Links 6/29/2023

15 Years of Radio Data Reveals Evidence of Space-Time Murmur (press release) NASA. “The motion of black holes and other massive objects through space can create ripples in the fabric of the universe, called gravitational waves. On June 28 scientists announced the first evidence of a background of long-wavelength gravitational waves that fills the cosmos.”

The Secret in the Spots on Monarch Butterflies’ Wings NYT

Central banks signal higher interest rates for longer: S&P Anadolu Agency

EU to take next step towards launching digital version of euro France24

King County stores must accept cash, County Council says Seattle Times (PI).


Canada wildfires spark air quality alerts in Chicago and Milwaukee BBC

Europe experiences significant transport of smoke from Canada wildfires Copernicus

How Plastics Are Poisoning Us The New Yorker


Not acting like themselves: Antidepressants in environment alter crayfish behavior, study finds (press release) University of Florida

Dark Skies, Deep Dark Waters The Brockovich Report


I have Covid – can I still go on holiday? The Telegraph

The New Abnormal The Tablet

Long COVID: answers emerge on how many people get better Nature

Who cares where COVID came from? Jonathan Katz, The Racket

How Worried Should You Be About the U.S.–Based Malaria Cases? Slate


Yellen hopes to travel to China to ‘reestablish contact’ Channel News Asia

China censors financial blogger as economic recovery falters FT


Myanmar’s Junta Is Losing the Civil War Council on Foreign Relations

A Criminal Cancer Spreads in Southeast Asia United States Institute for Peace

Cambodian Microfinance’s High Repayment Rates Are Built on Misery, Research Finds The Diplomat. Hardly a surprise.

European Disunion

France braces for protests after ‘unforgivable’ police shooting Agence France Presse

Dear Old Blighty

Matt Hancock says UK’s pandemic strategy was completely wrong BBC. The “stupid or evil?” question is a hardy perennial. These days, I’m leaning toward “Both!”.

Covid is still a mass killer – but the government is pretending otherwise Funding the Future

Book, cancel or change a COVID-19 vaccination appointment NHS. Mission accomplished:


New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine says ‘main event’ in counteroffensive still to come FT

Ukraine SitRep: Prigozhin Affair – Kramatorsk Missile Attack Moon of Alabama

21 Miles of Obstacles NYT. Reality dawns?

* * *

Ukraine ‘peace summit’ talks make progress but long way to go, officials say Reuters but Russian calls on ‘responsible’ countries to refrain from participating in planned Ukraine peace summit Anadolu Agency

* * *

Ukraine expects two results from NATO summits and accepts no compromise – President’s Office Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

Prigozhin’s March on Moscow London Review of Books

Further thoughts on the lessons of the Prigozhin armed rebellion Gilbert Doctorow, Armageddon Newslettter

Vladimir Putin freezes out hardliners after Wagner mutiny FT

U.S. Levies New Sanctions on Wagner Group Foreign Policy

* * *

The real casualties of Russia’s ‘civil war’: the Beltway expert class Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone

FSB spooked the CIA on Prigozhin coup Indian Punchline

* * *

The Searcher Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept. Nord Stream.

Biden Administration

Will the Biggest Tech Merger of All Time Go Through? Matt Stoller, BIG

Biden admin drops Louisiana investigation that alleged black people lived amid higher cancer risks NBC

Spook Country

Meet The Secretive Surveillance Wizards Helping The FBI And ICE Wiretap Facebook And Google Users Forbes

Comey As You Are The Baffler Comey’s novel.

Digital Watch

Today’s AI is unreasonable Anil Dash:

Today’s highly-hyped generative AI systems (most famously OpenAI) are designed to generate bullshit by design. To be clear, bullshit can sometimes be useful, and even accidentally correct, but that doesn’t keep it from being bullshit. Worse, these systems are not meant to generate consistent bullshit — you can get different bullshit answers from the same prompts. You can put garbage in and get… bullshit out, but the same quality bullshit that you get from non-garbage inputs! And enthusiasts are current mistaking the fact that the bullshit is consistently wrapped in the same envelope as meaning that the bullshit inside is consistent, laundering the unreasonable-ness into appearing reasonable.

Now we have billions of dollars being invested into technologies where it is impossible to make falsifiable assertions. A system that you cannot debug through a logical, socratic process is a vulnerability that exploitative tech tycoons will use to do what they always do, undermine the vulnerable.

I’m not the only one….

Supply Chain

Mining the Moon to lift off within ten years — NASA

Sports Desk

Simone Biles Is Coming Back to Gymnastics Teen Vogue

Libertarian Squillionaire Titanic Submersible Darwin Award Winner

Presumed human remains found in Titan sub debris BBC

post from @hystericempress cohost. “OceanGate’s underengineered, undercooked, doomed submarine isn’t merely a metaphor for the hubris of the wealthy, it is a scale model of the way the wealthy dictate our reality.”

OceanGate and How the Wealthy Kill Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report

Submersion Journalism Harpers

Navigating the Boundary Between Transparency and Discretion Grassroots Economic Organizing

Class Warfare

Europe’s Inflation Outlook Depends on How Corporate Profits Absorb Wage Gains International Monetary Fund. Handy chart:

UPS Teamsters say nationwide strike is ‘imminent’ if Friday deadline not met The Hill. Just give the workers what they want. Why is this hard?

The Localist Boston Review. The deck: “Why did Chicago become the headquarters of free market fundamentalism? Adam Smith offers a clue.”

Familiar tale of private equity and debt lands Instant Pot, Pyrex maker in bankruptcy Chicago Business Review

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Lexx

    ‘Mining the Moon to lift off within ten years — NASA’

    The programmer carefully explained to the AI the extreme cold in space for a human standing on the moon and how the males of our species respond to such cold… and then the AI designed those pants for the astronaut and called it ‘good’.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can well believe that this was a Trump initiative. And the whole enterprise will be done by billionaires, the same people who brought you the “Titan” and it’s corner-cutting and refusal to adhere to any regulations whatsoever. Hmm. Maybe as a kid, Trump was inspired by this school film- (57 secs)

  2. Alice X

    >Canada wildfires spark air quality alerts in Chicago and Milwaukee BBC

    Well, maybe not as bad in Detroit but we have an air quality alert as well.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I keep seeing a graphic that here in Indianapolis our AQI is second worse in the world at the moment. I find that a little difficult to accept, but it’s definitely bad out there.

    2. Eclair

      Has anyone heard from East Salem, Ohio? According to the website, they were in a black zone yesterday, referred to by my spouse as ‘the death zone.’

      The good news for us, here in southern Chautauqua County, NY, is that we have moved from a red zone into the orange zone, with maybe some chance of becoming yellow. Or maybe we will move back into a red zone again. Those capricious winds!!

      I remember when a ‘red alert’ meant that a terrorist attack was immanent. Now the air has become a terrorist threat. Oh well, people in America’s ‘sacrifice zones’ have been living (more or less) in these red alert zones, next to refineries and chemical plants, for decades. Now we’re all living in sacrifice zones.

      Our Corsi-Rosanthal Box, put into use as a smoky air purifier, has been running. I am considering making another for the second floor. I ordered the MERV-13 20x20x2 furnace filters on-line, because they were not available locally. They were delivered next day! By a harried non-union FedEx driver.

      1. Alice X

        MERV-13 is way over the limit of my MERV-8 max air conditioner, so… But thanks for the Corsi-Rosanthal Box info.

    3. Screwball

      NW Ohio here – I don’t know the air quality number, but out here in the sticks it’s not very good. Last evening it looked like everyone in the neighborhood was having a cookout. The smoke was quite visible and was lingering in the air. Smelled like burnt wood. Not quite as bad this morning, but still overcast and still smells.

      1. Bsn

        Here’s a link to one of the best air monitoring sites. Up to date and easy to use…..

        Purple Air. I’m curious if there’s a site like this that monitors radiation in the air. Anyone know? I lived in Europe during Chernobyl and would see maps showing the radiation cloud. Now we have Zaporosia (sp?). OK, so I’m a map freak :-). But also a good air fan (yes, pun intended).

        1. Screwball

          Thanks Bsn.

          Here is another; AirNow

          This was linked by the local TV station in Toledo, Ohio, which is about 50 miles NW of me. I assume they are using this for their reporting. You can enter a zip code and get the reading.

          Earlier today we were at 212, but now down to 194. The sun has poked out, but still hazy.

      2. zagonostra

        Smokey in Pittsburgh and Central PA. It’s not exactly smoke smell, it has none of the piquant qualities that wood smell has, at least hard woods. It’s more of an oily, industrial smell. Sun is completely grayed out.

        Where normally I am out an about in the yard through-out day tending garden this time of year, today it’s work on the inside with all the things I’ve been putting off.

        All this bad air reminds me of Jack London’s essay “The House Beautiful.”

        … windows can be opened every little while and the rooms flushed with clean pure air. I have nearly died in the stagnant, rotten air…especially in the Eastern states…

        For countless thousands of years my ancestors have lived and died and drawn all their breaths in the open air. It is only recently that we have begun to live in houses. The change is a hardship, especially on the lungs. I’ve got only one pair of lungs, and I haven’t the address of any repair- shop. Wherefore I stick by the open air as much as possible. For this reason my house will have large verandas, and, near to the kitchen, there will be a veranda dining-room. Also, there will be a veranda fireplace, where we can breathe fresh air and be comfortable when the evenings are touched with frost.

        …It will be a happy house—or else I’ll burn it down. It will be a house of air and sunshine and laughter. These three cannot be divorced. Laughter without air and sunshine becomes morbid, decadent, demoniac. I have in me a thousand generations. Laughter that is decadent is not good for these thousand generations.

        1. Martin Oline

          Thanks for providing us with the long excerpt, Zag. I was struck by the quote “It will be a happy house—or else I’ll burn it down.”
          I toured the site of the Jack London house many years ago in either Napa or Sonoma county in California. The park ranger informed us it mysteriously burnt down just after completion but before they moved in.

          1. B24S

            Wolf House, in Sonoma. It had slabs of redwood trees, bark and all, up the sides of the walls, as if they held it up themselves. Quite magnificent ruins, they remind me of some of the houses built by artists back east in the early/mid 20thC, such as Wharton Esherick and Henry Varnum Poor.

            The current theory about the cause of the fire is actually the simplest: linseed oil soaked rags, used to stain the wood paneling, left in a pile, spontaneously caught fire, as they often do. The quote is terribly ironic.

          2. John Wright

            The Wolf House is in Glen Ellen, CA.


            I’ve been there many times.

            The fire was, apparently, an emotionally crushing event for Jack London, as he had no insurance.

            Jack London packed a lot of living into his 40 year life.

            1. Martin Oline

              Thanks to both B24J and John Wright. Wolf House is the most impressively owner-designed home I have ever seen. The ruins are very impressive. The idea of Jack’s bedroom on the top floor being the only room on that level is wonderful. I could never understand why anyone would burn it down deliberately and oily rags left in a pile by departing workers could explain the fire.

              1. John Wright

                There is a local story that one of the construction crew may have had a grudge because Jack had eyes on the worker’s wife and the worker set the fire.

                There was a forensic analysis done in 1995 that seemed to reinforce the oily rags theory.


                “Construction was nearly complete when a fire began late on the night of August 22, 1913, spreading rapidly and gutting the interior of the house—only the massive masonry walls remained standing by the morning. Although arson was suspected, no substantial evidence was ever discovered. In 1995, a forensic team of investigators concluded that the likely cause was the spontaneous combustion of linseed oil soaked rags left behind by workmen.”

                “The fire had a profound effect on those most involved in the project—Charmian wrote that “the razing of his house killed something in Jack, and he never ceased to feel the tragic inner sense of loss”.

                If my visits are typical, this very low-key park is seldom crowded.

                It has a good visitor’s center based in the house that Jack’s wife (Charmian) built and lived in after his death. There is a cottage where London wrote and other farming structures constructed by London and the prior owner.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine SitRep: Prigozhin Affair – Kramatorsk Missile Attack”

    MoA is understating the number of English speakers that were present and I have seen several videos, including this one American woman, talking about what happened. Lord Bebo gives a few more details-

    Pro-tip. If you are a merc or your country has sent you to a war zone undercover, don’t upload to social media where you are, what you are eating and which other English speakers are present, especially if you are next to a building housing you and your friends. In war time, geo-location is not your friend and may attract the notice of Mr. Kinzhal – who will not believe your stories of only being a tourist. Play stupid games…

    1. Grave New World

      Being caught purposely striking a crowded restaurant full of civilians — children — with missiles, commiting a war crime, getting immediately caught red-handed with evidence documenting the war crime. All because your land army is too incompetent and too mutinous to project lawful force 20 miles away. This is embarrassing for Rossiya. It’s going to end in the Hague.

        1. Late Introvert

          Won’t somebody please think about the children (gathered together with military targets)?

      1. Bill Malcolm

        And the Ukies have been sending random missiles and artillery rounds into the cities of the Donbass for what, nine years now, killed over 12,000 civilians. Shall we also reserve a place in a defendant’s box at the Hague for some of the Ukies as well? I think so. Seems minimally fair, no?

        And the videos show soldiers from overseas, not children. Do have a look and a listen.

      2. The Rev Kev

        The Russian Ministry of Defence has said-

        ‘According to the updated information, a June 27 precision strike on the temporary deployment site of the Ukrainian army’s 56th motorized infantry brigade in the city of Kramatorsk eliminated two generals, up to fifty officers of the Ukrainian armed forces and also up to twenty foreign mercenaries and military advisers who participated in a staff meeting,” the ministry’s spokesman, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, said in a statement.’

        I suspect that after how western countries tried to help instigate a civil war, Russia took their gloves off here.

      3. Kouros

        Apparently they are having this prep for peace conference in Denmark to force Russia for peace. I haven’t seen any similar effort to end the 8 years occupation of 1/3 of Syria by the Americans…

        As for all the drone attacks carried by the Americans on unsuspecting civillians, including in countries the US was not at war with, oh, my oh my… Or providing targets and ammunition or refuelling KSA planes to hit Yemen…

      4. Yves Smith

        Help me. Were you here pearl-clutching about the regular shelling of Donetsk City, which has absolutely nada military value, which has killed so many children that the locals have set up a park in memoriam? Oh, and that those shellings included petal mines, whose use is ever and always a war crime?

        This was the targeting of what amounted to a military eatery. Pretty much every civilian who can has left, with most of women left there of the negotiable affection kind. Admittedly there had to be some people running the restaurant and they were presumably civilians. Civilians as collateral damage is OK, deliberately targeting civilians is not. Ukraine has been doing that for years in Donetsk City, yet we hear not a peep about that from Collective West moralizers.

        Better trolls, please.

    2. skippy

      The Ranger sorts standout in a crowd due to the hair cut, one inch on top and can’t pinch on the sides, its a strict regulation. Anywhy* … the idea one would be “down range” and sporting unit merch is a walking Darwin award, for so many reasons, and not just a smithereens badge. Grouping together, with other nationals, like its a star trek cosplay/convention when in range of big boom stuff is just The Stoopid[tm].

      Hence the reason for spacing in the field, let alone all the bad shirts and hats I had back in the day ….. the whole of the Ukraine is down range and everyone is a potential pop up target.

      Off too work … sigh …

  4. Lexx

    ‘King County stores must accept cash, County Council says’

    It reads like King Country has a robbery problem and it’s easier (cheaper) to get rid of the incentive (cash) than provide for its safety. Those with the least income and no bank are not those dropping a lot of bread (even collectively) on retailers, so where is all the cash coming from? And where the hell is law enforcement? Have the police departments cut their ‘Robbery’ divisions altogether?

    I take cash out of the ATM every two weeks. Forty dollars goes in my wallet, the rest goes in The Stash. Coins go in a piggy bank, Ones get stacked in a drawer for tips. There are some purchases it’s simply not worth pulling out a credit card for

      1. bwilli123

        Sarah Jessica Parker according to IMBD.

        SanDeE* : I’m studying to be a spokesmodel.
        Harris : What is, what is a spokesmodel?
        SanDeE* : Um, it’s just a model who speaks, you know, and she points at things like merchandise, you know, like a car or washer and dryer. Sometimes it’s something really small, you know, like, like a book or fine art print.
        Harris : They have classes for that?
        SanDeE* : Yeah, ’cause it’s a lot harder than it looks.

          1. Pat

            One of my two favorite moments in that film.
            The other being when Martin leaves his house gets into his car, which is parked on the street, and drives less than fifty feet to go to his next door neighbor’s.

            1. Carolinian

              Or as L.A. TV weather man he sneaks a weekend off by putting up a taped forecast (70 degrees and sunny as always) and that weekend it rains and he is fired. Martin was a California kid and once worked at Disneyland. “Write what you know.”

        1. Laughingsong

          Ha! One of my favorite movies. Too bad there isn’t a way to draw a heart around the name in comments.

      2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

        “…it still works when the power and/or the internet goes out.”

        Know how I can tell you haven’t watched an American school graduate try and make change when The Machine Won’t Tell Them…. ;-)

        It’s kind of fun, though, in my old age, to be treated like some sort of magical wizard for being able to tell flustered cashiers (who closed the drawer too early, more often than not) how much change to offer without having to break out a calculator.

    1. jax Read

      ‘King County stores must accept cash, County Council says’

      I’m in King County and yes there is a robbery problem here and law enforcement is chronically understaffed by some 400 beat police. We’ve been losing officers to attrition and the unwanted oversight by the
      DOJ, which only ended this year. Who knows if Long Covid is playing into the loss of officers as well?

      Along with every 7-11 in the county, marijuana dispensers are being robbed routinely. That’s because the state, fearing the Feds, has yet to legislate a banking situation that would allow them to take credit cards along with or instead of cash.

      1. Lexx

        Marijuana dispensers makes sense since it’s cash only, and high security measures for them. Cash isn’t the problem then, it’s failure to invest in those measures. They could be made at least as difficult to rob as a high security bank, so where is the money going? Who put up the capital? At what rate of repayment?

        7-11’s too can limit traffic in and out of the store. Cash is the problem, not the priorities of the owners? You’d think the owners would put up more of a squawk about the fees they pay on every credit card transaction. There are a few people who provide services I pay in cash just to save them those fees. The relationship is more important to me than the points.

  5. Sardonia

    So, Biden says that Putin is “clearly losing the war in Iraq.”

    That brain’s cogwheel is missing more teeth than the front row of a Willie Nelson concert.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is from the other day, but I imagine it’s being thrown in their faces at every stop. This of course is a flaw with Biden as President and Hillary’s nomination. As major supporters of the Iraq invasion, the would always be the wrong people. Even if everything they said about Putin was true, they would get similar results because all those attributes apply to them and Moscow and Beijing offer better deals.

      1. Pat

        I’m gobsmacked. It is a shame that the interviewer didn’t call Kerry out on what he considered to be the right thing that the US did when they found out it was a lie.

        And because it cannot be stated often enough, the only way Congress didn’t know that WMDs were a lie before authorizing AUMF was because they ignored the evidence. Propaganda was running high, but there were still a fair number of credible and PMC acceptable outlets at that time doing yeoman work slicing and dicing every claim.
        (Now we have hardly any)

        1. Offtrail

          My experience was that across the board major media pushed for the invasion of Iraq. Knight-Ridder news service and the LA Times were skeptical, but they were not really major media.

          Major media did sometimes publish stories questioning the bogus WMD / Al Qaeda stories they had trumpeted earlier. I don’t know if you remember, but every single big story pushing “Saddam build WMD” / “Saddam links to 911” had major, obvious flaws. But those followups never matched the original big headlines, and media never drew the obvious conclusions. It was a constant drumbeat for war. I remember that one night PBS News hour accidentally invited a critic of the pending invasion to a roundtable discussion. Jim Lehrer was completely befuddled. He could not imagine what to do with someone who had such views. He turned to other panelists.

          The “it was an honest mistake” legend was never credible either for the government or the media. I’m typing this for the benefit of anyone too young to have witnessed these events in person.

          I grant you that things are even worse now.

          1. rowlf

            I remember that one night PBS News hour accidentally invited a critic of the pending invasion to a roundtable discussion.

            Patrick Lang? I remember something like that causing me to look at alt-views of the official narrative. He definitively became a media skunk after that.

            So much for asking people with extensive knowledge to comment on a subject. /s

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Evidently the right thing was to allow Bush to run for re-election and beat John Kerry. That really taught him!

  6. Alice X

    >The real casualties of Russia’s ‘civil war’: the Beltway expert class Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone

    Barbs galore, and all well deserved, they brighten my day.

    Has anyone, besides Glenn Greenwald, noted that Zalensky has cancelled the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election? If so, I’ve missed it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Pretty sure that it was noted in either Links or water Cooler the other day. Maybe Zelensky wants to be President of the Ukraine for the rest of his life. The Russians will announce that they can help him with that.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      It’s rather funny. 19th century USA and 19th century France can hold elections in wartime with hostile armies in control of their territory, but 21st century Ukraine can’t. Probably because their authorities know the results of any halfway fair election will be closer to 19th century France (where the candidates most likely to surrender to Prussia won overwhelmingly after clear military failure in the Franco-Prussian War). And an unfair election would just be a waste of energy and resources that are already overstrained. If Western elites are willing to call Ukraine a democracy either way, why bother?

      1. The Rev Kev

        When Abraham Lincoln held the Presidential elections in 1864 in the middle of the Civil War, he was expected to lose as it was thought that all those Union troops would vote him out to stop the war and save their lives. Add in the fact that no President had won a second term for the past thirty years and the odds were very long indeed. As it was, he won an overwhelming victory thank in part to the votes of all those Union soldiers who backed him. Zelensky is not so confident I guess.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          The difference is that the war in 1864 was clearly winnable. IIRC the Confederates built much of their strategy in the preceding year or two around influencing the election, but failed to score the resounding successes they would’ve needed. Ukraine’s position is much more dire. I think they can struggle on for a while if forced but the hopes associated with the counteroffensive clearly haven’t materialised, which becomes less likely with every year. People often agree to risk their lives when there’s a chance of success – this war, however, looks more and more like a different proposition, reportedly even to many in Ukraine.

        2. Darthbobber

          Reelection looked unlikely until the gods of war smiled, with the fall of Atlanta in July, the capture of Mobile Bay in August, and Sheridan’s demolition of Early in the Valley in September and October.

          1. JBird4049

            Let’s add that the goals for the Union in the war was to maintain the union and ending slavery, which were well supported by the population even when it seemed like the South was winning; the South started the war essentially to keep and expand slavery with the pretense of States’ Rights being the reason being BS. Not that there wasn’t a good case for States’ Rights, but it was really about owning people, not any political philosophical ideas. All this means that there was always a push to keep the war going in the North even if it appeared lost. The moral center was with Lincoln.

      2. hunkerdown

        Democracy is a procedure of genteel capitalist competition followed by handing out property to people who will instrumentalize them appropriately. In much the same fractal way as the sub is a model of capitalist material culture influenced by advanced industry and total commerce, Western society can be reduced to a complex hierarchy of idealistic hunting cults trying to perfect predation.

        The values that come out of the other side of this machine circumscribe the total reality. There is no room for popular agency in this model, except as “corruption”. The “rule of law” demands total service toward the “improvement” of the game.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Maybe, but the competing groups can have vastly different preferences as to urgent political decisions.

    3. Polar Socialist

      If you have already banned the opposition media, then banned opposition parties and then sent your goons law enforcers to arrest the opposition, why bother with cancelling the elections?

      Oh, wait, could it be because you have significantly worsened the labor’s rights and are opening smallholdings for a land grab by international corporations? Not that there’s soon anybody left to do any work, be it industrial or farming.

    4. Robert S

      I think one ought to check the Ukrainian constitution before jumping to any conclusions about that: the constitution says there are no elections to parliament while there is a state of emergency or martial law; and parliament passed a similar law to cover elections to the presidency.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Would that be the Constitution that was drawn up by the neo-Nazis after the Maidan? Pretty sure that it is in the Ukrainian Constitution that Crimea has to be in the Ukraine again.

        1. Basil Pesto

          pretty sure Russian law has the same provisions re: elections under both state of emergency/martial law conditions. See here

          1. Daniil Adamov

            It does, or it did – it was changed this year to permit elections in territories under martial law if the central electoral committee deems it acceptable. For whatever that is worth. Post-Soviet elites, whether Ukrainian or Russian, are nominally committed to democracy but prefer it very strongly “managed” in practice. That said, I feel that Ukrainian “management” might have actually overshot ours of late.

      2. Daniil Adamov

        Well, obviously they didn’t do it out of the blue. I would’ve been surprised if they did hold an election. Nonetheless, other countries have somehow managed to conduct elections in comparably dire straits, and I would say were better off for it.

    5. ilsm

      the approved neocon poohbahs have been doing the same style of coup/decap operations for decades.

      why change when the forever wars generate so much revenues…

    6. ChrisPacific

      re: “Can anyone remember a mutiny or coup attempt that lasted 24 hours and no one really fought or was killed?”

      Well, the 1993 coup, for starters, which I believe is the next most recent one in Russia. Although that one was 48 hours, so I guess technically it doesn’t qualify.

      McFaul really doesn’t know much Russian history.

    1. Ignacio

      When this is confirmed by the Sevastopol Times based in Sacramento, CA I will pay attention. ;)

      1. Martin Oline

        Sacramento?? I guess the commute to western Sonoma was too far. Is the Moron Independent Urinal still in San Rafael or did they move to Tahoe?

        1. JBird4049

          The IJ is still printed in San Rafael, but while it is still fish wrap, it has not gotten worse in the past two decades. The San Francisco Comical Chronicle has managed to improve. From a very low level, but still.

          It is still depressing to remember how the various Bay Area newspapers used to be. San Francisco used to have the morning San Francisco Chronicle, the afternoon Exaiminer, and at least two decent monthly or weekly alternative newspapers. None of them were great, but they were decent, especially when you could read and put it all together including a good sunday edition, but it is all gone except for a reduced Chronicle. I think that I can say the same for the rest of the Bay.

          1. Martin Oline

            When I was there I also read David Mitchell’s Point Reyes Light and Don Dean’s Coastal Post (free). While the light is still published I think the Coastal Post from Bolinas is long gone.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “France braces for protests after ‘unforgivable’ police shooting”

    So Macron was in an interview with La Provence and noted that he ‘followed the events every hour’ due to the rebellion. He added that ‘the situation is still developing. But it underlines the differences existing in Russia and the fragility of both its army and auxiliary forces, such as the Wagner Group. This should make us to be extremely vigilant and fully justify the support we provide to the Ukrainians in their resistance.’

    And just after the guy has to deploy 2,000 riot police to deal with a burning Paris amid the riots. Putin missed a great opportunity to ring Macron and ask him “Is Paris Burning?”

        1. Ignacio

          One could conclude, alternatively, that the situation in Russia is not as bad as in France, where the police can kill with impunity.

      1. tevhatch

        With allowances for translation, it is. If he was super-competent, then he’d still be working full time at Rothchild’s, and not as their flunky outsourced to France.

  8. ambrit

    That IMF chart showing the sources of inflation should be tool number one of union organizers everywhere. There the is the Class Struggle, in colours no less!
    If the Unions were smart, they would include ‘Street Fighting’ in their training programs. It will come to that sooner or later.

    1. griffen

      Those unions have a friend in the White House too! Joe Biden, pro union president and best fighting man for the common laborer since FDR. Heck, put him on the dime. \sarc

      I digress, but CNBC has been running coverage on the Biden speech yesterday. Some of the anchors can’t decide whether it is true or false, the trickle down economy is good for all. The trickle feels awfully warm some years. Bidenomics – Make Inflation Great Again.

    2. begob

      Yesterday in the UK we had MSM discussing greedflation on the radio. And also the nurses’ union failing to reach quota on a ballot for further strikes after members received the 5% offer in their accounts.

    3. Cristobal

      Street fighting is a waste of time. You have to go for the head of the snake. The CEOs.

      1. ambrit

        Well, advocating for “Karma Kommandos” would tend to attract unwanted attention, eh? Even the Government hides those sorts of activities.

  9. Mikerw0

    Re: Mining on the Moon

    Will never, as in never, happen. The economics simply won’t work unless we find a way to build an anti gravity machine. According to a NASA engineer I have worked with, if you found a perfectly shaped asteroid or pure gold that fit perfectly into the largest cargo bay we currently have to bring it back to earth you would lose money.

    So this is more propaganda from Silicon Valley and defense contractors to get a ton of money to try and do things that won’t happen and make no sense.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Yes, mining on the Moon only makes sense for the purposes of a permanent moon base. Now, if a permanent moon base makes any sense, is a different matter completely.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. Mining on the Moon will be to supply raw materials cheaper than supplying them from out of the Earth’s gravity well. Think Steampunk Satellite projects. With cheap materials, space habitats can be built as robustly as one wishes. Plus, if commercially viable deposits of fissionables can be found off Earth, then items like Dumbo propulsion systems become feasible.
        Now that significant supplies of water have been found on the Moon, the prospects of Lunar bases enters the realm of the possible.
        Now, the Alien Watchers might not want us to escape from the Earth. Here’s hoping the Aliens on the Moon story is simply that, a story.
        Stay safe Earthlings.

    2. Steve H.

      This leads to a ballpark of a half-trillion dollars in asteroid platinum for the space shuttle bay. Someone might launch a caravel on a chance for that.

      I do see arguments saying a collapse in the commodity price undercuts the feasibility. I’ll suggest that the possibility of monopolistic capture offsets those uncertainties for a potential unigarch.

      1. John Beech

        A half-trillion is based on current supply. Make it common as sand and guess what? Yup, the price collapses. Econ 101.

        1. hunkerdown

          Try grown-up econ where labor actually costs money, instead of Puritan fantasies of entitlement to free labor.

        2. Planter of Trees

          Cheap platinum would be a godsend for research and industry. Consider the history of aluminum.

    3. tevhatch

      My guess is the idea is to mine the moon for minerals to make into multiple warheads and launch them at earth, then send in Bain Capital to take over the devastated country. A sort of small pox blanket writ large.

      1. hunkerdown

        More likely, they will be directed at those who blaspheme capitalism. “Shush with your aerospace science, man, the god of capitalism is Real!”

    4. Michaelmas

      Mikerwo: Mining on the Moon; Will never, as in never, happen. The economics simply won’t work unless we find a way to build an anti gravity machine … if you found a perfectly shaped asteroid or pure gold that fit perfectly into the largest cargo bay we currently have to bring it back to earth you would lose money.

      We don’t know what’s up there in terms of resources, so I can’t take a stand on the economics and neither can you. But your ‘argument’ is nonsense scientifically and technologically. Here’s why.

      [1] Firstly, you didn’t bother to read the article, which specifically says: “NASA … hopes to build a base on the lunar surface, where it can mine the resources required to fly the first astronauts to other planets.”

      Why would NASA want to do that? Because escape velocity from Earth’s gravity is 11.2 kilometers a second, whereas escape velocity from the Moon’s is 2.38 km/s, which — for comparison — is substantially less than, say, a Kinzhal missile’s theoretical full speed of 3.427903 km/s within Earth’s atmosphere.

      So the basic physics makes mining — and launching materials — from the Moon for use in situ in space far preferable to the prohibitively expensive option of launching materials from Earth. How much easier, in fact, is launching mass from the Moon than the Earth? Well ….

      [2] Mikerwo: if you found a perfectly shaped asteroid or pure gold that fit perfectly into the largest cargo bay we currently have to bring it back to earth you would lose money.

      Since you bring up the idea of sending materials mined in space to Earth, if you imagine they’d necessarily do it via a cargo bay of any size, you haven’t thought sensibly about the physics involved. No anti-gravity machines are required.

      To the contrary: Earth’s greater gravity becomes an asset if one wants to mine resources on the Moon and send them to Earth. An elecromagnetic catapult on the Moon’s surface could launch a mass at speeds in excess of the Moon’s escape velocity of 2.38 km/s; from there that freight could be dropped down Earth’s gravity well or shunted into Earth orbit. See forex —

      A Lunar Electromagnetic Launch System forIn-Situ Resource Utilization

      The objections here are geopolitical, not scientific or technological. Objects of serious mass launched by a catapult from Moon to Earth are potential WMDs.

      [3] Nor would you want to fit an asteroid of solid platinum or lithium or whatever, if such a thing exists, into any kind of cargo bay to send it back to Earth.

      Newton’s First Law of Motion says that an object in motion remains in motion at constant speed and in a straight line unless acted on by an unbalanced force.

      Forget the cargo bays. One could set a thruster rocket on an asteroid’s surface, fire that rocket for a few hours or days before turning it off, and if that asteroid is set on a trajectory that will take it into Earth orbit, then it will get there in a few years or decades. Again, no anti-gravity required, only Newton’s First Law of Motion, FFS!

      [4] Mikerwo: So this is more propaganda from Silicon Valley and defense contractors to get a ton of money to try and do things that won’t happen and make no sense.

      Tell that to the Chinese —

      Eying A $1 Trillion Industry, ‘Resource-Hungry’ China Rapidly Increasing Tech For Asteroid Hunting

      1. ambrit

        I didn’t read your comment before I posted a similar, much more rudimentary one above. Apologies.

      2. Kouros

        Dropping things down Earth’s gravity well sounds like dropping them in an incinerator…

  10. zagonostra

    >The Searcher Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept. Nord Stream.

    I’ll take Seymore Hersch’s Substack reporting over Pierre Omidyar Intercept and Jeremy Scahill. Scahill and Naiomi Klien have lost my respect over the years. It seems to me that like DemocracyNow! and Amy Goodman, they are no longer a source of trusted journalism for me.

    The concluding paragraph is, in my view, all you need to read of this long article. What it seeks to do is cast doubt where in Hersh reporting there is none. One seeks to obfuscate, the other ascribe motive and intent and thereby point directly at who is responsible.

    While Andersson now doubts the veracity of many details in Hersh’s account of the Nord Stream bombings, he is not yet prepared to exonerate the Biden administration. “Even if Ukraine planned and executed the operation, I can’t stop thinking that the U.S. was in on it in a way that makes them responsible,” he said. “At a minimum, Ukraine must have been certain that the U.S. would celebrate a successful sabotage of Nord Stream. And that’s what happened. Antony Blinken said it was a ‘great opportunity’ and Victoria Nuland cheered that the pipes had been turned into scrap metal. So, if Ukraine did it, they did it for the team, and if they didn’t inform their team leader, the USA, about all details, it was because that’s what was expected of them.”

    1. pjay

      Written “in partnership with Die Zeit.”

      The “evidence” for the official story keeps dribbling out bit by bit. Here, while there is no definite identification of the culprits, the story’s “expert” (another rich genius libertarian scientist apparently – they seem to be all over the place these days) argues that the job was simple enough, and sloppy enough, for the Ukrainians to have done it. So yes, muddying the waters, so to speak.

      Unlike many here, I don’t see Hersh as infallible. He’s done a lot of good work over the years – and some bad work as well (in my opinion). He is as good as his sources in the intelligence community, who always have their own motivations. In this case, I still choose to believe his story, for a variety of reasons. There definitely seems to be some conflict “behind the scenes” within the National Security Establishment. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is ultimately revealed.

    2. bosko

      I read this long, long article, and the potentially important thing it claims is that (contra Hersh), according to Scahill’s sources, it IS possible that a team of Ukrainian schmucks could have blown up Nord Stream. In other words, the divers could have been only moderately skilled, and in a rented sailboat; they would have had to ignore safety protocols, but that’s not too hard to imagine. This is definitely NOT what Hersh says on the topic.

      Still, most of use aren’t interested in whether it is hypothetically possible that a few Ukrainians or Poles or Spaniards blew up the pipeline. It might be, it might not be–what the hell do I know? The likeliest culprit to my mind is also the one who was best equipped to do the job–the United States–and I fully expect that, twenty years from now, de-classified documents will show that that’s what happened. At that point, few will pay attention and no one will care.

      In short, Scahill’s whole article is more concerned with debunking Hersh than it is with finding the true culprit.

      1. Not Qualified to Comment

        The likeliest culprit to my mind

        is the one who stood to gain most from it. What did Ukraine gain from it? Absolutely nothing apart perhaps from a secret glow of satisfaction at having put one over the Russians but with the potential downside of p***ing of one of its strongest supporters in Europe – Germany. Poland? Perhaps, though a lot of trouble and political risk vis-a-vis both Russia and Germany. The USA? Ah…

  11. LaRuse

    Unreasonable AI – anecdata from low-end academia. I am taking courses at one of my local community colleges to earn a Paralegal’s Associate’s degree and one of my professors this summer has gone ahead and fully embraced AI/ChatGPT (she even uses AI generated “people” to deliver some of her recorded presentations, which have some serious uncanny valley issues that make me uncomfortable to watch). I have not even once used a chatbot AI for any purpose – academic or otherwise because I hate the very concept. But this professor has stated that we paralegal students may engage with ChatGPT for her assignments provided that we are all careful to check the AI’s cites and rephrase direct quotes. One of my classmates admitted in class last night that she had used ChatGPT to help her finish her midterm this week – she was running out of time and so she relied on it to give her the last 10 answers or so, and then since she had extra time, she used the bot to check her earlier answers on the exam. She changed most of her original answers after ChatGPT gave her new information.
    And she flunked the exam. She said a lot of her original answers were correct and that if she hadn’t changed her responses to the ChatGPT answers, she might have passed. We aren’t talking complicated legal analysis here – these are community college level, multiple choice questions for a paralegal’s class and ChatGPT couldn’t get it right.
    AI is BS on steroids and anyone who is relying on it for health, legal advice, or anything critical to their general wellbeing is putting themselves at varying degrees of risk.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I find it hard to believe that they are bringing out AI/ChatGPT in so many fields knowing that it will make up answers out of whole-cloth. I guess that it must be all those billions of dollars of lucrative contracts that are pushing this forward. Too many careers are at stake. So I just sat back and wondered what would happen if the US Army relied on a military spec ChatGPT. I can see it now. The Army is in the Ukraine fighting the Russkies so the commanding General turns to MilChatGPT for the best tactics to employ. So it then replies ‘Have the soldiers load up their 100lb backpacks, fix bayonets and then march at the Russians in a long extended line.’

      1. hunkerdown

        Not “they”, but individual PMC students. The PMC likes to treat language as reality, and have been itching for the Singularity since COBOL. LLMs capture the PMC essence more thoroughly, including their whimsy and lack of self-awareness as their goldfish nature limited context sizes lose track of history and their plans go off the rails.

        Russia, having a healthy respect for the material world and its own laws, is probably using AI on actual battle data rather than a linguistic representation of it. Stochastic parrots make poor generals but great Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    2. Bugs

      Friend just lost his job as art director at a big RE development company. He and his team put together presentations and all the media to sell the company’s projects. They’re supposedly going with some “AI based solution” that a grifting IT sales droid sold them. That ought to be interesting.

    3. johnherbiehancock

      speaking of AI, did the Ukrainians use ChatGPT to generate that discombobulated press release re: their NATO “demands”? yikes!

      Billions in aid, and they can’t hire one English-proficient copy editor? Come on, man…

      1. hunkerdown

        Nigerian prince emails are intentionally error-ridden, which encourages self-selection of those who really want to believe. I’m sure that, over the course, their psyop boiler rooms and the nose candy supply have been well degraded too.

    4. Mikel

      Following the post “Unreasonable AI” is a link to Lambert’s AI = BS post, where the following excerpt is found:

      “… the prolific Cory Doctorow calls “enshittification,” described as follows. OpenAI is platform:

      Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die….. This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle…”

      SillyCon Valley is another level of greed. I’d argue that the point of AI is to cut to the chase with enshittification and go directly to handing surplus to shareholders.
      SillyCon and Wall St are the same ethos.

      1. hunkerdown

        Well, the surpluses have been more or less irretrievably opened to the general public in the form of model weight files of several sizes, so much that one or more of the big players got together to write some sniveling hit piece for that PMC organ, the Washington Post.

        Thanks to the efforts of enthusiasts to investigate these models on more modest, more accessible hardware, it is now possible for almost anyone with a personal computer to download one of them and run it on own equipment: to make small talk with them, try to stump them on riddles or general knowledge (easy enough), generate novellas, generate creative (not artistic) works in several established styles, condense private corpora, ask them questions about it, even inspire one’s erotic imaginary, all without needing to trouble someone else’s computer for anything.

        tl;dr: Where we’re going, we don’t need platforms.

      2. cnchal

        >. . . This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit.

        Describes Amazon to a T except for the surplus handed to shareholders. You see, Amazon makes almost no money and luxuriates in losses diffusing spyware into homes and business around the world, while sporting a PE > 300

        So, who’s surplus is being handed to whom? The buyers of Amazon stawk are handing their surplus to Bezos. How else is he gonna pay to live longer and have rocket rides unless you give him money for nothing.

  12. cnchal

    > post from @hystericempress

    . . . it’s such a perfect microcosm of the problem with everything right now. Decisions are not made based on safety, reasonable caution, or concern for human life.

    All true, but beside the point. There will be no lesson learned by the learned.

    The fact that a billionaire on joyrides, he was also on Bezos’ carnival rocket ride, lost his life near the bow of the Titanic, a lesson about hubris lost in time. When all other ships stopped in known dangerous conditions the Titanic kept going, is lost on all.

    That the “”authorities”” knew within hours and played the dispatch a fleet to find them game and the MSM’s “running out of air and knocking was heard” bullshit for days is also a lost lesson.

    Another lost lesson is the mercurial chip. As easy as picking a rotten potato from a pile of potatoes when one finds out after the fact something went wrong. If my understanding is correct, there is actually a wiring diagram for them.

    Which brings me to AI. Wiring unknowable. Tasked with ever moar complex tasks, AI induced disasters are inevitable.

  13. jefemt

    The Localist- Adam Smith. Appreciate the closing paragraph, which indicates Smith is believed to be willing to embrace ‘public utilities’.

    Could we ever agree on what are, should be, and should not be public utilities?

    I’d bet my list is a heckuva lot longer than most!

  14. magpie

    The Searcher

    Curious to see the response here.

    – the reference to German investigators confirming a match between the explosives found aboard Andromeda and at the crime scene would seem to be absolutely critical. Where is the formal, official confirmation of this by Germany? Have I missed it?

    – the article handwaves the technical diving challenges of actually performing this dive from a rental sailboat. Erik Andersson is not a diver; the exec from Poseidon Diving Systems says it’s “no problem.” This is an interesting contrast to the “Investigators skeptical of Andromeda yacht’s role in Nord Stream bombing” (Washington Post, 3 April 2023):

    Experts noted that while it was theoretically possible to place the explosives on the pipeline by hand, even skilled divers would be challenged submerging more than 200 feet to the seabed and slowly rising to the surface to allow time for their bodies to decompress.

    Or is it “no problem”? I don’t know. Not a diver myself. I saw a documentary about divers in the North Sea working around 95 meters, and to support two divers at a time, they had an 8000-ton support ship (Boka Topaz, you can look it up) with an ROV for assistance.

    – on bias: when this article started blurring the most important details (the dive isn’t really that difficult, we actually cannot have an accurate estimate of the quantity of explosives used, etc) my heart sank. The forensics are the only part of this story that matter. My bias flares whenever the coverage swings away from them, it seems to be happening here, yet again.

    1. mrsyk

      This paragraph has the off smell of narrative building to it:
      “But there is another aspect to Andersson that would seem to contradict his scientific disposition, and that is his enthusiasm for a mishmash of fringe theories about Covid-19, the 2020 presidential election in the U.S., and other dubious narratives popular in MAGA world. He admires Donald Trump; disparages climate crisis activists; and retweets dubious theories about Anthony Fauci, Covid, and China. Andersson said he liked many of Trump’s campaign pledges, including on immigration, deregulation, and pulling back from foreign wars. He also supported Trump’s posture toward Putin and Russia.”

      1. pjay

        Exactly. I thought the same thing when I read this paragraph. Andersson originally believes the Hersh story – sorta like all these other “fringe theories” he seems to support. But fortunately, in *this* case, he decided to let “Science” prevail and follow the “facts.” Sorry Seymour. There’s just enough hedging so that there is no definitive conclusion, but enough evidence to claim that the job was not that difficult, so Ukraine – or apparently just about anyone – *could* have done it. That’s all we need.

        As magpie rightly points out, other experts would disagree with this assessment. But once you get to the “dueling expert” stage of debate, you’ve won – at least if your goal is obfuscation rather that truth for the non-expert general public.

      2. magpie


        This paragraph is doing a lot of “work” that has nothing to do with solving an undersea mystery.

    1. mrsyk

      Now they can let in more rich kids and reduce financial aid freeing up funds to hire a new dean or two. How about a Dean of Deans? (I’ve seen this.)
      I’m not well read on affirmative action. Seems like a good idea. I’m pretty sure that Blacks and Hispanics over-represent the lowest income brackets. It also seems that whenever our corporate structured and administrated colleges and universities do anything there’s rice bowls and bottom lines behind it.
      So yes, of course they did.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        If they had been serious in the first place, they would have had affirmative action based on class. It would not be specifically targeted toward African-Americans, but the impact would be the same because of the class realities you mention. A few deplorables might “benefit” as well. And as we know in America, class is not a protected class under the Constitution, unless you count the upper class.

        1. John k

          The new republic headline a few decades ago was ‘class, not race’. The wave of criticism buckled them enough that they recanted in the very next issue. Granted, there are far more poor whites than poor blacks, presumably most set aside slots would have benefitted whites.
          Yes, I thought class was the correct formula, not least because I expect it would have survived court scrutiny, surprised supremes tolerated it so long.
          never renewed sub after that.

          1. pretzelattack

            the thing that turned me off the New Republic was the article defending the Reagan administrations’s support of the contras, by some neocon.

        2. johnnyme

          The Medical School at the University of California Davis has been doing this for years with remarkable results (h/t to Lambert and the 3/14/2023 Water Cooler).

          Because Davis had to use a race-neutral approach to admissions, Henderson focused on economics. “I’d call it class-based affirmative action,” he said. “Class struggles have a huge overlap with race — that’s how we skirted the issue.” Applicants were given high marks if they had a “socioeconomic disadvantage score,” shifting admissions criteria away, he said, from MCAT scores and GPAs to characteristics like grit, resilience, and perseverance.

    2. hunkerdown

      Anything that prevents the PMC from reproducing their relations and culture is a good thing.

    3. cgregory

      We really need to have affirmative action based on household income rather than race. As more than half of Black households are in the <50% part of the income spectrum, it would in effect achieve what race-based affirmative action sought. However, rather than merely favoring Blacks, it would also favor about ten times that many white households– a strong point for getting whites to advocate for it.

    4. LY

      We can see what happened at California public institutions and Prop 209 in the last 20+ years.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine ‘peace summit’ talks make progress but long way to go, officials say”

    Zelensky has refused to listen to any other nation and is sticking with his 10 point plan where Russia leaves the entire Ukraine, pays for all the damage and Putin surrenders himself to The Hague. He blew off just recently the Vatican and a delegation of African nations trying to reason with him. At most, this ‘peace summit’ would be a venue where the west will try to split the BRICS nations, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia and others away from Russia and get them to sanction them. But as Russia pointed out, you can’t have serious negotiations between two parties where one isn’t even invited. However some western nations are just as deluded as Zelensky. Check out this article and think of the assumptions underlying in their reasoning-

    1. some guy

      Did he think up these ten points himself? Or were they dictated to him by a joint-group of Ukranazi representatives? If so, did they tell him that they would kill him and his family if he deviated from them?

      If he tries to flee Ukraine, it may be to escape the Ukranazis. And they are probably watching him very closely and tracking all his movements.

  16. Wukchumni

    Bullshit bull shit news:

    A 66-year-old Tulare County man was sentenced to six years in prison for running a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme, telling investors he could turn cow manure into green energy using anaerobic digesters.

    For roughly five years, Ray Brewer stole $8.7 million from investors in Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, as well as other counties in California and Idaho, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert announced.

    When Brewer’s investors realized they’d been lied to and sought legal action, he moved to Montana and took on a new identity.

  17. Insouciant Iowan

    Katz suggests that the Wuhan lab as the source of COVID is somehow discredited because Trump jumped on it as a way to diss the Chinese is a stretch. Trump’s doing is simply another of his opportunistic leaps.
    And simply because imprecisely identified gov’t sources suggest a gain-of-function lab leak does not prima facia discredit the need to exhaust this hypotesis. Seymour Hersch has served readers well by taping into unidentified sources.

    1. hunkerdown

      Katz is accusing the Hersh-adjacent of taking notes from neocon think tanks (CNAS or whatever they call themselves this week). To me, the possibility of think-tankie infiltration into the dissident press is the really interesting story, especially if true, but also if not.

  18. ambrit

    So, Biden has a phone tied to his son over which supposed dirty deals were done. The only sources I can find quickly are Fox News and Z— H—-. So, take with a metric ton of salt.
    However, if this pans out, Team Biden is in real trouble.
    Cue ominous music. “The walls are closing in!!!”
    I’ll try links separately since some sites trigger automatic deletion.

    1. ambrit

      Well, I’m batting 0 for 2 so far. It’s hard to discern truth from falsehood nowadays.

    2. griffen

      Malarkey. Baloney. Your baloney has a first name, and it’s last name is Trump. \ sarc

      Couldn’t resist the slow moving, easily-provoked Joey from Scranton. Come on, pal. Joe Biden is Ron Burgundy incarnate, I swear.

  19. semper loquitur

    A flawed but valuable article about the fallacious thinking at the heart of relativistic postmodernist epistemology. Yes, Virginia, there is a consensus reality. Flawed because it attributes what I think are Hegel’s errors to Kant as well as deploying the usual Materialist framing. I like that he makes the distinction between experiencing and communicating about the world:

    (Whether that is an implicit or explicit epistemology is irrelevant here. Off you go.)

    What’s the ‘epistemic fallacy’, and how does it explain postmodern relativism?

    It is true that (premise 1) we cannot somehow ‘peak out’ from behind our own ideas and language to immediately experience the world, or at least communicate that experience. It’s like trying to jump your own shadow.

    But is it true therefore that there can be no world external to what we humans think, imagine, and conceive (conclusion, 3)? Must we conclude that beyond what we presently know or imagine, there can be no larger reality?

    A choice bit:

    Relativism thus looks like it is a natural corollary and consequence of a liberal, tolerant mindset, although it’s more complex than that — relativism can also justify extreme illiberalism towards others who ‘cannot understand our way of seeing the world, and so …’

    Ring a bell?

    It occurs to me that relativism is a sort of pan-solipsism, at least when applied to cultural groups. Go big, I guess…

  20. juno mas

    RE: Antidote

    That photo of the Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed is the more likely cause of successful migration than the size of “wing spots” as hypothesized in the NYT article at the top of Links.

  21. Mildred Montana

    A 2021 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. study found that about 5% of households have no checking or savings account. But Black households were about five times more likely to be without a bank account than white households, and Hispanic households were about four times more likely.

  22. TimH

    On that Forbes report on “Surveillance Wizards”:

    Google “can get me within three feet of a precise location,” .. If people are carrying their phones and have Gmail accounts, he said, law enforcement “can get really lucky. And it happens a lot.” Facebook, by comparison, will get a target within 60 to 90 feet, Tuma said, while Snapchat has started providing more accurate location information within 15 feet…. Tuma described Apple’s iCloud warrants as “phenomenal.” “If you did something bad, I bet you I could find it on that backup,” he said… It was also possible, Tuma said, to look at WhatsApp messages, despite the platform’s assurances of tight security. Users who back up messages effectively remove the protection provided by the app’s end-to-end encryption.

    Android phone or iPhone + iCloud = no privacy

  23. JL

    R.e. AI, I would go a little further than Lambert and assert “AI = Fully Automated Luxury Bull$hit”.

    1. flora

      I think Taibbi’s latest (paywalled) fits in well here.

      If You’re Not With Us, You’re MAGA
      All but a few are deplorable now.

      from the full article:

      This approach got Trump elected in 2016. In the 2020 cycle it first infuriated/alienated a lot of Bernie Sanders voters, then nearly re-elected Trump. Now in the 2024 cycle, reporters are again hunting the pathological, incorrigible voters, this time within Democratic Party ranks, and again they’re trying to cast them out like evil spirits, instead of making any real effort to understand where they’re coming from. They seem determined to push the line that distrusts institutional authority = MAGA to the point where national media will soon see the world as one DC dinner party hosted by Anne Applebaum, surrounded by a sea of fevered Trump supporters. If they’re not careful, they will create that reality.

      John is a nice guy, and he’s right that a fast-growing number of Americans loathe “experts and institutions.” However, he does what all campaign reporters seem to have done on purpose since 2015, missing the part where voters have a million good reasons to feel that loathing.

    2. eg

      I was delighted to read the book when it first came out. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the essay as well.

  24. Willow

    All attention has been on the attempted Russia coup when the country at real risk of a military coup is France. France could be at an infliction point requiring military intervention and forging of a framework for a new 6th Republic.

  25. some guy

    About the ” Myanmar Coup Regime is losing its Civil War” article . . .

    Yes, it reads like they are losing and could lose. But given the investment the ChinaGov and the RussiaGov have made and are making in the TatmadawGov Regime, ChinaRussia won’t just stand by and let their soulmates be defeated. They will send in all the aid they possibly can, and special forces of their own too . . . . at the very least some Wagners.

    Interesting that “many” lower level Tatmadaw mere-soldiers are defecting. All defections and desertions should be welcomed and treated nicely. The Tatmadaw cannot be said to have “lost” the war in a conclusive and final way until the very last Tatmadaw soldier and officer has either defected, deserted or been killed. They will fight to the end just like the TonTon Macoute remnants did in Haiti after the Aristide election, and for the same reason.

    The only complication in all that would be if reality indeed comes to match the following paragraph . . .
    ” The international environment is potentially turning against the junta as well, further endangering its rule. After the coup, most leading developed democracies, including the U.S., imposed sanctions on the junta. But many are now also providing assistance to the government-in-exile, the National Unity Government, and in the near future they might even provide nonlethal assistance to the PDF forces.”

    If any official or unofficial elements of the West give any counter-Tatmadaw forces any aid of any sort whatsoever, the International Left will immediately accuse the whole rebellion of being a made-in-Langley artificial NED- Color Revolution project. The International Left will immediately condemn the Rebellion for happening and existing and call upon all governments and forces everywhere support the Patriotic anti-Imperialist Tatmadaw in their heroic fight against Uncle Sam and his stooges in the field.

    The rebels and NUGies and government-in-exile folks are apparently too naive to see that. They would be well advised to reject any trace of Western assistance for just those exact kiss-of-death reasons. Their only hope of victory is to trust that Darwin is on their side as they keep fighting fighting fighting and learning learning learning.

    1. tevhatch

      Unless there is a peaceful transfer of power, what will be unleashed will make the Cambodian experience (another CIA laboratory) look calm and bloodless, Myanmar isn’t Vietnam, which was more or less a unified nation-state for centuries. The British picked their victims with a science, Burma/Myanmar was and is a ethnic race striven area perfect for divide and conquer. Lets hope the article is wrong, or the USA replicate Ukraine on a far bloodier scale.

  26. tevhatch

    Just read on Nuclear News Website:
    Myanmar and Russia push ahead with nuclear energy cooperation
    The first meeting of the joint coordinating committee, established as part of the Intergovernmental Agreement between Russia and Myanmar, discussed the construction of a nuclear power plant and the development of nuclear infrastructure in the country.

    I’d take this sort of news more seriously than neo-con publications wishful thinking. I’d expect China, Russia, and most members of ASEAN are not going to want a century long civil war in Myanmar to interfere with their business. The problem of India and it’s proxy, Bangladesh, and maybe the rise of US proxies in Thailand, are the only negatives I see for the long run.

  27. JB

    Interesting/weird analysis of Russia and the context behind Prigozhin’s attempted coup:

    I trust the outlet quite a lot, but I wouldn’t trust the author even the tiniest bit, being an ex-Fianna-Fail TD (no fan of them), and then getting an extremely dodgy looking appointment to a Russian innovation hub – but the analysis itself is definitely succinct/interesting.

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