Links 6/17/2023

Your humble blogger got very close to an EV battery fire on the Grand Central Parkway (as in skirted a fire truck next to the utterly fried smallish delivery vehicle, I have no idea if its driver got out). They are every bit as ferocious as they look on video. The smoke is intensely dark and billows upward quickly, as opposed to fanning out, I assume due to the fierce heat of the blaze funneling it upward.

Daniel Ellsberg Is Dead

Read Ellsberg’s book Secrets, if you haven’t yet. One of its many striking vignettes: Henry Kissinger sought out Daniel Ellsberg as one of his top priority meetings as a new government official. Ellsberg was highly respected as a world-reknown decision theorist, and as one of the most insightful people on Vietnam, having spent substantial time on the ground (as opposed to cloistered in Saigon) on behalf of the DoD and State. Ellsberg’s description of that encounter from Secrets:

“Henry, there’s something I would like to tell you, for what it’s worth, something I wish I had been told years ago. You’ve been a consultant for a long time, and you’ve dealt a great deal with top secret information. But you’re about to receive a whole slew of special clearances, maybe fifteen or twenty of them, that are higher than top secret.

“I’ve had a number of these myself, and I’ve known other people who have just acquired them, and I have a pretty good sense of what the effects of receiving these clearances are on a person who didn’t previously know they even existed. And the effects of reading the information that they will make available to you.

“First, you’ll be exhilarated by some of this new information, and by having it all — so much! incredible! — suddenly available to you. But second, almost as fast, you will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information, which presidents and others had and you didn’t, and which must have influenced their decisions in ways you couldn’t even guess. In particular, you’ll feel foolish for having literally rubbed shoulders for over a decade with some officials and consultants who did have access to all this information you didn’t know about and didn’t know they had, and you’ll be stunned that they kept that secret from you so well.

“You will feel like a fool, and that will last for about two weeks. Then, after you’ve started reading all this daily intelligence input and become used to using what amounts to whole libraries of hidden information, which is much more closely held than mere top secret data, you will forget there ever was a time when you didn’t have it, and you’ll be aware only of the fact that you have it now and most others don’t….and that all those other people are fools.

“Over a longer period of time — not too long, but a matter of two or three years — you’ll eventually become aware of the limitations of this information. There is a great deal that it doesn’t tell you, it’s often inaccurate, and it can lead you astray just as much as the New York Times can. But that takes a while to learn.

“In the meantime it will have become very hard for you to learn from anybody who doesn’t have these clearances. Because you’ll be thinking as you listen to them: ‘What would this man be telling me if he knew what I know? Would he be giving me the same advice, or would it totally change his predictions and recommendations?’ And that mental exercise is so torturous that after a while you give it up and just stop listening. I’ve seen this with my superiors, my colleagues….and with myself.

“You will deal with a person who doesn’t have those clearances only from the point of view of what you want him to believe and what impression you want him to go away with, since you’ll have to lie carefully to him about what you know. In effect, you will have to manipulate him. You’ll give up trying to assess what he has to say. The danger is, you’ll become something like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they may have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours.”

Ellsberg describes how Kissinger later starts acting in precisely that moronic fashion.

Daniel Ellsberg, Who Leaked the Pentagon Papers, Is Dead at 92 New York Times



Why Do Cats Hold Such Mythic Power in Japan? New York Times (resilc). From last month.

‘Really exciting’: ‘Extinct’ animal spotted in state for second time in a century 9News (Kevin W). From last week, still newswothy

Elephant in the Room: Thailand’s National Animal Is Pushing Back against Habitat Loss DW

Humans Actually Have Secret Stripes And Other Strange Markings Science Alert (Chuck L)

Man ‘faked his death before arriving to his funeral in a helicopter to teach family a lesson’ Independent (resilc)

Hyperdimensional Computing Reimagines Artificial Intelligence Wired (Dr. Kevin)

Why it won’t be so easy for medicine to displace BMI STAT. See also New Tape Test: Here’s How the Army Is Measuring Body Fat Now (resilc)

Why are men seemingly always naked in ancient Greek art? aeon (Anthony L)


Panic and neglect; panic and neglect Your Local Epidemiologist (Kevin W). Important.


It isn’t arson: untangling climate misinformation around Canada’s raging wildfires The Narwhal (guurst)

Gas stations are leaking underground Grist (resilc). Not news. They are often Superfund sites.

Hosepipe ban 2023: The rules explained (furzy)


China Is Quickly Becoming The World’s Largest Refiner OilPrice

China gives green light to nuclear reactor that burns thorium – a fuel that could power the country for 20,000 years South China Morning Post

First on CNN: Janet Yellen tells top CEOs the US wants to work with China to tackle urgent global challenges CNN (Kevin W). Lordie, the arrogance and misdirection. Yellen is trying to position the US as a good guy v China with a supposedly private audience that does not have the ear of Chinese leadership. The Chinese have made clear they aren’t willing to talk (beyond the bare minimum) with the US, much the less collaborate, while the US is loudly depicting China as its top strategic threat that must be cut down to size and has been eyepoking ever since Biden took office, starting with being astonishingly abusive at a summit the US called in Alaska. China only voiced long-term aspirations (Xi’s target was 2049) for Taiwan reunification and started bristling militarily only fairly recently. Yes, China has been aggressive regarding using fake islands to advance its claims to the South China Sea. But we did nothing while China was chugging along with this program.

China’s Solution for a Growing Senior Care Crisis: Millions of Robots SixthTone (resilc)

European Disunion

Swiss capital city wants to test controlled sale of cocaine SWI. Resilc: “A play to bring in more i bankers?”

Ifo: Residential construction to shrink sharply in coming years Market Screener

New Not-So-Cold War

NATO must prepare for intervention to safeguard ZNPP Asia Times. Maxwell J:

A fun romp through the parallel universe of the neocons. It’s useful to know that people out there actually believe this stuff. Yikes.

US Sends F-22s to Mideast to Counter Russian Forces Acting ‘Unsafely’ in Syria Sputnik (guurst)

* * *

The New Atlas LIVE: Mark Sleboda Explains Ukraine’s Offensive as it Enters Week 3 YouTube. You can listen at 1.5x :-)

On The Failure Of The Ukrainian Counterattack Moon of Alabama

The next wave of the counteroffensive w/Scott Ritter (Live) YouTube. From earlier this week, but many of you may have been daunted by the length. Key sections are on the F-16 (starting at 1:21:50) which segues into the Patriot (at 1:27:00) and the hoped-for political end game in Ukraine (1:45:45).

* * *

Ukraine war: Putin confirms first nuclear weapons moved to Belarus BBC

Russian church mediates Ukraine prisoner release RT. Kevin W: “But with a twist.”

The Ukraine Lobby’s Latest Targets American Conservative (resilc)

High point of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum: Putin on stage Gilbert Doctorow (guurst)

Battle for Aluminum Stocks Is Draining LME of Non-Russian Metal Bloomberg (resilc)


Xi Jinping backs Palestine entry into Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as Beijing offers to Mediate Israeli-Palestinian Peace Juan Cole

‘Not even cats can survive’: Outrage after Israeli gunfire kills cat during West Bank raid New Arab

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amazon shuts down customer’s smart home devices after delivery driver’s false racism claim New York Post

Carnival uses marijuana detection dogs on some cruises WPTX (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fort Sill Commander Fired After Allegedly Violating Base Hunting Rules

Dreadnoughts and Virginias: why is Australia paying more than twice the price for submarines? MichaelWestMedia (guurst). Recall AUKUS is an anti-China deal. Here because US looting subject states. The question is why Australia plays ball.


A major lawsuit challenging Biden’s student-loan forgiveness might have just been undermined by a new ruling from conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett Business Insider (Kevin W)

Biden goes quiet on killing off the debt ceiling Politico (David R)

Wellie, now he can’t testify:

A bit late to this, so many of you have likely already seen this. The one bit that may give Team Biden some cheer is that the views are much lower than at comparable times for Tucker’s earlier talks….at a mere 25 million or so views.


Why federal prosecutors may have handed Trump a huge gift Politico. Yes, but he still needs some good lawyers to capitalize on it.

Prosecutors in Mar-a-Lago case want to keep evidence secret so it won’t compromise other ‘ongoing investigations’ Business Insider (resilc)

BIG: Halderman Report Reveals Georgia’s Dominion Voting Machines Can be Hacked, Votes Can Be Changed, Elections Can Be Altered! – SOS Raffensperger Hid the Report and Now Will Not Install Security Patches for 2024 Election Gateway Pundit (Chuck L). Note Gateway Pundit is hard core right wing but not of the cray cray sort:

Police State Watch

Singapore to put more police robots on the streets Bangkok Post (resilc)

The FBI Has Found A New Threat: “Pro-Abortion Terrorism” Intercept

The Binge Purge New York Magazine. Hubert Horan:

Very good overview of the TV streaming debacle and how it threatens to destroy much of the entertainment industry

Includes a very appropriate comparison with Uber, including the collective industry/media/Wall Street madness that caused everyone to abandon any interest in profitability while pursuing corporate valuation narratives based on the next big thing, while making it impossible to do anything to undo the damage even after the failure of the business model had become obvious

The Bezzle

Received by e-mail:

IM Doc commented:

This is what concerns me having had a baptism by fire in telemedicine the past few years.

There are so many subtle things a good clinician is trained to notice spontaneously. How someone acts, smells, talks, walks, breathes, laughs……it is one thing to do telemedicine on patients you have known for years. It would be downright negligent to do this on NEW patients completely unknown to you. And if you notice, that is literally all they are doing, one stranger after another. This is just beyond gonzo that this is being allowed.

Guillotine Watch

Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast is AXED by Spotify: Streaming platform and Sussexes ‘agree to part ways’ with royal pair ‘set to lose full payout due to low productivity’ Daily Mail

Pharma giant delays payment in $1.7B opioid settlement as deal risks falling apart New York Post (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

To fill offices, Google issues ultimatum while Salesforce tries charity Washington Post (Kevin W)

Here’s the note Reddit sent to moderators threatening them if they don’t reopen The Verge

Reddit’s golden geese foul up its IPO plans Reuters. Paul R: “I am not sure but it looks like the reddit blackout is screwing up the planned IPO. That delights me of course.”

Antidote du jour (LaRuse, whose candidate I embarrassingly missed years ago!):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Friends were in Cape Town a few months ago in a rental car on an on-ramp to a freeway when the passenger side window was smashed by a crowbar and a hand thrust inside and made off with the cell phone in the cradle attached to the front windshield. Kristina was a little cut up by flying shrapnel but more devastated from the experience.

    At least in our version of crystal not in frisco, the glazier’s whet dream is done while you aren’t in the vehicle.

    1. Sardonia

      Well, leaving $15,000 of cameras in plain sight in your back seat in San Francisco is just stupid. Would’ve been wiser to leave it on the hood with a sign saying “Take me – just don’t break my windows.”

      I’ve been through the usual progression here in SF. First had a window smashed and a leather jacket in the back seat stolen. Mental note “Do not leave anything valuable in my car.”

      Then I had a window smashed and someone stole a basketball in my back seat. Mental note “Do not leave ANYTHING in my car.”

      Then I had a window smashed and someone rooted through my center console to look for parking meter change. Mental note – “Tape note to all windows – ‘NOTHING INSIDE TO STEAL – BREAK INTO A TOURIST’S CAR INSTEAD”.

      Then I had a window smashed and when I poked my head inside I saw a dude sleeping and snoring in my back seat. Mental note “When my beater of a car finally breaks down, just start taking Ubers”

      The reason this fool had 911 hang up on him twice was probably because both times, the 911 operator couldn’t help but start laughing when he said “I had $15,000 of cameras in my back seat!!!”

      Thanks for visiting. Come again.

      1. Wukchumni

        If you’re going to San Francisco
        Be sure to roll down your windows there
        If you’re going to San Francisco
        You’re gonna meet some shattered people there

        For those who come to San Francisco
        Any old time will be a break-in there
        In the streets of San Francisco
        Shattered people with desperation of your rolling lair

        All across the nation
        Such a strange vibration
        People in motion
        There’s a whole generation
        With a new explanation
        People in motion
        People in motion

        For those who park in San Francisco
        Be sure to roll down your windows there
        If you come to San Francisco
        Any old time will be a break-in there

        If you come to San Francisco
        Any old time will be a break-in there

        San Francisco, by Scott McKenzie

        1. Sardonia

          Now I can hear Janis Joplin singing –

          “Break it!
          Break another little piece of my car now, Baby….”

            1. Sardonia

              “When the lights…go down…in the City
              Syringes floating on…the Bay
              We’ll see if my car is still there…in my City
              Oh Oh
              Oh Oh Oh.”

              (apologies to Journey)

          1. Steve H.

            TAKE IT!!


        2. Wukchumni


          Increasingly, official Cali state roadside historical markers made out of metal are being stolen, i’d guess 20 out of the last 30 i’ve seen are sans story, so the newer ones to replace them are made out of stone, and who steals that?

          Late stage capitalism is rot gut stuff.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            There’s a lot in that story, Wuk. History devoured for short term profits? Regression from the Bronze Age to the Neolithic?

          2. playon

            A local cemetery in a small mountain town about 30 miles from here has grave markers dating from early 1900s – a few of them had lovely black and white photographs of the deceased imprinted onto a ceramic circle set into the gravestones. The last time I visited I was shocked to see some of them had been chiseled off and stolen.

            1. Bugs

              Maybe the wolverines will team up with the orcas and go after these psychos. If they can enlist some eagles to the cause they’ll have full theater domination. Bring it on, baby.

      2. tevhatch

        Or the 911 worker has heard insurance fraud so many times they get tired of having their time wasted.

      3. Mildred Montana

        >”…leaving $15,000 of cameras in plain sight in your back seat in San Francisco is just stupid.”

        I thought the same thing and not just San Francisco. Everywhere. I have always put valuable things in the trunk (I know, the SUV in question didn’t have a trunk but that’s beside the point). Because how short a time the vehicle is left unattended (in this case 10-15 minutes) is not a factor. Thieves can strike in an instant. I once left an expensive bicycle unlocked outside a grocery store for all of a minute. I could even see it from inside the store. In the moment my head was turned to pay the clerk the bike was gone.

        There is a bright side to all this thievery though. Got something you need to get rid of? Old electronics, used motor-oil? Package them as gifts and leave them in your car in sight. Then open a window and, after the thieves have gotten their “booty”, leave the scene promptly to avoid retaliation.

      4. jax

        I lived in San Francisco for 15 years, but I’m originally from NYC. Back in the early 80′ during the age of removable radios, people were passing around an apocryphal story out of New York.

        ‘Guy with a beemer leaves a note on his dash reading “No radio.” Comes back 20 minutes later to find his windows smashed in and a note left on his seat reading “Get one”

      5. neutrino23

        It may happen a bit more in SF tourist areas, but it happens all over. I had a friend in Detroit who always took his battery out of his car at night. One night he was just too tired. In the morning the battery was gone. Lots of churches in Detroit had their rain gutters and roofing stolen as they were made of copper. Think also of the epidemic of catalytic converter thefts, porch pirates.

        1. Robert Gray

          It’s 20 years ago already that we visited some friends in Berkeley who lived on a nice, quiet side street. Parking up our newish-but-low-class rental car for the night, we were advised: ‘Don’t leave anything in the car and don’t lock the doors.’ (1) At first glance, the thieves can see that there’s nothing there but (2) if they decide to look more closely anyway, they won’t have to damage anything to get in. And then: these thieves are not the ones who steal cars whole and for those who do this particular make and model was completely uninteresting. The strategy worked.

          1. Late Introvert

            I lived in the Western Addition of SF, and had my car stolen. I got it back. Used one of those bike lock things on the steering wheel from then on. You never left anything in your car, even back in th 90s. Nothing new here.

      6. Glen

        It’s the creation of neo-corporate non-person hood. Everybody gets to be a CEO, break the law, and never go to jail.

        I’m surprised there is not an app being made by somebody in SillyCon Valley to be able to order what you want. I mean basically all these ultra libertarian job creators need is some venture capital and some mega corporate backing. I mean somebody has to FINALLY make the jump from scraping all the data to just taking EVERYTHING including the data. I mean, come on, Uber and Lyft basically made a whole business model on something thats pretty much illegal, and JP Morgan just pays a 10% fine, and considers that the cost of doing “business” every time they get caught.


        And yeah, I’ve had my car broken into too. But I have data stolen every day off my phone, and just got used to it.

    2. Eclair

      “The police have been defanged.”

      I have had stuff stolen from my car in Rochester, NY, in Seattle and in Huntington Beach, CA (twice). Over a time span of 50 years, and both times when I was stupid enough to leave valuables in full view. Or, in the Seattle incident, when I forgot to lock the car and my collection of quarters was on full view. I remember college friends telling me of the horrors of visiting Detroit and New York City, where car windows were smashed and radios ripped from the dashboard. Tells you how long ago that happened.

      The police have never been able to apprehend the perpetrators. They haven’t been recently ‘defanged.’ They have other priorities.

      1. Wukchumni

        I prefer to live vicariously through my inner Karl Malden, when it comes to the streets of SF.

          1. Wukchumni

            When I had a crappier car, I used to preempt panhandlers in parking lots by hitting them up for money first.

    3. ambrit

      Alas, this behaviour is near universal now. In New Orleans, just to the south of us, they are now having a series of murders of random people sitting in their cars. One was a woman sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store waiting for her child to arrive by School Bus, going home for the day. Another was an Uber driver carrying a fare. Yet another was a young woman on the on ramp to the Interstate. In all these cases, perpetrator and victim were strangers.
      We live in interesting times.

      1. Mildred Montana

        When it comes to serious crimes like murder for instance, published crime statistics are presumably accurate. But for the “small-potatoes” stuff, such as vandalism, thefts from vehicles, burglary, minor assaults, etc. I tend not to believe them.

        Police everywhere, disinclined to the burden of paperwork, will attempt to dissuade the complainant from reporting them. It happened to me, it happened to a friend of mine. No reports in either case.
        And this will be reflected in the stats.

    4. Cristobal

      Thank you Yves for your little note preceding the brief excerpt from Daniel Ellsberg´s book. I am afraid we will not see his equal for many years. What he said to Henry K seems to finally explain what has happened to our so-called western ¨leaders.¨

      1. JP

        Yes, the long comment under “First on CNN: Janet Yellen tells top CEOs the US wants to work with China to tackle urgent global challenges” puts in in perfect perspective.

    5. timbers

      I have never bought but functional boring cars and when they get a dent for any reason I let it be. Cars are purely functional to me and nothing but a liability and car insurance is a rip off. My ex was into cars (maybe one reason he still rents and may never own a house) and once commented I have nothing to worry about because a thief would look at my car and leave a donation feeling sorry for me.

      1. Wukchumni

        There are increasingly meager returns for old fashioned robberies, who carries all that much long green when there is a War On Cash ongoing, and only daring fiat infidels dare spread the wealth vis a vis what sure looks like socialism semolians to me.

    6. flora

      My college town/county’s new Dem District Attorney, who ousted in a primary the old Dem District Attorney, has stopped prosecuting serious crimes. Most residents are furious about this. The DA has decided which laws they will and will not enforce, openly stating they won’t enforce some laws. Not charging someone shooting at people? Not charging someone for felony theft, for felony assault, for what looks like attempted murder? Small businesses have a hard enough time trying to make a profit against the big box competition, but the DA won’t prosecute serious dollar shoplifting in small stores that can’t afford expensive anti-shoplifting infrastructures.

      It the the current DA runs again I’ll be voting against them. I may even have to for for the GOP candidate to avoid another SJW Dem candidate.

      1. flora

        The town fathers wonder why small businesses are folding and once vibrant areas are becoming dismal, wonder why larger stores are leaving and no new large stores are moving in. Wonder why people are moving away to nearby towns thus shrinking the local tax base.

        This is the complete reversal of just a few years ago. The 2008-2009 GCF and C19 can’t be blamed. Nearby towns aren’t having these problems.

        1. chris

          I look around where I live and realize that some of this is not far away.

          10 years ago, most of my neighbors didn’t lock their doors. Now we all do and there’s all the Ring and NextDoor grief that comes from people not trusting each other. The “car jacking” is still teens who are getting a joy ride. No one is hurt. And sometimes the object of the joy ride is a tractor. Which often gets parked in a high school parking lot. But you can kind of feel it changing. In the same way that you can see storm clouds on the horizon. Like there’s a dull type of staticy ozone smell hanging in the air. And I wonder when the people who are suffering in the other places will come find us and we won’t be protected from it all anymore. I also wonder whether it’s fair that we are insulated from it. We’ve had experiences where someone broke into a car and stole something, but the cops arrive file a report and help you. It’s still a big deal.

          When will the theft we take for granted in our finance sector will manifest where I live? When will my little corner of paradise succumb to the misery of places like SF? Or Baltimore. Or DC. Or Philly. Or Boston. Or LA. I wonder when all the trees and farm land around my home won’t protect me from the world anymore.

  2. Dan S

    Daniel Ellsberg’s “Doomsday Machine” should be required reading for all high school students. Now I’m old enough to know that “Dr. Strangelove” was more a documentary than a farce, but “Doomsday Machine” still had plenty of shocking information in it about the complete insanity of the U.S. nuclear war policy. That and nothing much has changed. We need to keep educating our current youngsters and future generations that it is all madness. May perpetual light shine upon you, Daniel Ellsberg.

    1. Screwball

      We need to keep educating our current youngsters and future generations that it is all madness.

      I know plenty of adults right now who also need educated. The blood lust for Putin/Russia is off the charts in some circles.

    2. Sardonia

      Long ago I read an interview with one of the US negotiators for a nuclear treaty with the Soviet Union. I have no idea if the story he told was true or just apocryphal, but it’s interesting:

      He said that during a break he started chatting with one of his Soviet counterparts and said, “So, just off the record, if I told you that the US had just disabled all of our nuclear weapons, in the hope that you guys would see the sanity of complete world disarmament, what would your response be?”

      His counterpart said “Well, first we would express how impressed and grateful you have been in taking such a courageous step!” Then he smiled and continued, “And then we would give you our list of demands.”

      Human Nature – it just is what it is…..

      1. hemeantwell

        There was/is a much more feasible alternative, GRIT, the Gradual Reduction in Tension strategy. One side unilaterally disposes of a small percentage of their weapons and waits to see if the other side will respond. If so, another round. If not, maybe wait and try again. Both then — 1962 — and now there’s so much nuclear warhead overstock there’s plenty of room to play around before you undermine your defenses against a recalcitrant opponent.

        1. hunkerdown

          The more parties in the nuclear oligopoly, the harder nuclear disarmament will become. Since nuclear weapons only serve to enforce the existence of the State dream against the will of the species, nobody who has invested in the dream really wants disarmament anyway.

          If anything, the Spirit of Westphalia would rather that power were distributed more evenly among its faithful sovereigns, if only that could be done without endangering Christian neoliberal capitalism’s “peace and security”.

          1. Kouros

            It would be like the Polish Seim in the 1700s, with the power of veto to everyone there. All those aristocrats (some bought by foreign powers) stomping their little feet and not able to decide on anything.

            One then doesn’t wonder why Poland disappeared from the political map for some hundred of years…

          2. witters

            “Human nature” is myth and disinformation.” And “the will of the species” is what?

        2. The Rev Kev

          It would also be a good way to close out older systems that are too expensive to maintain that may not be worth to in terms of effectiveness.

      2. Earl Erland

        Is this an example of the “trolling” nature of the Russian sense of humor mentioned in a comment earlier this week?

  3. Wukchumni

    Gas stations are leaking underground Grist (resilc). Not news. They are often Superfund sites.
    Gas stations were once all over the place, it wasn’t uncommon in LA for intersections with traffic lights to have 2 and sometimes 3 on the corners, as they were also service stations and could fix your car-which were much more prone to breaking down then. We had 2 gas stations in Mineral King until the 1960’s, to give you an idea.

    They excavated a single-wall tank last summer under what is now the trailhead parking lot (also known as the Disney parking lot as they own the property) for Eagle Lake & the Mosquito Lakes…which miraculously didn’t leak in the past 70 years or so.

    {road interlude}

    In another miracle, Mineral King road has been fixed enough to allow careful passage for cabin owners to get to their perches, and i’ve been fretting over Yogi & Boo-Boo breaking & entering, so now I can stop fretting at the very least.

    In Sequoia NP @ Lodgepole right next to the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River is a large ex-service station that had around 10 pumps and 6 to 8 service bays, and it has been closed since at least the turn of the century and is instead now the nexus for the fleet of shuttle busses that whisk you here and there.

    Like most all gas stations it’s age, the tanks were single wall-and the decision to close it down and do nothing a lot cheaper than remediation, which is the usual course of action-avoiding the financial hit, as there are a few ex-service station properties here in Tiny Town which also have single-wall gas tanks underfoot, let sleeping bogs lye.

    I say we continue with the charade and declare them all Superfun sites, where you can play pick-up pickleball games on empty lots that can’t be sold.

    1. Carolinian

      Congratulations on cabin. Hope it’s not an Indiana Jones thing with swinging bridges and the like.

      And leaking gas station tanks had to do with the fact that our gas now has ethanol.

      Gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol began a decades-long growth in the United States in the late 1970s. The demand for ethanol produced from field corn was spurred by the discovery that methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was contaminating groundwater.[24][27] MTBE’s use as an oxygenate additive was widespread due to mandates in the Clean Air Act amendments of 1992 to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. MTBE in gasoline had been banned in almost 20 states by 2006. Suppliers were concerned about potential litigation and a 2005 court decision denying legal protection for MTBE.[citation needed] MTBE’s fall from grace opened a new market for ethanol, its primary substitute.[24] Corn prices at the time were around US$2 a bushel.[citation needed] Farmers saw a new market and increased production. This demand shift took place at a time when oil prices were rising.

      The switch was controversial at the time.

    2. jefemt

      The American Socialism Oppo– that is a poop, turned inside out….

      Privatize the operational profits, Socialize the clean-up costs.

      I have done a lot of “P L P” (potentially liable party) chain of title research projects that theoretically are to lay out who may be potentially liable for contamination, and therefore add more pockets to access to cover cleanup costs. Never have seen any follow-through on any.
      I assume— cynicism driving my thought-process and world-view— that there is no there, there: the pockets are empty, the corporations dissolved, and the owners/ shareholders sunning comfortably on golf courses and cold-water blue trout streams in various Private Idaho’s around the world.
      No bustle to produce checkbooks and/or wire funds for cleanup.

      Lookit Musk trash space and the earth.

      We really don’t deserve this beautiful earth.

    3. ambrit

      One of my Dystopian Hobby Horses is the issue of all those underground fuel tanks that get covered by sea level rise. They will have to be excavated and remediated or the immediate ecosystems will be toxic graveyards for generations. Another extant series of subaqueous time bombs waiting to go off are the shipwrecks containing chemicals and refined oil products. Cousteau had a television episode where the Calypso crew had to dive and recover drums of tetra ethyl lead, used in gasoline back then, from a freighter torpedoed in the Mediterranian Sea south of Italy in WW-2. That particular chemical is about as toxic as it gets.
      [Note: In trying to Google “Calypso voyage to recover tetraethyl lead cargo sunk in WW-2” I got back one or two hits on RV Calypso, history of, and then two pages of literal junk. It looks like the ‘silo’ I am to be confined to is really an outhouse.]
      Note to self: Think up plot for work on accelerated evolution of “creatures” undersea from exposure to sunk chemicals. Documentary, Horror film, SciFi film, Eco-Drama film, all of the above?

    4. Watt4Bob

      IIRC, some decades ago, the industry convinced governments to hold the present owner responsible for underground pollution on their property, not the past owner who polluted it.

      This, with the stroke of a pen, absolved the oil industry, which up to that point held responsibility for thousands of polluted gas station sites that it had owned.

      Now there are thousands of these sights whose present owners are stuck with property that they can’t sell because of that liability.

      1. jhallc

        For the last 35 years in Massachusetts you can’t get a bank to loan money for a commercial property purchase without an environmental asessment being done first. If you pay cash it’s buyer beware.

        1. Laura in So Cal

          When my former employer closed an auxiliary machine shop that had been operating since the 1950’s and sold the property, they had to establish a large escrow type account to cover potential future environmental remediation as a condition of the sale. It sat there on the books as a reserve. This was in Southern California.

      2. Cristobal

        Years ago, a neighbor came into posesión of a small wildcat. Somehow he stuffed It into a suitcase and left It on the sidewalk in front of the old Charlestón SC bus station. A Buick Electra 225 pulled Up, the suitcase disapeared, and before the car got to the end of the block . . . .

    5. John Zelnicker

      When I was growing up in Mobile in the 50’s and 60’s there were six gas stations on the four corners of the major intersection a block away from my house. Now there is one, and it’s still owned by the same family. The other corners now have two banks and a CVS. There was a gas price war in the late 60’s when prices got down to $0.19 per gallon. I suspect that was one cause of some of those stations closing.

      I don’t know if there was any leakage or remediation on those properties as all the changes happened while I lived elsewhere.

  4. Lexx

    ‘Antidote du jour’

    I Googled ‘moths that look like owls’… there were a lot of images of moths/butterflies that look like owls in response, too many to paste here… if you too are curious.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that reminds me.
      when we first moved into this house, it had been pretty open to the outside for months…and frogs had moved in(among other things).
      one particular species of frog liked the shower a lot. tree frog…real small, with sticky feet, apparently…cheep cheep all night.
      weird thing was it looked exactly like the head of a rattlesnake.
      i couldn’t find it on line…so i called the state herpetologist(who also handles amphibians) at A&M.
      he had never heard of such a creature…wanted pictures.
      so i took wife’s fone(i still had a flipfone) and searched around….but they were all gone…run off somewhere.
      havent seen one since.

      1. Lexx

        Did it feel a bit like the ‘extinct animal’ story above? There you were the only witness and poof… you were ghosted.

        I’m puzzled by those stories. We’re to assume since a wolverine has been spotted and it roams over a wide range, there must be enough of them to keep the gene pool going. Somehow a pair find each other… I’m going to go with by smell here… and mate, resulting in little wolvies and so on. Had they been spotted before but no one knew what they were looking at? Did some agency cry ‘extinct wolverine’ too soon?

        I ran into my neighbor across the street at the grocery store on Thursday. I had to work to get her attention. Her daughter noticed and helped me out; I was 10 feet away. She wasn’t ignoring me, it’s just that she doesn’t usually see anyone she knows while shopping, thus blinded by her expectations… ain’t that the way?

        1. ambrit

          I’ve told the story before, but when I worked for the surveyor in St Tammany Parish in Louisiana, we one day out in the woods spotted what we thought was a hog, rooting about in the litter of a creek bottomland. Being used to the work, we all went armed for cases like this. (Feral pigs are very dangerous.) The creature must have noticed us because it stood up on it’s hind legs and turned towards us. It was a five foot tall black bear.
          When we got back to the office, we called the State University up and tried to report it. We thought that bears were scarce in our ‘neck of the woods.’ We were excoriated for being all sorts of drunks, drugged up fools, etc. Everyone knew that Black Bears had gone extinct in the Southeast of the state by 1920. We were tripping was the official response. Two or three years later, a more “reputable” person sighted a Black Bear in the same general neighborhood as we had sighted our “bear.” That made the local papers.
          Moral of the story: don’t report anything “unusual” unless you are well connected with the local power structure.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “The next wave of the counteroffensive w/Scott Ritter (Live)”

    Scott Ritter was actually being mild with his criticisms of the Patriot missile system here. Saw another video where he talked about them in more depth and the implication was that they are high-priced junk that don’t work. The first unit that used them in the Gulf war all got medals, even though it didn’t work but the Pentagon needed the good publicity. The Patriot missiles may be more dangerous when they fall than the missiles that they are attempting to shoot down and the Saudis can’t be happy about theirs. In one video clip I saw of them being used to intercept Houthi missiles, one went wild and almost looped back and they certainly never stopped the attack against the Saudi oil facilities a coupla years ago. That system has been sold to about 15 countries and I bet they they realize by now that they have paid top dollar for a lemon.

    1. OnceWere

      Didn’t you hear that just yesterday Ukraine shot down 6 more Kinzhals during the African leaders’ visit to Kiev ? Surely it could be nothing else but the mighty Patriot in action.

      1. tevhatch

        The Daily Debrief by Peoples Dispatch yesterday had a quip by one of the African leaders about how they observed Kiev residents going about their daily life unperturbed while they were hustled into and out of the shelters. Being diplomats they left the obvious unsaid.

        1. digi_owl

          There was a tweet posted yesterday as well, from what was supposedly the spokesperson of the South African President, claiming they heard neither sirens nor explosions for the duration of the stay in Kiev.

      2. hk

        I’m surprised that Ukrainians have not yet started accusing the Russians of using the Patriots as surface to surface missiles.

    2. tevhatch

      but the Pentagon (brass) needed the good publicity (so they could buy more and retire rich). In the end, the I in MIC needed the good publicity, all else follows. Just like sometimes the MIC needs bad news to scare up more money.

  6. Louiedog14

    Tucker’s Vid:

    So in Episode 3, he argues that the neocons/Blob/Deep State are taking out Trump because he called them liars. In essence, that Trump appeals to a power base outside of the Beltway. Therefore, HE’S a potential dictator.

    But in Episode 4, he says Biden, who is as Blobby as you can get, is the potential dictator.

    So which is it?

    I’d say it’s pretty clear that if you are unwilling to be malleable to the Blob’s wishes, they will take you out. It does not serve the Blob’s interests to have a dictator, even if they are malleable. Much better to uphold the illusion of a free and fair society.

    And this is the problem with Carlson. From one episode to the next he makes completely contradictory arguments. I don’t think he’s stupid, and that makes him a charlatan.

    1. deedee

      Great points. Tucker doesn’t let things like consistency get in the way of good old fashioned histrionics.

      1. KD

        To play Devil’s Advocate:

        In essence, that Trump appeals to a power base outside of the Beltway.

        In other word’s Trump’s power is based in the sovereign Will of the People, the Demos, so rule by Trump would be Rule-By-The-Demos, or Democracy if you want to go Greek. Tucker is calling Biden a dictator, as in the concrete opponent of the Demos, and the enemy of the People.

        On one level, I agree that the unitary leader of the People amounts to the same as the unitary leader of the oligarchy and the Deep State–these are forms of dictatorship. Technically, the proper word that the Right-wing critics of Biden should be using is Tyrant. However, post-WWII, the term dictator has been used as synonymous with tyrant (while at the same time, people acknowledge “enlightened despotism” which suggests a distinction between a unified decision-making apparatus and whether that apparatus is perceived as legitimate or not).

        “Imperator” means “Commander,” in the sense of Commander of an Army. In Rome, the Emperor, or “Imperator,” was the “Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.” Under the American Constitution, the American President is technically a dictator (subject to Checks and Balances, but so were Roman Dictators in the time of the Republic).

        Whichever partisan side you fall on, its clear that the American Republic is slouching toward the return of a Sulla with powers of proscription.

    2. GC54

      It is possible to have serial dictators. We can look forward to “presidents” who last only a few months before being retired by the loyal Praetorian guards.

          1. ambrit

            And here I was thinking that you were referring to Bush and Cheney or Bill and Hillary.

    3. Aaron

      Agreed. There is little consistent theorist foundation to his commentary. He is very good at saying what sounds good.

    4. tevhatch

      I can think of a lot worse things that Tucker Carlson is than a charlatan, after all a charade has to have some truth to it, or it isn’t a charade. Can you do better?

      As to Dictator Trump vs Dictator Biden, Do you realize you imply that establishing a dictatorship does not involve power struggles among potential rulers, so there is a dichotomy. That’s an ahistorical assumption.

    5. Carolinian

      Trump appeals to a power base outside of the Beltway. Therefore, HE’S a potential dictator.

      I think that’s what you’re saying (and Maddow etc), not Carlson–the dreaded dictatorship of the proletariat.

      I don’t watch Fox–can’t even get it–or mess with Twitter but I did get his book out of the library and used to watch him years ago when he was with that conservative mag and appeared on cable. He’s taking rhetorical stances but then isn’t that what we are all doing here in comments? To get even a little truth in the current environment is obviously appealing to oh, say, 25 million which is hardly chicken feed audience wise. Since I live among the masses I seem to find them a lot less scary than some. Having someone like Carlson is a good thing IMO. Trying to shut him, or anyone, up is a bad thing.

      1. Louiedog14

        It’s my fault for not being clear enough. The Blob rules. In the Blob’s view, Trump is a threat. Biden is the Blob’s muppet. Biden didn’t try to take out Trump, the Blob did.

        So, in episode 3: The Blob controls the Presidency (IMO correct).

        Episode 4: The Presidency controls the Blob.

        Both can’t be true, ergo Carlson’s a charlatan. But that doesn’t mean that I either want a) Carlson deplatformed or b) Trump or his voters deplatformed.

        The bigger point of course, is that the Blob is an oligarchy (which smacks too much of Russia Russia Russia) and so the whole idea of a dictator, or as KD pointed out, properly a tyrant, is not really on the table now.

        1. Carolinian

          This is all very reductive and there’s ongoing debate around here whether the “deep state” even exists. “Blob” was Obama’s term for a DC deep state that he supposedly wasn’t a part of.

          But if we are talking about Carlson he’s saying that a kind of deep state does exists and was determined to sideline Trump for non compliance and–separately–saying that Biden controls the Justice Department and has his own personal reasons for doing what he does. He is after all president and is only controlled by others to the extent he wants to be. I suspect, as I say elsewhere, that many in that Blob if it exists think the Trump indictment was a big mistake just as Hersh claims the CIA division of Blob thought Nordstream was a big mistake. Even now Russians are saying they feel justified in taking out US undersea communications cables if things escalate.

          So yes both can be true. Polls show Dem voter support for Biden and especially his re-election bid to be anemic. But they really really hate Trump. The Blob–whatever it is–and Biden are not necessarily the same.

        2. ambrit

          The problem with your theory of the American Oligarchy is that Tyrants pop up with alarming frequency in history. The recent Austrian corporal is an example. When he started out, he was backed by various Western Oligarchs as a bulwark against the Dreaded Soviets. Later, he turned the tables on the Oligarchs and assumed sole power. One fatal weakness of any Elite is that it eventually begins to believe it’s own propaganda. This leads to poor decision making and sooner or later replacement.
          Cincinnati was named after the Roman Founding Father of Cincinnatus, who, after leading the Army of Rome to victory, during which time he was appointed full dictatorial powers so as to prosecute the war. He voluntarily gave those powers up with the ending of the war. George Washington cited that example as a reason for his declining the proffer of ‘help’ if he wanted to become America’s first King. There was a window of opportunity there where Washington could have become the American Autocrat.
          Compare the Politicos we have today to the group that ran the politics of that bygone age.
          Then let logic do the rest.
          Stay safe. Stay Free(TM).

          1. JBird4049

            We often had politicians in the past who had at some trace of statesmanship while the current bunch are almost all ambitious, shallow people on the make, regular grifters, or just fools. That does not mean that past politicians could not have strong vices and weaknesses, including corruption, but they also thought of things other than themselves like their country.

            Just at the founders of the Republic. Most of them had serious, serious flaws and yet, their writings and actions show our current leaders to be children. Bad children.

        3. ArvidMartensen

          US governance, for want of a better word. Is probably more of a battle between the people who lie, steal and cheat with impunity (CIA etc) vs the people who collectively own just about everything on this planet.

          The billionaires have their money as weapons, because money buys influence and governments, and reputation in the form of philanthropy (to cause amnesia of all the dirty deals).

          The secret service/law enforcement apparatus are outside the law so can lie, cheat, steal, kill, kidnap and bribe and incriminate with impunity. They can ruin anybody’s reputation or kill them at will, including billionaires, their paid for government officials, police etc etc.

          Because they have to coexist, both sides are constantly working out how to use the other side to become stronger while also plotting to defang the power of the other side.

          Biden and the Democrats do the running for one side, the secret services. Trump represents more of the other side.

          Almost everything we see or read about in the approved press is pushing the barrow for one side or the other. The problem is that the secret service side has now become so strong that they are edging into autocracy. They seem to be feeling untouchable and are acting accordingly. And they can rig elections through the narrative and also through voting so not sure how this is going to be stopped.

    6. Insouciant Iowan

      Could be that Carlson is saying that either way the ’24 election goes prospects for a dictatorial regime are high. The unity of the duopoly is well documented.

      1. JBird4049

        To somewhat oversimplified it, there are at least two separate factions in the Uniparty fighting over power. A faction consisting of the Democratic Party joined by the old line Republican conservatives against the faction that has coalesced around Donald Trump plus the Christian Nationalists, which include Mike Pence, who are jockeying between the two.

        This can also be seen in the Soviet Union and Russian Revolution, the American Revolution and the British Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Chinese Revolution, and many other great events, which all have competing factions both between the major ones and the smaller ones within them. It is normal to want to make a story or event to be simpler, but usually the closer you look at some historical event, the more complex it becomes, and the United States today, is the same.

        This means that Tucker Carlson can create more than two stories with all being true at the same time.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Russians now have the best army in the world – former Trump adviser, US Army Colonel Douglas McGregor”

    I suppose that is quite true. Certainly this war is stripping away the illusions of what works and what does not. As an example, we have been hearing about the German Leopard 2 tanks for months now and how great they are. The other day I remembered a brief video clip of a Russian soldier in a ATGM team saying that when the German Leopard 2 get to the Ukraine, that they will burn too – and he was right. But what surprised me was what happened when the Russians started to examine these tanks and what they revealed-

    This must be why the Germans are claiming that these are not really German Leopard2 tanks but Ukrainian Leopard 2 tanks. Big difference. And this is just one example. The Ukrainians have been caustic in their criticisms of other western weapons systems and they are right. I saw one video of a Canadian ‘Senator’ armoured vehicle where the front wheels just broke off. But at the end of the day, here is the one weapons system that the Russians are most heavily relying on-

    1. Polar Socialist

      That latter video reminded me of the observation I did some time ago about this war: the prevalence of the 80’s type military kit vs the modern – soldiers are not carrying that much stuff and they like to place it on the hips/sides rather than on their chest.

      I guess it’s due to the nature of the fighting – people want to be able to lie as flat as possible during a barrage while not really having the need to dismount quickly from cramped vehicles.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’d agree with your observation and it has been true for a very long time. Back during the Vietnam war a bunch of new reporters arrived in-country and were socializing with the famed reporter Tim Page. One worked up the courage to ask him what they should know how to do before going out into the field. He stared away for a moment and then said hitting the ground as quick as you can and advised practicing it. That sounded like good advice to me.

        For those readers who would like to see the American equivalent of that soldier’s load out-

        1. tevhatch

          Body armor already adds a hump, a bag on top is just too much.
          You’ll still see expeditionary grunts (ie: Americans) with big back-packs when they are air-lifted into theater, but these days the sleeping kit, mess kit, etc are humped by motorized transport or stored at the local base camp/detainee torture center. Patrols usually don’t stay out over night.

          Anything on your back is poorly accessible, and not useful in a ground hugging dirt fight. However in the old days when USA use to fight conventional war, even if somewhat limited in Vietnam and Korea, it did have the advantage in pre-body amour days of providing some protection to body organs from shrapnel when face down and trying to shovel a fox hole without looking up.

          1. digi_owl

            I seem to recall reading that those packs may have a quick release, so that when shooting starts the soldier can pop a couple clips and have the pack drop to the ground.

            1. The Rev Kev

              If I was in a war zone, I’d pop those clips but would be on the ground before the pack would get there. :)

    2. digi_owl

      As i understand it, it is common for tanks to be thinly armored on top. But 20mm may be pushing it.

      Overall this is done to save weight, with the idea that the driver will try to keep the front pointing towards the enemy.

      This has also lead to the development of anti-tank weapons where the projectile do not go for a direct hit, but instead fly above the tank and detonate.

    3. timbers

      But Mark Milley told us the 500+ vehicles Russia destroyed were really just 5 that were video’d at 100 different angles.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Mark Milley also said Russia’s military is in a state of disarray, with incoherent leadership and low morale among troops, while “they’re sitting in defensive positions” but Milley always was a political general that will only say what pleases his political masters.

        1. CarlH

          In my experience, all generals are political. It is impossible to climb the higher officer ranks without a driving political ambition, with the good generals balancing this drive with competency and sometimes a care for their soldiers. This applies to the Army when I was in at least, and from what I have gathered since, this trend has only become more extreme, with the aforementioned “good generals” becoming rare. I get a sense that today’s generals are political animals first and foremost.

  8. KD

    The Ukraine Lobby’s Latest Targets American Conservative

    Before I break out my tricorn hat, can I say how sick I am of reading George Washington’s Farewell Address. Not because what Washington said was untrue, or not prudent, or even because the security issues and capabilities of America in 1796 have inexorably and radically changed.

    Foreign policy in Washington is driven by ethnic lobbies and profits for defense contractors, with some Crusader jingoism on the side. There are reasons why this is the case, political reasons, economic reasons, but whatever the cause, quoting some chestnuts from Washington’s Farewell isn’t going to right the ship of state. America has no national interests anymore, its leadership class is blind and dumb and lead by the hand by a bunch of lobbyists pursuing their own narrow agendas, and this system is institutionally entrenched and self-perpetuating. Yes, it is inexorably going to crash in flames, but American power was built up over the course of 2 1/2 centuries, and its a long glide down (and very profitable for some).

    The question is what institutional changes would make it possible for America to have decision-makers able and willing to pursue a strategically sound foreign policy, and how to practically put those changes into effect. Until that is i.) articulated, and ii.) implemented, its just a clanging gong. Certainly, voting won’t do it, because the problem is the incentives created in the existing institutions, and voting in new faces doesn’t change the political incentive system. Look at the “Squad” to see what happens.

    1. ambrit

      The surest way to have saner policies implemented in Washington is to have a credible rival power appear on the World Stage. That is happening as we speak.
      Some historiians state that the worst thing that happened to the Roman Republic was that it overwhelmingly won the Punic Wars. With no credible rivals in the Mediterranean basin to test and toughen their institutions, Rome slid into sloth and indolence. America has done similar in the period after WW-2.
      New rivals for power could be the remaking of us.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      I agree with you, even though I like GW’s warning (and Ike’s too).

      Regretfully, I think USA foreign policy will change only after it has suffered a catastrophic military defeat. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, A-stan: these were minor speed bumps. My definition of a catastrophic military defeat is losing 3 aircraft carriers in one afternoon, 300 front-line air force jets in one week, and having its two best divisions (say, the 82nd airborne and the 1st marine) cut off and isolated (due to unsustainably long supply lines) and forced into surrender (with the troops being held in POW camps somewhere in Asia). Combined with galloping inflation, a growing foreign refusal to accept the USD as valid currency, and an overall decline in USA cultural and economic influence worldwide.

      But one such defeat might not be enough. It took two such defeats to change Germany’s weltanschauung. So the 21st century might be quite the wild ride.

    3. hk

      There is a genuine context to Washington’s Farewell Address that people seem to forget: the French Revolutionary Wars and the eagerness of many people, like Thomas Jefferson, to grab on to some crisis and start a war, and they did eventually get to start a war–the one in which “Canadians” sailed up the Potomac and burned Washington DC. While the situation may have changed, many of the same factors–arrogant overconfidence in American military might and moral superiority, among others, remain.

  9. Wukchumni

    Fear & Camping @ Hume Lake, or how I learned to love the lord’s lackeys…

    You can’t really hardly get anywhere in the southern Sierra this year (we saw lots of snow along the way @ 6,500 to 7,500 feet) as many road sections were wrecked and some main arteries have been fixed, but much work needs to be done still.

    We could snag a car camping spot @ Hume Lake @ 5,200 feet for a 3 day tour-a 3 day tour, which was about as good as it got in regards to getting closer to God (a mile drive away from the campground), which is what Hume Lake Christian Camp is all about, as in Jesus 60/60/24/7/12/365. A sign proclaimed ‘GOD IS’ to give you an idea, these are heavy heavenly hitters, kinda perfect looking progeny of Stepford Wives perhaps are all the predominantly predictably white teenagers of the prosperity gospel, saw 4 black teenagers and the odd Asian, probably all home skewed.

    They go to chapel every morning and eat at what is called the ‘dining grounds’ and regular Joe pantheist types and/or the public are allowed to chow down with them, including a sermon on the p/a just to make sure you got enough dose of the big fellow. Lots of gaudy deity inspirational stuff on the walls, and a stand with flashy photos & brochures for the Joshua Wilderness Institute which will whisk you away for 9 months during your gap-year, to 3 locations in the US, one in the Dominican Republic and Israel!

    The poster of upcoming visiting practicing dogma trysts was a who’s who of righty-tighty-gawdalmighty evang pastors, and there we were in their very midst, if not breaking bread with them, at least breaking up the domination of dominionism if only by our 45 or so year gap in age and belief system for 45 minutes.

    They’re all odd history majors to me, only interested in a scintilla of time & space once upon an earth.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      My husband was camping in the Piute Mountains in the Sequoia National Forest last weekend. This Is north of highway 58 and south of highway 178. They were at 6500 ft. and there was no snow anymore, but the dirt roads are thrashed. They’ve never been good and the access for any kind of trailer etc has always been “iffy”. My husband 4×4 truck came home covered in mud (from rain and hail on Sunday) and his gear inside his camper was totally tossed around from all the bouncing and rocking the truck did due to the ruts and wash outs.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast is AXED by Spotify: Streaming platform and Sussexes ‘agree to part ways’ with royal pair ‘set to lose full payout due to low productivity'”

    The following day the Daily Mail featured another story with the title “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are called ‘f*****g grifters’ by Spotify exec Bill Simmons after their $20M Archetypes podcast is axed” A Spotify exec said ‘The f***ing grifters. That’s the podcast we should have launched with them,’ he said. ‘I’ve got to get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It’s one of my best stories.’ He also said-

    ‘I’m so tired of this guy. What does he bring to the table? He just whines about s*** and keeps giving interviews.

    ‘Who gives a s***? Who cares about your life?

    ‘You weren’t even the favorite son. You live in f****** Montecito and you just sell documentaries and podcasts and nobody cares what you have to say about anything unless you talk about the royal family and you just complain about them.’

    Not a fan obviously.

    1. Sardonia

      Poor Harry and Meghan. Down on their luck, eh?

      Won’t be long before we can find them in a homeless encampment in Santa Monica – Harry nodding out while Meghan is searching for a virgin spot between her toes where she can jab in her next heroin fix.

    2. Pat

      I can’t wait to find out how they try to play this as being victims rather than entitled, lazy and boring.

    3. flora

      Meghan Markle : A social climber even less aware than Wallace Simpson’s understanding of the importance of accepted social dignity. / ;) (Poor Harry, but he made his choice.)

      1. ambrit

        Markle seems to be a classic case of that sub-species of Terran human that the Upper Crust dismissingly referred to as “an actress.” Given what is her supposed level of technical competence in her former field of endeavour, perhaps the word “chorine” would be more appropriate.

        1. flora

          Ah, a chorus dancer.
          I am no fan of or apologetic for ye olde upper crusty social strictures for history’s sake. Yet even so, I think said violations are sometimes necessary for the greater social good, but are far too often simply individual egoism for no wider social good. Flaunting the crown for personal ambition seems like, well, egotism without any wider social importance. / my two cents

          1. flora

            adding: as a USian I have no truck with the crown. My comment is entirely about social cohesion and the requirements for the same.

        2. Pat

          Only in a second rate burlesque, true chorines would have more training and skills than Markle and more self awareness.
          (For giggles go check out her view from the heights rewrite of being a suitcase girl on Deal or No Deal. )

  11. Will

    re China and elder care robots

    If it were only so easy. The article cites Japan as a country where robots are widely used. It’s not true. A small percentage of facilities are using robots and they’re not helping. Arguably make things worse as the staff has to spend time taking care of the machines instead of residents. Which may offer the “solution” of hiring more low paid robot care workers at the expense of fewer health care workers.

    An article from earlier this year describing the Japanese experience.

    The author has also written a book about his research and he talked about it on the Tech Won’t Save Us podcast a few months ago.

    1. tevhatch

      Most Elderly Care in Japan is small and local, and often in high-rise buildings. I can’t imagine the economics are good for the case, but robotics in another 10-20 years will look nothing like today.

  12. OnceWere

    Hamish de Bottom-Gordon, he of the “British-made tanks are going to sweep Russian conscripts aside” returns to the Telegraph today with “The incompetence of Putin’s generals is a war crime in itself”. Interesting segue. Methinks thou dost protest too much, and that thou art butthurt that the Russian generals’ defensive plans made your article the target of much ridicule.

      1. OnceWere

        Did the Archangel Gabriel appear before Simon Tisdall with a new Revelation because he seems to genuinely believe that Russia vs Ukraine is the Manichaean final struggle of good against evil. If NATO doesn’t declare war against Russia soon I’m afraid he might douse himself with petrol and self-immolate on the steps of the Russian embassy in London.

        1. Retired Carpenter

          re:”I’m afraid he might douse himself with petrol and self-immolate on the steps of the Russian embassy in London
          May God hear what you have written!

          1. OnceWere

            I would never wish harm upon the mentally ill. Though those determined to force a nuclear showdown over the inviolable territorial integrity of a country that is younger than I am probably should get a timeout in the quiet room.

        2. hk

          It may well be that Manichean final struggle, but can Tisdall be sure that the angel that spoke to him was Gabriel and not the other one, with a name starting with a L?

      2. R.S.

        > Here is one of Simon’s latest pieces…

        Sorry to ask, but is the man mental?

        Set aside Ukraine’s post-2014 agony for a moment. Russia’s violent, destabilising and predatory behaviour in Georgia, Chechnya, Kosovo and the Balkans, Moldova, the Baltic republics, Syria, Libya and the Sahel follows an aggressive pattern set by Putin since 2000. It includes concerted efforts to divide Europe’s democracies, bolster authoritarian regimes such as Iran and manipulate US elections.

        In Kosovo? Moldova? The Baltics? Libya, FFS? What is he even talking about?

    1. Stephen

      De Breton Gordon is incorrigible. So many ex British Army officers who think that fighting Iraq with total air dominance against a foe with outdated weapons somehow means they understand the situation in Ukraine.

      This video from yesterday by Indian ex General GD Bakshi seems very accurate. He fought in the 1971 Indo Pakistan War and seems to know what he is talking about. Gist is similar to Colonel MacGregor.

      Major General Bakshi also looks the very model of a modern Major General as well, to quote Gilbert and Sullivan’s parody of General Wolseley.

      1. Stephen

        He does have a clear view that India should mediate, which clearly goes beyond the scope of comments by analysts such as MacGregor.

        On that point, I tend to agree with earlier NC comments though that mediation by anyone (China, India, African leaders…) seems a physical impossibility. That is given the lack of a consistent negotiation range and 100% US and EU / UK vassal intransigence plus general agreement implementation incapability.

        Perhaps that will change in the next months but am not holding my breath.

    2. hunkerdown

      Forget the articles; when are we going to treat capitalist theology of “leadership” as a contagious mental illness and start confining its lay ministers incommunicado for the good of the human species?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just more trash talk as he knows that there is no way that NATO can send a force that far into the Ukraine much less keep it supplied. The guy that wrote it is Peter K. Semler and is the chief executive editor and founder of Capitol Intelligence. When I looked for this organization online, I found that that title had been shortened. The full title is, and I kid you not, is ‘Capitol Intelligence Group – Turning Swords into Equity’

      1. Sibiriak

        TRK: Just more trash talk…

        Yeah, I’ve read a lot of stuff completely divorced from reality–nothing surprises me–but thing about this piece is that it devolves into complete incoherence. I mean, how do these four paragraphs fit together at all, putting aside their individual ridiculousness?

        “The destruction of the Kakhovka dam, built in the Soviet times to transform Crimea into an agricultural economy, means that Russia no longer believes it will be able to defend the area it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

        Chinese President Xi Jinping has signaled over the past weeks to the West and others that it no longer backs Russia’s lost-cause war in Ukraine and that China’s national interest lies in the strength and stability of international markets.

        One prominent anti-Ukraine voice that has been removed is Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, albeit for losing Fox owner Rupert Murdoch nearly US$800 million to settle a defamation brought by the Canadian-owned Dominion Voting Systems. .

        US Marine Corps Brigadier-General Mark Clingan at the Pentagon is studying Ukraine’s success in decentralized combat units and logistics for future US warfare.”

      2. Anon

        I read the news to divine their intentions; NATO forces are already fighting in Ukraine, and formally acknowledging their presence (or sending more) would not be revelatory. What is disturbing is the openly stated goals of regime change, combined with the framing of a resounding Russian defeat as desperate motive for them to cause a nuclear disaster on their doorstep.

        The spin doctors are working overtime on this one, it is impressive how they turn each loss into a false-fl… victory. The irony that the Soviet Union had already proven Russia can lose gracefully, yet here we are saying they will blow up their own pipelines, and poison their own land out of spite… I expect, that if the ZNPP goes up, there will be hell to pay; everything will be red, and there will be no more lines. May our propaganda save us.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I enjoyed the bit about how Putin would probably be willing to surrender, as long as it was to the manly might of the US military and not those limp-dicked Ukrainians.

    2. timbers

      Am I the only one who takes serious the West will bomb the nuclear plant out of spite and say Russia did it? No reverse gear.

      1. digi_owl

        Or provide Ukraine with some dirty artillery shells, so they can get the IAEA to claim some kind of emergency over a suspected leak?

        1. ambrit

          Then, how many nuclear energy reactor sites are there in the West? Fair game now?
          On the nuclear first strike map amfortas put up some days ago, I noticed that the Grand Gulf atomic power station, situated in the middle of the western edge of the border of the State of Mississippi, and adjacent to the Mississippi River was shown as a first strike target. Luckily, we are not in the fallout zone for that facility. The Camp Shelby facility, ten miles to our south, also a first strike target, leaves us in the northern edge of that fallout zone.
          I’m wondering if, the Russians not being fools, they might plan for the Occupation by using several EMP blasts over America to disable the American electric and electronic grids, Then they or their proxies can leisurely come into America and ‘pick up the pieces.’
          Musical interlude: Average White Band: ‘Pick Up the Pieces.’:

          1. Wukchumni

            I feel fortunate in being Fresno-adjacent in that nobody would willingly waste a perfectly good nuclear bomb on it-as it could only lead to improvement, and speaking of the 5th City-6 Letters, where is fresno dan?

            1. JP

              Funny, I remember when 911 happened, Fresno radio air hog Ray Appleton was very worried Fresno would be the next hit.

            2. ambrit

              “…where is fresno dan?”
              I dunno, but the Pink Bunny Slipper radio net is quiet, too quiet.
              Then, he might be doing some ‘Boris and Natasha’ skullduggery for Vlad Vladimirivitch. I was indoctrinated that when the Bunny speaks, you listen!
              Stay safe comrades.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i go to numerous places to try to get a reasonably objective handle on the war…and the narrative framework derived therefrom has had reasonable predictive quality.
      just about everything in this article is the bizarroworld opposite of that,lol.
      the only question i have is whether such blob bubble dwellers actually believe any of the stuff they say…and how much?
      if they know they’re full of sh&t, that’s one thing…with its own level of scary.
      if they, OTOH,actually believe all this…well, we’re frelled even worse than i thought.

  13. Wukchumni

    I heard the PGA merged with the MPGA, and a mandatory windmill hole-a par 5 with a long approach, will be added to all participating courses. The Saudis expressed an interest, but insisted on also including an impossible angle hole, and/or one that looks like a mini volcano that you have to putt upwards into.

    1. Sardonia

      I could see it. Well-chosen locations for new courses in North Dakota will allow those windmills to slant drill into the Bakken oil fields.

  14. EmWoo

    “My fifty years…”
    Very interesting to hear Sy talk about the motivations for the stories about Nixon and Kissinger in 1972. Especially the fact that the timing and content of the stories had as one of several purposes the assist of election victory for the democrats. Obviously the stories had vital public interest, but the fact that journalists, even then and even them, use their powers to sway elections in the direction they prefer is something that always bears remembering.

    1. JP

      If I remember my basic civics correctly, the purpose of freedom of the press is so journalism can sway elections. I much prefer that to money equals people.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “High point of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum: Putin on stage”

    I was reading earlier that-

    ‘The US and its allies threatened countries with consequences if they decided to send delegations to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.’

    “There was immense pressure,” she replied, adding that “literally every country” was approached. “They wrote letters. Threats were made during the meetings,” she claimed.

    Washington was the “leader” of these efforts, and was helped by other “NATO-centric countries,” the spokeswoman said.

    The US and its allies told nations that were planning to attend SPIEF that they “would face consequences, that the next… package of sanctions is just around the corner and that everyone should think twice before participating in events on the territory of Russia,” Zakharova said.’

    Not the actions of a confident alliance that.

    1. MaryLand

      “Putin on stage” in a SPIEFy outfit —Putin on the Ritz?

      I’m ducking the thrown produce now.

  16. Acacia

    Re: COVID cases doubling in Japan

    From the article:

    By region, the spike in cases stands out in Okinawa Prefecture, where the average number of new patients per facility surged to 18.41 in the week through Sunday, up from 6.07 four weeks before.

    Looks like Okinawa may be warming up to a repeat of the medical emergency last summer.

    There are over 30 U.S. military bases in Okinawa, and in 2022, over 60% of all COVID cases in Okinawa were on the bases. Last I heard, there is no testing of military personnel coming into Okinawa, and for a long while there were no restrictions on them leaving bases and spreading COVID in the local communities.

  17. Mikel

    Swiss capital city wants to test controlled sale of cocaine SWI. Resilc: “A play to bring in more i bankers?”

    Yes, Reslic. Another way of saying, “Take that City of London!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      At least now we know where Zelensky will be using his billions to buy up his next properties. The guy just did a zoom conference into the Swiss Parliament demanding that they let their weapons go to the Ukraine and take more actions against Russians. he actually said ‘We need weapons so we can restore peace in Ukraine.’ Inviting guest speakers is very rare for the Swiss Parliament but the largest political party wasn’t having a bar of it by this thug and walked out on his speech-

  18. flora

    re: Wellie, now he can’t testify:

    “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.

    Now a whistleblower who claimed to have audio recordings of bribery and wanted to testify to Congress turns up dead. What da ya know…. (all a coincidence, right?)

  19. marym

    > Halderman Report Reveals Georgia’s Dominion Voting Machines Can be Hacked

    Here’s a link to what Halderman said about his findings in 2021 and the 2020 election results.

    “Last November, I and 58 other election security experts wrote that, while election security problems are real, there was no credible evidence that the 2020 Presidential outcome was affected by hacking. That’s all still true today.”

    Here’s a link to his current thread discussing the release of the unreacted report; a 2022 report by MITRE commissioned by Dominion; Halderman’s and other security experts’ response to the MITRE report; and Halderman’s response to Raffensberger’s apparent unwillingness to install patches. (There are additional current tweets as well, and links to further details)

    He describes as “ridiculous” “MITRE’s risk assessment [that] assumes that Georgia perfectly protects the equipment from illicit access across all of its 159 counties…Georgia’s Dominion software *has already been stolen and distributed* by unauthorized parties, who had repeated access to the voting equipment.”

    The comment about access in Georgia by “unauthorized parties” links to a report about the activities of Republican officials in Republican-majority Coffee County.

    It would be reasonable to question the patching status of other states that use Dominion BMD’s.
    (2024 election equipment map: )

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know why the surprise here. There were articles about voting machines being hacked way back in 2000 in Florida with tens of thousands of votes disappearing from Democrat candidates and reappearing for Republican or Republican-like candidates. Rumour control has it that a bunch of hackers stopped Karl Rove stealing the Ohio vote in 2012-

      People may remember Karl Rove’s live on air meltdown at this news and this may explain why- (2:50 mins)

      1. marym

        I don’t know if anyone was surprised, since Halderman has been reporting on this for a few years, and there was a CISA advisory issued in 06/2022 documenting the vulnerabilities and recommended mitigations based on his research.

        If Republicans concerned with election vulnerabilities are surprised if mitigation procedures aren’t followed, they should at least clean their own house.

        I was a little surprised that Raffensperger isn’t planning to install patches, since he tried to do the right thing when Trump said he needed to “find” 11,780 more votes, but…(see previous point).

        1. Late Introvert

          I continue to be amazed that no real journalist/lawyer team has taken on the voting machines. Why would Murdoch settle with Dominion for ~750 Million? That’s not chump change.

      2. Watt4Bob

        IIRC, the reason the Ohio vote wasn’t rigged in 2012 was a judge had ordered the Sec of State to allow witnesses in his offices, where the vote count is eventually routed.

        It was rumored that the Karl Rove meltdown you link to was due to the fact that he was unaware that the presence of witnesses in the Ohio SOS’s offices was somehow successful in stopping the steal. He thought the fix was still in.

        Quote from the Bradblog;

        Newly obtained computer schematics provide further detail of how electronic voting data was routed during the 2004 election from Ohio’s Secretary of State’s office through a partisan Tennessee web hosting company.
        The flow chart shows how voting information was transferred from Ohio to SmarTech Inc., a Chattanooga Tennessee IT company known for its close association with the Republican Party, before the 2004 election results were displayed online.

        So in 2012, the fact that there were witnesses in the SOS offices fouled up Rove’s plans for a repeat.

        And incidentally, Mike Connel whose company, GovTech Solutions built the system central to the theft of the 2004 election, and was a key witness in the ensuing 2004 federal election fraud conspiracy case which began in Ohio, died in a small airplane crash in December 2008.

        Of course this put a dent in the conspiracy case.

        It was hard to retrace my steps to refresh my memory on this story because of all the 404 errors and cute re-directs to important pages.

        For example, a link that used to go to a documentary that covered various crimes attributed to Rove, and the GOP, now goes to a page touting safe-shopping tips.

    2. hunkerdown

      It’s a religious ritual, not a business process. It’s not supposed to be accurate except in a spiritual sense.

  20. flora

    re: wellie, now he cant testify.

    According to the report it’s “she”; she’s chief accountant at Burisma and the wife of the former Burisma Energy owner Mykola Lisin. From the twtr linked article in The Peoples Voice:

    “The chief accountant at Ukraine’s Burisma Energy, who offered to provide US authorities with damning evidence regarding financial crimes involving Joe and Hunter Biden, has been found dead before she could testify.

    “The Burisma whistleblower, who has been identified as the wife of the former Burisma owner Mykola Lisin, who also died in suspicious circumstances during the years of the Obama administration when vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter were active in Ukraine.”

    Nothing to see here. Move along. / ;)

    1. Sardonia

      One is reminded of the conversation in The Godfather, when Michael, now involved in the Family Business, is trying to win Kay back:

      Michael – “My father is no different than any other powerful man – like a Governor or a Senator.”

      Kay – “Oh, Michael, you are so naive. Senators don’t have men killed.”

      Michael – “Now who’s being naive, Kay?”

      1. ThirtyOne

        A report from UA media on the accident

        This was reported by a Censor.Net source close to the traffic police department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

        “The reason for the loss of control of the car was touching the curb of the sidewalk at high speed, which could be 250 – 270 km / h,” – said the source, informally commenting on the results accident investigation.

        Initially, there were statements in the media about the significantly lower speed of Lisin’s car.

        “The deputy was returning from a public event. Alcohol was found in the blood of the deceased. He took the car keys from his security guard and decided to drive the car himself. lagged behind*. Together with Lisin, there was a woman in the front passenger seat of the Lamborghini. At the time of the accident, she was thrown out of the car and she survived, now she is in serious condition in hospital. The deputy died as a result of a severe dynamic injury from hitting the steering wheel. If he had been wearing a seat belt, he would have had a good chance of surviving,” summed up the interlocutor of Censor.Net.

        Recall, the deputy from the Party of Regions Nikolai Lisin died on April 17, as a result of the DPT in Kiev on the street Zabolotny.

        The deputy was buried on April 19 at the Baikove cemetery.
        *I take this to mean his security detail was following him and lagged behind the speeding Lambo.

  21. Jason Boxman

    So, the NY Times discovers ventilation: The New War on Bad Air

    The final quote should be the lead:

    “Our buildings,” said Dr. Allen, of Harvard, “should be seen as a public health tool.”

    As Lambert says, breathing is a social relation, and ventilation is a public good.

    As the pandemic raged on, experts began urging building operators to crank up their ventilation systems and Americans to keep their windows open. The message: A well-ventilated building could be a bulwark against disease.

    Never are any experts mentioned, however. This is the NYT white washing the failure of the CDC and WHO. In fact, much later — in a parenthetical! — the CDC is given credit on ventilation.

    That is finally changing. ASHRAE is developing a new standard focused on reducing the transmission of airborne pathogens that applies both to new buildings and existing ones. It covers not only the rate of air exchange but also the use of filters and air cleaners, which can be highly effective ways to remove particles from the air. (Updated ventilation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cover filters and air cleaners, too.)

    LOL. Yeah, the CDC is out in front on this. And WHO still claims it isn’t airborne.

    Regardless, anything about ventilation as a public health tool in the NY Times of all places is somewhat of a positive step, with liberal Democrat bobbleheads nodding vigorously while reading this story no doubt, getting their latest belief set to virtue signal from on high.

    Maybe this can change, second to last paragraph!

    Although the focus is on infectious disease, many of these same strategies should provide protection from wildfire smoke or other pollutants that may seep into buildings. But the new recommendations are unlikely to make a big difference unless they are incentivized or enforced in some way, Dr. Bahnfleth said. He noted that there is little government regulation of indoor air quality. Some government entity “needs to take some responsibility,” he said.

    (bold me)

    Some entity? Gee, like the CDC? Maybe the Biden administration can be roused from slumber? How about OSHA, which had real guidelines ready to go and Biden neutered them two years ago?

        1. Carolinian

          I think Putin has unambiguously said that nukes would only be used if Russia itself under existential threat. He’s trying to block an escalation ladder, not climb it.

          So the choice for the West is either go to war with Russia or let Ukraine go. Of course they may also hope to get rid of Putin but there’s no indication that would induce a surrender–just the opposite.

          Perhaps the real solution is to get rid of Biden and his neocons. Even the arms industry is starting to lose out as their deadly toys prove ineffective. Time to give peace a chance.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That Hersh article was terrible. He gets stuff only from connected Americans, as in intel types unhappy with gov’t behavior. The US officialdom has been terrible top to bottom on bothering to understand Russia, to the degree that the US is recognized as having given up HUMINT in favor of SIGINT. None of Hersh’s usual type of contact would have any insight on Russia. And the article had gratuitous digs at Russia, charging it with the Kakhovka bombing with no suggestion there was another side to the story.

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has rejected calls for peace talks with Russia while meeting with a delegation of African leaders. He questioned their decision to travel to Moscow next.’

    On the way to the Ukraine, the Poles decided to screw around with the South African delegation which I am sure went down well with the reps of all the other African nations-

    ‘South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s security detail and a press pool claim to have been stuck at an airport in Warsaw while en route to Ukraine as part of a peace mission after the Polish authorities allegedly barred them from leaving their plane.

    The team, consisting of over 100 security personnel and some 20 reporters, departed from Pretoria on Wednesday and was supposed to travel to Kiev to prepare for Ramaphosa’s meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. After that, the delegation was set to make its way to St Petersburg.

    Govan Whittles, a South African journalist who was among those stuck on the plane, told RT that the team is apparently no longer a part of the delegation to Ukraine and that Ramaphosa has already made his way to Kiev.

    According to the journalist, the Polish authorities demanded that the South African president’s security personnel surrender their weapons, claiming that they do not have the correct permits to bring them into the country. One member of the Presidential Protection Services (PPS) was even strip-searched by Polish police despite holding a diplomatic passport, Whittles claimed. ‘

    The Polish Border Security service tried to say that it was the South Africans that refused to leave their plane and that the South African flight was delayed due to “dangerous materials” and “undeclared individuals” on board. Seriously? The Polish regime has lost the plot.

    1. ambrit

      “The Polish regime has lost the plot.”
      Alas, for the Neo-cons, the Polish Option is the plot now.
      I wonder if the Russians will agree again to a partition of Poland after that benighted country commits seppuku. The Baltics had better practice their Grey Country skills and hope the Neo-Red Army passes them by on it’s way to the Line of Demarcation. (I could never figure out why the Baltics and Finland didn’t set up their own Non-aligned Bloc. Throw in Sweden and you would have a viable minor power bloc.)

      1. digi_owl

        I do belive that was tried once before, until a young swede got a bit too uppity for Russian tastes.

  23. Robert Hahl

    Re: Swiss capital city wants to test controlled sale of cocaine SWI

    I can’t cite studies to support this, but I feel that cocaine use often leads to alienation from society, insanity, and then either homelessness or high government service. Stick to weed if alcohol isn’t enough.

  24. NorD94

    another article on the Trump BoxGate Obsession

    Donald Trump is reportedly obsessed with boxes – A New York Times report details the former president’s love of his ‘beautiful mind’ boxes, which recently got him in quite a bit of trouble

    One box-knower cited by the Times said, “While the materials were disorganized, Mr. Trump would notice if somebody had rifled through them or they were not arranged in a particular way.” And two anonymous sources confirmed that Trump “was generally able to identify what was in the boxes most immediately around him.”

    Trump liked to pick certain boxes and take them on trips, the Times said. He took boxes on Air Force One.

  25. Jason Boxman

    On Gas stations caused a $20 billion toxic mess — and it’s not going away.

    Yep. Growing up, the corner of Highway 50 and Maguire Rd, there was an abandoned hotel and gas station on the south west corner. It sat like that for most of my entire life, in fact. Only in the past 5 or 6 years, after that side of town became as populous as east Orlando, was it finally so valuable someone decided to go in and develop that property. From Google Maps, literally this just happened. There’s Chiropractor office there, with Now Open sign. Brand new building, photo dated 2023. Yep, it’s another little mini-shopping center, because suburban sprawl. The hotel site is actively under construction, photo Mar 2023. Crazy. The traffic must be unbearable now, don’t miss it one bit.

    The gas station across the street, was function, there for years, was ripped out and a minute clinic from the local hospital monopoly, Adventist Health, is there now. Right on a former gas station.

    I’d assumed, but can’t know, that the whole thing was so polluted, probably before double-wall tanks even, that no one wanted to redevelop it. Since I learned ages ago that these things predictably leak, I figured every single gas station in America is a superfund site or ought to be. Sad to learn that I’m right.

    The secret to being right about things is to understand that, however bad a situation might be, it’s definitely worse than that. Plan accordingly.

  26. Mikel

    “If Congress does not pass all 12 appropriations bills by the start of FY24 on October 1st, there’s a chance that a government shutdown could result, just in time to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the October 2013 shutdown, which occurred under a Republican House, Democratic Senate, and Democratic White House,” said Beacon Policy Advisors in a note….”

    So, manufacutured crisis to manufactured crisis continues. That will be “resolved” only for the approach of the next debt ceiling manufactured crisis to come at the beginning of 2025.

    I believe I said during the Covid benefits extravaganza that it was going to be followed with even more unrepentant austerity.

  27. rowlf

    Why we should all trust electronics in voting, part whatever:

    DeKalb commission candidate asks for hand count

    An establishment-backed DeKalb County commission candidate is calling for a hand count of Tuesday’s election results, citing what she called multiple “red flags” in the precinct-level data and day-of vote counts.

    County elections officials, meanwhile, confirmed the department was conducting its regular post-election day audit while also looking into the specific issues raised by Democrat Michelle Long Spears. They said they believe any oddities within the initial results — which are considered unofficial and incomplete until being certified next week — could be a simple “display error.”

    Miscount in DeKalb race caused by voting computer programming errors

    A programming mistake caused an inaccurate vote count in a DeKalb County Commission race, election officials said Thursday night.

    A recount will begin Saturday morning, when county election workers will re-scan all paper ballots from that commission district’s 40 precincts.

    The error resulted in zero election day votes for Michelle Long Spears in all but seven precincts. Spears is currently in third place, outside of a runoff, but the recount could change the outcome. No other races were affected.

    A candidate in Georgia who appeared to get few Election Day votes was actually in first place. (NYT paywalled)


  28. TomW

    Nice material on Ellsberg. I personally found the Pentagon Papers a remarkable document. It wasn’t fully declassified until 2011. Its was an important part of my lifelong evolution toward reliance on primary sources of documentation.

    Here is a link to a section…

    I was impressed with the documentation of Westmorland’s endless demands for additional troops. The US military eventually refused o send more…which runs counter to contemporary narratives.

    Westy is unsurprisingly the villain in th latest US Military version of “lessons learned”. The current narrative essentially that “he could have pursued a counter insurgency”. as if that has subsequently proved effective in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    The massively documented escalation is more pertinent to Ukraine than most contemporary bloviation.

  29. LawnDart

    Russian Finance Ministry more than doubles size of offshore company blacklist, adding unfriendly western countries

    MOSCOW. June 16 (Interfax) – Russia’s Finance Ministry has more than doubled the size of the list of states and territories that provide preferential tax regimes and (or) do not provide for the disclosure and provision of information when conducting financial transactions (offshore zones).

    Order of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation No. 86n
    dated 05.06.2023 ” On Approval of the List of States and Territories that Provide Preferential Tax Treatment and / or do not Provide for Disclosure and Provision of information when conducting Financial Transactions (offshore zones)”
    (Registered 15.06.2023 No. 73846)

  30. Mikel

    The Binge Purge New York Magazine. Hubert Horan:

    “…the collective industry/media/Wall Street madness that caused everyone to abandon any interest in profitability while pursuing corporate valuation narratives based on the next big thing…”

    Outside the usual suspects of stock hype and other financialized incentives, the networks/streaming companies/movie studios have been incentivized to assign more value to monetizing the data gathered on viewers than to content. In this environment, for example, sequels and reboots have more value than new content creation because of the data already gathered on viewers.
    A new, hit tv show has served its purpose once the network/streamer has gathered the data. So they aren’t as interested in something like 5 to 10 seasons.

    The business model is only troubled in so far as there are still creators that believe their content has instrinsic value, while many of the gatekeepers are really only giving lip service to the value of artistic content.

    1. Carolinian

      The article says the writers are wishing they had their cable monopoly business model back. But some of us “cut the cord” long ago because we thought that was terrible with some few exceptions like Vince Gilligan or a few HBO shows. The death of Hollywood has been proclaimed at intervals over the years but a creative if not necessarily artistic revival has always brought it back. Technology taketh away but it also giveth in the form of special effects blockbusters that “tent poled” the business through the 80s and 90s and naughts. If the streaming model brings down a few dinosaurs then good. As for the writers, they should give thanks they aren’t actors–the truly insecure ones.

      1. Mikel

        Artistic/creative revivals are possible, but a sincere belief in the instrinsic value of artistic endeavors is important in making that happen.

  31. Susan the other

    Scott Ritter and Alexander Mercouris. Wherein Ritter is on speed and Mercouris listens patiently for at least 40 minutes. Because Ritter is saying some very astounding things about how equivocal reality is, if you are listening with that ear. I was. Ritter is a good de-programmer/re-education specialist. But even I got sleepy after 40 minutes. Anyway it was worth the whole 3 hours.

  32. Jason Boxman

    “It’s going to be up to Republicans to choose whether they want to protect the right to contraception,” Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and the sponsor of the failed Senate bill, said in an interview before the governor’s veto. Mr. Markey called the Dobbs decision “a preview of coming atrocities.”

    LoL. Where were liberal Democrats on this for fifty years?

    The justice’s argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion, galvanized the reproductive rights movement. House Democrats, joined by eight Republicans, promptly passed legislation that would have created a national right to contraception. Republicans blocked a companion bill in the Senate.

    LoL you mean liberal Democrats chose not to eliminate the filibuster. Women aren’t that important.

    1. Mikel

      I don’t remember that commercial. I’m not about to buy one Pepsi, but I got a chuckle.

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