Links 6/19/2023

This Extinct Dolphin Had Tusks That Fish Were Wise to Avoid NYT. Of course, in Alabama, the tusks are looser.

Killer Whales Are Not Our Friends The Atlantic

The Next Crisis Will Start With Empty Office Buildings The Atlantic

Why It Seems Everything We Knew About the Global Economy Is No Longer True NYT (Furzy Mouse).


Scapegoating Politics: How Fascism Deploys Race, and How Antiracism Takes the Bait Adolph Reed,

The Propaganda of History, (PDF) W.E.B. DuBois. Chapter XVII of Black Reconstruction in America (1935).

Juneteenth in Lubbock, Texas, Was When Our Men Came Out of the Shadows Jezebel

Life’s little ironies:

Juneteenth celebration horror: 23 shot, 1 fatally, at Illinois event ABC

Father’s Day

A Proclamation on Father’s Day, 2023 The White House

Loneliness hurts not just men’s mental health — it may hurt their bones, too, study suggests FOX


Swiss voters back net-zero emissions climate bill as glaciers melt France24

Accounting for Carbon Offsets Harvard Business Review


Column: Did Sweden beat the pandemic by refusing to lock down? No, its record is disastrous Michael Hiltzik, LA Times. Commentary:

A single COVID-19 pandemic or multiple SARS pandemics? John Snow Project

* * *

Lambert here: Two and three years ago, a ton of studies went into the pipeline. Now, they’re emerging:

Discovery and characterization of potent pan-variant SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies from individuals with Omicron breakthrough infection Nature. From the Abstract: “In this study, by using single-cell sequencing technology, we isolated hundreds of potent neutralizing antibodies from the first Omicron breakthrough infection cohort in mainland China. The elite antibodies showed perfect neutralizing activity across variants, including the Wuhan-Hu-1, Delta, and Omicron sublineages.” This seems similar, albeit on a grander scale, to the approach taken by Thailand’s CoviTRAP.

Outpatient treatment of COVID-19 and incidence of post-COVID-19 condition over 10 months (COVID-OUT): a multicentre, randomised, quadruple-blind, parallel-group, phase 3 trial The Lancet. N = 1431. From the Abstract: “Outpatient treatment with metformin reduced long COVID incidence by about 41%, with an absolute reduction of 4·1%, compared with placebo. Metformin has clinical benefits when used as outpatient treatment for COVID-19 and is globally available, low-cost, and safe.”

* * *

Tracking SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity in rural communities using blood-fed mosquitoes (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “Here we evaluate the collection of naturally bloodfed mosquitoes to test for human anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.” Here in the First World, if we want something “naturally bloodfed,” we use squillionaires [rimshot. laughter].

Finding the infectious dose for COVID-19 by applying an airborne-transmission model to superspreader events PLOS One. From the Abstract: “We probed the transmission of COVID-19 by applying an airborne transmission model to five well-documented case studies—a Washington state church choir, a Korean call center, a Korean exercise class, and two different Chinese bus trips…. Despite the uncertainties in the values of some parameters of the superspreading events, all five events yielded (N0 [the characteristic number of COVID-19 virions needed to induce infection]∼300–2,000 virions), which is similar to published values for influenza.”

* * *

Risk of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) among Those Up-to-Date and Not Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccination (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “Since the XBB lineages became dominant, adults ‘not up-to-date’ by the CDC definition have a lower risk of COVID-19 than those ‘up-to-date’ on COVID-19 vaccination, bringing into question the value of this risk classification definition.” Oh.

Viral infectivity in paediatric SARS-CoV-2 clinical samples does not vary by age Access Microbiology. n = 144 sample. From the Abstract: “At the start of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, there was much uncertainty about the role of children in infection and transmission dynamics…. We found that age had no impact on the infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 within our cohort, with children of all ages able to produce high levels of infectious virus.” I’m so old I remember when “we have no data on children” was instantly converted into “Children don’t get infected with Covid. Let’s send them back to school!”

* * *

SARS-CoV-2 airborne infection probability estimated by using indoor carbon dioxide Environmental Science and Pollution Research. From the Abstract: “In a typical outpatient setting, the required indoor CO2 concentration at which R0 does not exceed 1 is below 620 ppm with no mask, 1000 ppm with a surgical mask and 16000 ppm with an N95 mask. In a typical inpatient setting, on the other hand, the required indoor CO2 concentration is below 540 ppm with no mask, 770 ppm with a surgical mask, and 8200 ppm with an N95 mask. These findings facilitate the establishment of a strategy for preventing airborne transmission in hospitals. This study is unique in that it suggests the development of an airborne transmission model with indoor CO2 and application of the model to actual clinical practice. Organizations and individuals can efficiently recognize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission in a room and thus take preventive measures such as maintaining good ventilation, wearing masks, or shortening the exposure time to an infected individual by simply using a CO2 monitor.”

SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant Remains Viable in Environmental Biofilms found in Meat Packaging (preprint) Plants medRxiv. From the Abstract: “Our data provides evidence that SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant remained viable on all the surfaces tested with and without an environmental biofilm. We observed that SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant was able to remain infectious with each of the environmental biofilms….. These results indicate a complex virus-environmental biofilm interaction which correlates to the different bacteria found in each biofilm. Our results also indicate that there is the potential for biofilms to protect SARS-CoV-2 from disinfecting agents and remaining prevalent in meat packaging plants.” This is not a case of fomite transmission, but yikes. I wonder if virus would remain viable through a freeze-thaw cycle.

A non-exhaustive list of activities that spread less disease Aria, Medium


Xi Jinping’s dream of a Chinese military-industrial complex FT

Latest China Test for Western Firms: Consumers Switching to Homegrown Labels WSJ

China bankers told to shun flashy clothes, 5-star hotels in austerity drive Channel News Asia

Indonesia ‘temporarily’ halts visa-free visit policy for 159 countries Anadolu Agency


The Modi Government Must Answer for India’s Historic Bank Loss of Rs 12 Lakh Crore The Wire

Error in signaling system led to train crash that killed 275 people in India, official says AP

New Not-So-Cold War

Key takeaways from Putin’s meeting with African Leaders on Ukraine conflict RT. Big reveal:

Head of Zelenskyy’s Office tries to involve Brazil and India in Ukrainian peace plan Ukrainska Pravda. Let me know how that works out….

* * *

Ukraine Appears to Make a Small Gain in the South as Counteroffensive Continues NYT

AFU Suffers Horror Breakdowns as Russian Forces Repel New Advance Simplicius the Thinker(s). Interesting, but search on “I managed to compile a video of all the clips people are releasing.” Here they present a number of completely unsourced and undated video clips — also appearing on the @Sprinter, an account that doesn’t believe in sourcing either, which I regard as dodgy — purporting to show military movements across the United States, plus an Internet slowdown. (Really? Has this dude ever experienced the Internet in the United States?) This after preening “I actually follow up and bring the facts,” and such-like. Readers, have you spotted any military movements in your necks of the woods??

Counting Russia’s dead in Ukraine – and what it says about the changing face of the war BBC

* * *

Biden’s five mistakes in Ukraine Al Jazeera

Zelensky’s No. 2 Turns to Celebrities as Well as Politicians to Help Ukraine WSJ

BlackRock and JPMorgan help set up Ukraine reconstruction bank FT. Good. I hope they lose everything.

Biden Administration

Power companies quietly pushed $215m into US politics via dark money groups Guardian


Harvard Poll: 55 Percent of the Public View the Trump Indictment as “Politically Motivated” Jonathon Turley

Spook Country

Snowden Ten Years Later Michael Tsai

Digital Watch

Plagiarism Engine: Google’s Content-Swiping AI Could Break the Internet Tom’s Hardware. “Instead of highlighting links to content from expert humans, the “Search Generative Experience” (SGE) uses an AI plagiarism engine that grabs facts and snippets of text from a variety of sites, cobbles them together (often word-for-word) and passes off the work as its creation. If Google makes SGE the default mode for search, the company will seriously damage if not destroy the open web while providing a horrible user experience.”

AI could replace humans in social science research (press release) University of Waterloo. “AI models can represent a vast array of human experiences and perspectives, possibly giving them a higher degree of freedom to generate diverse responses than conventional human participant methods.” Autocoprophagic Social Science, or, less elegantly, GIGO.

The Bezzle

Read this before signing up for Amazon Clinic FOX. As I thought: The EULA….

Our Famously Free Press

Rogan/RFK v. Hotez:

Squillionaires piling on (1):

$150,000 is “a relatively small amount of money”? Welcome to our planet!

Squillionaires piling on (2):

Waiting for Rogan/RFK to condemn this excess of zeal:

Health Care

Hospitals will be ‘rare exception’: What healthcare will look like in 100 years Becker’s Hospital Review. “Hospitals will be the rare exception and not the norm for care.” A gaggle of hospital administrators reminding me of librarians who hate books.


Students Create Gunshot Detection Tech for School Security Government Technology

Using loophole, Seward County seizes millions from motorists without convicting them of crimes KLKN (KS). The deck: “One of every three state civil asset forfeiture seizures happen in this county, pop. 17,962.”

The South is fast becoming America’s industrial heartland The Economist

Class Warfare

Airline fined $15,625 after worker ‘ingested’ into engine at Montgomery airport

Death on the Job: Texas Says “NO” To Water Breaks in the Heat KKCN (KS).

How Companies Are Tackling Job Misery WSJ. More money?

From “The Anthology of Funny” Matt Taibbi, Racket News

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. dftbs

    Blackrock and JP aren’t going to lose. Does anyone really believe any frozen and seized Russian assets are going to help rebuild Ukraine? Those “assets” may pit stop in Ukraine’s national accounts so certain government officials can take their vig, then it’s off to become shareholder value and dividend for holders of BLK and JPM. It’s the circle of life.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please, stop dignifying the BlackRock nonsense.

      The Troika tried hawking perfectly-good-seeming assets in Greece like beaches and partially completed hotels. Even if you needed to tear down the structure, the location, foundation and presumably having run water lines and electricity to the site had some value.

      Pretty much nothing sold.

      This was not in a war zone, with >half the population gone and not intending to return and the youngish male population pretty much all dead or wounded. And massive infrastructure damage.

      There will be no meaningful asset sales. This is the West not even willing to rebuild and trying to pretend it is helping by rounding up fantasy capital.

      1. Dftbs

        I don’t mean that Blackrock or JP would be made whole on any scheme they engage in through privatization and asset sales of whatever, if anything, remains in Ukraine. Rather that transferring legal ownership of seized Russian reserves to Ukraine for “rebuilding” is an easy way for that nation’s generous(sarc) benefactors, be they politicians, military advocates or global financial giants, to be paid in full. As far as asset sales, those reserves are largely bank credits on electronic ledgers. Pass the law, click the button, get a check. Again, the circle of life.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, the idea is for foreign investors to inject money into Ukraine for reconstruction. Passing assets to oligarchs who can’t/won’t fix them up won’t enrich the oligarchs and won’t generate fees to BlackRock either. Your idea is like giving title to a car with no engine and a busted transmission to someone. In theory it has scrap value but the cost for you to haul it to the metal dealer is so high compared to that that it’s not worth the bother.

          1. Dftbs

            Having not seen any prospectus, or details beyond the stated intentions in the headlines and the lightly detailed stories, I don’t know the amount of “real money” that has or will invest, or the terms they would get. My supposition is that if Congress transfers ownership of seized Russian assets/reserves to Ukraine, it won’t be necessary to control, rebuild, manage and maintain any physical assets in Ukraine. It’s like giving title to a car with no engine (Ukrainian physical assets), but then providing a different chauffeured vehicle (Russian reserves) free of charge. Now us mere mortals certainly wouldn’t get such terms, but Blk and jpm have the legal and operational infrastructure to process those Russian reserves into good old fashioned American wealth.

            Fwiw, I think that transferring ownership of Russian assets to Ukraine, coupled with the elan BLK and jpm are showing to help “rebuild” are an indication things are winding up fast, and not on our terms (a loss for USA geopolitics but a win for shareholders!). It’s like stealing the amber room, these reserves will never be found, unless Russia wants to seize all the new pools that will be built in northern Virginia and northern New Jersey.

            1. Yves Smith

              The US is not going to do that. Ursula von der Leyen has been loudly keen to do the same thing with the EU frozen assets. The ECB (which is the one that effectively controls them) has said “No fucking way”.

              1. Dftbs

                I hope you’re right. Although betting against American competence has been a pretty sure shot so far. The US may not think they have as much to lose in the first order effects of such a decision as the Europeans, who have significant assets under Russian physical and jurisdictional control. Unfortunately the US hasn’t demonstrated the ability to understand the full consequences of their actions. Powell won’t be able to buck congress, the way Lagarde can the von der Leyen, if they make it the law of the land. And it’s hard to have faith in Congress to do the right thing by the interests of the nation.

            2. ChrisFromGA

              I think we have to keep in mind also, that, as far as those “seized Russian assets” go, they’re actually a lot less than the headline $300B that was trumpeted during the beginning of the SMO.

              IIRC, Bloomberg did a piece claiming that the EU could only find 10% of that, i.e. $30B.

              Nothing to sneeze at, but it would not surprise me if that much gets blown up in about a week of bombing.

          2. Gregorio

            Speaking of scrap, I wonder if Blackrock has already secured the contract to recycle all the metal left on the battlefield? That may end up being the most lucrative sector left in Ukraine in the end.

            1. Yves Smith

              Um, most of those battlefields are fields and many are mined. And the dead equipment will be mainly in areas Russia has secured, and Russia likes taking trophies for study and display purposes.

      2. Wæsfjord

        I bet there will be a lot of carpetbaggers going to Ukraine after the war. Sleazebags setting up dating/marriage agencies, National Grifting Organizations, charities, trusts, think tanks, arms dealers, smut peddlars, vultures, pimps, Harry Limes, monorail salesmen, you name it.

        1. dftbs

          I don’t think there’ll be a physical Ukraine for the carpetbaggers to roam; at least not one under “Western” jurisdiction. But those “sleazebags” won’t have to travel that far. If Congress passes this Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act, there will certainly be routing numbers and accounts under the charge of some Ukrainian government in-exile out of DC.

          1. Polar Socialist

            If there’s a money to be leeched out of the Ukrainian Government in Exile, there will be a behind-the-scenes-battle to host it, I’m sure. Poland must be expecting to get paid handsomely, for example.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Surely he would be going to London where he can get chummy with Boris again. The UK has been just as fanatical at supporting Zelensky as Poland has so would welcome him and it would be a long way from any fighting that might be still going on.

        2. Skip Intro

          I suspect the carpetbaggers will start flooding back out of Ukraine, should the war end. Does anyone know, off hand, how many helicopters the can take off at once from the roof of the US embassy in Kiev?

      3. Mikel

        I grabbed a random link about the story that wasn’t firewalled. I think there could be speculation on the site based on the headline only.

        My take: it will be of special interest to those wanting to fund neo-nazi like militarism. Already news about the types being attracked there.
        Months ago I quipped about the possibility of a type of “Eastern European School of the Americas.”

      4. Deck Builders

        I agree! The west not wanting to rebuild may be there down fall. They can bring over all the resources such as deck builders water lines, and electricity but they gained nothing.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    re: domestic militarymovement.
    as ive said before, i live on the eastern edge of the “West Texas Training Area”.
    military aircraft are…while not an every day occurrence…not all that unusual.
    there’s been a general uptick since february.
    and last week, a squad(?) of helicopters with what looked like hummvees dangling on a chain flew over our place very low…and very loud…sounded like they were struggling, somewhat.
    then this weekend, the sound of fast moving fighter jets…which i haven’t heard in years, save right at the beginning of this year…somewhere over the horizon. didnt see them, but they freaked out my birds, and were loud enough to be felt, bodily.
    as for military road traffic…during the run-up to the last invasion of iraq, the highway i can hear right now, a mile away, was filled with columns of troops and military equipment, headed south.
    this is a “fema secondary route”…from Ft Hood, 100+ miles to my NW, they had to come way west, so as to get to ports without going through Austin…ie: avoiding the terrible traffic in texas cities.
    havent heard or seen anything like that, so far.
    and, based on the experience 20 years ago…if there was fixin to be an invasion, i would have.

    1. Screwball

      I read similar stories over the weekend in different places. Nobody seems to know what is going on, but some speculated they were just summer exercises. I have no clue, but something seems to be catching people’s attention. I was always curious what color they were, which might help knowing where the next war they want to start will be.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        there are National Guard exercises this time of year, every year…so i’ll give them that.
        but the bits of video ive seen on twitter(grabs salt cellar) look different, to me…longer lines of train cars and trucks….unless its a jade helm kind of thing…but that would have been talked about, given the freakout last time in Texas.
        prior to iraq 2.0(OIL), the convoys passing by here were miles long…such that i couldn’t get onto the highway for 20 mins, when there was a break in them…and i then zoomed down to the next dirt road(back way to town).
        and this was not a one off happening, then…but days at a time, then a break…then days at a time….all sand colored camo, too…so we knew where they were headed.
        thats what these vids look like, to me…not exercises.
        and the camo is a sort of forest green…which wouldn’t be suited to the mesquite chaparral in northern mexico, btw,lol(they’d be spotted easily as dark masses moving in the lighter colored and sparse foliage)….but might fit in with what ive seen of 404…and definitely along the Baltic/Finland border with Russia.
        ever since the cheney administration, ive used as a sort of mental weather rock for predicting what “they” are gonna do next, the adage: well, whats the stupidest choice?
        works pretty well, so far.
        ergo, we’ll be “intervening” directly against Russia at some point.
        and this is tacitly confirmed by all 2 of my active military contacts.
        they both say the scuttlebutt is that we’ll be in country in under 6 months.
        so get yer preps in.

        1. some guy

          ” In country”? In which country? Russia? Or Ukraine?

          ( I once read a humorous comment somewhere from a Special Forces type of soldier. He noted that since Special Forces persons often wear sneakers instead of boots, that power-players could put Special Forces people into a target-zone while truthiness-fully saying that ” we will put no boots on the ground. None. None at all. Not one boot. On the ground. “)

    2. Wukchumni

      F-35’s (the Edsel of the air) are still getting it up overhead, but the sorties have lessened to maybe once a week or sometimes a couple.

      The busiest I can ever remember the sorties being was the lead up to January 6th when Trump was beating the war drums, we had one nearly every day during a few week stretch.

      1. truly

        I noticed about 10 military trucks moving north on 35 in the Minneapolis area. Fathers Day.
        It definitely struck me as unusual.

      2. digi_owl

        Speaking of the F-35, i read an account, from what looked to be a Bulgarian site, of a F-35 crossing path with a SU-30 over the Baltic Sea.

        Apparently the SU-30 was carrying some jamming kit that made it virtually invisible to the F-35, and may even have triggered some software bugs along the way.

        Basically rather than go for stealth in the passive way, Russia has developed a system for actively feeding back false radar echos etc that seem to mask the direction and speed of the jet it is attached to.

      3. juno mas

        Well, there’s a military aircraft museum of sorts down the coast (Oxnard) from me. It seems they flew a few flight capable military aircraft up the coast on Memorial Day weekend to wow the beach going crowd. Does that count?

    3. Leftcoastindie

      I’m near Camp Pendleton in Oceanside CA. It has been relatively quiet here – an occasional howitzer round or two will go off.We’ll get a few gunships and Cobras flying over now and again along with the occasional osprey, unlike prior to our invasion of Iraq 20 years ago when the shelling, bombing and automatic weapons fire were going off all day every day.
      So I think we’re safe for the time being…

    4. scott s.

      I don’t think it’s Ft Hood any more. Nothing special out here at the 25th Inf Div that I can see. It was announced that Commander Pacific Fleet will be the next CNO, but I guess it’s not official as Senate has held up all mil appointments due to dispute on paying service women to travel out of state for abortions.

    5. .Tom

      We drive a few miles on I93 near Waltham Mass a few times a week. Several times in recent weeks we’ve seen military vehicles there. I didn’t make much of it until I read Simplicitus today.

  3. indices

    A sidelight to Juneteenth (possibly widely known but seldom seen discussed) is that the Battle of the Alamo several years earlier (February 23 – March 6, 1836) had quite a bit to do with slavery, as the Mexican government battling the Texians had recently abolished slavery, whereas one of the motivations for the migrations of white settlers to Texas was continuing their practice of enslavement, quite necessary for the growing of cotton, a vital crop then and now. Previous to the American Civil War, when many states were still being formed, a very important question was “slave state or free state,” Texas, of course, being one of the main actors for the Confederacy when war finally broke out.

    McKinley James — Ain’t Gonna Pick No Cotton (MACON 101) (1966)

    1. rusell1200

      The slavery issue in Texas is more complicated than that. The Mexicans would abolish it, and then under protest, pull back on the abolishment. The first abolishment was in 1829, and there were still slaves in Texas in 1836 so its clearly not an immediate impetus. The Mexicans abolished it (again) in 1837, and kept abolishing it off-and-on until the final Constitutional Abolishment in 1917.

      The reality is that the Mexicans and former US citizens didn’t get along on almost any level.

      1. scott s.

        I’m not sure it makes sense to simply refer to “Mexicans”. I don’t think the policy of New Spain was to create a national identity and significant cultural differences existed between the northern regions/states and Mexico City.

    2. tevhatch

      Slaves, more than Cotton, was a major export from Mexican – Texas / Republic of Texas, mostly to Caribbean and Brazil. The British had ended their slavery monopoly and was actively suppressing the African slave trade by this point, with some help from USN. The Republic of Texas was not enthusiastic about joining the Union because of the treaty entanglement. It was the USA arming and letting loose Native American raiders from Oklahoma Territories that helped pressure Texas to give up that part of the trade in return for peace (another American Proxy war). Gerald Horne wrote a detailed history of this era.

  4. Lexx

    ‘Killer Whales Are Not Our Friends’

    Think bison in Yellowstone. Humans can be morons when it comes to crowding wild animals on land and sea. What I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the articles I’ve read so far is the tendency of humans in boats to get too close. ‘Oh look Bob, there’s a pod of whales. Let’s get closer so I can get a picture.’ It stresses the whales and scares away their prey.

    It’s not a Seaworld, folks! The whales aren’t captives for your amusement.

    Killer whales tend to specialize in the PNW, some hunt seals and some hunt salmon. The pod has to work as a group to be successful enough that everyone in the group eats. Hunting is coordinated and needs practice; what we call ‘play’ is ‘practice’ to a predator. Eating depends on focus and regularly honed physical skills.* Do the killer whales in Iberian waters hunt larger prey, say the size of a small boat like a young whale? Perhaps in the absence of their preferred food (or enough of it) they’re learning to diversify and focus on some new source and they’re ‘changing their lines of scrimmage’?

    As far as I know, there’s no stories of orca whales, or dolphins generally, hunting humans. It’s just unfortunate there are humans aboard those boats come practice time.

    *Breeding depends on eating well enough to have spare fat to feed offspring to maturity.

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘Aaron Maté
    Yet more evidence that there was a tentative deal to end Russia’s invasion in April 2022, only to be sabotaged by US-UK. Unless someone wants to argue that the document Putin showed is a fake?’

    Putin plays an ace with those African leaders and by extension, the leaders of the Global majority countries here. But the other day at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin pulled another ace when he showed the audience a brief video about the origins of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists that they are now fighting- (4:28 mins) – Absolutely Not Safe For Work

    The Poles made a film about the massacre of Poles by these ultra-nationalists called “Volhynia” which is really brutal stuff. With the anniversary of this massacre coming up, Netflix has yanked this film from its available videos in solidarity with the Ukrainians I guess-

    1. Aurelien

      The problem is, we seem to be dealing with two quite different things here. The document Putin is holding is in Cyrillic script but that’s about all you can say: the photograph is too blurred to see what the text is or to feed it into a translator. It seems to consist of a preamble and Clause 1, and it looks like a pretty developed draft, possibly a “draft” only in the sense that the respective Heads of State had to sign it off. But of course we have no idea what it said, unless there’s a better quality picture or a text somewhere.

      However, the photograph published by Simplicius seems to be cut and paste from the English translation of two Annexes, one giving the Russian negotiating position and one the Ukrainian, on the size of Ukraine’s forces. But the differences are enormous (an Army of 85,000 versus an Army of 250,000) and there’s no way a Treaty would contain Annexes of that kind: it wouldn’t be worth signing. The figures quoted look like those you would table at the start of the negotiation, not the end. The only possibilities I can see are (1) the draft Treaty was indeed very short and general, and only committed the parties to stop fighting and start negotiating or (2) the Annexes come from another document, perhaps a situation report on where the negotiations had got to. (1) Seems unlikely, since it would leave the Ukrainians with potentially very large forces, but I suppose it’s possible, if the Treaty itself constrained them own some other fashion. But we need to know what this document Putin was holding actually said.

      1. Yves Smith

        I take “draft treaty” to resemble what we call in business a letter of intent: a non-binding statement of general points seen as foundational to a deal. Many letters of intent do not lead to definitive agreements precisely because the two sides can’t agree when they try to reach detailed terms.

        So likely I am out of touch with diplospeak, but I see “draft treaty” as = they’d surmounted big conceptual hurdles but most assuredly did not yet have a deal.

        1. Aurelien

          In diplospeak, a draft treaty is a draft of a treaty, ie not the draft of a memorandum, joint statement, heads of agreement or whatever, but a working version of a binding legal document. But drafts are of different types. Each side can submit drafts unilaterally, and then you can move to common working drafts where a certain amount of the text is fixed, but there are still issues to be ironed out. It’s possible that the document Putin was holding was a “draft” in that sense: ie, a document at an advanced state but not yet definitive. But you don’t “sign” such documents, and you wouldn’t describe the text as “agreed.” There again, we’re dealing with translations, and comments by people who probably aren’t familiar with negotiations anyway. And there remain the massive disparities in the figures for the size of the UAF. We really need to know what the document was saying …

          1. Lex

            The original coverage and translations said that the documents were initialed. I took the whole thing as being a working draft that had been initialed by the negotiating teams as accurate of their discussion to be sent to higher levels.

            I certainly can be wrong and the Kremlin publishing the document would be the most helpful. But I understood the whole thing as “there was the beginning of agreement and there was good faith negotiations to cease active hostilities, but these were undermined”.

            1. Aurelien

              If they were initialled, then I agree that it’s likely there was a draft that had been agreed by the negotiators. The convention is that the negotiators stay in close touch with their capitals during the negotiation, so that the approval of the Principals (in this case the two Presidents) is pretty close to a formality. But there’s an important distinction nonetheless between a draft treaty (which is how this is presented) and, for example, an agreed statement of positions and remaining differences.

            2. Après Moi

              There may be a good reason why Russians do not want to publicize the entire document to the whole world (though, presumably, Ukr. also have a copy). Russians went easy on Ukr. back then, only asking for autonomy for Donbas (plus, other points). They’ve moved on significantly from those halcyon days.

      2. lambert strether

        > the photograph published by Simplicius seems to be cut and paste from the English translation of two Annexes

        I’m not happy with those translations, either, angled so as to appear to be printed on the pages in the (manipulated) photo. Show me the Cyrillic in the photo, and put the translation in a caption

  6. Steve H.

    > possibly giving them a higher degree of freedom to generate diverse responses than conventional human participant methods.”

    I’d say search “Philip Tetlock Taleb smear”, but that seems ad hom adjacent.

    Where the approach has value is in understanding universals. Consider ‘diverse responses’ as variants in the evolutionary equation. It is helpful to understand that you need to look at kinship relations, and neighbor relations, as covariants that determine outcome, at all levels of scale.

    It is not very effective when applied to humans, due to the curse of dimensionality if nothing else. Studying actual humans is easier.

    I’ll tangent this on a discussion Janet and I were having, on incentives around Ukraine. She asserted the strength of hatred – generations of killing, Hatfield & McCoys, the War of the Roses. I took it back to Homo variants wiping each other out.

    We know bonobos and chimps have different genetic predispositions to violence despite the ability to interbreed. John Robb has been writing about how empathy is only applied to the in-group. It’s not implausible that high between-group competition selected for increased violent responses against outsiders. ‘They just don’t smell right.’ Hatred at a genetic level.

    For an extra twist, those early Homo variants didn’t just kill each other. Different ethnicities have different levels of Neanderthal genes, for example. That’s some diversity there. (For the love of God, someone please shred where this argument goes.) As could be said about early Homo sapiens:

    they’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins into their clothing. And if we’re very, very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.

  7. SocalJimObjects

    Indonesia ‘temporarily’ halts visa-free visit policy for 159 countries.

    Not surprising, recently an Australian tourist was deported from the Indonesian province of Aceh for causing public disturbance and abusing a local. He was unsurprisingly drunk when committing the offence. FYI, Aceh is the only province in Indonesia where the Sharia law holds sway and you can probably guess what it has to say about imbibing alcoholic beverages. On top of the expulsion, the tourist was also required to pay a compensation of $20000. That’s just one example. Apparently last month alone, around 30 tourists have been expelled from Bali with a bunch of Russians and Americans in the mix. It won’t be long now before some tourist would kill a local in a drunken rampage and I shudder to think about the consequences.

      1. Don

        When I last spent time in Indonesia (±4 decades ago), a popular Indonesian turn of phrase when discussing Australian tourists was “Australians; not good for the thinking.”

    1. LY

      I took a look at what Indonesia changed for their visa, and it’s now “Visa on Arrival”. Besides an application and paying money, not sure how much different from free visa. Still 30 days, and need proof of departure plans.

      1. Vandemonian

        Most Australians holidaying in Indonesia have been purchasing a Visa on Arrival for a very long time – 20 Years or more, if memory serves.

  8. VT Digger

    RTO think pieces have been trickling in. Those above are pissed to no end that some of the little people are getting a taste of the executive life by working from home.

    Will they give up? The rent savings is too lucrative. On the other hand, what will workers do with the extra few hours a day saved from commuting? The mind shudders to think…organizing? Taking up painting? Give the plebs an inch and…

    Of course execs will continue to work from home no matter what. But, their friends in corpo real estate are asking them for a solid as well…is it worth it?

    1. Jason Boxman

      NY Times today tracks where workers have fled from:

      The Places Most Affected by Remote Workers’ Moves Around the Country

      Hint: It’s SF and San Jose, NYC and LA, also Washington DC, and Chicago. Denver and Austin TX biggest winners.

      In the two years leading up to the pandemic, for example, about 20,000 remote workers moved away from the San Francisco metro area. Then during 2020 and 2021, 110,000 did.

      In those prepandemic years, about 40,000 remote workers moved away from metro New York. Then, 200,000 left in two years.

      The rise of remote work meant that many such workers moved into these places, too. But for New York, San Francisco, Washington and Los Angeles, significantly more remote workers left than arrived. By contrast, Austin, Denver, Dallas and Nashville all attracted a net influx of people working from home.

      So what happens when these recent movers, comfortable where they are now, reject RTO? On the other hand, if enough companies force RTO, many might have no choice but to relocate back to where the jobs are.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Cue smart local politicians: If you’ve just had an influx of new arrivals maybe bust your butt to create more jobs in your district and magically this will translate into a stronger political base and maybe an extra CD for your state.

        In the not too far off future, blue states could become the next (future) Ukraine: critical labor shortages, gutted infrastructure, looted tax base, no one else cares.

        Like BRICS judo flipping the West into history’s ashbin, there may be a huge red-blue state polarity shift coming as investors realize that not all real estate is good for growing crops.

        1. hunkerdown

          “Create RTO jobs that people don’t want and you’ll be able to collect value tokens”

          Nah, Elon Musk’s “morals” are as void as any others. What we are actually seeing here is a breakdown of the industrial-capitalist separation of labor from its conditions and its physical manifestation in the “workplace” as a center of labor consumption, and that could be a good thing.

      2. John Wong

        Why move away? Juneteenth weekend celebratory running gunfight at Fisherman’s Wharf, bystanders hit, children run over…what’s there not to love about vibrant, exciting, multicultural San Francisco?

        “Supervisor Joel Engardio praised police for a swift response, and Chief Scott for heading to the scene to lead the investigation.” Scott an import from Atlanta because the SF supervisors couldn’t meet their equity quota? We are so screwed.

  9. VT Digger

    Military convoys have been coming through my tiny town in northeast Vermont. They appear to be HIMARS units with logistics chain. Very bizarre. I’ve seen 4 total spread out over 6-8 months. Last one was several weeks ago however.

    1. Yves Smith

      I have seen no reports here.

      HIMARS would make sense for Ukraine but I am skeptical of mass equipment movement reports. For Iraq, we moved hospital ships 9 months prior to invasion and that was reasonably reported (I was not a new junkie back then but still came across it).

      If anything other than missiles or air defense assets are moving, I would see it as Ukraine or China being used for martial law pre-positioning. Seriously. I think Team Dem has worked itself into complete hysteria over the idea of Trump supporter violence and any small action along those lines will be crushed with an anvil.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Prepositioning of the then modern equipment started under Clinton in 97 (?). Why Iraq? It was easy. Everything was there. We use the hospital ships during “peace”, so they won’t be moved until late.

        My pet theory is we are lighting up the board with troop movements and Blinken heading to China to keep Russia from increasing numbers against the planned successes of the Kiev counter offensive. Oh no, what are the Americans up to now? The failure led to Blinken running to Beijing. My guess is the White House wants a freeze. We are even saying we work with Iran.

        1. Yves Smith

          Please see what has been going on in Ukraine. Ukraine has regularly presented still images and videos from other times and theaters as current. Lambert’s skepticism of video evidence applies here.

      2. Tom Stone

        This is why Brandon is campaigning to ban the AR15 and its variants.
        Which he may well do via “Executive Order” despite Bruen, which would be both amazingly stupid and typical for a man who banished a virus with a few words.
        The shade of King Canute must be bright green with envy…

        1. ambrit

          Then again, the shade of King Canute could give “Creepy” Joe a tutorial on trying to hold back the tide. Any Government “rules” are only as good as the enforcement mechanisms. If Biden and his clique lose the support of a large enough segment of the American Nomenklatura, then all bets in the Grand Casino are off. At which point, as history teaches, the most ruthless b—–d will probably come out on top. (Don’t forget that the People as an aggregate can often be that ‘Ruthless B—–d.’ Those to whom the crisis becomes existential will then have nothing to lose, thus….)

        2. eg

          The common understanding of the Canute story is a misapprehension — he was giving his flattering courtiers an object lesson in the limits of power.


  10. Brian Beijer

    Regarding Nicholas Luberre’s tweet/thread, I find that I’m ambivalent nowadays to Sweden’s neo-liberal, “Go die” approach to Covid. As a few may remember, I live in Sweden and I wrote several comments about how horrific it was to live in Sweden during the waves of the original strain, Alpha, Delta, etc. There were very few who masked. NO ONE took it that seriously; not friends, not family, not work colleagues. No one. People would come to work sick with Covid, saying that they must have a “cold or allergies”. Then, they would disappear for two weeks. I would say that this attitude was largely the result of Anders Tegnell and the Public Health Agency’s insistance that Covid was no more serious than the flu. Despite all the absurd recklessness and criminal negligence that occurred in Sweden on both an individual and societal level, I was able to make my own decisions to safeguard my health as best I could with little ridicule or stigmatism from others. Of course, I was also forced to go into the office and attend meetings as though the pandemic didn’t exist. I did so, with a mask, an air purifier and a carbon dioxide measurer. I did get a little pushback with the measurer because it was constantly going off in our meetings. My boss even suggested I speak to a therapist about my anxiety of getting Covid. lol.
    Most importantly though, there was never any requirement from my employer nor a government mandate to take the vaccine. For me, deciding not to get vaccinated was the best decision. In this instance, I’m thankful I live in a country that so totally doesn’t give a s#%t if I live or die, that they didn’t try to cajole me into getting vaccinated for my/ their “best interest”. Life is very much back to normal here. No thoughts whatsoever in anyone’s mind about Covid now. It’s as though it were all just a bad dream. Of course, no one here knows anything about the long term damage of either Covid or the vaccines. Nor will they ever know, if the Swedish government can prevent it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Anders Tegnell? Now there is a name I have not heard for a long time – thankfully. I just came across an article where he is still defending his approach, but it did not help him land that job with the World Health Organization like he may have hoped for. In skimming through articles, I gather the vague impression that there is a movement to whitewash his approach to a raging virus in Sweden and this article says ‘Now the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet claims Sweden fared better in the pandemic than previously claimed, based on Sweden’s 2020-2022 excess mortality data, which shows how many more people than expected die during a period.’ I seem to remember two or three years ago reports of how Sweden was deliberately under-reporting their Covid deaths so those figures they quote may be patent rubbish-

      But where is says ‘Figures for excess mortality in Europe during the first three years of the pandemic show that Sweden ranks lowest in the entire EU, and in the Nordics, during this period’ is something I do not believe at all as Sweden had the highest death rate in all the Nordic nations.

      1. Carolinian

        It certainly could have had a higher death rate than Norway and yet lower than Europe as a whole. I don’t see the contradiction you mention. There were many discussions about this way back when (three years ago?) and extra variables such as the high Swedish tourist traffic to then raging Italy was one of them along with an admittedly poor effort to protect nursing homes. But then NY state might have something to answer to re nursing homes as well.

        And while there are many articles about Long Covid we still don’t know all the ramifications of Long Vaccine. I’m not trying to rekindle a debate that I am certainly not qualified to carry on. But I do think all of the factors need to be remembered not least of which being the zealous efforts by certain governments and big pharma to suppress any alternative approach to the pandemic. Many parties in this debate seem to have an angle, as is true of our debates about Ukraine and just about everything else these days.

      2. Brian Beijer

        During Covid, I learned that any statements that come from the Swedish government are nothing but lies on top of lies on top of lies. It’s been going on for so many decades (at least since the Palme assassination) that I doubt if anyone in the government knows what’s really happening anymore. Take the “mystery” of the Estonia as but one example. Another example happened just today. The Defense Ministry stated that “An armed attack (by Russia!) against Sweden cannot be ruled out.” Sweden “wants to send a clear signal to Russia”. Wtf?! Of course, no one ever explains WHY Russia would want to attack Sweden. Is it because Russia needs our land? Our resources? The stupidity is gobsmacking. Despite the irrationality of it all, Sweden has been imagining that Russia wants to attack them for so many decades that I honestly believe they’ve convinced themselves such an attack is a realistic threat. The people working in the government today probably have no idea that it was their own predecessors who invented that threat 40 years ago to “nudge” Sweden toward NATO. Unfortunately, there is no Swedish Daniel Ellsberg or even a Russell Brand to hold them to account.

        1. digi_owl

          Sometimes it feels like Europe keep fighting old wars, some of them dating back to the crusades.

        2. JohnA

          The crazy thing is that Sweden rants on about the Russian threat and Russia wanted to invade Sweden, and yet they leave the back door wide open and unlocked letting the Americans in without a murmur from the Swedish media. The fabled Russian uboats in Swedish waters proved to be nato submarines and Nato has infringed Swedish airspace far more often than Russia has, yet the media keep up the charade of Russia being the enemy. The US wants Karlskrona as a naval base opposite Kaliningrad and the rest of Sweden as a site to base its nuclear armed aircraft and rockets. And the US educated Swedish political class and media hoodwink the public into believing all this nonsense.

    2. Eclair

      Brian, my husband’s cousin, a retired professor of pathology living in Göteborg, and his wife, basically quarantined themselves throughout the pandemic. Had groceries delivered, or brought in by their children, masked, etc. Apparently people who know something about viruses, epidemics, etc., were being very careful.

      When I asked him, early on, what was his opinion of the Swedish government’s policy of ‘let ‘er rip,’ he said, we will have to examine the results when it is all finished. But, he was taking no chances.

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah, i have read a similar take that the Swedish outcome was not as bad as it could have been because an “informed public” took matters in their own hands.

  11. Lexx

    ‘Using loophole, Seward County seizes millions from motorists without convicting them of crimes’

    “All of that becomes part of a math equation,” Swicord said.

    And the press just wants us to know that Seward County law enforcement departments are full of well-funded math geniuses putting their skills to work profiling drivers passing through.

    ‘If you came in lower than the 85th percentile in math, don’t bother to fill out an application, Recruit’, said no sheriff’s department ever.

    1. jhallc

      Looks like the Sheriff of Nottingham has moved to Nebraska. Where’s Robin Hood when you need him….

    2. some guy

      There should be some kind of “green book” service or site for motorists saying where all the Civil Forfeiture Traps are located so that motorists can drive around them , if possible.

      As news of this particular Trap County spreads and motorists avoid it, other counties will set up Civil Forfeiture Traps to take advantage of traffic spill-over into their counties as it seeks to avoid this county.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You know guys, the FBI could have cracked down on this a long time ago. They could have sent disguised agents through that area to have themselves threatened with giving up their money or going to jail by the local cops. And then going in later to start making arrests and investigations using those FBI agents as witnesses who would have been believed in Court. But they can’t be bothered as either they think that it is a good idea as it is so lucrative or else they are too busy chasing Boris and Natasha. But somehow the idea of local authorities shaking down travelers for money vs imprisonment seems like something out of medieval times. Kinda like the old Robber Barons.

        1. LifelongLib

          There’s also the assumption that law-abiding people don’t need to carry large amounts of cash. Admittedly I hardly ever do; for transactions over $10 or so I generally use a credit/debit card. But if you have bad credit and/or are unbanked (or just don’t like plastic) you have no choice but to carry as much cash you need for whatever expenses you expect to encounter. It looks like a lot of the people whose money is being seized fall into those categories.

        2. some guy

          On what basis would the FBI have been able to crack down? Civil Forfeiture is a ” legalized crime” in that the law has been designed and engineered to permit any police authority to strong-arm rob anything from anyone by saying the magic words ” could be drug connected.”

          The only way to stop it would be to repeal and abolish every Civil Forfeiture law.

        3. Lexx

          Like the police I smelled a lie. I suspected he was traveling to Colorado to buy dope (not gamble) and he was buying for himself and others*. It was a pot run, that’s why he had so much cash on him. Nebraskan police know this is happening because marijuana remains illegal in that state. The highways to states outside Nebraska where pot is both recreationally/medically legal become drug corridors for enterprising young fellows with a car and upfront untraceable funds. A lot of dope is getting ferried in small amounts.

          But to call the who/how/why of their profiling math?! Please. I have to imagine in a state as rural as Nebraska where pot is still illegal, the list of suppliers gets narrowed down within a small number of CI’s. It’s not genius, it’s SOP for busting drug rings everywhere.

          Why didn’t the spokesperson for the Seward County sheriff’s dept. just say so? Because they don’t want to talk about their sources or their less-than-genius methods, or that the law provides one of the easiest ways to fund themselves… robbing small-scale suppliers. Also, it’s kinda fun.

          Transportation of drugs across state lines once purchased might involve the feds. Large scale import… the feds. Alot of money… the feds. Seward County doesn’t want to involve the feds.

          *Or reselling with a small markup to his customer base. That’s how he ended up with $18K in capital. He bears the risk but makes a profit.

  12. Jason Boxman

    Executive agency failure, NY Times headlines:

    “With more workers staying home, transit agencies are scrambling — and looking at new business models.”
    “In Rush to Arm Ukraine, Weapons Are Bought but Not Delivered, or Too Broken to Use”

    Bold mine. Everything is an emergency. Is the SMO so new we’re still rushing? How can transit agencies be scrambling when declining ridership has been a well known feature of the Pandemic? Or maybe headline writers just lack finesse.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, Just-In-Time has not worked out so well lately in either the worst of the pandemic nor supplying the Ukraine with weaponry. They might want to rethink that concept in a changing world. JIT is like fine-tuned machinery that cannot stand even a few bits of sand in the works.

        1. digi_owl

          And even Toyota themselves are flexible in how they apply the principle.

          Thrust the MBAs to turn even the most simple rule of thumb into religious dogma.

          1. hunkerdown

            Pietism applies to any religion, and the neo-Puritan values which largely infest the upper-middle stratum are no exception.

            1. Polar Socialist

              That and MBA (that I have met) have very little of understanding of the company they work for actually operates and everything that is required for the operation. Thus they go for the latest fad in the hope that it’s somehow relevant for the company’s success. It sure will look good on his/her resume

              Somebody who has worked their way trough the company to a leadership position would know immediately if and how some new approach can be of benefit. Or how and where to test it. And who’s opinion and support would be crucial in the process.

            2. Henry Moon Pie

              Pietism is a symptom of a religion losing its hold. Indeed, the PMCs with their closely group-regulated speech, taboos around Covid and cancelling, i.e. excommunication, on grounds of thoughtcrime act like Pietists. Are they losing faith that neoliberalism with reign forever and ever?

  13. t

    Thanks for the link on Sweden. They didn’t do nothing – limited capacity to 50 – but they certainly didn’t do enough and outcomes not great. So tired of people around me hooting about our pandemic lockdowns (bars were closed briefly, at best) and the proof of Sweden when , all that time, the restrictions they did have in place and the not-great results were there to see.

    1. digi_owl

      I seem to recall Sweden and Canada ran into the same problem when the whole thing kicked off, for profit elder care.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Head of Zelenskyy’s Office tries to involve Brazil and India in Ukrainian peace plan”

    Good luck with that one. It may surprise readers to learn that Zelensky does not have much charisma and charm when met in public. Brazil won’t give Big Z the timer of day since Lula was supposed to have a meeting with him in Hiroshima but Zelensky was a no show and left him hanging. Modi does not seem to like him either as Zelensky was lecturing him to cut off all ties with Russia and give their weapons to the Ukraine – and probably a few billion dollars as well. There will be no Ukrainian peace plan and when Zelensky met those African leaders, said that that will happen only when Russian hands back all that territory to the Ukraine including Crimea. And Zelensky being Zelensky, he then criticism those African leaders as they got ready to go on to Russia. I think that he forgets that in a negotiation, that you need a minimum of two sides and one is not enough.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Borrell attitude (jungle v garden) is too entrenched among Western elites to actually let India and Brazil participate. They pulled a fake air raid stunt on the less dent of South Africa, so I think the attitude would be to demand Modi and Lula as window dressing would be too obvious.

    2. digi_owl

      I can’t make up my mind of Z is a true believer, or a well paid stooge with a gun to his neck.

      1. Ignacio

        Very few are in the position to gather what the hell is going on in his (possibly drug tortured) brain. Your hypotheses are not real alternatives. Both can be true at the same time.

    3. Kouros

      “It may surprise readers to learn that Zelensky does not have much charisma and charm when met in public.”

      Actually no. His voice is shrilly-squeaky and wooden at the same time. He seems to be reading from a page all the time. Mostly, he gives the impression of being a fake.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I should have added a /sarc tag. The guy strikes me as a sort of low class, seedy strip-bar manager and other readers said that he looks like a thug – to which I agree.

  15. Wukchumni

    Yack it up, yack it up
    My Kevin (since ’07) is gonna shut you down

    It happened in the House where the divide is wide
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Two cool as cucumber parties side by side
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Yeah, the fuel-injected Freedom Caucus team
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Revvin’ up their rhetoric, and it sounds real mean
    (Ooh, rev it up now)
    Yack it up, yack it up
    Biden… gonna shut you down

    Declinin’ approval numbers at an even rate
    (Ooh, bottomin’ out now)
    As the public disgust of both parties accelerate
    (Ooh, bottomin’ out now)
    My Kevin’s head is light, he’s startin’ to spin
    (Ooh, bottomin’ out now)
    But the Freedom Caucus is really diggin’ in
    (Ooh, bottomin’ out now)
    Gotta be cool now
    Power shift here we go

    Superspeaker Kevin may be windin’ out his vocal show
    The fuel injected Freedom Caucus is really thinkin’ of letting him go
    To get the traction he’s ridin’ the Trump clutch
    Legal proceedings burnin’ that machine too much

    Measure to the floor, the Donkey Show in group sync
    (Ooh, pump it up now)
    And now the Pachyderms lead is startin’ to shrink
    (Ooh, pump it up now)
    He’s hot with indignation but it’s understood
    (Ooh, rev up the rhetoric now)
    He’s got the fuel injected Freedom Caucus in his hood
    (Ooh, pump it up now)

    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down
    Shut it off, shut it off
    Buddy, now I shut you down

    Shut Down, by the Beach Boys

  16. Jason Boxman

    So Column: Did Sweden beat the pandemic by refusing to lock down? No, its record is disastrous ends on an ignominious note:

    These are features of the policies of the states that have been least successful at fighting the pandemic in the U.S., such as Florida — sacrifices borne by the most vulnerable, scientific authorities ignored or disdained, lies paraded as truth. Do we really want all of America to face the same disaster?

    And yet Biden adopted the GBD in spirit. Stochastic eugenics is still eugenics. Remember when Biden’s top priority if elected was to get those schools open? Without any metrics, how do vulnerable citizens complete a complex risk assessment?

    Biden’s depravity might be less brazen than what happened in Sweden, but it’s the same game, the same result. But I guess an LA Times columnist can’t say that truth out loud, or even recognize it?

  17. Jabura Basaidai

    GO DOLPHINS! too many have been maimed or seriously injured by shipping – nature fighting back is definitely something i can cheer on – now if there was someway for wolves to fight back in the Rockies – jb

  18. Wukchumni

    Students Create Gunshot Detection Tech for School Security Government Technology

  19. Judith

    The lead story of the current Orca publication called The Terra, available underwater only, is entitled “Killer Humans Are Not Our Friends”.

    1. hunkerdown

      It seems that Stern’s pleas are being disregarded like so much poop on the poop deck. There is a sizable proportion of anti-elite responses to the Atlantic article on the twitter, including this one, “You’re right, they’re not our friends, but rather our proletarian comrades in arms, taking the class war to the seas!” @VonClownsewitz 6:51 PM · Jun 17, 2023 illustrated in an almost joyful style by Bing AI.

  20. Mikel

    “Killer Whales Are Not Our Friends” The Atlantic

    “…Scientists have documented hundreds of orca-boat incidents off the Spanish-Portuguese coast since 2020, but news coverage of these attacks is blowing up right now, thanks in part to a creative new theory about why they’re happening: cetacean vengeance….”

    Part of the speculation is that a female killer whale named Gladis suffered a trauma and taught other killer whales how to ram boats.

    This isn’t something killer whales would have just figured out how to do. They’ve been in the waters with humans and boats for centuries now AND traumatizing events have been constant.

    What if humans taught a killer whale or whales to do the ramming? Humans know killer whales learn and teach. It would only take teaching one or two.

    Again, this would not have been a recent discovery by the whales: Hey, we can sink a lot of their boats!
    Because they have also learned (and thus can teach) that humans come back in large numbers.
    In essence, a whale or two or more that had spent a good deal of time with humans ended up with other whales.

    That’s my wild theory!

    1. Ignacio

      Vengeance and lab leaks are the only stories we like to hear. We are so immersed in BS that this little addition won’t be noticed. But the Atlantic loves click baiting, that for sure.

  21. Tom Stone

    I wonder why people talk about Joe Biden “Always Punching Down” when there is a perfectly good word for people who enjoy inflicting pain on the weak and helpless.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Would that make all those Democrats that regard Biden as the greatest President in history as masochists then?

      1. Tom Stone

        Codependents and sadomasochists, many of them also enjoy seeing “Those People” suffer.
        Combine Stockholm Syndrome with a need to feel “Better than” and you get what we have.

      2. jrh

        Come on, Rev.

        There are plenty of people who think he’s “good”, but you’ve surely seen the numbers regarding primary debates and concern over his dwindling capacities.

        This “greatest President in history” bit is Straw Man City.

    2. hunkerdown

      Weakness and helplessness don’t define sadism at all. There exist sadists who punch up.

      Those who cavil about “corruption” are, AFAICT to a man, property owners who believe they are owed a slice. In fact, this “corruption” is activity toward the maintenance of capitalist order, which would fly apart if Adam Smith’s pacifying myths about competition were reality.

    3. Glen

      I find Joe to be both confused and confusing individual. Confused when he slips a gear and says something dumb (which happens when you’re that old), and confusing when he gets compared to FDR, especially as a “war President”.

      Biden seems to have forgotten his history.

      FDR didn’t start WW2, and although FDR has been accused of provoking Japan with the Export Control Act, by the time it was passed, Japan had invaded and controlled all of Korea, and large portions of China, and was threatening many other places in the East. Between that, and Germany’s invasion and control of most of Europe, a world war was already underway, even then FDR kept America and Americans out of WW2 until America was attacked.

      Plus, Biden seems to have totally forgotten that prior to becoming a “war President”, FDR was very busy implementing the New Deal, and trying to get America out of the Great Depression.

      So when did Biden do anything substantial to revamp America’s infrastructure? He did the normal Democratic thing of talking about it, and then going, aw, I couldn’t do it, I was stopped by the Senate Parliamentarian. But more importantly, he has not gone after those putting personal gain and politics over national economic recovery. Greedflation is very real. Instead Biden is telling Wall St that “nothing will fundamentally change”.

      Plus the war comparison seems more than a bit off. Russia has been warning for decades that expanding NATO was a red line. And the official American policy is that Taiwan is part of one China.

      But Biden seems to think going to war with Russia and China is going to win him some sort of favor with voters. Heck, we’re still waiting for a real revival of America’s infrastructure, industrial base, fixing our schools, dealing with student debt, real healthcare. Instead we get the Fed jacking up interest rates because uppity American labor might get raises, and Biden squashing railroad unions while train wrecks poison whole towns.

      I mean, Biden doesn’t even have the cart ahead of the horse, he’s got the cart a mile down the road being pushed by illegal child labor, and the horses are locked up in the barn that he’s casually set on fire.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Airline fined $15,625 after worker ‘ingested’ into engine at Montgomery airport”

    That airline would not have cared about that $15,625 fine as it would have amounted to pocket change. What they would have cared about was the high cost of replacing for cleaning and repair of that engine along with the disruptions of not having it in service. It may even be that if that that airline had dead peasant’s insurance on that poor woman so may be even financially ahead when you take into account the regular insurance payout too.

    1. digi_owl

      What will happen is that the affected engine will be unhooked from the wing, a new engine attached in its place, and the damaged one sent of to the factory for either repair or disassembly.

  23. timbers

    Cheery news on the war front. Those F16’s may lead to direct Russian attack on NATO air bases:

    “A patient and knowledgeable Russian colonel in retirement who is a frequent guest on the talk show explained that the Kremlin is now considering exactly with what means to destroy such a NATO air base, not whether to do it. And the likely means will be use of tactical nuclear weapons on a Ramstein or whatever NATO base is involved. We may say that Germany is placing itself in the bulls-eye of any escalation in the Ukraine war if it proceeds with the F-16s to Ukraine program.”

    From Gilbert Doctorow.

    I don’t see any other way the F16 can be used to any meaningful way if not essentially directly from NATO locations. And that makes NATO a direct participant and legitimate – I would say absolutely essential – target for Russian attack.

      1. timbers

        Yes….and remember…no reverse gear

        Why all the fuss over the F-16s, you may ask?

        Doctorow’s account from the Russian colonel:

        “The first F-16s scheduled to be supplied to the Ukrainian Air Force are from Belgium and Denmark, and are all nuclear-capable, which is not a necessary feature of these planes. Since the Russians are unable to determine what kind of munitions the “Ukrainian” F-16s will actually be delivering to the war zone, they must assume that they are carrying tactical nuclear bombs intended to be dropped on the Russian Army troop concentrations. The effect of such an attack could be devastating, hence the Russian threat to the air bases from which such planes are launched.”

        1. Aurelien

          Not really. The issue is ordnance, not aircraft. Nuclear weapons are stored in remote corners of a few airfields under massive security precautions, and only out-loaded and transported with special escorts in purpose-built vehicles. (Here is a video.) It’s a good bet that the Russians know where all of the relatively small number of US warheads in Europe are, and they would certainly know if they were being moved anywhere.

          But I do wonder whether this isn’t part of a quite clever propaganda campaign to make western publics more worried about direct attack, and less supportive of western policy.

          1. timbers

            Gonna “not really” your not really back at you, because if you read Doctorow in full, the method of storing nukes you mention is discussed (at least in Belarus) and it is suggested that is being changed to allow a quicker nuclear response and more dispersed, less easily targeted destruction. And one if side can do thar so can the other.

            1. Aurelien

              I read Doctorow’s piece this morning and wasn’t impressed. We all have the “retired Colonel” problem. In any event, the point is that moving nuclear weapons into, say, Poland or Rumania is something that simply couldn’t be hidden, and it would be obvious where they were. I’d just add that you don’t need a nuclear weapon to destroy an airbase anyway: there are conventional weapons perfectly capable of doing that.

              1. timbers

                Its not just a “retired cornel problem” because if you read the article, the original wording came from Putin himself. The retired cornel only added elaboration seemingly confirming an Italian report saying tactical nukes were under consideration. According to the retired cornel he disagrees with you saying they can not be sure if nuke capable F16 has a nuke or not, and the Kremlin is undecided if they will use tactical nukes in response, or not.

              2. timbers

                Doing a quick re-read…what Doctorow explains is, you can’t know what the F16 is loaded with until it is loaded just before it lifts off. Because an array of weapons including nukes are stored at some bases directly under the plane. Once air born it could be a harder target, and might deliver its weapon before it can be destroyed by Russian defenses. The implication bring that is why the cornel says we cant know if the F16 is nuclear or not (until it may too late). That makes sense to me. But perhaps you more than I.

                1. Will

                  Seems a case of “close only counts in horse shoes and thermal nuclear war” being applied to planes parked close to nukes.

          2. Ignacio

            Regarding support for Western policy on Ukraine i hardly can find polls with what I consider in many cases the proper questions. Anyway for what I have seen the narrative is so far working more or less well regarding public support and the escalation is not crossing public red lines. I don’t care about public opinion in Spain because Spain has no the sligthest influence in the matter but Germany and France. What is really going on there?

          3. Yves Smith

            The fact that this is from a retired general means this is not a government position. Putin is perfectly capable of saying what Russia will and won’t do.

            And Putin has regularly signaled that Russia has extremely potent non-nukes. Why would Russia have any need to use a nuke on something as small as an airstrip? A Kinzhal will punch a very difficult to repair hole.

            Frankly, since the West is so big on its evil Russian-weaponized dolphin fantasies, maybe Russia should train a huge number of corvids to carry screws and pebbles and drop them on NATO airstrips. No F-16 takeoffs then! Or better yet, just plant a lot of social media rumors. You’d then only need a very few to create the perception that this could happen.

            We have hotheads like Prigozhin not silenced. Russia has been so big on allowing free speech during this war that you can’t assume this guy isn’t just some uberhawk happy to have an audience.

            1. timbers

              Putin did say. That’s the point. The cornel has adding elaboration and background which happened to dovetail with the referenced Italian report. We can each judge to believe or not what Putin said and what is under consideration.

              1. Yves Smith

                Putin has REPEATEDLY said Russia will use nukes only if the existence of the Russia Federation is under imminent threat. Sorry, this general is out over his skis and misrepresenting Putin.

                Putin has ALSO repeatedly made statements about the potency of Russia’s advanced missiles and was clearly referring to hypersonics, but the Western press repeatedly acted as if he was taking about nukes, since we can’t even admit Russia has hypersonics when we don’t.

                And hypersonic missiles pack as much punch as a small tactical nuke. A tactical nuke has a blast force of 1 to 50 kilotons, while one Kinzhal is 5 kilotons. All Russia would need to do is Kinzhal the airstrip, since the blast hole would be so deep that the strip would likely need to be moved to a new spot nearby rather than rebuilt in place (one Kinzhal took out a nuclear-defended bunker at 120 feet deep, not by penetrating the casing of the bunker but by managing to destroy its ventilation system).

    1. Carolinian

      Not long ago MOA had some talk about the difficulty of flying the F-16 from anything but a well maintained conventional air base. While some Russian fighters are capable of operating from dirt strips and the like the F-16 would likely wreck its single engine by doing so (debris in the intake).

      So surely what these Russian TV talkers are really getting at is that any attack on Russia or its forces from a conventional NATO air base like Ramstein means NATO is at war with Russia since who knows who is really flying the plane.

      And that’s right. So the very introduction of the F-16–by the nature of the F-16–is a nuclear threat in the sense that direct rather than proxy war with NATO increases the nuclear threat overall. I believe that is the point of Putin positioning nukes that just need their warheads screwed on as a form of tit for tat readiness.

      Here’s hoping it’s all over before any of this comes to a head. Yes Doctorow tends to oversell the Armageddon angle because Belgium would be a target. But the NATO side never seems to have had a clear plan other than sanctions.

  24. Mikel

    “How companies Are Tackling Job Misery” WSJ. More money?

    Surprise! No, more money doesn’t seem to be the obvious incentive any more than it has occured to businesses to provide an actual office or semblance of one to more people to get them to return to the “office.”

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Death on the Job: Texas Says “NO” To Water Breaks in the Heat”

    Since Texas claims that water is no longer a human right, those workers should consider one of those camel packs so that they can grab water by sucking it through that tube. Over the course of the day the weight issue will be self-correcting of course. Add on an Amazon-style pee bag strapped to their legs – as Texas will probably next claim that workers will no longer be able to take a pee break – and you will be able to spot a Texas worker a mile of

    1. Eclair

      Rev, if the workers can’t drink during periods of work in intensive heat and sun, they won’t produce much urine. So …. problem solved! No need to ban ‘pee breaks.’ Nature will take care of that.

      Kidneys won’t last long, however. Throw the worn-out workers on the trash heap and hire new ones. What a business model!

  26. Tom Stone

    I can’t seem to find the vote count ANYWHERE, when did the US Congress declare war on Russia and China?

    1. LifelongLib

      I’m fuzzy on the details (as usual) but my understanding is that since the advent of the UN declaring war is passe. Nations still fight each other of course but they have to call whatever they’re doing something other than “war”.

    2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

      “Declaring war” is SO last century.

      And early/mid last century at that.

  27. Screwball

    The Rogan/JFK Jr./Hotez/Cuban dust us has sure made some heads explode. I see Hotez went on MSDNC and talked to, what’s the name, Hasan to defend himself and science? As someone on Twitter said, why go on MSNBC with a million viewers and not the debate where it will be watched by 10 million, or something like that.

    Others have chipped in and the dollar amount is now over a million. I say why not? If RFK Jr. is a quack and carpetbagger – prove it – should be easy, no? Same with Hotez.

    Better yet, book a venue and have any number of so-called experts debate the issue. Have it live on camera on all networks in prime time for as long as it takes. I’m not afraid of the truth, whatever it may be.

  28. spud

    the NYT’s article on free trade, its not globalism, that’s been around for centuries. should have been written in 1993 as a prediction about what would happen when bill clinton sold the world out with free trade.

    of course it would never work, it did not work before. no economy can be sustained built on human and environmental degradation.

    everything the naysayers said would happened, and then some, happened.

    this is a article that is what really needs to happen.

    extremely powerful and truthful article, one of the best i ever read.

    “Human rights campaigns have traditionally focused on negative rights–that is, the protection of people from repression and persecution. I believe that it is time we also campaign against individuals and institutions that violate the people’s positive rights. Neoliberal policies such as those that have been imposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, institutionalized in the Philippine political economy, and rationalized by a succession of economic managers and economists have created massive poverty and inequality that have prevented millions of our fellow Filipinos over the last five decades from their full development as human beings because they have destroyed, disarticulated, and disintegrated the country’s base of physical survival, that is, the economy.

    That is a crime.Neoliberal policies are now discredited. The Washington Consensus is in the junk heap. No self-respecting economic manager, except perhaps in the Philippines, any longer invokes the “magic of the market” or the so-called benefits of free trade. Yet in so many countries, and not just in the Philippines, neoliberal policies continue to be the default mode, like the proverbial dead hand of the engineer on the throttle of a speeding train. They continue to inflict severe damage on the life chances of billions of people because they have been institutionalized.””It is high time we seek justice for economic crimes.

    It is high time we cease honoring such criminals with Nobel Prizes in Economics but bring them instead to the ICC. If the arraignment of such economic criminals cannot immediately be done owing to the need to amend the Rome statute, then let us at least establish a “Hall of Infamy” where we can enshrine such dead and living stars of neoliberalism as the Nobel Prize laureate Milton Friedman, the ideological soulmate of the General Augusto Pinochet; Michel Camdessus and Christine Legarde, the best known faces of IMF-imposed austerity; former World Bank President Robert McNamara, who conspired with the dictator Marcos to make the Philippines one of the guinea pigs of structural adjustment; and Pascal Lamy and Mike Moore, who spearheaded the drive to imprison the global South in the iron cage of free trade, the World Trade Organization.”

    “And, of course, one must not forget Cielito Habito, who as National Economic Development Authority chief almost singlehandedly wiped out Philippine manufacturing with his push to bring down average tariffs to 4-6 percent simply to prove that Filipinos could take economic pain better than Pinochet’s Chicago Boys in Chile, who did not allow tariffs to go below 11 percent. Nor must we overlook the WTO-USAID mercenary Ramon Clarete, who famously sought to sugarcoat the impending murder of our agricultural sector by claiming that Philippines’ joining the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture would result in 500,000 new jobs every year in the countryside!”

    put-in calls it Neo-colonailsim.

  29. IM Doc

    Re: the Hotez/Rogan spat

    I have actually wondered when this was finally going to happen. Accountability is indeed a part of life, despite my profession’s feelings that they are above it – opioids, Vioxx, Tuskegee, the list is eternal.

    I have been deeply concerned since the beginning of the COVID affair to hear members of “The Science” behaving as if they are above debate, ignoring anyone with other ideas, cancelling and deplatforming “others.”

    Now, “The Science” defenders are just saying it out loud. “We will not engage in debate anyone on the other side – to give voice to these conspiracy theories is tantamount to murder, etc.” I have seen this all weekend online.

    These members of “The Science” clearly have no idea what the scientific method actually is. The medical “Science” members have clearly grown up in a completely different academic and medical system than I did. For open and public debate of ideas and theories was part and parcel of my life. I have seen near fisticuffs, I have seen people pass out, I have seen people have seizures all while in public debating their ideas. I have been in the audience numerous times as opposing sides debated and fought it out. I have learned so much from this, and I can think of so many things that emerged from the mist in medicine just this way – H pylori for gastric ulcers, the use of beta blockers in CHF, Swan-Ganz for ARDS, and so on and so on. Over and over again.

    Now, crickets from “The Science”. In my youth, if the opposing side was so dangerous and weak, it would have been seen as an OBLIGATION to absolutely take them down. The silence in this regard has been deafening for three years. Now, after the revelations of this weekend, it is just a joke. Shame on these people. They are not scientists. They are not engaged in fair speech. I am not sure what they are. One thing I know for sure – they are bought and paid for.

    What has happened by this arrogance over the past 3 years? They have allowed the public discourse to be polluted with any number of whack a doodle issues about COVID – 5G, graphene – whatever. There are also any number of folks with excellent thought processes and reasonable hypotheses who have been shut down and shut up. The arrogant incompetence has been for the ages. And now they have inherited the whirlwind. I doubt more than a third of my patients believe a thing they say. This is a national tragedy.

    The Hotez/Rogan events of this past weekend could possibly be the nail in the coffin for any credibility this system once had.

    What a joke. What a complete joke these “Science” people are.

  30. griffen

    Taibbi latest linked above, the Anthology of Funny. A later paragraph summarizes succinctly what may transpire when modern citizens must cope without their cellular device. This is a personal anecdote, but when it comes to modern cell phone technology I have found a prime location where nothing damn works. Just across the state line before entering North Carolina, the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area is the ideal location to cease speaking to your boss or anyone else you wish to avoid. Between cell service that vanished late Friday, it was like a sorta Gilligan’s Island for the modern era; very minimal or spotty cell service and broken WiFi meant no news, no sports, no entertainment.

    The reward was worth it overall, in visiting some state parks and a brief dash into Nantahala national forest all in humble pursuit for natural waterfalls that are aplenty. Transylvania County, in North Carolina is the place to visit for such landscapes. Normally I humbly defer to Wuk’s various conquests of the hiking trails from out of the West coast, but late spring is a peak time to visit here in the East of the Mississippi.. One might even find a cool swimming hole as a bonus!

  31. Carolinian

    Re The Economist and “Joe Biden’s manufacturing boom”–local politicos are likely doing a breakfast spit take of their coffee over this assertion as much of the industrial boom happened long before Biden and the continuing boom is a followup to that. For example BMW is going to build a battery factory in my county to service their giant assembly plant that will be making EVs in a few years. To be sure Biden has pushed EVs but the relative success of Tesla probably has a lot more to do with it. BMW sells to the same wealthy clientele.

    The article does finally admit that

    The investment surge resulting in part from Mr Biden’s policies so far looks like the opposite of pork-barrel politics: most of the money has gone to places that do not favour him. According to a database of EV investments announced in the 300 days since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Mr Biden’s clean-tech law, more than 80% has gone to Republican-controlled districts. Could the presence of more manufacturing—an industry once aligned with Democrats—move their politics leftward? Perhaps. But as factories become less labour-intensive, their political weight may well diminish. Robots do not vote.

    Our region is moving somewhat leftward though, and I believe keeping Euro transplants happy has something to do with it. Still if Biden expects SC to go Dem next year he’s likely to be disappointed.

  32. Lex

    I think Simplicius gets some things right about the negotiation document and its context and some things wrong, partly because we don’t know what the full document says. For example, it could include recognition of LNR and DNR independence. But without seeing the full document (and we don’t even know if the African delegation was allowed to see it), nobody can be sure of anything except the fact that very early on Russia was willing to negotiate a settlement to the conflict. By the appearances of what we have seen, it was willing to negotiate a settlement that was not onerous or one-sided.

    The African delegation didn’t have a peace plan in hand, they had a set of principles similar to what China proposed. The significance of Putin proffering the draft settlement during the African visit wasn’t to argue against the African proposal but to elevate the African group’s status. It also makes a case that Russia is doing what it’s doing now not because it wants the war but because it has no choice, since negotiations are fruitless.

    Russia wasn’t in a great position by the end of March/beginning of April 2022. It shows that Russia didn’t have a grand plan to invade Ukraine and take it over. Putin would have negotiated an end to it. But that was then and this is now. The Kremlin’s attitude has hardened. While it still, clearly, doesn’t want a full scale war, the situation is different now. We’re at the end of 9+ months of serious ramp up and what Putin could sell as victory enough in April/May 2022 is not the same as what he could sell to Russians now.

  33. Mikel

    “It should, of course, be noted that dual Y charts are inherently misleading, since the magnitude can be altered just by playing with the axes. That said, the idea that liquidity is a key driver of financial asset performance is widely shared…”

    A version of this chart that goes back at least to the 80s would be great.

    1. ambrit

      Ouch! I’ve worked in that porcine periodontal pun place. It’s right next to Birming-ham. (I’ll stop boaring you all now….)

        1. ambrit

          I am suitably chastened. I’ll try not to go whole hog on the Brandon’s build back better bacon bits trial barrage balloon. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, because I didn’t.)
          Alas, it must be my Terran human ‘privilege’ speaking. You know the drill; “Four legs good, two legs doubleplusungood.” However, I have seldom read anyone taking notice of the “eight legs perfect” meme, as so ably expounded on the Cephalo Pod Cast.
          Stay safe! Learn base eight and beat the rush! Our Porcine Praetorians, who but serve the Deep Ones, will reward you.

  34. chris

    From the Guardian today, apparently the Ukrainians are sharing photos of a modified junk car placed on the dam prior to the explosion. The article mentions that there was a line from the car, allegedly to control the detonation, that ran to the Russian side of the dam.

    I have a difficult time examining these claims with a straight face. So we’re to believe that rather than just open the gates on the dam that they controlled, the Russian’s used a junk car filled with explosives to destroy a dam which was important for maintaining a reservoir that helped supply both Crimea and a contested NPP with water? And we’re to believe that even though the Ukrainians have lied multiple times about their acts of sabotage, this time they’re telling the truth? And further, we’re supposed to take as evidence for these claims that the line ran to the Russian side of the dam, even though Ukraine has shown the ability to infiltrate and execute explosives in Russian held territory at least two times before?

    It may be that the wiley “Russians” had some part in the dam failure. There may yet be evidence that we don’t have publicly available. As of now, if this is the best the Western pro-Ukraine media has to offer, I think we can just assume the Ukrainians did it. That article and photo speak to despair more than any cunning decisions. They’re hoping that ridiculous claims repeated often will help their cause.

    1. semper loquitur

      “The article mentions that there was a line from the car, allegedly to control the detonation, that ran to the Russian side of the dam.”

      Hopefully with an arrow pointing the way to Moscow, for the Western viewer.

      Brilliant stuff. I see the seeds of a reality show here, one along the lines of The Great British Baking Show. The goal: come up with the best mock-up of a military or terrorist disaster in Ukraine for Western media consumption. As long as it smells of Russia. Only Ukie military or intel assets can play, the judges are all CIA and NATO.

    2. The Rev Kev

      A car bomb took out a massive dam? Now they are just messing with us. If that was true they would have to ban all cars and trucks from passing over Hoover dam.

      1. JohnA

        And cutting the roof off to allow the Ukr drone to photograph the explosive contents? Very accommodating of the Russians.

        When you think the Guardian could not get more propagandist, it lowers the bar even further.

  35. Jeff W

    Plagiarism Engine: Google’s Content-Swiping AI Could Break the Internet Tom’s Hardware

    Avram Piltch says these LLMs can’t be an authoritative source of anything because they can’t, say, product test anything—which is true as far as it goes. But they can’t even reliably summarize stuff that others do accurately (unless, perhaps, they’re given a single source to summarize) as when the answer refers to ThinkPad X13 Gen 3 but draws from reviews of earlier Gen 1 and Gen 2 versions, because, to an LLM, I guess, the words that appear in a review of some earlier version of a product could pretty probably appear in some later version (not that they have). Again, these are language models—they’re designed to produce plausible human-like verbal output, which they do amazingly well, just not necessarily truthful, or even sensible, output. (I’ve had responses from ChatGPT that contradict itself literally from one sentence to the next and then reverse the contradiction when called on it.)

    Postscript: I can’t help thinking of “the rise of symbol manipulation” (referred to here) as being somehow related to this. Maybe it doesn’t matter, to Google, at least, if the results accord with reality. What matters is that they appear to. To rework the title of the seminal article that gave rise to these transformer models, “Plausibility is All You Need.”

    1. c_heale

      I also think AI could be the death knell for the Internet. It was already being broken by advertising and political censorship but AI is on a whole ‘nother level.

      1. ambrit

        Agreed. Have you noticed the new lows of search results from Google lately? Truly horrible.

        1. some guy

          Does one have to do one’s searches with Google? Is there no other search engine to use? And if there is one, is it also as dominated by Artifecal Intelligence replica results?

          1. Acacia

            There are of course alternatives to Google, but the landscape is kinda bleak. Also, even if the search app itself isn’t crapified with “AI-enhanced” results, there is the problem of more and more AI-generated crap clogging up the intertubes. It’s happening, and we’ve got to expect it will get worse. Search engine devs are already in an arms race with SEO, and generative AI will be used by those offering the latter to try and game their rankings higher, even as it makes the overall search experience worse.

            1. some guy

              Yes, that’s true. Applying the Steve Bannon method . . . flooding the zone with shit. In this case, the Internet being the zone and the shit being the flood of digital unformed runny stool pouring from eleventeen thousand million hundred Artifecal Intelligence orifices.

              Perhaps truly brilliant programmers can figure out how to construct Artifecal Intelligence Detectors and Bozo Filters designed to see what kind of language patterns Artifecal Intelligence uses and exclude anything using those types of language patterns. The more Artifecal Output floods the Internet Zone, the more Artifecal Output such a “learning-to-detect-it” program will have to train itself on.

              Real people might have to retreat to email and things like “list-serves” which I have read about even though I don’t fully understand them.

              But also image aggregators might still be good. Yahoo image aggregator should be studied to see how well it withstands the AI strategy of ” flooding the zone with shit”. Will most of the images findable on Yahoo’s image aggregator still be “real” as against “artifecal”? If so, that would still be a way to find random interesting sites within a delimited subject matter zone as specified by what subject of images you ask the aggregator to bring you.

  36. Jason Boxman

    A Star Reporter’s Break with Reality (The Atlantic)

    So I thought this would be unhinged.

    For the next 45 minutes, (Lara) Logan, wearing a floral wrap dress and a cream-colored cardigan, lays out what she sees as the true narrative: for instance, that by aiding Ukraine, America is arming Nazis; that the events of January 6 were not an insurrection at all. Turning to The New York Times to understand this moment, Logan warns, is “like being in the battle of Normandy, on the beaches of Normandy, Dunkirk, and going on your knees every day and crawling over to the Nazi lines and asking them to please write nice things about your side in German propaganda.” Her dress is decorated with two identical navy-blue stickers reading stop woke indoctrination.

    What’s unhinged? It seems like the Atlantic is unhinged, not Logan, if this is their opening salvo.

    As Logan talks, her words at times eliciting applause, the final frame of the introductory footage hovers ghostlike in the background. Logan’s success at events like this—she now features at many—turns on her ability to shrink the distance between her past and present selves. She needs the people in this auditorium to believe that the woman on the projector screen is the same one who now anticipates their fears of woke indoctrination. She needs them to trust that when she talks about subjects like the “little puppet” Volodymyr Zelensky, or how COVID vaccines are a form of “genocide by government,” or how President Joe Biden’s administration has been “participating in the trafficking of kids,” it is with the precise rigor and dispassion she once displayed on the front lines of America’s wars.

    I grant you that COVID shots aren’t necessarily genocide. But like with Trump, I’d want to see the whole transcript.

    1. flora

      Taibbi and Kirn in the newest America This Week episode made passing mention of the boilerplate standard response by the MSM to Logan’s departing from the official narrative after having once been a respected (accepting the official narrative) reporter. She’s getting the “oh, she must be crazy. Don’t listen to her. She has issues.” treatment. Taibbi said he got that treatment (“Whatever happened to Matt Taibbi”?) and all once-MSM reporters get that treatment from the MSM when they break with the official concencus and start reporting from a different perspective. The Atlantic article a typical response, according to Taibbi and Kirn.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I guess I can have some sympathy for Establishment reporters in this sense; After all, some of us like the validation, and extroverts might well need it. I’d be considered a COVID extremest or dead-ender I guess at this point, so I can live without it, but it’s certainly kind of empty going it alone. It’s certainly an effective method of enforcing conformance to whatever the majority feels is “comfortable” to believe.

  37. some guy

    . . . ” BlackRock and JPMorgan help set up Ukraine reconstruction bank ” . . .

    That is a hope I share but only so long as they only lose their own everything. If they lose everyone else’s everything along with their own, then that would be a bad outcome.

    I don’t understand Financial Swindleization Engineering, but could a “Ukraine reconstruction bank” be used to sell shares-in or bonds-for to various muppets, marks and Naive Rube Retirement Funds? And launder the money thereby raised through a complex web of shells and peas to vehicles beyond the reach of regulators, law enforcement, a “Ukraine reconstruction bank” itself, or anyone else?

    If this “bank” is created, how are simple working wannabe-retirees supposed to be able to surveil every aspect of their 401ks or whatever other vehicle to be able to move their money out of any vehicle caught buying any shares or securities or bonds or anything else to do with such a “reconstruction bank”?

    I suspect the best way for any wannabe retiree to keep any of his/her micro-capital or nano-capital would be to invest it in their house and yard ( if they have one) to prepay the mortgage to zero and protect it from fraudclosure swindlers as best as they can, and then invest their money into turning their house and yard into a self-reliant survival doomstead, growing as much of its own water, power, food, body-waste processing, heat, cold, etc. as is humanly and physically possible.

    The wealth you can keep away from collapsible “monetized investment vehicles” is the wealth you won’t lose if/when those “monetized investment vehicles” collapse.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Wait till the same happens to a bunch of wealthy people returning on one of those sub-orbital, tourist “space ships.”

  38. kareninca

    What I’ve read so far re metformin is that it only seems to prevent long covid in the unvaccinated. I just pulled up this Univ. of of Minnesota CIDRAP piece and though it does not say that directly, it is what you would infer from reading it. E.g. “”The antiviral effect of metformin in unvaccinated participants was similar to Paxlovid when tested in unvaccinated persons,” Bramante said.” and Eric Topol being quoted as saying “We need to see it replicated, especially among vaccinated individuals, and to determine the additive benefit with Paxlovid.”,half%20of%20whom%20were%20unvaccinated.

    The argument given for this is that vaccinated people are already protected, and that their risk is already lower (“The impact of metformin on reducing long COVID incidence in the new Lancet study was seen among the unvaccinated group, with little impact on those who were vaccinated and boosted, as the rate of lingering symptoms among those heavily-protected individuals was already significantly lower.”)( is just a bare claim in a mainstream media article, so I don’t know if it is actually true).

    1. Polar Socialist

      So who will the “Russia has lost 250 of her 200 T-80 tanks” crowd now refer to for validating their claim?

  39. lb

    Since the XBB lineages became dominant, adults ‘not up-to-date’ by the CDC definition have a lower risk of COVID-19 than those ‘up-to-date’ on COVID-19 vaccination, bringing into question the value of this risk classification definition.

    How much of the higher risk in the “up-to-date” crowd is attributable to the vaccine’s efficacy and how much is attributable to behavioral change in those who choose to be “up-to-date”? Given the management of our consent to forever-COVID with ever more COVID-favorable narratives over the past three years, I would expect that a chunk of the vaccinated choose to take more risks after vaccination. After all, they’ve just topped up their immunity and they’ve been told that COVID is mild, their health care decisions are individualized because the greater good is a dead notion, et cetera. Why not get back to normal after the shot?

    (Having read the study quoted above, they tried to adjust for the “propensity to get tested” but what’s the correlation between a willingness to get tested and a change in behavior at the time of vaccination?)

    I’d really like to see a study that measures the extent to which the shifting establishment narratives of the past couple of years increased risk-taking like this. It might be hard to craft such a study (as it would require good retrospective data on choices made by individuals with varying degrees of vaccination) and it would directly aim at the propagandists and their work, potentially embarrassing the powerful. Still, it feels like a missing piece in so many risk-correlation studies.

  40. Bill Malcolm

    The Guardian article twice mentions that the drone photo was taken on May 28. The dam blew on June 6.

    The Guardian article states that a wire emanating from the car led to the Russian side. Which way again? Both sides of that dam are in Russian-held territory.

    But we are supposed to believe that a car sat there ready to blow up for over a week on a dam with a railroad track and a highway on its top. Despite local security, the hydro plant workers and random passers-by not wondering what in hell the car was doing sitting there day after day, nobody raised an alarm? Oh, of course, silly me — all the Russian personnel were in on the scheme! That explains it. Nobody would warn the residents downstream, some of whom might well be relatives, because Putin’s regime is autocratic and brutal and woe betide anyone giving the plot away! Severe punishment or even death awaited. Even if the blurter did it just to save grandma. Ahem.

    I’ve read some utter nonsense in the Grauniad for well over 15 years now. Here is but another example of their “journalism” that fails on mere basics. You have to wonder just how dumb they assume their readers really are.

    1. chris

      I don’t know that they’re assuming the readers are dumb so much as loyal and accepting of a specific world view. For the same reasons that I doubt very much anyone will take Joe Rogan up in his offer to host the debate with RFK Jr., I know that these attempts at journalistic excretion will continue as long as the people in power refuse to admit there is any challenge to their legitimacy. Because going on Rogan, or questioning these articles, or allowing Democrat primary debates, is to admit that their point of view needs to be defended. And in their eyes it doesn’t. Even worse, the people who claim it does don’t have the right to even question what they’re being told. So here we are. The emperors have all gathered to tell each other how beautiful their new clothes are and they don’t even want to walk among the people for fear of getting dirt on their finely hemmed ensemble…

    1. Daryl

      > The seller notes that various parts are missing and that the brake system does not work.

      So just as functional as a modern car then

    1. Mikel

      I saw some article about some other article calling them “grifters.”

      I laughed and thought: That’s royal grifters to you, son.
      Going on thousands of years now: (hip-hop singy voice) “Ain’t no grift like a royal family grift…”

  41. Jason Boxman

    Reddit and the End of Online ‘Community’

    On Monday, thousands of the largest communities on Reddit went private, effectively removing themselves from the site. In an instant, Reddit became less interesting and useful. Remarkably, so did Google: As one of the internet’s biggest searchable repositories of content made by humans, including millions of user-generated questions and helpful answers, Reddit, which was started in 2005 as a link aggregator with the goal of being the “front page of the internet,” has become part of the search engine’s core infrastructure.


    In the process of becoming a pillar of online life, Reddit never turned a profit. Now, its leadership needs that to change, and they’re running out of patience.

    Sounds like our elite in general. Like Huffington Post, they want to profit off people’s free labor. I think the volunteer moderators ought to burn it to the ground. They all ought to get IPO shares, like Red Hat did for Linus Torvalds when Red Hat went public.

  42. some guy

    Here is a tiktok from Reddit of a Minneapolis citizen speaking to the videocam on the subject . . .
    ” The Minneapolis police union response to the Justice Department report is really something” . . .

    It really makes one wonder whether the Minneapolis Police Department can be corrected as long as its union is allowed to exist. It makes one wonder whether there is a way to put Minneapolis under National Guard “law enforcement recievership” of some sort so that the entire personnel roster of the Minneapolis Police Department can be fired en masse and then replaced by a new department engineered by a police department which has not had these problems, and staffed by people chosen by that other department.

    Or replaced by other structures of Minneapolis’s own choosing while under National Guard protection, including protection from the en masse fired officers.

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