poker’s autistic superstar WaPo. A puff piece, all about personal risk assessment….

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Lexx

    ‘Clarence Thomas Promises To Adopt Code Of Ethics For The Right Price’ The Onion

    There are probably some honest politicians out there, who ran for office out of a deep sense of commitment to serving the public, served a term or two and then called it ‘good’ and went on to the next chapter in their lives.

    I can’t name any of them but I want to believe they exist or existed… like Middle Earth. I can still look around while people-watching and see the descendants of dwarves, hobbits, elves, giants and Orcs. Once mythical beings walk among us still wearing flip-flops, sunglasses, and guzzling some fizzy drink.

    One or two of them could be honest, completely uncorrupted politicians and/or political appointees, who didn’t accept the job for the power and a cash grab… but I suspect most of them sailed into the West long ago, if they ever existed at all.

    1. tevhatch

      There are probably some honest politicians out there, who ran for office out of a deep sense of commitment to serving the public, served a term or two and then called it ‘good’ and went on to the next chapter in their lives.

      Honest ones are out there, but be wary, their idea of what is “good” might often enough not coincide with yours. There are even honest ones who quit office after a few terms and did not become K-street residents, but funny enough that just left their position open for the bad to move in. In some ways having high turnover in office may well suit corporate capitalism even better, the party system would become even more intrenched as candidates become complete unknowns It’s the electorate, they are only human after all.

      Even a vetting process like this can’t stop humans from being human, it just puts limits on most of them(but not all).

    2. griffen

      I am probably a little too young to offer any tangible and legitimate suggestions. Bob Dole? I dunno, it’s got to be a short list of truly decent individuals who served their fellow citizens well. Maybe Dole was a mendacious, back stabbing liar of which I am unaware of it.

      1. tevhatch

        Don’t know about Dole, but your quiry described his wife to a T. She gutted the Red Cross, did an early neo-liberal stripping of public assets for transfer to private hands. She is a smarter, more nasty version of Bernie Sander’s second wife.

        1. griffen

          I just spent a few moments looking her up, and my recall as a fellow North Carolina native is that she derived from old money. Lucky parents and all I gather. Elizabeth graduated Duke and then Harvard Law; based on her track in Republican administrations a career climber as well.

          As a UNC athletics and Tar Heel supporter, I feel compelled at revealing my bias against any good might possibly emanate from Duke!

      2. rob

        definitely NOT Dole.
        He was a republican in the era of newt gingrich, spouting BS, everyday… standing for nothing , and fully responsible for his part in the ushering in of the fraud of the 21st century. As this entire century so far has been a “sham”.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Definitely not Dole. Otherwise I might be able to remember who he was.

        2. Carolinian

          He seemed miffed that the upstart Clinton was president when it should have been him. The press didn’t necessarily disagree because back then the press was way way more Republican as was the establishment. They especially didn’t like Dixie hayseeds like Clinton and Carter.

          Historically USG corruption seems to wax and wane. Right now we are on wax.

      3. Brunches with Cats

        Dole? RU kidding? Not for nothing he was known as the senator from ADM. He and Liddy enjoyed many “perks,” even before she got a trough of her own.

      4. cgregory

        Dole ex-staffer Stanley Hilton wrote the tell-all about Dole’s character in his book, “Senator for Sale.” A scrofulous pol, indeed.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      “There are probably some honest politicians out there, who ran for office out of a deep sense of commitment to serving the public, served a term or two and then called it ‘good’ and went on to the next chapter in their lives.”

      Yes. Examples would be the one term Demmocratic senator from Virginia Jim Webb and the former five term Congressman from Michigan Justin Amash. The latter is a true-believing doctrinaire libertarian who genuinely sought to make this a better country. I doubt the ways he sought to do that would have accomplished that but he was sincere. Webb had been Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration and was one of the good guys who held some of the bad guys accountable in the Iran-Contra affair. It appears both of them chose not to seek reelection to Congress because they saw the institution too far down the slope to be redeemed from within.

    4. Cristobal

      Mark Twain observed that the only native criminal class in the US is Congress. Is It time to select the members of the House of Representativos vía lottery? The current system self selects the grifters

      1. davejustdave

        I disagree – as Will Rogers said, we have the best Congress that money can buy.

    5. britzklieg

      Bill Bradley

      …lost the 2000 nomination to the loathsome duo of Gore/Lieberman

    6. Judith

      I have always assumed that Clarence Thomas (under the guidance of Biden) lied during his confirmation hearings. Perhaps Anita Hill feels some sense of vindication as Thomas’s dishonesty and corruption is exposed.

      1. GramSci

        I stll proudly wear my Kucinich 2004 T-shirt. He was right about everything, except his electability in the eyes of the Military Information Complex. (I doubt he believed his chances were good, but he hoped where Kerry pretended.)

    7. Adam Eran

      Let’s not forget Dennis Kucinich. Of course the D’s gerrymandered him out of office. He recently ran for mayor of Cleveland (again), but lost.

      He’s producing podcasts and speeches still in service of peace.

      BTW, today (as I write this) is “Star Wars day” … When do we get to have “Star Peace day”?

  2. timbers

    Biden says not yet ready to invoke 14th Amendment to avoid debt default Reuters

    Better idea: Biden should appoint former President Obama to head up a new program to borrow from the Social Security and Medicare “Lock Box” to fund a Ukraine Re-Industrialization Act To Regime Change Putin, which will fund a slush fund to financial sector, banks, Monsanto, and Hunter Bidens fracking organization. Oh, and the Clinton Foundation to help bring back Chelsea to carry on the name. Obama could tap some of the same folks he worked with on his The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (often called Simpson–Bowles or Bowles–Simpson).

    Once the votes are lined up, Nancy Pelosi could fly to Taiwan along with her Republican counter part to cast the last vote via video conference to pass the program with bipartisan support. If she did this outdoors in Taiwan, maybe the press cameras could capture the mainland navy blasting the coastal areas showing China’s blockade prowess. This will be useful for when we have to do the same thing for Taiwan, as well as fund a flood of stylish and connected Ukrainians to America’s big city night life and cafes to our most fashionable coastal cities.

    This program will help bring back quality Presidential candidates that America can choose from, along the likes of past candidates such as George Wallace, Donald Trump, Lydon LaRoche, and others while at the same time be very popular with Biden’s base, the PMC set.

    1. deleter

      I’m not worried as much about the ‘stylish and connected Ukrainians’ we’re going to
      wind up with as I am the non-stylish but connected Nazis soon to appear here.

  3. s.n.

    haven’t yet seen the link here to part 3 of WSJ’s epstein series, which appeared yesterday and is (boohoohoo) well & truly paywalled. Or not…? so here goes…at the moment it’s the top story on the scandinavian MSM news website i just peeked at, but total silence wherever i roam in in anglo-america, oddly enough
    hoping the digital underground press stateside can expand on the meaning of it all. Such as what is WSJ up to beyond merely flogging subscriptions?

    1. nycTerrierist

      fwiw, I was able to read it (for free)

      Seems one can set up a WSJ account to ‘sign in’
      and get a freebie

    2. Acacia

      Try this:

      From the article:

      Mr. Black had more than 100 meetings scheduled with Epstein from 2013 to 2017. They typically met at Epstein’s townhouse and occasionally at Mr. Black’s office, the documents show.

      “More than 100 meetings”. Was Mr. Black actually meeting with Epstein, or was he swinging by the townhouse for… uh… ‘other’ services?

    3. Carolinian

      I did the old Google the headline trick (for me DDG) and turned up several links. True my freeloading may have deprived Rupert Murdoch of…??…but I’m over it.

      There was that old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game but just plug in Epstein instead and you have your ruling class (apparently). Meanwhile Joe B. telling MSNBC that sonny “did nothing wrong” which by the standards of the above mentioned class probably true. Ethics like taxes are for the “little people.”

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Schedule of events for the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III”

    If Charles really wanted to revitalize the Monarchy, he could right now do an MbS and have all of the UK’s billionaires arrested and taken off to the Tower of London until they coughed up enough billions to alleviate the present poverty in the UK. That would make him popular real fast.

    1. griffen

      He could alternately pull a stunt which I learned about, from watching a Netflix series on Warren Jeffs and his cultish followers. This supposed prophet just started telling the elders in his congregation they were dangerous and he, Jeffs, was now responsible for their companies and business operations as going concerns. Magically no one stands up to him, because doing so is to question the very Lord.

      Yeah, I don’t imagine either scenario actually happens. Having waited so long to ascend, I have a difficult time imagining Charles as any agent of actual change. Poverty and further immiseration will be a going concern, methinks.

      1. Robert Gray

        > Having waited so long to ascend …

        Right. What a selfish get. How many hundreds of millions of £££ is this folderol costing? And then, when he dies next year or the year after, they do it all again?!? Especially in the current economic climate?

        > Poverty and further immiseration will be a going concern, methinks.

        Too right. If he cared at all about ‘his’ realm, he might have done the sensible thing: said ‘I hereby stand aside in favour of my son [unsaid: who is young enough and will have some longevity in the job].’ Besides, as I understand it, no one really likes Charles anyway, whilst William and his family are actually popular with the folk.

      1. Skk

        I am a member of the Bath FB group. As per a post there the latest is that this modern version of the Cerne Abbas Giants naughty bits has been cut off at the … gonads.

      2. Stephen V

        The Grauniad profiled some protesters recently. My favorite:
        [The writer met ] Paul Powlesland at Garden Court Chambers in mid-November, a couple of months after he was threatened with arrest for holding up a blank piece of paper in Parliament Square. Powlesland had read about the arrest of protesters exercising their rights to freedom of speech and was dismayed at the one-note coverage of the queen’s death. “It felt over the top and mawkish. I don’t want to say it was akin to North Korea, but it did not feel like a free, vibrant democracy in terms of different opinions being expressed. When I heard about the arrests, I thought, this is outrageous.”

    2. Mildred Montana

      Here’s the biggie: He could speak out against the imprisonment of Julian Assange. Since he (Charles) has so little useful to do, this at least would be something. I mean, there’s not much chance he’s going to lose his head (or anything else) over something like that and many people would listen and sympathize.

      So go for it Charles III! Make your mark in history! Do something besides attending ceremonies, riding around in carriages, and wearing anachronistic crowns all your live-long day! Do something besides being feckless and parasitical! Now’s the chance to impress your name on posterity! Speak out for Julian!

    3. Verifyfirst

      The whole thing looks tawdry and gaudy, not glitzy or glamorous. Charles appears not majesterial or profound, but a frumpy old man performing bad cosplay. What a ridiculous farce, for a ceremonial throne with no actual possibility to rule anything.

  5. QuarterBack

    Re AI “energy footprint” article, 90% of the time I encounter this “footprint” premise, I get an eye.rolling headache.

    In the case of training Machine Learning models, while the training process itself uses much more energy, actually using the finished product uses very little power. That is actually the point of doing the training in the first place. There are many ML models in use within products that consume micro/power levels. Case in point is many modern consumer cameras can find a face in the view finder and autofocus on it. This bit of code draws so little power that it could potentially be powered by harvesting the energy of a person moving the camera around in their hands, but the training took exponentially more power.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      While the “footprint” idea has some dubious origins that indicate it might have originally been the usual shift the burden from corporations to individuals, it still serves a useful purpose. Starting with the realization that we should not be puttin any more carbon in the air at all at this point, the “footprint” at least encourages us to evaluate current and proposed activities and determine whether the carbon emission “cost” of the activity is outweighed by its social benefits. Of course, our society ignores such a balancing and cares only about “will somebody make money from it.”

      1. QuarterBack

        My problem with it is that all too often it seems like a lazy man’s way of throwing rocks at something. The footprint of the ‘bad thing’ is almost never compared the footprint of incumbents nor alternatives. Too often too the mere ability to articulate energy consumption makes it a bad thing out of the gate. I think that most ‘green’ people would agree that fusion reactors would be great for the planet, but much of the research into fusion consumes extraordinary levels of energy. Finally, “carbon footprint” implies that the electricity is only from fossil fuels (although most is). If someone wants to mine Bitcoin all day long, is it fine if the energy comes from solar?

        1. GramSci

          Which still doesn’t address HMP’s mainpoint: Is it worth the investment? For weather prediction or cancer detection? Ok. You have a point. For ChatGPT? Hmm.

    2. LifelongLib

      My (outdated?) understanding is that most of the materials and energy used by digital devices are consumed during manufacture and disposal. The best way to save energy while computing is to keep using your current device as long as possible (or not have one).

      1. GramSci

        But your current device will be “outdated” the day you buy it. A feature, not a bug.

        I would buy a printing press, but who can afford the paper?

  6. The Rev Kev

    “New Not-So-Cold War”

    Was just reading that it looks like the Ukraine has committed another terrorist attack in Russia-

    ‘Russian author and political activist Zakhar Prilepin was seriously injured on Saturday in a car bomb near the city of Nizhny Novgorod. His driver was killed.

    The explosion occurred while Prilepin’s car was on a highway. Preliminary data indicated that the explosive device was planted underneath the vehicle.

    The Mash Telegram channel reported that as a result of the blast, which took place near the town of Bor across the Volga River from Nizhny Novgorod, the car flipped over. The newspaper RBK reported, citing sources, that the explosion occurred as Prilepin was returning from a trip to Russia’s two Donbass republics.’

    Luckily the guy’s daughter had just left the car and the authorities have already arrested a suspect after a police chase.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      … still thinking Russia could (and would if this kinda stuff continues) end this with a week’s worth of sorties and surgical missile strikes.

      I wish more people could appreciate how much Russia is holding back because of respect for the bloodlines across borders. But patience will wear thin … eventually.

      1. digi_owl

        People don’t because they are raised on Hollywood popcorn propaganda and decades of shock and awe against sheep herders.

        Thus Russia taking it slow and methodical seem like weakness to them.

      2. GramSci

        Why should Russia end it? The REAL war is economic. and Russia’s winning that war big time. Russia has the resources, China has the manufacturing base, and the “fee world” has squat.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > The REAL war is economic. and Russia’s winning that war big time.

          Well, I wouldn’t say “big time”. See article above about not being able to use the rupees n’ all.

          > Why should Russia end it?

          Well, I can think of at least half a dozen …

          – rid the world of Zelenskyy
          – rid Ukraine of Azov
          – Give NATO the big fat L they deserve
          – serve as a warning to future would-be NATO vassal states that there is now a line not to be crossed, and consequences for crossing it.
          – Give Russian people the big W they deserve
          – Finish the wresting of Russia away from the west and permanently pivot east and to the Global South

          1. Yves Smith

            In this case, merely standing when the Collective West thought they would be able to collapse Russia’s economy and get Putin deposed is winning. It only fell 2.1% last year when it was originally expected to shrink 20% and is forecast to show growth this year.

            The getting out of dollar dominance is another matter. Bilateral trade does allow the participants to escape sanctions but as I said, the chronic deficit country will wind up with its trade partners holding a lot of currency they likely don’t want. That is why the countries in SE Asia, which before the war were regularly engaging in bilateral trade, quietly clear out their imbalances every few months with central bank dollar trades.

    2. jsn

      Tangent to this, but apropos ” I don’t know what Prigozhin is doing (or taking). At a minimum, his shenanigans are bad for business. Maybe oligarchs shouldn’t be running armies, even private ones?”

      Mark Sleboda has this out making the case Prigozhin is screaming “attack me here” because he knows how solid the position is behind him. Maybe the Ruskies are actually starting to believe the US believes what the Ukrainians tell them.

      In any case, the next link “Chechen leader says his fighters ready to replace Wagner Group “cannon fodder” in Bakhmut” supports the hypothesis per Sleboda’s argument: Wagner is specialized at dense, urban assault, which is nearly done; the Chechens are specialized at occupation and parsing out concealed resistance fighters. So in this argument, Prigozhin and Kadyrov are having a joke war with each other to mislead the Kagans, which in turn supports Kremlin aims.

      1. Polar Socialist

        For what it’s worth, TG channel Slavyangrad noticed that today
        – Wagner Group received large new reinforcements from Russia to Bakhmut,
        – the Russian artillery fire has been more intensive today than ever before (practically preventing Ukrainians rotating their troops)
        – units of the Russian armed forces have already started coming to Bakhmut to help and replace Wagner Group

        And it seems the Ukrainians are withdrawing their heavier equipment from Khromovo area towards Chasiv Yar to prevent Russians from capturing it when the defenses eventually collapse.

        The thought occurs that maybe somebody really, really wants to have a Victory Day parade in Artemovsk and then transport troops for some R&R. Maybe they head to Sudan or Idlib soon enough, who knows.

        1. timbers

          Conversely, the very large mass evaluation of Russians in Zapharhozia is not a good sign of Russian confidence it can hold its defense lines. Even the nuclear power plant could fall in Ukraine hands. Mark Sloboda @ New Atlas noted even Putin admits he errered in not intervening militarily in Donbass 2014, because now Russia must fight in Donbass turning much of it to dust. Why decision makers in Kiev remain untouched while civilians pay with their lives and property is a mystery.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Being myself trained in the (as a measly mechanized infantry man) 1980’s to consider static defense as a “death trap”, I can see why the Russians would prefer to have some operational freedom in their defense and not worry about civilians while they’re at it.

            Defense in depth kinda requires some level of elasticity to do it’s magic and lead the enemy to the prepared kill zones.

            1. Lex

              There are also some international rules about removing civilians from war zones if it’s feasible. Not to mention considerations of how those civilians would be treated if the Ukrainian army occupies any of the villages.

          2. Yves Smith

            There are concerns the West has been husbanding missiles and drones and will do a short massive attack. Anything within 70 km of the line of contact is vulnerable. Even though Russia has been downing typically 80%, some get through, see the continued shelling of Donetsk City. And they may want the luxury of a small retreat to pull Ukraine troops in and capture them. They’ve built a ton of fortifications (I’ve seen photos of the dragon’s teeth; they have other tank traps) so there’s just about no way they can advance through that save on foot.

        2. jrkrideau

          I am not sure of their current status in Sudan but Wagner has been in Darfur for some time. They may need a few reinforcements.

  7. Steve H.

    > Intra-Host Evolution Provides for the Continuous Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Variants

    > [W]e estimate that in hospitalized COVID-19 cases, variants with multiple mutations may emerge locally in as little as 1 month, even in patients without overt immune deficiency.

    From 4/22, modelling HIV:

    >> The main idea is that the key mechanism of disease progression is virus evolution in individual patients.

    Except HIV isn’t airborne.

    In the chapter on cancer, chromosomal instability could significantly increase the production of tumors by short-circuiting tumor suppression. The precautionary principle suggests treating the issue as worst-case, and this paper was presented (Sept 2021):

    > Inflammatory cytokine storms severity may be fueled by interactions of micronuclei and RNA viruses such as COVID-19 virus SARS-CoV-2.

    > (i) RNA viruses are a cause of chromosomal instability and micronuclei (MN)
    > (iii) reduction of MN frequency by improving nutrition and life-style factors increases resistance to RNA virus infection and moderates inflammatory cytokine production to a level that is immunologically efficacious and survivable.

    The first point suggests that precaution was warranted. The second is a helpful suggestion.

  8. Lexx

    ‘Reverse ATMs take bills, dispense cards as stores go cashless’ Axios

    I like cash because of the human intimacy it conveys in every exchange for goods and services, in a way I could never feel for plastic. Something human and essential is going to be lost, never to return, like pubic hair in porn. Maybe AI will bring it back for a touch of authenticity.

    I was thinking about this while looking at a double foldout of photos of Denver real estate agents tucked into a magazine. The bleached blonde hair, predator-sharp Lumified eyeballs, fake smiles exposing a lot of very white and expensive cosmetic dental work, hard lean upper torsos… plastic people, and everyone of them completely confident they’ve never felt or looked better in their lives. I wouldn’t trust any one of them to serve me a glass of water without wondering what was in it for them.

    They’re porn star/Marvel villain/CEO’s of the Fortune 500/almost any banker/off-leash and uncaged homocidal psychopath/cancer wrapped in a myocardial infarction scary… or whatever causes you to breath real shallowly while you wait for your foiled hair to ‘process’ in full view through the picture windows. Probably parents and members of their local churches and Rotary clubs too. Gotta keep up appearances.

    They’re Wolves trying to pass as Little Red and they don’t want your basket, they want your plastic and they want it now. ‘Did you know you can borrow from your 401K? You’ll be competing with those folks moving here from California. They’re outbidding locals and they pay all cash… in full.’ said the agent, her eyes and teeth gleaming in the dark.

    1. griffen

      I like cash as well, just for the personal control of sorts on how I spend. I’m slowly relinquishing to the dark forces, not too differently than Frodo bearing the ring into Mordor, and using the credit card more frequently. I must say it is so much quicker and efficient, and avoids the necessity to explain if the change is dispensed quite incorrectly when paying cash.

      I’ll put a full stop on the credit card on either my wrist or my forehead, I suppose, if it should ever reach that place.

      1. digi_owl

        “credit card on … my wrist”

        People are already all gaga about paying with their Apple watch, to the point of getting frustrated when a store do not accept that method.

        Never mind that i hear that Apple is getting into the consumer credit business now.

        1. Mikel

          And the 4.1% Apple savings account.

          Sounds like Apple has enough money to bail out some of these banks that have showered it with easy money over years. Money that was used to buy back stocks to pump the “wealth effect.”

    2. digi_owl

      Weirdly all this makes me think of an old batman cartoon, set to a future where Bruce pass the torch, and a high tech suit, to someone else.

      Because one of the ways ot present this as the future was that everything was paid for using mag strip cards. Often multiple of them, as apparently the sum was encoded onto the cards themselves.

      1. Lexx

        Was it ‘Requiem for a Batman’?

        Interesting to me that in one of the latest version of live action, Robin refuses the torch and forms his own group of superheroes, ‘Titans’. Still running, I think. That generation doesn’t want to follow in Ma and Pa’s footsteps. They’re seen as toxic role models?

        Warning: Unsafe language.,vid:ZWNmjUJiWME

        1. digi_owl

          Batman Beyond, though it was known as Batman of the Future over on this side of the Atlantic.

        2. Acacia

          Robin refuses the torch and forms his own group of superheroes, ‘Titans’. Still running, I think. That generation doesn’t want to follow in Ma and Pa’s footsteps. They’re seen as toxic role models?

          Or so that Robin gets his own franchise? …because everything new out of Hollywood has to be part of a series, a franchise, or a universe.

          1. digi_owl

            Funny thing is that with the age of the franchise one may well need to ask “which Robin”.

            Ironically while Bruce has not aged much, he has seen 3-4 different teens don the bird and grown out of it.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              I’ve bailed on the soap and just sample the one-offs now but Batman 66 is campy fun. I think Batman vs Teenage Ninja Turtles was the last one of those they made but there are several alt-history projects (Batman & Jack the Ripper?) and even ‘art’ flicks like Batman Ninja that basically all tell the same stories but while wearing different costumes.

              Not to mention all the Lego parodies.

              Batman has been in outer space and all over the galaxy but I’m still waiting for the first true Space Batman series or movie. I’d settle for a coffee cup.

    3. DoYourThingMan

      Worried about Covid on cash? Microwave the bills till they curl. Boycott any business that doesn’t accept cash if they fail to respond to citizen input.

      White people who want to defund the police and hang black lives matter signs up in their vegan taco stands, hire private security, or go cashless, so that black people won’t steal their money or be able to spend their hard earned cash in their business? Got it.

      Defend democracy and justice with a piece of folded paper with a little chewing gum, paper cement or peanut butter on it, which takes care of the ATM like devices bill portals. A powerful Alnico [Aluminum Nickele Cobalt, plus iron] magnet trashes chip readers if no slot.

      When our neighborhood’s free parking was replaced with numbered spaces and a parking fee kiosk at the end of the block, somebody pumped the CC slot full of insulating expansion foam. After several weeks out of service, attempting to repair the device on site, finally replacing the entire thing, then more foam, the town removed it and painted over the numbers with free parking for up to 72 hours.

      Cash is patriotic.

    4. kareninca

      Actually the ultra white and perfectly even teeth are cheaper. You can buy sort-of veneers that are not too expensive, but they do not look real (google “very inexpensive dental veneers”). What is really expensive is to have “real” veneers that match what your real tooth color would be, plus up a little. It is cheering that the really inexpensive ones do exist, since that helps people who can’t afford the “real” thing. I know a couple of people who wear what looks like the inexpensive ones.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine’s Air War Heats Up”

    ‘Ukraine has enjoyed air superiority for more than 400 days. Time may be running out.’

    And it was at this point I understood the Foreign Policy article to be only malarkey. The Ukrainian air force is mostly gone and their inventory has had to be reinforced with Russian-built aircraft from NATO members. Not that it will make much difference. And Russian defenses continue to take a toll of them and just a day or so ago two more of their jets were downed in the south. If the Russians are not sending their aircraft over the Ukraine it is because they do not see the point at the moment. Why risk a pilot and his aircraft when a cheap drone will do the same job? Foreign Policy is thinking of Russian doctrine in terms of how the west fights their wars by establishing total aerial dominance. American troops have not had to fight under unfriendly skies since the early 1950s and so their force structure was built around always having aerial dominance. The Russians decided to play defensive and in a recent Business Insider article, an ex-F 16 fighter admitted that they would get shredded over the Ukraine. The end game is approaching for the Ukraine so perhaps Foreign Policy should have a nice warm mug of Wake The F*** Up and start printing hard analysis and truthful narratives instead.

    1. digi_owl

      Pretty much.

      the US/NATO doctrine is basically massive amounts of loitering airborne artillery that can be called upon by small squads of “special forces” whenever one of the locals take a pot shot at them.

      Basically a modern day take on the air policing RAF tried between the world wars, involving the bombing of uppity villages across the empire.

      1. Acacia

        …and memorably depicted in the “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” air strike scene in Apocalypse Now.

        1. digi_owl

          To older mind that officer is insane, but to the younger ones it is oh so cool.

          Similar to how the First Blood origins of Rambo is deeply buried, while the popular depiction of the character is from the second movie. Where Stallone is posing shirtless with an RPG.

          1. TimH

            First Blood was based on the book, Rambo is clearly mentally ill, and there’s limited violence.

            The follow-ons were Chuck Norris type war-porn.

          2. hk

            I’d forgotten about that (looking sheepish). Origins of the Wagner’s? (Traumatized Chechen War vets get mistreated by cops back in Voronezh and got jailed for fighting back,, who wind up getting recruited from prison to fight the reborn Nazis?)

      2. tevhatch

        No quite, in Iraq and Afghanistan there were large numbers of deployed troops working in cooperation with local installed satraps’ mercenary units to suppress any attempt to organize a regular military response. In other cases like Yugoslavia, NATO simply bombed whom ever was not in their favor that day, along with always killing Serbs, without any serious occupation force, even very limited special forces.

        The occupation of Afghanistan could have continued for years except for the fatal flaw of the US addicting it’s satrap to huge inflows of USD to run the economy. It wasn’t the military expense that killed that war, after all, running up the military spending was the purpose. It was the expense of feeding a machine that wasn’t recirculating much of that money back into K-street and it’s masters. This was the cardinal sin.

        (separately, on Rev Kev’s comment about 1950s air opposition, I’m not sure who he means? Korea did not have any significant air to ground element on the communist side. As to WW2, by the time the USA was engaged with Germany the Russians air force with help of US/UK air arms kept the sky nearly clear, and WW1 had almost no tactical air war, so I don’t think the USA ground has ever fought under truly hostile air. Only the USN and Marines for a very short time in the WW2 pacific had any significant trouble).

        1. LifelongLib

          Memory is fuzzy, but it seems to me there were links here a while ago about U.S. infantry in WW2 often being outgunned by their German counterparts (who had more full-automatic weapons) and calling in artillery and air support, which the Allies had in abundance.

          My personal view is that the U.S. hasn’t fought a true peer (or more) competitor since the War of 1812, and that we’ll be in for quite a shock if we ever do…

          1. tevhatch

            The US Air arm of the army, by the time US land force was in Europe had full domination except over the heartland of Germany, where it was just superiority. The German platoon had a MG, where as the US had just a BAR, but with the exception of units rotated out from fighting on the Eastern Front with StG 44 for either R&R ie: fighting the American/British or Pushes like the Bulge, most of the units were 2nd tier and so the 8 rifle men men had bolt action rifles vs. M1 automatic rifle or carbine. ie: the USA could throw nearly the same amount of lead and had it more dispersed among the men. Thanks to much better, if still screwed up logistics, they also had a lot more lead to throw than the Germans’ awful logistics could supply

            Mostly it’s just good practice to talk up the enemy, it makes beating them more impressive and losing to them more excusable, more so after the war. There are even ways of insulting the enemy while making the loss excusable, like the Russian Hordes lie, when for the 1st 2 years of Barbarossa, the Axis outnumbered the Russian military and the Russians never had a large superiority in numbers.

            Reminds me of a military joke/story: some NATO officers talking. The Bundeswehr officer told a story about his grandpa’ who told him that Russian soldiers were so dumb that they took the taps from the walls hoping that taking them home they will have running water. The other said to him: it must have been humiliating to be defeated by those people…

          2. rowlf

            How were the US forces outgunned if they could call in artillery and air support? Why not call in artillery to solve a problem? One call, that’s all, as the local ambulance chasers advertise.

            This reminds me of a coworker who was a veteran of the first Gulf War. His unit was ordered to secure a building. They all went in and took care of the problem. A nearby unit got the same order, tapped a tank and had the building flattened with less risk.

    2. Skip Intro

      Their newly modified guided bombs can apparently be launched well before the planes are in range of whatever remaining air defense exists.

    3. Polar Socialist

      FP is just stretching the term so much it’s distorted to look almost the opposite of itself, is all.

      My understanding is that during the existence of the air forces, American troops have always fought in relatively constrained geographical areas (yes, Pacific is huge ocean, but the battles were fought in relatively small areas), so the concept of air superiority or even supremacy is plausible.

      Soviet/Russian experience is from a much, much wider area of operations, where you can’t hope to dominate the whole airspace, no matter how much resources you throw at it. So their focus is on protecting the troops with layered air-defenses and the air force being capable to gain air superiority at the place and the time the armed forces operations require.

      What I believe we’re also seeing in this war is the result of the 1990’s re-organizing the “front aviation” (ground attackers, fighter bombers) as subordinate to air force HQ instead of the military districts. In 1991 Soviet Union had 2,500 fighter bombers, today Russia has less than 500. Almost as if the Air Force doesn’t like them as much as the ground forces do.

      As an example, in late 90’s Mig proposed to refurbish and update the fleet of 500 Mig-27s to use all the modern weapons and modern avionics with $1 million a piece, but Air Force was more interested in Su-34 “multipurpose” aircraft – which was ready for service only in 2006. By 2015 Air Force had replaced 300 Su-24 fighter-bombers with 70 Su-34 aircraft, because the latter was “many times more effective on all critical parameters”. Also many times more expensive to buy and operate.

      One can only imagine that the Russian Aerospace Forces have finally received the memo about attrition warfare and how to sustain a high operational tempo for a long duration. The answer is not having a few, brilliant but complex machines superb on all important parameters, it’s having a lot of simple, cheap things that do one thing and do it well.

      1. digi_owl

        USA is in dire need of a similar lesson, as they have had the same mixed attitude surrounding the likes of the A-10. The grunts love them, while the air force want crotch rockets.

  10. tevhatch

    Well, I hope Tracy Høeg, MD, PhD (@TracyBethHoeg) tells the doctors that do any procedure on her in the future that they don’t need to wash their hands, wear sterilized gloves, and of course no mask and gown. After all, we can’t see that they are doing anything. Heck, why bother with autoclaving the instruments, and to cut down on waste they should reuse bandages and shut down the theater air filters. Did I forget anything? It’s been 40+years.

    1. Will

      The funniest is the first tweet in her thread in which she basically complained N95 masks were ineffective because they can’t prevent infection (1) via your eyes, or (2) when they have holes.

      1. Jason Boxman

        So this person is a physician and functionally stupid? What’s become of critical thinking in medical schools? God help us all.

    2. some guy

      Does this Tracy Høeg, MD, PhD make her living in practicing medicine? One hopes word of her theories about this subject can be gotten to every single one of her patients etc. so those who find her bizarre views disturbing can go elsewhere for medical care.

      1. Pat

        I don’t know. If I had some highly infectious disease I would be very tempted to book an appointment.
        It might not be very moral, but sometimes reality slapping you in the face is very clarifying.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Says It Has Billions of Indian Rupees That It Can’t Use ‘

    Perhaps Russia can make deals with other countries that trade with India. So for example, they would pay the Chinese for some goods in Rupees instead of Rubles and the Chinese would be able to recycle these Rupees when they do trade with India.

    1. jsn

      Precisely the “trade friction” Bretton Woods was designed to obviate.

      Keynes’ “Bancor” proposal would have made Bretton Woods a universal self correcting international tool of Political Economy, forcing the internalization of investment balances to balance out international trade over time.

      Now we’re back at square one with a bunch of competing currencies, many of whom are dependent on good old fashioned Mercantilism and thus resistant to internal investment re-balancing. Even the CCP is stumped against what I see as the “Middle Income Trap”: the local winners have so much internal power the Political Economy can’t re-balance away from them as China must do to keep growing. And China sure as hell can’t risk the “Exorbitant Privilege” of Reserve Currency status until it has secure mechanisms for maintaining an internal balance it is yet to achieve.

      1. digi_owl

        Was there not talk about a IMF backed CBDC recently?

        And i believe China has attempted in the past to get IMF to expand an internal accounting mechanism into a “bancor” of sorts.

        Time for BRICS to show their worth…

        1. tevhatch

          IMF is a Washington machine. They’d only do this once the USD is truly dethroned, and only in a way that would maximize Washington benefit, minimize colonial states and competitors like China.

    2. rudi from butte

      Build a few Russian refineries, chemical plants etc. in India or can you buy gold in Rupees? Or send boatloads of Tatas. Soon it will occur to folks that having too many dollars is equally problematic.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its a classic ‘billions’ aint all that story, a Rupee is worth a little over a Cent, so we’re about $13 million per billion, big wahooza!

      2. tevhatch

        Building plants in India would create income for Russia/Russian corporations in India, ie more rupees. Buying Tatas in bulk would do murder to Russia’s nascent localizing automotive industry. Even with out protection, at this rate of purchase Russia would have to start destroying Tatas, so:
        jsn nailed it above. The problem of building a near autarchy is how to recirculate currency, or rather the economic value that the currency represents. Money is just a counter, it’s the economic value getting stuck that can become a problem, sort of like having “parasite” adult children who won’t leave their/your basement, but do minor chores around the place. If you love them, then maybe you tolerate it as long as you can afford to do so(I’m not talking money but resources, only some of which are purchased). I don’t think love is a word we can use in international relationships.

    3. Polar Socialist

      As far as I can tell (which is not that far) the Bloomberg headline is somewhat in err. Lavrov’s problem here is not that Russia can’t use the money, but that the ruppes have to be converted to dollars or dirhams before they can be used to settle Russian payments to India.

      Currently there’s no agreement on using national currencies in trade between Russia and India, and the latest talks just ended without result. And Lavrov is trying to get the Indian importers to pressure Indian government to continue the negotiations and reach a result, so this friction point in the trade between the countries can finally be removed.

      1. digi_owl

        Bloomberg may be deliberate in their err, in order to make Russia seem more in trouble than they are.

        Bloomberg is after all the outlet that years back claimed China was putting something in electronics made there, that would allow them to spy on future users. Yet they never present direct evidence nor could anyone that tried find such additions.

        Funny enough, Snowden however presented direct evidence that NSA was intercepting shipments of Cisco gear in order to do just that.

      2. tevhatch

        Per my first comment, India is already running a huge deficit, particularly with China. If Russia sends those rupees back into India, it will inflate the currency supply / devalue the currency which is already a serious problem for India. Even counter-trade is not an easy option, as India has little of value to Russia directly. One of it’s largest export earner is now under serious threat from AI. It’s a mess out there.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Not disputing your comment, but these rupees are already in India. They never actually left, being on Indian bank accounts.

          At the moment Russia has to sell them for dollars or dirhams to use them to pay for Indian exporter, who then sells them for rupees. All this happens in India.

          Russia would prefer to use rubles and rupees directly.

          1. tevhatch

            They are marks in an account, they are not really anywhere, but currently those tally marks are in Russia’s hands.

            “At the moment Russia has to sell them for dollars or dirhams to use them to pay for Indian exporter, who then sells them for rupees.” and those dollars are used to pay for imports, say from China. Sigh.

    4. Willow

      When Lavrov makes these ‘honest’ assessments in ‘public’ it’s usually to send a message an observer not the faced recipient. So this is probably a warning to Turkiye business leaders to support Erdoğan otherwise Russia won’t support the Lira.

      India has a massive medical & pharmaceutical industry which Russia & world depends on. Over time Russia will have something useful to spend their rupees. More importantly, Russia can use Indian pharmaceuticals as aid to developing countries just like it has done very successfully with its own excess grain stocks. At the same time Western aid is waning or blunted by Western corporate greed. Generic pharmaceuticals are also a very useful commodity as a conduit for money laundering.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Truth About Nirav Shah The Maine Media Never Told You Them Maine Wire. From the right, but documented. Discouraging.

    On another occasion, when a television reporter asked a challenging question about data that showed Maine was doing poorly in its response to the virus, Shah, stumbled and stuttered considerably before he gave up, attempting to give himself blanket immunity by making a remarkable statement when he said “as you know, one of my rules is never, ever, ever speak definitively on anything.”

    Thanks for nuthin’, eric feigl-ding. I’m sure you will be handsomely rewarded.

  13. ChrisRUEcon


    > It was a neat trick to frame everything as “personal risk assessment,” and then deprive us of the data we need to do that. And Shah seems to have bought into it.

    Yep, there is virtually no set of data that is up to date anymore, with the exception of the local wastewater sites – thanks again to #2PMWC. Not sure how long the states will keep it up, but I hope we’ll have at least that for a while.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Hahahahahaha! Ahhh yes. A loyal foot soldier finally receives her (bigger) reward. Two (or seven, if you factor in HRC’s loss) years delayed, poor thing … tying Biden’s re-election fortune to anything she’s involved in should give those who remember 2016 nightmares.


      1. Nikkikat

        I have been laughing about the same thing. Neera Tanden is a right wing idiot. All of this nonsense about being on welfare as a child. She hates the regular people. Never had a good idea in her life and is a horrible person to have on a campaign The John Podesta Wikileaks was pages of whining by Tanden about how awful Hillary was and complains about her not doing this or that. I thought surely no one would use her for a campaign after all of this came out. She was always asking Podesta to give her advice.
        She was also horrible with regard to Bernie Sanders. I do remember her advocating for stealing oil from countries in the Middle East after we invaded and took over. So that the foreign country could pay for the war we started.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ukrainian secret police have arrested a notable critic of the regime, Chilean-American blogger Gonzalo Lira.
    He’s being charged with “discrediting the highest military political leadership and the Defense Forces” of Ukraine.
    ‘Democratic values’ in action’

    American journalist and Ukrainian combat medic Sarah Ashton-Cirillo let everybody know her thoughts on Lira. When she gets back to America, a place will be made for her by the establishment- (55 secs)

    1. lyman alpha blob

      What makes this person a journalist?!? If all it takes to be considered a legit military target is for someone who takes offense at your reporting to declare you “not a journalist”, well I’d imagine there are any number of Russians who would consider this Cirillo person a legit target by Cirillo’s own ridiculous “logic”.

      Posting videos like that is going to make the “when” this person gets back to America more of an “if”.

      1. digi_owl

        What makes anyone a journalist in this day and age?

        And do we want that title to be protected in some way?

      2. tevhatch

        Cirillo is behind the times on language. She should have said Lira isn’t a fellow presstitute. I’d have used another, better link, but it’s not safe for work.

      3. Yves Smith

        New York State and others have included internet reporting as journalism in case law. Lira has done original reporting, such as his outing of James Vasquez as a producer of fake war zone fundraising videos, confirmed nearly a year later by the New York Times.

        Even retrograde Alabama has journalist shield laws worded broadly enough to include what Lira and I do.

  15. digi_owl

    Reading about that Mexican president i find myself thinking about a similar story from Greece, back when the junta ran the place.

    And makes one wonder how many current and former European politicians are in CIA’s (or perhaps Mossad’s) pocket.

    1. Mikel

      “And makes one wonder how many current and former European politicians are in CIA’s (or perhaps Mossad’s) pocket…”

      Some years ago, I saw a Roman Polanski film called, “The Ghose Writer.”

      A few months ago, I watched it again. It resonated more with me.
      It doesn’t always have to be the politician. It can also be someone extremely close to them.

      1. digi_owl

        Checked the plot on wikipedia, and it got me thinking about Dune and a certain group there…

  16. Alice X

    >Schedule of events for the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III

    I just saw a pic of the two royal scoundrels. I had a mental image of the long trail of plunder that led to their wealth and privilege and I felt ill.

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps he will play king for a few months–reward for the long wait–and then step aside for his more photogenic son.

      1. digi_owl

        He may keep the title until his passing, but step back from official appearances etc on grounds of ill health or whatever.

        That said, while he do not have the looks he do seem to have the sharp Windsor tongue. Lets not forget his muttered “dear oh dear” when greeting Liz Truss.

    2. irrational

      You definitely have a point. I confess that my thoughts were simpler: first thought seeing one of the photos is ” they both slouch and have terrible posture”, second thought “Camilla is queen, really?”.

    1. flora

      My money’s on someone with a long HIV/AIDS research background. Look at the medical training and research pedigrees of so many of dr. F’s associates. (Birx, Redfield, Walensky.)

      Walensky – “Dr. Walensky’s research interests focus on model-based analyses of the cost-effectiveness of HIV testing, care, and prevention strategies to inform HIV/AIDS policy internationally and domestically.” – Harvard, The Forum at Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health

      Birx – “Birx specializes in HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health” – wiki

      Redfield – ” In the early 1990s, Redfield, then one of the Army’s top AIDS researchers, was at the center of a scandal over a purported HIV vaccine. ” – CNN

    1. Alice X

      Inspector Clouseau, please pick up the white courtesy phone, the FBI needs your help.

    2. flora

      The weird thing is the FBI is really very very good at domestic cyber and IT frauds and crimes. Very good. Seriously, much respect. Why they’re letting this sort of stuff get out of hand is beyond me.

  17. square coats

    I wanted to recommend people who might be interested check out a podcast I came across recently called The Return of the Repressed by this guy named Marcus who I think is Swedish (pod is in english) and is a farmer, has got two degrees studying the history of farming, and is interested in Marxism and parapolitics.

    I recommend the episode #21. Biological peace and warfare s2.pt3. “Inside Bill Gates’s Hive Mind : Decoding Ukraine”. As he mentions, he doesn’t actually get that much into Bill Gates yet, but he does provide his very detailed research/investigation into the various actors and organizations involved in Big Ag in Ukraine, along with lots of other interesting things.

    1. Brunches with Cats

      Remarkable research. Thanks for the link!

      Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much interest here in the dire situation facing small farms in Ukraine. This puzzles me, given the enthusiasm among some in the commentariat for all things related to soil/plants/food/sustainable farming, etc., not to mention genuine sympathy for poor rural areas in the eastern regions that have endured 10 years of conflict and violence.

      The podcast is 2+ hrs long, but I skipped the first half hour — stuff about Bill Gates and Big Ag that most of us here already know — and I couldn’t get into the philosophical stuff in the last part, although I’ve no doubt that others here will enjoy it.

      Anyway, it’s becoming increasingly clear that small farmers in Ukraine are being systematically driven out as the oligarchs and multinationals position themselves for an epic land grab. That there’s little mention in the corporate media is no surprise, but the lack of attention in the independent media is disturbing. I do hope this guy Marcus gets lots of listens to this chapter of his series. He names names! Would love to see him on a panel with Mercouris and Glenn Diesen.

  18. ChrisFromGA

    Re: Foreign Policy article

    So Ukraine has “enjoyed air superiority for 400 days?” That’s a pretty tall tale. I am not sure anyone outside of a mental ward would characterize the situation as such, given that the Russian air force has free reign to fly over the east, including multiple daily sorties near Bakhmut, launches drone and cruise missiles deep into Ukraine that are not interceptable in any material way, and has been systematically attriting the UAF with bomber strikes for the past year.

    Meanwhile, the UAF is unable to fly over large parts of the country and has only remnants of an AD, which they are carefully husbanding for the Grande Olde Counteroffensive, guaranteed to happen by May 9, year unspecified.

    Russia hasn’t flown any sorties directly over Kiev lately – perhaps that is the new definition of “air superiority.”

    I thought Baghdad Bob died in the Iraq war?

    Perhaps he immigrated to the Beltway and works for Foreign Policy now.

    1. hk

      Baghdad Bob is, as far as I know, still living, in UAE. They found no crime to stick on him so he was let go. To be honest, I consider him a true professional worthy of admiration for having done his job to the bitter and ridiculous end.

        1. hk

          Well, Kirby is either doing a good job imitating him (which would make him a true professional, too) or is really a true believer idiot. I can’t decide. The thing is that Baghdad Bob was doing his job as his government’s mouthpiece when he clearly knew the truth (he was a career diplomat who rose to become the foreign minister before he got demoted to gov’t spokesperson–apparently, he offended the wrong people.) I honestly wonder most senior gov’t officials in US have a clue what the truth is (especially people who used to have flag ranks in the military like Kirby.)

    1. Mikel

      Maybe when the Hollywood writers end their strike they can do us all a favor and stop making quasi-superheros out of infantile, unaccountable, and corrupted intelligence agents.

  19. Alex Cox

    The AP article about seditious conspiracy charges against Enrique Tarrio and the other Proud Boys doesn’t mention that Tarrio was a “prolific” informant for the FBI and other police agencies. A Brave search for “Tarrio FBI informant” turns up dozens of articles. Unfortunate that the author of the piece doesn’t use the internet…

  20. Mildred Montana

    >Have short sellers been tanking bank stocks? Group wants SEC to investigate MarketPlace

    Yep, when companies get in trouble they instantly blame the short-sellers.* Thanks for that, American Bankers’ Association (the unidentified “group” in the headline). Before we know it you’ll be calling for the SEC to investigate insider sales by executives of the latest failing banks and the deceptive accounting practices of your members. /sarc

    Nope. Blame the short-sellers instead, which is what all companies with tanking stock prices and their defenders do. The layman’s term for it is “scapegoating”. The ABA will never admit that short-sales are merely the opinions—and nothing more—of millions of investors, and a necessary corrective to the “buy” side bias in markets. You do believe in free markets, don’t you ABA?

    I will never understand the witch-hysteria surrounding short-sellers. If one’s business is sound it will survive the assault and the shorts will be burned. A solid business ensures a solid share price. If it’s not, don’t blame them for your failure. And stop focusing on your share price instead of the fundamentals of your business like revenue, cash flow, earnings, margins, dividends, etc. That is a sign of weakness. When you do that you have been found out, not as a prudent businessman, but as a player in today’s “casino of capitalism”.

    *The questions of the share price of a company and the effects of short-sellers are a little more complicated than I lay out here. But in general my points stand.

    1. John Wright

      Yes, the entire anger at short sellers fails to mention that if a targeted company’s stock goes to zero, the company can conduct its business normally, except if it was planning to sell newly issued stock to raise funds or it has some financial contract requiring a higher stock price.

      If a profitable company truly believes that short sellers are wrong and the stock price is too low as a result, then why not use company funds to buy back the stock?

      The public is well aware that company executives have frequently directed their companies buy their own stock, AKA “share buy-backs” since the Reagan administration. .

      Why not buy back the stock when it is judged on sale as a result of misguided short sellers?

      One can also wonder if the short sellers are decreasing the measured “shareholder value” that some senior executives base their pay and bonuses on.

    2. ACPAL

      It’s all one big legal gambling casino, far from the original intent of “corporations.” Instead of pooling funds to make something, the gamblers bought stock betting that the corporation would grow, and now they’re betting on what other buyers are betting on.

  21. Mark Gisleson

    The ‘bipolar’ link was worth it just for the first paragraph:

    Italians, it is said, are given to a perspective on politics that they call dietrismo. Dietro means behind, and dietrismo means a habitualized conviction that what you see is designed to hide what you get, by powers operating behind a curtain that divides the world into a stage and a backstage, the latter being where the real action is, the former where it is purposely mispresented. You read something, or hear about it on the radio or on TV, and as a well-trained dietrista you wonder, not so much about what you are being told but why you are being told it, and why now.

    Kinda scary to know there’s an Italian word for how I read the newspapers.

  22. Mikel

    Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? The New Yorker

    “Capitalism is the machine that will do whatever it takes to prevent us from turning it off, and the most successful weapon in its arsenal has been its campaign to prevent us from considering any alternatives.”

    The rest of the article is well worth the read.
    However, even though the writer deserves a tip of the hat for discussing the issue of power relations in the economy, he still feels the need to throw out some hedges about the possibilities of capitalism.

    But I think the analogy of the uses of AI with McKinsey is prescient.

    1. Michaelmas

      …though the writer deserves a tip of the hat for discussing the issue of power relations in the economy, he still feels the need to throw out some hedges about the possibilities of capitalism … but the analogy of the uses of AI with McKinsey is prescient.

      It’s by Ted Chiang.

      So, yeah, it’s more perceptive — and willing to discuss the issues of new technologies and power relations, which after all should be a central preoccupation for an SF writer like Chiang — than the average NEW YORKER stenographer would be.

      It’ll be interesting to see how long the NEW YORKER lets Chiang do what he’s done here.

    2. Acacia

      This is one of the better recent essays on AI that I’ve read. Recommended.

      Also surprising that’s it’s in the New Yorker, so, gotta agree with Michaelmas’s last sentence, above.

  23. Tom Stone

    I was looking at the M4’s the men who arrested Lira were carrying, those sights and suppressors cost a heck of a lot more than the rifles do.
    At least 3K for the add ons and about $750 for the rifles (Uncle Sam gets a bulk discount).
    They are pretty much what I’d expect Special Forces to carry, which is not a surprise.

  24. Jason Boxman

    Out of curiosity, I went hunting around on GitHub to see what I could come up with in regards to any possible COVID data sources. What I’ve found is all dead, such as this:

    March 24, 2023 UPDATE: The data for daily cases and deaths will no longer be updated. The Times has updated its Covid tracking pages to use data from the federal government for cases and deaths. This GitHub repo will serve as an archive of the virus data reporting from The Times since 2020. For more information about this change, please see this story.

    On March 10, 2023, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center ceased its collecting and reporting of global COVID-19 data. For updated cases, deaths, and vaccine data please visit the following sources:

    (points to WHO and CDC)

    As of March 10th, 2023, JHU CCSE stopped collecting and tracking new cases
    As of August 4th, 2022 JHU CCSE stopped track recovery cases, please see this issue for more details

    As of September 15, 2022, we have turned off real-time updates in this repository

    (Google Health)

    This GitHub repo provides the underlying source data for the Nationwide Wastewater Monitoring Network data visualizations at We provide both Biobot-generated wastewater SARS-CoV-2 concentrations and the associated clinical data used as comparison.

    (Still active, it seems, but it’s just the basis for this:

    Looks like is dark now as well. is real, and as Lambert has said repeatedly about data sources, this is maintained by a single contributor, not a government or organization with any funds. It runs on a (probably free) account at the Vercel hosting service.

    So COVID-19 Dataset by Our World in Data still exists, but most of the data would be suspect, with no one testing, and hospitals no longer needing to test for COVID or report it. So who knows.

    I’m surprised to find extensive! data for the state of TN available here:

    So I looked for NC specifically, and there is some minimal information available:

    This repository stores data pulled from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, longitudinal data are extracted from static snapshots provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The data available longitudinally include:

    Cases/Deaths by county by day
    Cases/Deaths by ZIP Code by day
    Cases/ Deaths by assorted demographics (race, sex, ethnicity, age) at the state level by day
    Congregate housing outbreak information by county/facility by date of update (typically Tuesdays and Thursdays of Each Week)

    So all in all, very depressing.

    If Twitter still had a free API, could search for COVID-like terms, sort of like Google search keywords early on that showed COVID spread by lack of smell. I’m not sure what other proxies might be useful for monitoring COVID? Excess deaths are a seriously lagging indicator. Hospital capacity is easily gamed.

    It is amazing how easy it is to completely erase reality. Sort of like if you don’t measure for poverty, no one in America is poor. I guess I shouldn’t give anyone any ideas in the Biden administration.

  25. Sub-Boreal

    British Columbia public health ghouls department:

    It’s not fair to give Dr. Henry all the glory; she has some worthy understudies, like Dr. Patricia Daly (Vancouver Coastal Health) who held forth yesterday on the CBC Radio 1 noonhour program. [starts at 1:46, ends at 11:45]

    Unfortunately, this was followed by a weak 2nd interview, with someone in public policy “communication” who didn’t really engage with the substance of Daly’s lies.

    Fortunately, an expert dissection was provided earlier today by retired surgeon Sanjiv Ghandi, now deputy leader of the BC Green Party.

    1. Walter

      First saw those Honest Government Ads on (Paul Jay, etc), I think. Meaner than a damn snake. Love ’em!

    1. Daryl

      I was inspired to get some backup power myself after Texas grid failed because it snowed a little. I’ve since moved to a state with an actual reliable power system, but I’m keeping it on hand. It’s about enough to power my CPAP machine and maybe charge a phone.

      It’s expensive and can be more than a little dangerous with generators and batteries. But it’s necessary when you live in a failing state.

  26. Bim

    Nearly a third of the world subject to U.S. Sanctions…

    Whenever I hear some yokel prattling on about how bad life in Venezuela is, I love to mention “Our sanctions are doing a great job! their kids are starving, people are dying in Caracas for lack of medicine. Think of all the people fleeing there to come here and replace you at your job. Sanctions, yessiree..”

  27. some guy

    from the ” nextfuckinglevel” subreddit . . . ” This lady repeating “you’re grouned” in multiple accents”

    ( The title as printed on the subreddit literally says ” grouned” when it means “grounded”. At first I thought I would just correct it, but then I realized that if I did that, I would not have offered a truly faithful copy of the title as printed. So I left it uncorrected).

  28. some guy

    Here’s one about a development in Florida. ” Florida lawmakers pass bill allowing radioactive material to be built into Florida roads ” They passed it. That doesn’t mean DeSantis will sign it. He may not. One hopes not. Here is the link.

    If he signs it, that will be the start of a nationwide push to legalise it all over the country . . . maybe state by state, maybe at one Swell Foop at the Federal Level.

    If that starts happening and can’t be stopped or even slowed down, the only thing personal opponents of the concept can do is to sullenly buy only organic food which is grown without the purified phosphate chemicals extracted and worked up from this low-level radioactive phosphate rock.

  29. Jason Boxman

    Another mass shooting in America: At Least 9 Dead, Including Gunman, in Shooting at Texas Mall

    A gunman opened fire at a crowded mall outside Dallas on Saturday, killing at least eight people and injuring at least seven before a police officer killed him, the authorities said, turning a busy afternoon of shopping into a chaotic and tragic scene.

    The price, of freedom!

    The gunfire erupted around 3:30 p.m. at the Allen Premium Outlets as throngs of shoppers filled the outdoor mall, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas and has more than 120 stores. Videos circulating on social media show people dashing for shelter or running through a parking lot as loud popping noises can be heard in the background.

    A video circulating on social media appeared to show the gunman, lying on the ground, clad in black and equipped with what appeared to be a tactical vest, multiple rounds of ammunition and a long gun.

    (bold mine)

    So this keeps happening.

  30. Yves Smith

    I would love to but I am in Alabama and not even going to restaurants. I am still practicing very strict anti-Covid measures and do not want to be sponsoring a super-spreader event. IM Doc tells me there has just been a big uptick in cases in his hospital (none hospitalized but seriously sick) and there’s evidence of all sorts of long term damage from getting Covid, including long Covid.

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