Links 6/23/2023

Summer solstice 2023 marks longest day in the Northern Hemisphere as Earth’s seasons change A bit late on the solstice, but I like this photo:

Tokyo residents find comfort in fluffy, street-strolling alpacas Channel News Asia

Central banks’ battle with inflation enters a new phase of ‘pain’ FT. It’s gonna be neat trick to re-elect Biden in the midst of a recession. But I’m sure the Censorship Industrial Complex is up to the task — and probably has already secured funding.

Listen to the music play: Fed Chair Jerome Powell admits to being a Deadhead CNBC. Musical interlude.

A Crypto Side Door: Buying a ‘Digital Residency’ in Palau for $248 WSJ. Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong?

Libertarian Squillionaire Titanic Submersible Implosion Debacle

U.S. Navy Heard What It Believed Was Titan Implosion Days Ago WSJ

Here’s a reason I’m a pro-mockery of the OceanGate fiasco: that whole “regulations stifle innovation” thing that crops up in their PR, Alexandra Erin, Threadreader


Europe – Fastest Warming Continent In World Since 1980s, Says WMO Countercurrents

Macron says global lending system must adapt to fight climate change at Paris summit France24

Fastest sunburn in the country? New Mexico tops ultraviolet index Albuquerque Journal


Pre-admission ambient air pollution and blood soot particles predict hospitalisation outcomes in COVID-19 patients European Respiratory Journal. N = 328. From the Discussion: “Inhalation of elevated concentrations of air pollutants results in inflammation processes of mucus membranes in the pulmonary tract and is a factor that could influence the process of SARS-cov-2-infection. In this context, we investigated whether exposure to air pollutants (both recent and long-term exposure as well as ambient and internal markers of exposure including blood load of black carbon) on disease severity and clinical outcomes in phenotypically well -characterised hospitalised COVID-19 patients…. The public health and clinical significance of our findings should not be understated, as we showed that the effect-magnitude of an [interquartile range (IQR)] increase in long-term air pollution (e.g. contrasting NO2 by 4.16 µg·m−3) on the duration of hospitalisation was roughly equivalent to the effect on hospitalisation of a 10-year increase in age.”

Antidepressant drug prescription and incidence of COVID-19 in mental health outpatients: a retrospective cohort study MBC Medicine. From the Abstract: “Retrospective study of association between [antidepressant (AD) drugs] prescription and COVID-19 diagnosis was performed in a cohort of community-dwelling adult mental health outpatients during the 1st wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the UK… AD mention was associated with approximately 40% lower incidence of positive COVID-19 test results when adjusted for socioeconomic parameters and physical health.”

Is it even possible to prepare for a pandemic? FT

Why Is WHO Removing Antimicrobial Resistance From The ‘Pandemic Treaty’? Madras Courier


China’s ChatGPT Opportunists—and Grifters—Are Hard at Work Wired.

China’s Rebound Hits a Wall, and There Is ‘No Quick Fix’ to Revive It NYT


Aung San Suu Kyi’s son urges army to free her BBC. Suu Kyi’s time has past, no matter that NGOs love her personal brand. The BBC buries the lead, which is putting “a proper arms embargo on the military.”


India’s Russian oil buying scales new highs in May Reuters. Refinery = laundry. Handy chart:

Congress Redux? New Left Review

Baklava tastes great, but where does it originate from? Anadolu Agency

Dear Old Blighty

Health bosses warn of heart disease emergency in England Guardian

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is a marathon not a blitzkrieg and The new Ukraine will be a country worthy of its heroes The Atlantic Council. The coping! It b-u-u-u-r-r-r-n-n-n-s-s-s!

Bear’s Favorite Part Of Mauling Campers When They Throw Arms In Air To Look Bigger The Onion

For The Ukrainian Army, The Road To Melitopol Is Mile after Mile Of Russian Trenches Forbes. We don’t seem to be hearing about Russian forces “panicking” any more. Odd.

* * *

Ukraine war: Russia planning attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, claims Zelenskyy Euronews. IOW, Ukraine is planning it.

Russian Navy Attempts To Disguise Its Most Powerful Warship In Black Sea Naval News

* * *

Rapid development of Ukraine’s military industry expected once war ends Ukrainska Pravda. I doubt that the Free City of Kiev, which is the only form of Ukrainian rump state that Russia should, at this point, permit, could scale the industrial base for munitions manufacture, even if permitted by treaty.

Elon Musk Asks for the Receipts of the Ukraine War TheStreet. Underlines the strategic impact of StarLink.

South of the Border

Belize achieves WHO malaria-free status CIDRAP. Wait. Shouldn’t they be trying to strengthen their children’s immune systems by infecting them?

Errant Telenovelas The Baffler

Biden Administration

New Rule: All Railroads Must Alert First Responders Within 10 Miles of Derailed Train Cargo Fire Engineering (LawnDart).


The Dobbs Divide FiveThirtyEight. More on abortion at NC here.

The sleeper legal strategy that could topple abortion bans Politico

B-a-a-a-d Banks

SEC fines JPMorgan subsidiary for deleting 47 million emails, some related to subpoenas CNBC. That’s a lot! Of emails, I mean. The fine was tiny, and I am sure well worth it–

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon may have PERSONALLY ordered the bank’s 2019 ‘Project Jeep’ review into client relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, internal emails suggest Daily Mail

Digital Watch

AI ‘kill switch’ will make humanity less safe, could spawn ‘hostile’ superintelligence: AI Foundation FOX. The deck: “The company execs said AGI is a potentially ‘disobedient’ new life form humans will have to share the planet with.” Why? How about we just pull the plug?

Text-to-Image Generators Have Altered the Digital Art Landscape—But Killed Creativity. Here’s Why an Era of A.I. Art Is Over Artnet. And just when they’d figured out fingers and teeth!

Get a clue, says panel about buzzy AI tech: it’s being “deployed as surveillance” TechCrunch

* * *

You can’t trust Google David Heinemeier Hansson

Supply Chain

The shipping rivals plotting divergent courses on global trade FT

Imperial Collapse Watch

Yes. Rome Did Fall Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality

How the ‘end of history’ illusion shapes your life choices BBC

Guillotine Watch

Musk vs. Zuckerberg: The Billionaire Bout for the Social-Media Age WSJ. A model of elite decision-making

An Earnest Exploration Of Hublot, The World’s Most Polarizing Watch Brand Hodinkee. “Look on my Works, ye Mighty….”

Class Warfare

AI Is a Lot of Work New York Magazine. The deck: “As the technology becomes ubiquitous, a vast tasker underclass is emerging — and not going anywhere.” First gig workers, now taskers. Silicon Valley does seem adept at classification struggle, doesn’t it? At inventing new classification that make workers worse off?

* * *

Update: Spirit shuts down 737 lines after Machinists Union votes to strike Leeham News and Analysis

Apple stomped all over NYC store workers’ union rights, judge rules The Register. The deck: “Staff show up with the receipts – video footage of law-breaking bosses.”

* * *

Learning from David Graeber Red Pepper

Hope in a Bankrupt America The American Conservative

Black Holes Evaporate—Now Physicists Think Everything Else Does, Too Scientific American

Antidote du jour (via):

In honor of World Giraffe Day.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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. Antifa


    My mother wove me from an egg
    Hung my scarf upon its peg
    Cooked and cleaned and kept our home
    Which can’t be captured in a poem

    What words add up to what she gave
    When she was just my toddler slave?
    My mess, my drool, my excrement —
    I never wondered where it went!

    To mother went my tears and screams
    And from her came my gentlest dreams
    The safety of her standing there —
    I will not find that anywhere

    No creed or clan can take her place
    My heart was forged to hold her face
    Today I count her many gifts
    As something seismic in me shifts

    A mountain that was mine is dust
    A pillar of my world is crushed
    The woman who belongs to me
    I never ever more shall see

    This simple fact will take a while
    To penetrate this juvenile
    Some time to rest, to reconcile
    To live without her wistful smile

    Her death leaves a huge hole behind
    A million memories come to mind
    My thoughts of her will never cease
    Nor wishing that she may know peace

    1. Laughingsong

      The world feels different after the one who brought you into it is gone. I still feel this, even though it’s been 10 years. We all have to go through it, Antifa. We understand. Your poem is very beautiful, and spot on. I hope you are doing as well as can be expected, and I will keep you in my thoughts alongside my own for my mom, who I think about every day.

    2. jax

      Sorry to hear of your loss, Antifa. Losing our mothers feels like a ‘crack in the cosmic egg.’ You’ve written a lovely tribute.

    3. John Zelnicker

      My deepest sympathies on the loss of your mother.

      May her memory be for a blessing. zi’iv

      1. Alex Cox

        To Antifa —
        Wonderful poem. And comiserations.
        My mother died at the age of 101. I miss her greatly.

    4. Nikkikat

      Lost my Mother one year ago this month. Your poem is quite wonderful and says more than I could ever write. Thank you for sharing and my condolences for your loss.

  2. JohnA

    Re Ukraine’s counteroffensive is a marathon not a blitzkrieg

    And yet Russia not capturing Kiev in 3 days has been universally labelled a disastrous failure by western mainstream media.

    1. John

      In like manner what in China was “monkey fruit” became “Chinese gooseberry” and now “Kiwi fruit.” This counteroffensive: Sprint? Marathon? Fizzle? Rebranding is an art not a science.

      1. hk

        Then there’s the “probing attack, not an offensive,” altho it’s in the opposite direction chronologically–ie it will become an offensive if it succeeds, or it never was an offensive to begin with.

    2. Benny Profane

      From the first article: “In a June 20 post, he [Mykhailo Podolyak] accused Moscow of fueling media hysteria about the alleged failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in order to secure a ceasefire and “freeze the conflict at any cost.””

      Ceasefire? Freeze? I am reminded of the scene in Goldfinger with Bond strapped to a table and that laser heading in a bad direction, and Bond says, ” Do you expect me to talk?”, and Goldfinger responds, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die. There is nothing you can tell me that I already don’t know.”

      Sort of helps that Goldfinger has a Russian accent.

    3. Ignacio

      The West is nearly out of sugary supplies and yet many km/miles away from “the wall” at Km 30.

  3. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to central banks and their fight against inflation, the NC community may be interested in this bit of class warfare from a former Bank of England official, economist at JP Morgan UK and adviser to the UK Treasury,

    On BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning, former deputy governor Charlie Bean made similar comments. He was followed soon after by the foreign secretary and shadow chancellor, a former Bank of England and IMF official. Neither politician disagreed with what Ward and Bean said.

    With regard to baklava, the former chef at the Italian embassy in London, a native of Trieste, thought it was Turkish.

    1. griffen

      They are saying it out loud, prepare for bleak times into early 2024 I am supposing. A tottering US economy where things appear generally solid on travel and consumer spending (with obvious issues like retail shrinkage), but there are looming bogeymen in the closet (student debt payments restarting, for one; throwing people off SNAP and similar benefit plans). I can understand the need and the interest to rein inflation to a lower bound, but is a 2.0% to 2.5% range in the near future achievable without dire consequences? I don’t have precise memories of the inflation fight from the late ’70s to early ’80s, aside from my late father’s experiences of high interest rates on an existing commercial loan. Egads, US Prime was in the stratosphere of rates at the time.

      1. Brentwood Betty

        To President Biden and his handlers,

        You declared economic war on the middle class.
        We declare war on you.

        No discretionary spending until 2025.
        Those who agree in our neighborhood are going to hold garage sales to extract cash from infrequently used items and most importantly, help subtract from retail and taxable sales. Made a shopping list of essential items we need that can be borrowed from friends to be replaced after 2025. Craigslist is your friend.


    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m really surprised that they say it out loud. More than one economist seems to have said this in the media, normally this is a bit like blurting out bedroom secrets in a dinner party.

      I must admit I’ve always assumed that the main fear driving the Bank of England is a sterling crisis and that the push for higher interest rates was part of this – not least to keep the capital inflows coming in. Or are they trying to actively distract everyone from the potential for sterling to take a dive? The consequences for this could be pretty catastrophic for the UK economy as Brexit means exports won’t benefit so it could end up as a permanent loss of wealth.

    3. rob

      that darn Price-Wage spiral…….still in the minds of the masters… glad they give us an honest explanation….again. s/

    4. danpaco

      What if central bankers can’t slow down the economy?
      For example the Canadian central bank has been raising interest rates steadily from .5% in Feb 22 to 4.75% June 23. Yet the housing market is still showing huge y/y gains and the economy keeps adding jobs.

  4. Steve H.

    > AI Is a Lot of Work New York Magazine.

    @KarlreMarks: Humans doing the hard jobs on minimum wage while the robots write poetry and paint is not the future I wanted

    1. tevhatch

      “AI ‘kill switch’ will make humanity less safe, could spawn ‘hostile’ superintelligence: AI Foundation FOX.”

      Where (or when?) is Butler, of Butlerian Jihad fame?

      1. semper loquitur

        Pair that with the “one corporation, one (?) vote” movement in Delaware and a rather dire picture begins to crystallize…..

  5. griffen

    JP Morgan broker division hired a young prodigy in their IT department? That kid is going places!! \ SARC

    No big deal, pay the fine and move along. I can imagine the IT requirements…know the difference between the ESC key function and the DEL key function. It’s imperative as well, when coding in SQL to avoid using the “Drop Table *.*” command on any server maintenance intervals. Eh, I was usually pretty cautious about the Drop Table command in my limited SQL coding.

    1. Polar Socialist

      In my time in the DevOps, we had a “resulting mess and/or tedious recovery” threshold for certain operations that were not executed without at least 4 eyes verifying correct commands were given in the correct order.

      A protocol we established after learning the hard way :-)

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Bear’s Favorite Part Of Mauling Campers When They Throw Arms In Air To Look Bigger”

    Polar Bears chime in and say that their favourite meal are igloos. Hard on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.

    1. griffen

      Here in the states, there is a humorous commercial for the Twix bar…two bears watch upon two hikers and the comment goes “pick left side or right side, either one is crunchy and delicious…” or some similar commentary. Funny. Now I’m thinking of the T-Rex in the camping scene from Jurassic Park II….and Jeff Goldblum’s character gets chased yet again by the offensive InGen creations.

    2. Wukchumni

      I’m probably at bear sighting # 904 now, and its as much fun to watch those watching a bear, oftentimes their first experience in the wild.

      A family of 5 from Pensacola on a if it’s Tuesday, we must be in Bryce Canyon NP whirlwind tour of the western parks, 9 of them barely seen in 11 days, was in the parking lot of Round Meadow when I told them of the gawking potential with only a little walking, and the mom of the brood gave me a bear hug, so beaming with joy she was.

  7. Lexx

    ‘On the longest day of the year, I give you the great solar alignment of my front room.’

    Yeah, that was cool too, but I was more impressed with the wealth of bookshelves. It’s getting desperate here.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have no idea what you guys are talking about. It has just gone the shortest day in the year here and it is bloody cold at nights. Brrrrrrr.

      ‘Colder than an iceberg,
      gloomy and glum.
      Colder than the hair,
      on a polar bear’s b**.’

      1. Polar Socialist

        For me, the daytime lasts 19 hours today, most of which will be between 68 to 80 F.

        Soon I’ll be off to erect a maypole and do some dancing, singing and drinking until the sunset. Or sunrise, we’ll see. The sunset and sunrise are kinda intertwined into a few hours of twilight here.

        Sounds a bit pagan-ish, now that I read the above…

        1. The Rev Kev

          If you find yourself jumping naked over an open fire, then you know that you have gone too far. :)

          1. ambrit

            But how else to guarantee good crops this year?
            That would be a very good method of ‘encouraging’ population increase in the “better classes.” “We must maintain standards. The Gene Pool needs infusions of superior stock regularly.” (Mr. Cynic tells me that this was exactly the thinking behind the ‘Summer of Love’ theme among the ‘liberated’ middle classes in the 1960s. [There were weird things going on up the Canyon.])
            I am occasionally reminded of the famous line from “Axel”; “Living? Our servants will do that for us.” That’s a memorial for our age.

    1. ambrit

      Neat, but am I alone in observing that $24 USD for a tee shirt is pretty steep? [Maybe I am living in the past, yes, but it was a better past.]
      Also, does Stephenson get a piece of the action?

    1. zagonostra

      Ytube’s banning of JFK jr. has made me redouble my efforts to stay off that platform. It’s hard because there are a lot of good instructional videos and documentaries. But who in the (stronger words come to mind) heck do they think they are?

      I’m seriously thinking of giving up gmail account even though I have many years of correspondences there. There must be an app that takes your historical data from their email service and moves it to another.

      1. Late Introvert

        Thunderbird will download your gmail messages to your device, and then delete them from the server. What it does not do is empty the trash, but Screwgle does that every 30 days.

    2. Carolinian

      I don’t Twitter but just read the (long) transcript elsewhere and this is great stuff. There’s hardly any of his usual conservative signaling and the talk is an extended rant on how the media are lying to us. And it hits home because they are.

      Without a doubt some of RFK’s assertions are dubious, but an open mind is always better than a closed one and increasingly we are living in an emperor’s new clothes world where just telling the truth gets you in trouble. We have Goebbels without the Hitler although there are doubtless some who would sport the little mustache if they could get away with it.

      Anyhow thanx for link.

      1. hk

        My view is that every thinking person is bound to be at least a little conspiratorial: hardly anything goes exactly the way it should go and everyone is at least a little lazy, a little bit corrupt, or both and I think not only that’s natural, but it’s perfectly normal to speculate about how they are affecting the world. This, I think, is in fact a healthy starting point for starting to think about evaluating the state of the world and planning what to do about it, as long as you don’t fall down the rabbit hole (it’s only at that point where conspiracy theorizing becomes a problem.)

        To me, the hostility towards conspiracy theorizing, the eagerness to condemn them as wrongthink is more dangerous. This breeds, IMHO, the “America is already great fallacy ” MAGA worked as a slogan because it was obvious to so many problems that we have many problems. The correct way to address that should have been: yes, there are problems, we need to “make America great again,” so let’s talk about the problems and what we might do to address them. (This would have had the advantage of showing Trump and his gang as a bunch of loud but empty suits that they are.). Instead, HRC and her gang started insisting that there are no problems and that is absurd on it’s face to so many people. (But then, so many other people did but into it, and the same people are buying into the idea that Ukraine is winning and Russia is tottering on the brink of collapse…So is this how “stab in the back” myth gets born, with the Ukrainian offensive as the sequel to the Ludendorff offensive?)

        1. Carolinian

          I think the groupthinkers are the same ones who used to complain about the lack of “good Germans” during the 1930s. Turns out social pressures can validate almost anything if the alternative is ostracism or even violence.

          Arguably it’s all a big cycle that changes periodically due to folly created disasters or even boredom. Some of us can remember a time when the right dominated elite thinking. Or maybe it’s always the right trying on different masks.

        2. LifelongLib

          OK, but IIRC as Gore Vidal said, the rich don’t need to conspire because they’re on the same team already. Instead, they propose whatever they want to do via think tanks, get legislation passed, and then do it as normal business. No need for conspiracies.

          1. some guy

            In other words, they are all part of one Vast Vulcan Mind-Meld Cats Cradle Spiderweb of the Upper Class brains.

        3. wilroncanada

          Just this evening (West coast, Canada) US-ites are being fed more of the same be CNN/MSNBC–they’re the same station, aren’t they? The story is that the Wagner leader is organizing a coup and as a result, tanks are patrolling the streets of Moscow.

  8. nippersdad

    I don’t know why I find this so funny, but the minute after the Navy reported yesterday that they had heard the Titan implode last Sunday, former Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw starts complaining that neither the Coast Guard nor the Navy had acted fast enough to find the debris of the wreck.* If only “leadership” had sent out more of the fleet they could have found it a day earlier.

    I can’t help but wonder how many millions were spent by several different countries in finding the Titan, but, per Crenshaw, if we had only spent millions more then we could have found it a day earlier. We are a day late and a dollar short for so many things, but this is the thing that Crenshaw is appalled by.

    The next time he starts bloviating about how we have no money and things like social services need to be cut, this is the first thing that is going to come to mind for me. Old ladies need to eat cat food so that he can send out more of the fleet to expedite finding a dead billionaire and the shredded product of his cheesy vanity project.

    That just really says it all.


    1. griffen

      This story just piles onto my inner cynic…pity the poor souls who trusted in the idiot CEO who found corners to apparently cut, and he did so. I just happened to tune to ABC news last evening, this story was the dominant coverage. From a previously taped interview Thursday with James Cameron, he has some harsh words for the now deceased CEO.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        pro-mockery of the OceanGate: read that the 19yr old kid was scared s#@$less to get on that doomed rig – the rest got what they deserved imho –

      2. Mildred Montana

        >”…James Cameron, he has some harsh words for the now deceased CEO.”

        No certification of the vessel, no observance of regulations, no extensive testing of experimental hull materials. Yup, move fast (“I broke some rules”, gloated Stockton Rush in better days) and break things. Mission accomplished, Stockton!

        We’ll see if his estate is sued for the costs of the search, recovery, and investigation. Or will it be another case of the taxpayer paying to clean up a billionaire’s mess?

        1. jhallc

          A climber friend and his buddy came across a group that was woefully unprepared and in trouble on Mt. Rainier. One of the group was injured. They helped them to reach a place where they could be taken off the mountain by helicopter rescue. At that point it was to late for them to continue their climb or to get back down safely. The rescue team offered them a ride back to the base in the helicopter. A month later they each received a $1000 bill for the ride. He successfully fought it but not without some aggravation.

          1. ambrit

            That’s the story of our times. Everything is a “profit opportunity.” Roughly speaking, this timeline has reached maximum materialism, on several planes.

            1. hunkerdown

              No, value tokens aren’t material. This usage of the term “materialism” is a neoliberal propaganda smear against Marxism, designed to sacralize capitalist relations as “spiritual”. We should be, if anything, MORE materialistic so that we actually feed and house everyone instead of celebrating the beauty of their pain.

              It just occurred to me: is neoliberalism Liberalism’s re-encounter with Christianity? Something to ruminate over…

              1. ambrit

                Ah, but wasn’t Marx a neo-classic Romantic thinker? The entire concept of the “March of History,” and various sorts of “Inevitablism” give more than a hint of a quasi-religious basis to his philosophy.
                The “sacralization” of neo-liberal socio-economic relations is consistent with a deep cynicism.
                Nothing happens in a vacuum. Neo-liberalism is precisely that, a moral and intellectual vacuum. The rest follows logically. [A vacuum, to put a zero point to it, is the antithesis of material.] IE, Neo-liberalism is a Cult. We all know how cults operate.

              2. semper loquitur

                “We should be, if anything, MORE materialistic so that we actually feed and house everyone instead of celebrating the beauty of their pain.”

                I’m an Idealist and I support this comment.

          2. Piotr Berman

            Hm. For the injured person, 1000 dollars does not seem excessive compared to ambulance costs in some municipalities. But offering a ride without specified a price is a fraud.

            1. Jhallc

              I should have mentioned it was 30 years ago. I have mixed feelings about the whole process of cost recovery when people get in trouble out in the real world. Generally a civil society should take care of these as a matter of course. When for profit companies are involved it’s fair game as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately I don’t think the assets of OceanGate are going to cover it.

          3. Wukchumni

            25 years ago 15 miles deep into the backcountry in Sequoia NP, I broke a scapula when an ice bridge gave way and threw me down a gully. I was helicoptered out and it didn’t cost me anything, nor does any search and rescue operation in Sequoia-Kings NP’s, sometimes it can run from $10k to $50k in cost for the NP.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Just another loud-mouthed politician trying to gain political points about a situation that he knows full well was hopeless from the start, especially since he was in the Navy himself. You would like to go up to him and say ‘Hey Crenshaw. I’m told that you are a former Navy Seal. Here – take this facemask, flippers and snorkel and go down and find them yourself. Just tug twice on your line so that we know when to start pulling them up.’ If he wants the Coast Guard there, then perhaps he should call back the US Coast Guard ship that just finished sailing the Taiwan Strait or one of those sailing in the Middle east. Have them patrolling American coastlines instead.

    3. Mikel

      Sounds like news media should pick up the bill.
      Recovery mission: no clicks & no views generating ad dollars

      Rescue mission with BS Oxygen countdown: clicks & views generating ad dollars

    4. cnchal

      Over and over it becomes clear that the MSM are lying sacks of crap. They knew it imploded yet the running out of breathable air story was spewed out daily to ratchet up the number of eyeballs paying attention to their lies.

      The vessel imploding was fortuitous. Imagine the forensic nightmare contained within were it intact,

      Navy Seal = trained psychopath

      1. nippersdad

        Ever since the story broke that the Navy knew for a week about the probable end of the Titan, I have been wondering myself about what the Navy/media knew and when they knew it. They went on for a week about sending out planes with sonar buoys picking up banging in the water.

        What were they waiting for? I can see the need to make sure before the news gets out, but sending out the air force seems a little over the top to me.

        1. cnchal

          It was just a show. A bit of unreality to wash down reality. An exercise, as all knew, even if found no equipment there was able to do the jawb of lifting it out of the water.

          The media stinks. probably made up the banging story and now we know that navy sonar detected a sound in the vicinity of the Titanic at the same time that contact was lost.

          All that should have been sent was a remote camera to find the wreckage. Instead we get a CO2 fuel burning extravaganza and a bunch of useless miles on equipment so the MSM can charge moar for ads.

        2. Boomheist

          So this thing goes missing, and shortly after the Navy hears (hears? or sees something on a graph?) that sure sounds like an implosion. Imagine if they had so declared, without any further evidence, and then later, for example, the thing was found floating on the surface, etc etc. Of COURSE they had to keep searching until they really showed the thing had collapsed. What choice did they have? I would say, none. All these ridiculous statements about how this was engineered to keep the Hunter story off the news, or for that matter the Trump story, are just that – ridiculous. Some very rich people took a self-built submarine really deep and it failed. The maritime tradition is that when people are in distress everyone nearby comes to help, until they know the people missing are, for sure, lost. That is what happened here. Sadly that did not happen to the same degree with that boat or those boats of poverty stricken migrants.

          1. nippersdad

            “What choice did they have?”

            That is just it. They had, it sounds like, four different navies and the air force out there dropping sonar bouys. The only thing missing out there was the Andromeda. Seems like they went a little further afield than just whomsoever happened to be hanging out in the area fishing for cod.

            If you already have confirmation that there was the sound of what could be an implosion at the very moment that they went incommunicado, why not say so and then wait for something to bob to the surface? It is not like there was much anyone could have done even if Ocean Whosits had been carrying state of the art Russian/Wood’s Hole two man deep dive submarines on deck at the time. Those people were so cheap it wouldn’t surprise me to find that they didn’t even have life jackets, much less life boats, on board the ship that had tossed them over the side.

            If you are going to live as a libertarian, it strikes me that it should surprise no one if they are allowed to die as libertarians as well. They all signed the paperwork. And, as you so rightly say, this is not the response that capsized refugee boats get.

          2. tegnost

            Yes, for me it explains how they found it so fast, it’s a big ocean. The first step is to search. I expect there was scuttlebutt.
            Call it a training exercise.

        3. tevhatch

          What were they waiting for? Why for the latest furor over Joe and Hunter Biden to blow over. I don’t know why they bother, the peanut gallery is busy chewing peanuts.

        4. hunkerdown

          Project Azorian, perhaps? A new twist on Howard Hughes, covering up some untoward events in the Silent Service? Not that I’m foily.

      2. Mildred Montana

        I would have preferred that the sub had sunk intact to the bottom where the occupants expired in four days after running out of oxygen. I don’t wish this out of cruelty but only because the last notes of the doomed would have been revelatory (assuming of course that pen and paper was available).

        What would Stockton Rush have written? One wonders. Something like this? “We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence…”*

        *Some of the last words from Robert Falcon Scott’s diary as he and his fellow Antarctic explorers lay freezing to death in a tent in 1912.

          1. Michaelmas

            cnchal: The calculation is, I can live longer if the others are dead.

            As opposed to the calculation behind, “I am just going outside and may be some time.”


            …Oates had become severely frostbitten and weak. He had become: “in Scott’s words, ‘a terrible hindrance’ to the others…” At lunch on 15 March Oates proposed that the others should leave him behind in his sleeping-bag, but they persuaded him to go on. He woke next morning …and according to Scott: “…he said I am just going outside and may be some time. He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since… We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death but though we tried to dissuade him we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.”

            1. cnchal

              > As opposed to the calculation behind, “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

              Yes. Not even remotely the same.

              Air for twenty five hours for five or air for one hundred and twenty five hours for one.

              1. flora

                The cruelest thing about keeping the story going that there was hope when the officials new there was no hope, the cruelest thing was putting the families of those that died through days of agony wondering and praying. All to keep a story going. There’s nothing even remotely national security about the story. Gaslighting the families is not just cruel, it’s depraved.

                1. cnchal

                  > the cruelest thing was putting the families of those that died through days of agony wondering and praying

                  If only. Their depravity knows no bounds. Tonigh we were informed that the families were notified about the sonar boom and they still went ahead and played the Schroedinger’s Sub game on everyone for another few days. Total weasals about who knew what when, but they all knew and did it anyway.

    5. ilsm

      and…… us navy was not listening in the baltic when someone blew up the gas pipelines…..

        1. ambrit

          I’ll bet the Russian Navy Office of Intelligence was listening to the Baltic when the Nordstream Project was unfolding. The Russians probably do know exactly how the pipeline bombing was carried out and are keeping quiet to hide their true capabilities for a little while longer.
          Once Moscow fully realized just how “Agreement Incapable” the West truly is, they could have accepted that the pipeline bombing was inevitable and begun the ‘pivot’ to China and the Global South regarding the totality of their trade programs.
          Thinking a bit longer term than my ‘Betters’ would, who can think that a de-industrialized Germany, which is the ultimate result of the cessation of cheap natural gas supplies from Russia, would benefit Europe? It is almost as if Mackinder was right all along with his geo-political theories of a century ago.

        2. ilsm

          tom clancy in hunt for red October described us navy abilities to listen all over in mid 1980’s

          same tech very likely in Baltic for several decades

          and us navy all over the area a week or so before.

          capability and presence and LNG to peddle to germany

          1. Glen

            I’m not sure about dedicated listening in the Baltic since it was all oriented towards a Soviet blue water navy. (But honestly, I would imagine NATO has got the Baltic completely instrumented.)

            Even the listening systems very far away can provide much data. Commenting on things like the the recent mini-sub implosion is not done; it gives away too much in terms of capabilities.

            But if you want to learn more, I recommend this:

            Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage

            And for the parts I can can confirm? Dead accurate.

    6. The Rev Kev

      Those bodies may have to remain on the bottom as they may not be able to find them and even if they did, who is going to mount an expedition to retrieve them? They can’t be even bothered retrieving the bodies of climbers on Mount Everest. The fate of those bodies is predictable. On the seabed near the Titanic they find pairs of leather shoes. And the reason for that is that marine life consumed the bodies but could not eat the leather in those shoes which is why you find pairs of them on the seabed.

      1. nippersdad

        I remember seeing that about the shoes. Unfortunately, even that memorial will be denied them. As a matter of policy, they made them all take their shoes off before they got into the Titan.

        Apparently cleanliness really is next to Godliness.

        Off topic, but not really, in one of those six degrees of Kevin Bacon type things I find that I am two degrees away from Nargeolet, the Titanic expert on the Titan. One of those degrees is not talking to me right now.

        I can’t imagine why.

      2. Synoia

        What bodies? Paste perhaps.

        If the implosion did not reduce them to paste, the resulting descent probably did. I don’t know about the fish or bottom crawlers.

        Clearly possible winners in this years’ in the Darwin awards.

    7. Gregorio

      The massive search effort seemed akin to spending 10s of millions of dollars looking for 5 boneheads who decided it would be a good idea to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

      1. Not Qualified to Comment

        These completely avoidable deaths leave me cold. In her above-featured article Alexandra Erin correctly labels this “disaster tourism”. Because they could, these characters burned six-figure sums to gawp at the wreck of a ship in order to experience a frisson of excitement as they tried to imagine what it must have been like to have been on that ship as it floundered and slipped beneath the freezing waters. Well they got their money’s worth and then some.

        Irony – will some future commercial operation offer expensive dives for people who want to gaze down at the wreck of the ‘Titan’ and experience a frisson of excitement as they imagine what it must have been like for the souls inside as the hull began to crack under the pressure and the first jets of black, freezing water sprayed inside?

          1. flora

            an aside: I can imagine that any experienced submarine pilots the CEO might have approached for the job took one look at the vessel and walked away. So his commentary about 50-year-old white guys could have been pure face-saving. / my 2 cents.

    8. notabanker

      I am not a fan of Tucker Carlson, but he has been hammering a theme that is difficult to shake, and that is this political class values foreign policy over domestic citizens.

      Where there even any Americans aboard that vessel? Did the Navy or Coast Guard “have every available asset deployed or ready” to clean up East Palestine? But hey no problem deploying half a billion of technology to find a British Billionaire, CEO and two loaded Pakistani nationals, who we already knew were dead, largely due to their own hubris.

    9. Carolinian

      It’s summer and no kids have fallen down wells yet or blond girls disappeared so 24/7 news needs something to fill the space.

      Me, I take a hike. Another section of our great new trail system has opened.

    10. Lex

      If the Navy heard the sub implode, there’s really no reason to do a massive and expensive search at all. Do we need the wreckage for something?

      1. nippersdad


        (Sotto voce while stroking goatee: “I wonder what shards of that thing would go for on Ebay?”)

    11. Steven A

      So, Rep. Crenshaw won’t mind if the Navy and the Coast Guard send bills to the families/estates of the deceased?

    12. some guy

      They were looking in all the wrong places to avoid finding it for a few days at least. Maybe to give the grieving relatives time to get ready and the guilty perpetrators behind a deregulationary company and its deregulationized little submersible time to get their stories straight or maybe even get some of their assets hidden.

  9. .Tom

    > You can’t trust Google – David Heinemeier Hansson

    It’s a short and simple read and a good reminder to have a backup plan.

    For example, if they shut down reCAPTCHA because it’s not profitable, or the resolver, or Gmail, are you ready?

    1. TimH

      So, if you use gmail (or outlook, yahoo, your ISP’s email service etc) then do a weeny bit of research and sign up for an independent email provider, and start the migration process. It will take a few years. I suggest an EU based independent email provider because GDPR.

      And… don’t buy anything infrastructure that will only work via an internet connection. It doesn’t matter whether there’s a subscription or not… the service will be killed at some point.

      Lastly, for those with tech knowledge or help, buy a router that can be flashed with DD-WRT or OpenWRT firmware. No sudden insecurity surprises in a few years time that you get with most routers.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Baklava: Tastes great, and who started it? I will now weigh in on the Great Debate.

    This article, from a bakery in Kolkata!, makes some fine distinctions among ingredients:

    Here is an important “theory” connected to baklava, the placenta cake of ancient Greece and Rome:

    Interestingly, the placenta cake sounds much like galaktoboureko, a dessert of farina custard (excellent when made with goat’s milk, Cretan style), between two thin layers of stacked filo.

    The question is this: Who invented filo, which would be the key to who started baklava?

    I also note in the Wikipedia article a mention of a Persian origin for the name baklava. Let us not rule out the Persians. (I won’t even go into shortsighted U.S. policy in Iran now that I am thinking of Persian desserts. Ahhhh, bastani! The delights of Persian ice cream.)

    The article posted by Lambert Strether focuses on claims. The two articles I link to are better on understanding techniques. Anyone can claim anything, but following the development of techniques gives better clues.

    I happen to have two favorite cookery books that delve into the history of food, the development of recipes, and the cuisine of the poor. Pomp and Circumstance by Mary Taylor Simeti is a history of Sicilian cookery, and she starts with the Greeks–who were notoriously good bakers. The Greek love of honey, and the quality of Greek and Sicilian honey, lead to the syrup used on baklava. Even the ancient Greeks liked to make cookies and dip them in honey syrup–a technique still much used.

    Patience Gray’s classic is Honey from a Weed, in which she talks about fasting and feasting, the ingenuity of the poor, knowledge of which weeds to cut and when, and how to cook a hare.

    So, all in all, I’d give an edge to the Greeks here. (The Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and had arrived in Anatolia about three hundred years before–and by 1100 all of the techniques for making baklava would have been known to Greek bakers.)

    On the other hand, I am prejudiced. I have actually been able to pull off a galaktoboureko recipe, and I prefer galaktoboureko, which is less sweet than baklava. All of that goat’s milk gives it a touch of protein, too, which is a lame excuse–but galaktoboureko is hard to resist.

    1. Jeff W

      Galaktoboureko might be, hands down, my favorite dessert. (The semolina custard—I think I’ve had that instead of farina custard—is delish!)

  11. Stephen V

    Never expected this, least of all from American Conservative:
    A similar claim should be created for local communities, equal to one year’s tax liability in each domestic locality where a business operates. These changes in bankruptcy rules would decrease the value that creditors can recover from a business in bankruptcy…
    THIS after payouts to affected workers.
    Amazingly, this idea–that a shuttering company has a community obligation is not a new one. It came up in my parents’ hometown of Youngstown OH. See:
    Staughton Lynd, The Genesis of the Idea of a Community Right to Industrial Property in Youngstown and Pittsburgh, 1977-1987, 74 J. AM. HIST. 926 (1987).
    2 United Steel Workers, Local 1330 v. U.S. Steel Corp., 492 F.Supp. 1 (N.D. Ohio), aff‟d in part, vacated and remanded in part 631 F.2d 1264 (6th Cir. 1980). In this paper, Local 1330 refers to the District Court decision.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      Staughton Lynd is one of the finest historians and friends of the People ever to have graced us with his presence. Thanks for the link, Steven V!

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Seconded with a hat tip to Alice as well. Partners in doing good for decades. I’ve told a few Staughton and Alice stories here in the past.

    2. Pat

      My preferred Constitutional Amendment in response to the stupidity of the SC making corporations persons was:
      Corporations and all forms of businesses are not persons and have no Constitutional rights. They do have Constitutional required responsibilities to their employees, their customers and their communities, all of which have priority over those to their shareholders and creditors.

      More could be added to clarify it further. But it is long past time to reset the mindset regarding what should be valued in society and the place businesses have in it.

  12. GramSci

    Re: Hope in Bankrupt America

    Rx: «The United States should create a new, primary obligation to workers that is paid first in the event of a bankruptcy. This could equal, say, six month’s salary for all workers laid off in advance of or during a Chapter 11 reorganization, or for all workers in the event of a Chapter 7 liquidation.»

    Apparently only salaried workers; certainly no increase in the minimum wage.

  13. petal

    Excellent musical interlude, Lambert. Whenever it comes to this lot(Powell and his ilk), Loser is always the song that I associate with them and it magically starts playing in my head.

    1. IMOR

      What, Lambert? “Big Boss Man” or “Mr. Charlie” too obvious? :-))
      Love ‘Loser’ so much, even connecting Powell with it won’t dent my appreciation.

    2. Wukchumni

      Driving that interest rate train
      High on debt pain
      Jay you better
      Watch your speed
      Trouble ahead
      Trouble behind
      And you know that notion
      Just crossed my mind

      This old hegemony is marking time
      Leaves of grass notwithstanding
      The march of Dimes
      Hits inflation and mortgages too
      At the supermarkets when
      You know it’s goin’ up again

      Driving that interest rate train
      High on debt pain
      Jay you better
      Watch your speed
      Trouble ahead
      Trouble behind
      And you know that notion
      Just crossed my mind

      Trouble ahead
      A country $31 trillion in red
      Take my advice
      You’d be better writing off the debt
      Switchman sleeping
      SWIFT train is
      On the wrong track
      And BRICS is headed for you

      Driving that interest rate train
      High on debt pain
      Jay you better
      Watch your speed
      Trouble ahead
      Trouble behind
      And you know that notion
      Just crossed my mind

      Trouble with you
      Is the trouble with me
      Got two good eyes
      But we still don’t see
      Come round the bend
      You know it’s our hegemony end
      The proletariat screams
      And the edifice just gleams

      Driving that interest rate train
      High on debt pain
      Jay you better
      Watch your speed
      Trouble ahead
      Trouble behind
      And you know that notion
      Just crossed my mind

      Casey Jones, by the Grateful Dead

      1. CarlH

        That video is taken from one of my favorite shows. A sublime Scarlet>Fire included amongst superb playing throughout.

    3. Lex

      The chosen version is top notch too. I don’t listen to much post-79 Dead but that Radio City Music Hall Run was really something.

  14. WobblyTelomeres

    > “The company execs said AGI is a potentially ‘disobedient’ new life form humans will have to share the planet with.”

    Gak. On the list of people who should be put up against the wall, can we please, pretty please, include glib Silicon Valley serial entrepreneurs?

    These grifters, imho, are akin to a pachinko player, under the sway of some hallucinatory intoxicant, mistaking a ground tremor for emerging sentience.

    1. hunkerdown

      “According to a new Yale CEO Summit survey, 42% of polled CEOs agreed that AI could potentially end humanity within five to ten years.” Only a familyblogging idiot would apply to what CEOs think or support the prison world the Ivy Leagues want to create for us.

      They’re coping about the fact that Google: We Have No Moat and Neither Does OpenAI and that open-source researchers are driving the tech into places that can’t be owned. Also PMCs need to catapult spooky mythical shit even harder than usual to soften us up for their next election.

      It’s all futile. The genie’s out of the bottle. Anyone who wants to can now run various kinds of models on their phone, their raspberry Pi, their refrigerator, under their full control, without any need for a bleedin’ “service”. I’ll be happy to see it banned from commerce, however.

      Besides all that, the military already has it. I’d rather have adversarial #NAFO detectors wired into my online accounts so that I can measure the likelihood that any given message or image was generated.

  15. Lex

    Is it even possible to prepare for a pandemic?

    Let me reascend my periodic soapbox. If the question is about preparing for a specific pandemic, no, because the exact details of any individual pandemic are impossible to predict. If the question is about preparing for pandemics in general the answer is absolutely yes.

    All pandemics will be Emergency Response (ER) events. After WWII wildfire fire fighters (mostly vets) working for the USFS developed a set of procedures for ER. These have all been standardized to the point where one can undergo training and certification approved by the USG to become and Incident Commander, the highest position in an ER. The ER rules are rigid but broad, so while they don’t apply to any specific ER event they work for any and all events. Mostly they’re about how information flows through the ER team, how decisions are made and how communication flows out of the ER team.

    Obviously specific types of ER have their own details. So if you commonly do oil spill ER, your ER team not only knows a lot of specific details about oil spills but maintains equipment and supplies common with oil spills. You have meters for monitoring benzene air concentrations, spill socks, appropriate PPE for responders, etc. You have these things prepared and ready to go. If the ER you’re preparing for is a medical pandemic you’ll have a different knowledge base and supply preparation but this preparation isn’t rocket surgery. And like any other ER, you’ll do significant planning based on likely and possible scenarios so you can develop a basic playbook.

    Theoretically CDC and other USG agencies did this before Covid. The biggest problem with the Covid response was that both the Trump and Biden administrations have completely ignored every. last. single. SOP related to appropriate emergency response. And of all the failures, the biggest has been ignoring the rules of ER communications. These are strict because consistent public communication is critical. I don’t think anyone would describe USG covid communication as “consistent”.

    1. MT_Wild

      Here’s a helpful link:

      The basics of the Incident Command System (ICS) really need to be either incorporated into basic first aid or promoted to get the same reach and exposure.

      The beauty of ICS is that it’s supposed to scale up and down according to need and resources, and staff positions are based on skill and ability not rank or title at your day job.

      Works beautifully on small incidents. But my experience has been that on any incident big enough to be political, it breaks down because political appointees get assigned to or interfere with ICS roles. Same with any “unified command” structure, which is basically how you handle opposing bureaucracies that both claim jurisdiction and/or resources.

      I highly recommend taking the intro ICS 100, 200, and 300 courses.

      Prepare to self-rescue. You are your own first responder.

  16. Onward to Dystopia

    Say whatcha will about billionaire submarines, but it sure has been nice not hearing about the manlet Zelenskyyyyy for a few days.
    Take your wins where you can get ’em, I always say.

    1. Wukchumni

      Famous Hamish set another world record by co-dying @ the deepest depth ever, take a bow!

      1. nippersdad

        Someone needs to tell the famously competitive Bezos and Musk about the opportunities available to explore the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

        I think I’ll spend the afternoon out in the garage gluing together a carbon fiber tube to sell them. This idea will be worth millions! Millions I tell ya!

          1. ambrit

            If the San Andreas fault does go big time, the efficiency of the Silicon Valley commercial real estate will tell us all we need to know about the ‘value’ of “innovation.”

        1. Lexx

          There have many black humored jokes the last few days about the Titanic reaching out from its’ 111 year old grave to once again devour the rich…. Elmer’s will be fine, and maybe one of those joysticks used for playing Pong? Throw in a couple of egg salad sandwiches and a thermos of coffee.

          ‘A three-hour tour… the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed.’

          1. ambrit

            “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,”
            “A tale of a fateful trip,”
            “That started from this floating dock,”
            “Onboard this tiny sub.”
            “The CRO was a mighty business man,”
            “The Captain brave and sure,”
            “Three passengers set out that day,”
            “For an eleven hour tour, an eleven hour tour.”
            “The pressure started getting tough,”
            “The tiny ship was crushed,”
            “If it wasn’t for the innovation of the fearless CEO,”
            “The Titan would be saved, the Titan would be saved.”
            “The ship touched down on the floor of this uncharted Abyssal Plain,”
            “With the CEO,”
            “The Captain true,”
            “The Millionaire, and his son.”
            “Someone else who’s name we don’t remember,”
            “Here on Titanic’s graveyard!”

            With apologies to Gilligan and his fellow Castaways.

            1. ambrit

              Next up, a ‘reboot’ of a Rudyard Kipling story: “CEOs Courageous.” The ending does not have to be changed.

          2. Jessica

            After the claim that some Ukrainians with no connection to the Ukrainian government blew up Nordstream from a chartered yacht, I couldn’t get the Gilligan’s Island theme song out of my brain for weeks. Then it morphed to the one for Hogan’s Heroes. Sigh

        2. Pat

          Bill Gates should lead the way.

          IMO, Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg, the Google and the Apple boys all are pikers in comparison to Gates. Any sacrificial sub that doesn’t have Gates on it is a waste.

          1. Pat

            Come to think of it we need something as deadly as small planes are for reformers and whistle blowers only this/these would be for the Masters of the Universe…
            Submersibles for tech icons is a start. Perhaps stretch limousines for media moguls, helicopters for financial kingpins, and so on until we lose them all.

    2. hunkerdown

      The other thing the Navy gets out of this little vignette is that small, corporate-tier submarines really could have reached Nord Stream, we promise!

      1. nippersdad

        Oooh! Oooh!

        How do we know that it hasn’t already happened? How do we know that this has not all been an elaborate CIA plan to deep six the evidence and the perps? And they all looked so innocent!

        Not that I am foily.

  17. Jabura Basaidai

    from what i’ve read because of a celestial quirk of the angle of the earth to the sun the longest day was actually a few days earlier – but welcome Summer!

  18. marym

    Railroad workers continued their fight for sick leave. The first link mentions 2 of the union agreements. The second link is a statement this week from IBEW about their agreement (somehow thanking Biden ??) which says “…several other railroad-related unions have also seen success in negotiating for similar sick-day benefits. These 12 unions represent more than 105,000 railroad workers.”

    1. semper loquitur

      They probably won’t be touring your neck of the woods anytime soon but if you ever get a chance, check out Dark Star Orchestra:

      They are a Dead cover band. I caught them in Pennsylvania years ago and they were awesome. And I don’t really like the Dead.

      I was talking to another concertgoer, an aged hippie, and mentioned that now I wish I had seen the Dead in concert. He basically said you just did, for a fraction of the cost. This guy had seen the Dead like 25 times or something and said at the last few concerts they were phoning it it.

      1. Ignacio

        They sound great. Not that they will ever play in Spain. Tom Petty never came with or without the Heartbreakers.Last American group I saw, heard, and enjoyed in Madrid was one called Blackberry Smoke.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war: Russia planning attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, claims Zelenskyy”

    You just know that the Ukrainians want to do it. Or maybe it is really Washington that wants this to happen as the lands contaminated would be mostly Russian territory. Either way, Ukrainian officials like Aleksey Arestovich are still talking about getting nukes because only then will there be peace. Their plans suffered a setback when Russian security busted a group trying to sell a kilogram of Cesium-137 for $3.5 million to a buyer with a Ukrainian connection. This would then have probably been used as a provocation later as it is of Russian origin-

    Meanwhile a IAEA mission is doing their part. In their last visit they spent the time filming anything to do with the local military and got upset when they discovered that there was no wifi so that nothing could be geolocated. One can assume that the IAEA was simply scouting targets for the Ukrainian and NATO planners. Blowing up a dam is one thing as eventually it can be rebuilt. But blowing up a nuke power station is another and the land will be contaminated six ways to hell.

    1. nippersdad

      Is my memory failing me when I seem to remember that the radioactive plume from Chernobyl went to the north west?

      One might think that those who live there would remember it well enough to realize that literal blowback is a possibility. On the plus side, when everyone glows a weird phosphorescent green we won’t have to worry about hitting pedestrians at night when driving in Europe anymore.

      Slim pickins, but one has to take one’s wins where one can find them.

      1. Jeff V

        Well, I remember when Welsh hill farms were put under export restrictions, and had their radiation levels monitored. That’s some 2,000 miles to the north west.

        Deliberately blowing up a nuclear power station is unthinkable. It would make blowing up Nordstream seem like a juvenile prank.

        I’d like to think there’s no one evil enough to consider it, let alone actually plan it or carry it out. I am starting to wonder, though.

      2. Synoia

        Pah!. The Ukrainian leaders are probably safe in their Swiss Chalets, or other safe places. No med for them to worry about getting irradiated.

        1. nippersdad

          Christofourou’s schtick about Zelenski asking for billions of dollars to buy a house just never gets old for me.

          “Grunt. Grunt. Yeah, me like that. Me think those nice tanks. Also, me need billions for house in Switzerland. Maybe two houses in Switzerland. Yes, two houses in Switzerland would be nice…..”

    2. Cetra Ess

      The reactors are now in cold shutdown, the last active reactor shutdown as of the dam bursting. From what I can tell, they’re in a state now where the fuel rods can be easily removed and transported. If I were the Russians I’d be removing the rods for the duration of the SMO, take the option off the table. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the next bit of news we hear, perhaps something along the lines of “the IAEA were so focused on their recon mission they didn’t even notice the fuel rods weren’t there anymore”. Or perhaps they’re their precisely to signal when the rods get moved.

  20. tevhatch

    “Aung San Suu Kyi’s son urges army to free her BBC”
    Brian Berletic at New Atlas some time ago pointed out that her real problem was she started looking for economic cooperation with China, and so lost the support of Washington. The whole debacle is the back-up plan by the NED, management by chaos. Like Ukraine, the NGOs don’t care how many lives are ruined, as long at they feel they are throwing something into the spokes of East Asia’s economy.

    1. hk

      One might recall how her former fans in the West turned on her when she waffled on ethnic/religious minorities? While ethnic discrimination is ugly, no successful politician can survive (at least politically) by opposing her own people. And the suspicions of the Bamar people might actually seem justified now, as, I believe, most of the opposition to the government are coming from ethnic minorities who have had issues with virtually any and every government of Myanmar, often resulting in violent conflicts, going back centuries

      1. lambert strether

        I would hardly call the Tatmadaw’s aktions with respect to the Rohingya “discriminatory.” Genocidal is more like it. And Nobel prizewinner Kyi was complicit, creating a lot of difficulties for the NUG later on, as they seek to get buy-in for their federal project.

      2. some guy

        A number of articles I have read, including some posted here, indicate that many Bamars themselves have created self-defense forces against the Tatmadaw, and many young Bamars are going to these non-Bamar areas for military training and then coming back to their Bamar towns, villages, and countrysides to protect these places against the Tatmadaw Regime forces.

    2. lambert strether

      I’m not one to see the NED under every bed, though I understand that’s popular in some circles. We’re not that smart, and we’re not that good.

  21. Michaelmas

    Re. ‘Rapid development of Ukraine’s military industry expected once war ends’, David/Aurelien has a dissenting argument on that point in his latest —


    Also, I get email promotions from FOREIGN POLICY regularly telling me what their editors say their top 5 articles are that I should shell out for a subscription to read. They’re funny, I’ll give them that. They’d have to pay me serious money before I’d read their ludicrous propaganda.

    Currently, for instance, counting down, their No. 5 story is ‘Europe Is Stuck in a Toxic China Relationship: The continent wants to shift its China policy but can’t figure out how’;

    No. 3 is ‘How China’s Education System Trapped a Generation: Young people have been trained into competition and hopelessness.‘; (Projection much?)

    And their No. 1 story is ‘Aid Is the Next Battleground Between China and the West: The global south’s debts have reached alarming levels, and Beijing is tightening the screws’.


    Funnily enough, FP don’t have an article about how (rising) average Chinese life expectancy now exceeds (declining) US life expectancy.

    1. hunkerdown

      Obviously they should be forcibly trained into competition and toxic positivity so that the elites can get more free labor power for their bucks.

  22. Synoia

    We all need to recognize agitprop when we come across it.

    And post a warning:

    Possible agitprop. Agitprop can cause cynicism to fly through the air and make our beloved leaders appear to be inept or stupid.

    1. IMOR

      Hah! Thanks, Flora. One of the few times I wish I was still teaching, to show that to the seniors midway through the Macbeth unit with which I opened their year.

  23. Mikel

    “China’s ChatGPT Opportunists—and Grifters—Are Hard at Work” Wired.

    Signs of an emerging multipolar grift.

  24. Jason Boxman

    From AI Is a Lot of Work

    Annotation remains a foundational part of making AI, but there is often a sense among engineers that it’s a passing, inconvenient prerequisite to the more glamorous work of building models. You collect as much labeled data as you can get as cheaply as possible to train your model, and if it works, at least in theory, you no longer need the annotators. But annotation is never really finished. Machine-learning systems are what researchers call “brittle,” prone to fail when encountering something that isn’t well represented in their training data. These failures, called “edge cases,” can have serious consequences. In 2018, an Uber self-driving test car killed a woman because, though it was programmed to avoid cyclists and pedestrians, it didn’t know what to make of someone walking a bike across the street. The more AI systems are put out into the world to dispense legal advice and medical help, the more edge cases they will encounter and the more humans will be needed to sort them. Already, this has given rise to a global industry staffed by people like Joe who use their uniquely human faculties to help the machines.

    In other words, “AI” will never “work”. Always there is the necessity of exploited labor, to make the con run. If you imagine behind your monitor a big hamster wheel spinning by virtue of the downtrodden and the exploited, you’ve got it correct.

    All of this so billionaires can make more money on what is really just a big con. This is the same reason “self driving” cars are a con. Edge cases.

    Scale, founded in 2016 by then-19-year-old Alexandr Wang, was valued in 2021 at $7.3 billion, making him what Forbes called “the youngest self-made billionaire,” though the magazine noted in a recent profile that his stake has fallen on secondary markets since then.

    And creating an engine of exploitation is incredibly lucrative!

    We need more submersibles, methinks.

  25. IM

    Re: World Giraffe Day. No one else in comments has gone there so I’ll say it…happy Giraffriday!

  26. steven t johnson

    ” It’s gonna be neat trick to re-elect Biden in the midst of a recession. But I’m sure the Censorship Industrial Complex is up to the task — and probably has already secured funding.”

    The Censorship Industrial Complex, if it is a thing, turned against Biden over the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Trumpers and Trump apologists like to imagine that there is no right-wing media and only the liberal media count—as the Left in their fevered imagination!—so that Trump was universally censored and torn down. But it is Biden who has had the media turn against him. If media wishes made it so, the Republicans would have taken an overwhelming lead in the House and have eked out a narrow lead in the Senate in the last elections. The mass media have moderated slightly since even they have to work around such inconveniences as the voters who actually voted not endorsing the program. The funding for the CIC is of course provided mainly by rich people buying audiences (aka air time.) So yes, the funding for the elections has been secured. That’s why DeSantis is reputable and Biden is not. The implication the CIC is in the pocket for Biden is….wow.

    Also kind of wow is the notion that Jay Powell and the Fed aren’t averse to the prospect of trashing Biden’s reelection and getting a trifecta for the Republicans, regardless of whether it’s Trump or not. When the Fed talked about undoing the QE when Trump was President and the stock market went into a tizzy, Trump jawboned them quickly into reversing course. (Then of course the pandemic.) Despite all the BS about how the working class, even when this isn’t code for poor white people, have all turned cryptofascist, the real forces turning towards various kinds of Trumper are the owners. Those include the owners of the Fed. I think the Fed would prefer the pain of cutting wages to restore profit (the real program in my view) to trash the Democratic Party, which is splitting. It’s only held together now by the power of incumbency. It’s why they can’t find another replacement candidate who hasn’t already been universally rejected by the mass media and its customer base. (Again, that’s the buyers of audiences, not the audiences.)

      1. CarlH

        Adding: My perception of the current world is often wrong and your comment gave me some things to think about.

  27. square coats

    Lambert, I’m pretty sure “cope” doesn’t conjugate to “coping” in current internet politics usage, but I may be wrong.

    So one says “the cope” rather than “the coping”.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Me neither, but my young cat is extremely adept at shredding all the toilet paper and paper towels in the house into thousands of tiny little scraps, no training required.

  28. ewmayer

    Re. “For The Ukrainian Army, The Road To Melitopol Is Mile after Mile Of Russian Trenches | Forbes” –

    It’s a long way to Melitopolly,
    It’s a long way to go.
    It’s a long way to Melitopolly,
    To the most useless death I know!
    Goodbye, Azov Battal-ion,
    Farewell, NATO trainers!
    It’s a long long way to Melitopolly,
    But my heart’s right there. (Literally)

  29. some guy

    I am on a very short break at my work. I see the article headline . . . ” Why Is WHO Removing Antimicrobial Resistance From The ‘Pandemic Treaty’? Madras Courier ”

    I will read it after work. Right now, when I don’t even have time to click the link, I will offer the purely intuition-based guess that part of that reason ” Why” will be ” because a coalition of Big Pharma and Big CAFO ( including Big Aquaculture) has asked WHO to remove Antimicrobial Resistance from the ‘Pandemic Treaty’.

    The extent to which my purely intuitive guess is right, part right or all wrong will reveal how much intuitive understanding I have or don’t have for how the world works.

    1. some guy

      Well, I circled back and read the article. The title mislead me because posing it as a question “Why?” led me to think that the article would try to answer that question. But it does not attempt to answer that question “Why?” It only describes the things that WHO “should” be doing to address Antimicrobial Resistance problems and it notes that WHO appears to be saying precisely zero about those problems. But it never begins to answer its own question as to “Why”?

    1. willow

      The way Prigozhin is camping things up suggests Putin thinks Russia has a real chance of baiting Poland & Baltic States into joining the conflict at the Vilnius meeting. Baltic States similar problem to Ukraine needing to be resolved and their entry into the war has a lot of upsides for Russia.

  30. Daniil Adamov

    …such as opening another front when the first one isn’t done?

    (That was @willow directly above.)

Comments are closed.