Links 7/13/2023

Against all odds, the rare Devils Hole pupfish keeps on swimming NPR

In search of fireflies, the star of summer (or do you call them lightning bugs?) Chicago Sun-Times

Cape Cod may have the highest density of great white sharks in the world National Geographic


Scientists choose site to mark the start of the Anthropocene Climate and Capitalism

Bird nests made from anti-bird spikes (PDF) DEINSEA. ” In the Anthropocene, now that living biomass is outweighed by anthropogenic mass, alternative nesting materials are increasingly being adopted by urban birds. With birds even using bird deterring materials like anti-bird spikes as nesting material, anything may become part of a bird’s nest.”

Scientists discover 36-million-year geological cycle that drives biodiversity (press release) University of Sydney

* * *

Floods, Heat, Smoke: The Weather Will Never Be Normal Again David Wallace-Wells, NYT

I’m Living Through BC’s Worst Ever Fire Season The Tyee

Heat Safety Experts Advise Americans To Seek Privilege The Onion

* * *

To Help Cool a Hot Planet, the Whitest of White Coats NYT. Supposedly a short-term mitigation, therefore to become permanently dysfunctional.

Carbon capture = carbon dumping. And where, do you think?

* * *

Why American communities are suing Big Oil for climate damages Agence France Presse

The Waters Could Claim Nuclear Weapons Foreign Policy


It’s Not Learning Loss. It’s Brain Damage, and Schools Are Letting It Happen. Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer

Tuberculosis on the rise for first time in decades after COVID-19 interrupted public health interventions and increased inequality The Conversation

House Republicans Accidentally Released a Trove of Damning Covid Documents The Intercept. On “Proximal Origins.”

COVID-19 cases continue to rise, straining health care system in Okinawa Japan Times

Okinawa’s COVID surge accompanied by other viral infections in children NHK

Feline coronavirus kills 300,000 cats in Cyprus – and many more could die if the strain reaches Britain Daily Mail


Wagner mercenaries rescued Chinese gold miners in Central African Republic in July, paramilitary group says South China Morning Post

China beats rivals to successfully launch first methane-liquid rocket Reuters

Intervention to shore up the yen will not work FT. Commentary:


Myanmar’s ‘alternative’ exams a major test amid bombs, blackouts Al Jazeera. The deck: “As it scales up its administration, Myanmar’s parallel government is rolling out university entrance exams for thousands of students.” Interesting strategy!

As Myanmar crisis deepens, Five-Point Consensus should remain ASEAN’s focus: Indonesia foreign minister Channel News Asia. I don’t see how the junta can remain in place; they are not agreement-capable.


US-India fighter jet engine deal takes strategic ties to new heights South China Morning Post

Dear Old Blighty

Thames Water has worst year for sewage pollution in a decade Independent. The Economist: “A spell of temporary nationalisation may be needed.” Why “temporary”?

New Not-So-Cold War

NATO allies offer Ukraine security assurances as Biden hits out at ‘craven’ Putin Reuters. Red meat for the base, but does Biden really believe he can ride this pony through 2024?

Here’s What the Experts Say About Managing Putin Nicholas Kristof, NYT

* * *

How Ukraine lost its battle for a NATO membership commitment Politico

Biden, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy discuss ‘bilateral security commitments’ Anadolu Agency

* * *

‘We’re not Amazon’: tensions with Ukraine surface at Nato summit FT

Biden open to sending Ukraine limited-supply missiles capable of striking Russia within a 190-mile range NY Post. And the warheads?

* * *

The Ukraine Lobby’s Latest Targets The American Conservative

Ukraine’s Mossad-style assassination programme claims another ‘scalp’ despite US concerns iNews

Spook Country

Ex-CIA Agents Now Occupy Highest-Ranking Positions in Big Tech. Plus: Racist Diversity Officers Glenn Greenwald

We shouldn’t turn disinformation into a constitutional right Brookings Institution. Commentary:

Digital Watch

AI Will Save the World Marc Andreessen, The Free Press. “It is owned by people and controlled by people, like any other technology.” A gross category error. AI owners are capitalists (also “people,” but not, say, selected by sortition), who “control” AI for paperclips profit. Interesting read, but remember that fundamental mistake, and watch the sleight of hand where other dichotomies (e.g., “Baptists” and “Bootleggers”*) are introduced. NOTE * Really? Couldn’t Andreessen’s ghost-writer — or AI — come up with something better than that?

AI is an existential threat – just not the way you think The Conversation

* * *

AI Junk Is Starting to Pollute the Internet WSJ

The New “Hybrid Work” is “AI + Humans” JSTOR. Until it isn’t.

* * *

Tax prep companies let Google and Facebook sell ads off your data Vox

Police State Watch

Under union pressure, Vallejo police chief ends body camera analysis Open Vallejo

Sports Desk

Former NU football player details hazing allegations after coach suspension The Daily Northwestern. NSFW. Nasty, I hope exceptionally so. Student newspaper; Bowdlerized mainstream coverage here.

Supply Chain

Shipbuilding Orders Down 15% So Far This Year Hellenic Shipping News. A sporty game.

Guillotine Watch

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg Should Cagefight Then Go Away Teen Vogue

Class Warfare

$$Kudzu$$ The Baffler. Review of Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, These Are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs—and Wrecks—America.

Who Employs Your Doctor? Increasingly, a Private Equity Firm NYT

* * *

When did we give central bankers the right to reorganise the economy in favour of the wealthy? Tax Research UK

Sex, Drugs and Spreadsheets: Dr. Glazer Treats Wall Street’s Addiction Surge WSJ. This are the people performing the valuable social function of capital allocation….

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon chides managers who work from home: ‘I don’t know how you can be a leader and not be completely accessible to your people’ Fortune. Maybe — work with me on this, Jamie — the whole “leader/people” paradigm is wrong?

Building blocks of Mars life? Perseverance rover digs up diverse set of organic molecules on the Red Planet

Alien planet with metallic clouds resembles ‘a giant mirror in space’ Reuters

Starlink satellites flooding sky with radiation, which could be hurting radio astronomy: study CTV News

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. Sardonia

    Poor Zelensky, wandering around Vilnius with no one saying hello. Only Lesley Gore could understand his pain, so here he is, re-wording Lesley’s 1963 #1 hit, “It’s My Party (and I’ll cry if I want to)”

    It’s my summit
    And I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    You would cry too
    If it happened to you.

    Nobody knows where my NATO has gone
    Last month they were all cheering me
    Where are those arms that they said
    They’d keep supplying for free

    It’s my summit
    And I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    You would cry too
    If it happened to you

    Followed directions so I’d get in their Club
    A nuke umbrella for me
    Now all I get is a snub
    As they laugh and drink their Chablis

    It’s my summit
    And I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    You would cry too
    If it happened to you

    The Russians are pushing against my front line
    The writing seems on the wall
    We’ll be the new Liechtenstein
    Before the end of the Fall

    It’s my summit
    And I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    You would cry too
    If it happened to you

    Oh oh woe oh woe oh
    It’s my summit
    And I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    You would cry too
    If it happened to you

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Sardonia: I’m glad that you commented so lyrically. Lesley Gore has a wider range than Volodymyr “Weepy for Weapons” Zelenskyy, given that La Gore also recorded the timeless “You Don’t Own Me.”

      And yet:
      Followed directions so I’d get in their Club
      A nuke umbrella for me
      Now all I get is a snub


      In a war that is all about memes, bad-girl pouting (I’m looking at you Ursula, Roberta, and Victoria), and the high-school cliques that are the Western elites (poor Giorgia Meloni, so desperate to be liked by the Anglo-sassoni), one thing that hit me over the last few days is this:

      Why Vilnius?

      Vilnius, only 30 or so kilometers from the border with Belarus. Could it have been an edgy, transgressive signal? “We’re here on the border to taunt you and call you names! Purple Hearts all around!”

      Not much more than a signal and more of a damp squib. I hope that the meal that Biden skipped at least had some tempting cepelinai.

      Volodymyr in his shabby chic, and the rest in their dumpy yet expensive blue suits. The remarkable thing about this mean-girls clique is that they take themselves mighty seriously. Too bad about real life, though.

      1. Sardonia

        “You Don’t Own Me” is a really great song.

        I suppose if things go south for Zelensky and he ends up as a captive of the Azovs, I could do a parody of that tune – “Please Don’t Bone Me”.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        They could have held this meeting in Kansas City and it still would have been at risk of a Russian strike.

        I have every confidence that a Russian cruise missile launched from just outside our Atlantic coastal waters could fly in a straight path to Kansas City without taking so much as a scratch, even after the Pentagon pulled the secret switch that turns passenger planes into kamikaze drones.

        We’re not in the same league as Russia, militarily. Our hyper-expensive toys don’t work, their weapons do.

        1. ilsm

          each generation of pentagon/for profit arsenal is better than the last for profit system too unreliable to actually test…. Wunderwaffen

          1. The Rev Kev

            I was just reading today that after the F-35 flies a mission, then it properly needs three days of maintenance before it is ready to fly again. Who would build such a fighter plane? An industry where most of the money to be made comes from spare parts and service contracts, that’s who.

            1. BeliTsari

              Forcing nations we’ve coup’d into buying our battlefield boondoggles is killing-off another generation of young Ukrainians (as we’d done with Germany’s pilots 50yrs back). Eventually we’ll realize: US weapons target, not only half our budget (we used to call it, redneck Welfare), but allies’ subsequent generations? If, on the other hand, Nancy’s hubby or Ro’s wife would invest in the least dependable, most expensive supercars & we simply KEPT foreign minyons sniffing coke & whoring at home, while we bankrupted them with BS repair & diagnostics bills?


              1. Procopius

                Well, the good news is that we won’t have to go to war with China in 2025. We don’t have enough munitions in storage and we don’t produce enough to replenish as long as we continue to supply Ukraine. Germany is sending the last of its Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine, but we’re unable to produce enough missiles for them once their current supplies are used up. Also, of course, our large number of aircraft are very old or unable to be used because of reasons. Our navy is probably still stronger than China’s, but are targets rather than assets, and is shrinking rapidly.

    2. Wukchumni

      Well done~

      … Hey, Vilnius, oh, Vilnius

      … Vilnius, if you will

      Please send a little invite for me to RSVP the deal
      A treaty organization who heeds my wishes and supplies my arms
      A NATO with all the charms of you
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

      … Vilnius, make the deal fair
      A lovely arrangement to get the Russians out of my hair
      And take the brightest weapons up in the skies
      And place them in Putin’s eyes for me
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

      … Vilnius, capital of Lithuania that you are
      Surely the things I ask
      Can’t be too great a task

      … Vilnius, if you do
      I promise that I always will be true
      I’ll give them all I have to give
      As long as we both shall live
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

      … Vilnius, capital of Lithuania that you are
      Surely the things I ask
      Can’t be too great a task

      … Vilnius, if you do
      I promise that I always will be true
      I’ll give them all I have to give
      As long as we both shall live
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

      … Hey, Vilnius, oh, Vilnius
      Make my wish come true
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
      (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

      Venus, by Frankie Avalon

    3. Lexx

      When we were living in Kansas and mom went to work at a nearby plant on the night shift, me and my brother were cared for during the summer days while she slept by a teenage babysitter, who had a portable phonograph and one of those summers that Lesley Gore album came out, and that was her favorite song… and she played it over and over and over again.

      Later it would be ‘In the Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry… thbbft! (or however Berke Breathed spelled ‘the raspberries’ sound as produced by the Bill the Cat)

    4. Stephen

      Excellent lyrics that fit the situation super well!

      As an English 80s teenager I also thought of Erasure: “A Little Respect” as summing up the situation.

      Zelensky would be the mistreated lover signing to NATO / the collective west.

  2. jackiebass63

    I live in rural NYS. During warm weather I keep my garage door open. Birds will come into the garage and build nests. It is amazing how fast they can build a nest. I take them down. Usually a bird will make two attempts before the give up and go to a near by tree to build the nest. If you watch them after a nest is built they never go directly to the nest. they will land in several spots before actually going to sit on their nest r feed their young.

    1. Mildred Montana

      >”If you watch them after a nest is built they never go directly to the nest. they will land in several spots before actually going to sit on their nest r feed their young.”

      Yes, I’ve observed that behavior myself. Very tricky. I’ve also noticed that nests from the prior year will be re-used. Don’t birds know about entropy, the inevitable decline of everything? Apparently not. One year a couple of robins set up a nursery in a second-hand nest in our carport. The nest and the three eggs therein soon succumbed to failing infrastructure and crashed to the pavement below.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Don’t birds know about entropy, the inevitable decline of everything?

        Depends on the nest and how well it is built and maintained as some pairs of birds will use the same nest for years. Sometimes another species will use the same nest again, successfully.

        I am sure that making a nest can be time consuming, requiring a lot of work, if you can find a nest that is good enough, will not?

    2. XXYY

      This is called a surveillance detection run (SDR) by operatives.

      Helicopter Pilots that were inserting troops in Vietnam also did something similar, touching down at 4 or 5 points so that no observer would know where the troops were actually dropped.

    1. Paleobotanist

      Nobody does dorkishness quite like a cat. ;^)
      That cat is all feline.

      Here’s hoping those feline viruses in Poland and Cypress don’t come over…

      1. mrsyk

        I second all of that. And that folding a fitted sheet video has gotta be a metaphor for something…..

        1. ambrit

          I see it as an example of “Elite Triangulation.”
          Perhaps it is a demonstration of the New New Private Equity ‘Guidance Directive,’ “Move fast and reorganize something.” [At the end, it is still the same ‘item’ after being pawipulated.]

  3. ChrisRUEcon

    Morning Lambert, have you seen this yet?

    Wachter got COVID (again?) (via #Twitter)

    The punchline (near the end of the thread):

    “I don’t think it’ll change my behavior – as long as the case rates remain low (they are now, tho wastewater is showing a little uptick), I’ll continue being relatively careful, but no more than I’ve been.”


    1. bassmule

      Says it himself: “What happens when a poli sci major becomes an academic physician.”

    1. cnchal

      Wachter said he’d let down his guard a bit, allowing himself to eat and drink indoors, and even though he was masked on clinical duty at UCSF, he began to notice symptoms of sickness on Sunday. The next morning, he said he woke up drenched in sweat, with a bad sore throat and cough, though his at-home test showed a negative result.

      But Wachter said his biggest mistake was following his instinct when he felt sweaty: taking a shower. Stepping into a hot shower when dehydrated can cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to a dangerous blood pressure drop, he said.

      “And that’s what happened,” he wrote. “I woke up in a bloody pool on my bathroom floor. There was a dent in the lid of a trash can, likely where my head had hit. I remembered nothing. As I managed to get up, it was clear that my face was going to need stitches, and more than a couple.”

      Really dumb way to say it. I eat and drink indoors all the time, sometimes out doors, but what this article fails to mention is that restaurants are covid spreaders, as it is impossibel to contract covid eating and drinking indoors by oneself.

      1. Jason Boxman

        But Wachter said his biggest mistake was following his instinct when he felt sweaty: taking a shower. Stepping into a hot shower when dehydrated can cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to a dangerous blood pressure drop, he said.

        Or it’s because COVID is also a vascular disease, and thus affects the cardiopulmonary system.

        “Luckily, at my age, a few scars don’t bother me much, and I believe my wife likes me for reasons other than my previously seamless brow,” Wachter wrote.

        If so, she’s very forgiving haven gotten COVID from his advice.

        “So my first case of COVID was pretty dramatic – if I hadn’t passed out, it would have been three to four days of a pretty nasty upper respiratory illness,” Wachter wrote. “But I did, and so my (unusual) case goes on my list of reasons that COVID continues to be worth avoiding if you can.”

        But he’s still well enough to lie about what kind of disease COVID actually is, so not chastened at all.

    2. antidlc

      I didn’t realize his wife had caught COVID three times. Article is from June of last year.
      How wife’s long COVID bout crystallized Bay Area doc’s biggest pandemic fear
      June 15, 2022

      Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine, said Wednesday that, five weeks after her third coronavirus infection, his wife Katie Hafner is “nowhere near 100%” while experiencing “pretty terrible fatigue,” headaches and “a brain that isn’t quite working as well as well as normal.”

      1. lambert strether

        Wachter chivvied his wife into going to the conference where she csught Covid the first time. He’s a real piece of work.

  4. notabanker

    Funny, Jamie has no problem with a “leader” in New York, San Fran or Columbus “leading” a team of people, in say, India. Or London. Or Madrid. Or Frankfurt. But if you work from home, you can’t possibly be “accessable” to teammates “in the office” 10 miles away.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You wonder if Jamie back in the 90s was complaining about the new-fangled “email” thingy and was saying that you can only be “accessible” over telephone lines.

      1. Charger01

        Jamie back in the 90s may have been the inspiration of the “human piranha” from Michael Lewis’ “Liars Poker” fame. I’m certain he was quite blunt and fierce in his prime.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry to say this, but Jaimie was never Prime. He was always Terce. [Banker’s Hours you see….]

    2. Mikel

      Not long ago, the term “corporate citizen” popped in some post on NC.

      The execs’ “Arthur Jensen” attitude is showing.

    3. hunkerdown

      You’re “accessible” to other people or concerns, and that’s not how the religion of work is supposed to work. It is indeed a church; all that industrial productivity is just one of many possible and necessary forms the abnegation of the worker is supposed to take.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Feline coronavirus kills 300,000 cats in Cyprus – and many more could die if the strain reaches Britain”

    This is a strange one. First there was a report of an avian flu killing cats in Poland, and now we have a coronavirus killing cats in Cyprus. The only similarity is that both are viruses, both go after cats and that they are both appearing on the scene in the same year.

      1. ambrit

        There are so many pathogens that are already fully transmissible from felines to Terran humans, and vice versa.
        I really had not thought my cynical take on “current events” all the way through. Is there an alpha test of pathogens going on in aminals before being applied to Terran humans? Call it ‘The Jackpawt.’

      2. ArvidMartensen

        My thoughts entirely. Suddenly deadly pathogens are sprouting like daisies all over the world ……….

        Methinks a particularly small class of people think the world is overpopulated ……

  6. Benny Profane

    “Red meat for the base, but does Biden really believe he can ride this pony through 2024?”

    That is the question. Seems like a real problem to me, but, with Tucker off prime time, I see no other voices out there telling mass media watching America how they are being fed lies about Ukraine. Trump is the lone big voice. Reading the comment sections at the NYT tells me that those readers are solidly in the however long it takes, and, besides, Russia is losing badly camp, but, what does the rest of America think? And what are they going to think as the Ukranian army slowly dissolves before the winter?

    1. timbers

      My experience: If someone bashes Putin or Russia in the standard Dem PMC fashion or not even like that just a negative comment about Russia in Ukraine, a quick response like “What do suppose would happen if Mexico bombed Dallas, Phoenix and Houston almost every day since 2014?”

      An exaggeration but it’s point is spot on. They are often so dazed they don’t know how to respond.

      And frankly, that comparison makes Putin look like a meek terrified mouse given the weakness of his response.

      1. doug

        My experience after asking similar: I was informed that Ukr was not shelling anyone in the breakaway terrritories. I gave up.

        1. John

          Did I not see something about “managing Putin?” Kristoff, I think. How is that working out, Sparky?

          Ukraine will be in NATO after the war says Austin. That will happen when F-35s are reliable two days in a row.

          Ukraine is de facto in NATO or being used by NATO. Why join and be further disappointed.”

          1. michael99

            Agreed, Ukraine is de facto NATO. NATO is using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia to the fullest extent possible, so what is the upside to bringing Ukraine into NATO now? Why take on that long-term responsibility and commitment?

            For Kristof it is apparently inconceivable that Russia is stronger militarily. As long as the West digs deep enough Russia and Putin will fall. He doesn’t mention NATO forces getting directly involved though so apparently there is a limit to how deep he wants to dig, which is good – but come on!

            Managing Putin apparently means never backing down or showing weakness because that is what provokes him, according to “Egils Levits, who concluded his term as Latvia’s president this month.” Kristof also quotes Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, speaking in a similar vein. If NATO doesn’t enable Ukraine to defeat Russia, Putin will next set his sights on the Baltic states. Three little dominoes all in a row.

            We know that weakness it what provokes Putin because that is what happened in Ukraine. The West invested massively to support a coup, and in the following years to train, buildup, equip and advise the Ukrainian military, and integrate it with NATO, and seeing this Putin sensed weakness and attacked. /sarc

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      The Times comment section is heavily censored. I am unable to post anything, even on non-controversial topics.

      #McResistance media sure is scared of something.

      1. Mikel

        Back in the 90s, I had an email letter to the editor published in the NY Times.
        It was a rant about descibing and categorizing people in marketing terms.

        A human being actually called me in response and asked my permission first!

        I haven’t bothered with trying to post there in recent decades.

      2. hunkerdown

        They’re about as “scared” of a flying pest as of us. They’re behaving diligently and rationally in true PMC form in swatting down threats to their social capital. It’s just management, nothing personal.

      3. Bart Hansen

        Yes, Michael, and David Sanger’s prop is rarely open to comments.

        I have learned to check the top of each piece on the war for the comment icon. If none, I move on.

      4. John Wright

        I remember a Tom Friedman column (2015 or so) to which a “verified” commenter posted a comment.

        At the time, “Verified” commenters were not moderated and their comments flowed through without moderation.

        As I remember the comment said to the effect that there were many journalists who could do what Friedman did, and for a lot less money.

        Hardly inflammatory or, in my view, incorrect.

        The comment was “recommended” by a number of people.

        But then the comment disappeared.

        There was enough information in the original comment for me to search for the original author as the username was used on other sites.

        This got me to an email address.

        I emailed the person who I suspected wrote the comment, and they confirmed they had posted the comment.

        They were a small town journalist in the NY metro area.

        They also didn’t believe that the NY Times had removed their comment and instead blamed it on a NY Times website malfunction.

        So years ago I had some indication that the readers’ comments were censored, even over trivial matters when they might offend a marquee Times columnist.

        But does Friedman even read readers’ comments?

        1. ambrit

          “But does Friedman even read readers’ comments?”
          He has people to do it for him. They ‘filtre’ the comments to fit his stated narrative. Keeping a ‘bubble’ inflated is work.

          1. chuck roast

            So, he has ‘people’. Donnie famously has ‘people’. I gotta clean the living room soon. I need a ‘people.’

    3. The Rev Kev

      Lambert’s Countdown Clock now stands at about 480 days until the 2024 Presidential election. Does anybody think that the Russians will cooperate with the Biden White House and keep this war going at a low level till then so as not to embarrass Biden by having the Republicans label him as ‘The man who lost both Afghanistan and the Ukraine?’

      1. Samuel Conner

        Me thinks that after the “counteroffensive” fully peters out, there will be heavy political pressure in Russia to physically occupy the currently U-occupied parts of the 4 oblasts that joined RF, and the military means for that will be available.

        As to keeping the conflict going into indefinite future, Alex Mercouris has described Biden’s remarks about Ukraine accession to NATO after the conflict ends as an unwise incitement of Russia to keep the conflict going interminably.

        Perhaps this is the answer to your question “Does anybody think that the Russians will cooperate with the Biden White House and keep this war going at a low level till then”. Perhaps the President thinks that he can incentivize Russia to do that.

        1. The Rev Kev

          But how does Biden get to stop Russia winning? I have heard that in several months more it all comes to an inglorious end. Everything will be running out such as tanks, aircraft, artillery shells, rockets, armoured vehicles and especially military-aged men. And you can’t hold the line against the Russian military if they are pushing when you have nothing to push back with – and pushing they are. I do wonder what happens when the Ukraine finally collapses and you have a huge wave of refugees heading west led by Zelensky and his neo-Nazis. You think that the EU/NATO nations will greet them with open arms?

          1. Benny Profane

            You’ve already had a massive immigration wave to Europe and beyond, in the millions. Maybe many will stay. Putin needs a compliant population hungry for rebuilding jobs. Certainly better life than an immigrant’s poverty in the EU.
            Zelensky and his crew will do just fine. It’s well known he amassed great wealth before the war, and has homes in some very nice places, and I’m pretty sure he and the wife will be treated as celebrities by the cheek kissing set everywhere they go. I’ll bet the rest of his people have skimmed life changing amounts of money off of our 100 billion, and just have to figure out how to launder it well into a nice post war life. The lower level Azov thugs? They’ll be a problem. A terrorist thorn in Putin’s side for years, no doubt, funded by you know who.

            1. jrkrideau

              Using some very dicey statistical sources and WAGs, I estimate that Kiev-controlled Ukraine has a population between 18 & 20 million, at best.

      2. Carolinian

        Does anybody think Biden will last until Nov 2024? They say while in England he had to lean on 74 year old King Charles in order to walk. Mentally he’s out to lunch much of the time. Surely even for our vacation loving, ice cream eating president being in that job must be a stressful situation. After all you never know when your son is going to leave cocaine lying around.

        Putin doesn’t need to sacrifice Russian soldiers in order to get rid of Biden. It will just happen more than likely.

            1. JBird4049

              And then like Senator Feinstein, they can put him in a wheelchair and keep the charade going.

          1. ambrit

            Yes. There is history behind that idea. I refer to the Strange Case of the Demented President, aka Ronald Reagan.
            Serious Snark alert….
            It is little known that Hinckley hit his mark in 1981. Those twelve days in hospital were cover for the rush job that the Disney Animatronic Department did to replace the ‘real’ Reagan with a remote controlled robot.
            So, Puppets do indeed never die. Add to this that nancy and her astrologer played the part of the Yellow Jester with true Hollywood professionalism for the rest of the “President’s” two terms.
            Thus endeth the Snark.
            Be ye safe adjacent and fall not into the trap of accepting “access” to safety for the real thing.

      3. Mildred Montana

        The Countdown Clock might be better re-named “The Biden Barometer”. Pressure up or down? Falling or rising? Bad Biden weather coming or good?

        480 days in politics is a long time. It’s an even longer time when one is eighty, failing, and entering the perilous ninth decade of life.

        Wonder if Vegas is taking bets from the ghoulish.

    4. Cassandra

      > I see no other voices out there telling mass media watching America how they are being fed lies about Ukraine

      Indeed. That is how the owners of mass media want it. That is why Carlson is no longer at Fox even though he brought them huge numbers of eyeballs to sell. That is why the crusade against “disinformation” is in high gear. And that is why Brother Cornell is going to struggle for media coverage.

    5. JohnA

      As Stalin allegedly said “”It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes”. Or in this day and age, who can manipulate the votes in electronic voting systems.

    6. SocalJimObjects

      Maybe it’s just me, but I think the rest of America has already forgotten about Afghanistan, so it won’t surprise me if they will forget about Ukraine in record time. What will decisively decide Biden’s fate is if the economy were to blow up big time before the election, the rest won’t matter. It’s me, me, me, all the way down. Heck, Biden has killed more than 600K Americans with his Covid “policies”, way more than the number of Russian troops killed in the current war, but who’s counting?

      Colonel Macgregor, the guy who’s been predicting Russia’s victory all this time, made a couple of predictions in one video:
      1. There won’t even be an election next year.
      2. He doesn’t know how, but he thinks there will be a YUGE economic crisis and banks won’t even be open for 2 to 3 weeks.

      I don’t think the Colonel is an economic expert, but those are big predictions.

      1. John Zelnicker

        SocialJim – McGregor has a great deal of expertise in military matters but he knows bupkis about economics.

        He’s basing his predictions on the widely held idea that the national debt and “money printing” are causing all of our economic problems, especially inflation.

        He’s also way out over his skis predicting there will be no election. We aren’t quite there yet, although I won’t completely reject such a possibility.

        I haven’t seen convincing evidence that it will be anything other than Biden vs. Trump and I don’t think the Deep State cares. They have full control of Biden and they know they can get away with ignoring Trump as they did in Syria when he tried to get our troops out.

        The only way we’ll skip an election is if the Deep State feels so threatened by a candidate who can win and rein them in that they create some kind of situation that persuades people that an election would be a horrible idea. I have no idea how they would do that, but otherwise the elections will go on.

        1. aletheia33

          yes, the “elections” will go on in 2024, in some form of some kind.
          perhaps under duress, as disaster and emergency of one kind or another arise.
          as the “new normal” continues to arrive.
          they won’t be run by “AI” until 2028.

        2. jrkrideau

          I was not too impressed with Col. McGregor’s no-election prediction until I remembered a biology professor’s crazy worry back in ~2019 about a possible coup attempt in Washington.

          Sometimes the amateurs get it right

    7. Mark Gisleson

      Easily debunked prediction: Tucker’s moderation will blow the hinges off the gates of the media’s walled garden debates. I don’t even know who’ll be there but I sense that Tucker will disrupt the national dialogue with some very pointed questions directed at the heart of the mass media’s omissions and lies.

      One or two candidates will ace this part of the interview and mass media will have to bury them alive with sludge (like they’re doing with RFK Jr). This will not go unnoticed and the general public’s revulsion with mainstream news will increase. By Fall 2024, US news media may not have any followers left to gaslight.

      Marker laid down. Feel free to call me out if Tucker produces a Geraldo Rivera style nothingburger but I’m sensing that this debate will push one small domino that will eventually set two Guinness records: one for dominoes toppled, and another for the giant House of Cards knocked over in the process.

      1. JBird4049

        I still do not like Carlson as he is very manipulative, but much of what he has to say is very nice to hear being as it is so rarely heard.

  7. John

    Thames Water… temporary nationalization…why temporary? So directors, investors won’t have to repay the funds they stripped from the business to fix it. The public can and once the scrutiny dies down, investors can retake control and continue strip-mining it for their personal benefit. We know who the Economist represents.

      1. t

        Indeed it does. And yet it sounds so reasonable and conscientious. We see you, we hear you, and we are acting immediately to put in a fix that will solve this problem (which might work for a bit but is is no way shape or form actually addressing what’s wrong.)

  8. griffen

    We shouldn’t turn disinformation into a constitutional right. Free speech means what again, exactly, in USA circa 2023? Help me. I did manage to retain my morning breakfast. \ SARC

    I’m free to believe in heaven and hell and the big J.C., and you’re free to think I’m a kooky nut. I have not one problem with that. And anyone else is aso free to continue believing Russia! Russia! and that Putin really did have his hooks into Trump, and likewise I think you’re drunk on grape kool aid. We can’t just disagree on valid or invalid points anymore, it seems, just that the conceptual notion of “good thinking” and “bad thinking” is what is needed. We seem to know where all the “Good thinking” people are collecting.

    1. LifelongLib

      My understanding is that (say) pro-Nazi speech is banned in many places in Europe, because it lead to Hitler etc. Here in the U.S. I guess free speech is ok as long as it’s just sites on the internet that nobody respectable visits. But if it leads to somebody like Trump actually being elected then it’s scary disinformation that has to be blocked.

      1. griffen

        I like to think of such discussions on broad terms, and that people may be entitled to believe all sort and manner of bull$hi* but yeah anything that’s akin to pro-Nazi and perhaps not believing the holocaust happened are dead end non starters (for me anywho). There are some bridges I would find difficult to meander across.

        I do mean to add, yes there are likely shades of gray anywhere you might turn. But in a serious bit of thought, are entrusting the leading lights from, by example, either the Times or the Post with the gravity of how to handle information and misinformation alike?

        They may try harder in the next decade, and really get that Ministry of Truth so “badly” needed. Gives me time to find an ex-pat life, just maybe!

        1. LifelongLib

          I should have put a snark tag on the reference to free speech in the U.S. I’m pretty much a 1st amendment absolutist but the price of that is having to put up with a lot of stuff I’d rather not hear. And “disinformation” seems like a synonym for “opinion I don’t agree with”.

      2. JBird4049

        In the United States, legally free speech is almost absolute and has been historically far more important and accepted than elsewhere, but as a practical matter, Bad Things can happen to you. For example murder both before and after the American Civil War by Southerners especially on slavery and Jim Crow to having your newspaper or magazine shut down legally by the federal government because communism or being antiwar from 1917 to the 1920s and during the 1950s Red Scare, and today with cancelling and lawsuits for whatever reason. Mind you, it rarely has nothing to do with truth of anything, as it was and is no defense, but as a means of control by shutting down the conversation.

        Also, while the false arrests, murders, beatings, and arson were always illegal, even in the Antebellum South, it happened anyways. Meaning, in America on paper free speech has been mostly absolute, it can still get you hurt if the powerful or connected want you to shut up.

        I also want to note that the concept of free speech as it exist in the United States comes directly from the Enlightenment’s Classical Liberalism where human rights, particularly with free speech or freedom of expression, of debate, petitioning the state, and of religion, as well as the ideas of equal protection, equal rights, under the law and from the state, and democracy are all central to American political philosophy. It has been central to politics for centuries although often in the breach, but even then such acts were excused with speeches about treason or honor, or other deceitful words.

        Nowadays, I am hearing speeches and text saying that free speech is less important and must submit to, diversity, inclusion, and equity. It is the same excuses as all the others in the 236 years; it is used by the powerful and the connected to shut up the the weak because their words, which often were more truthful, threaten the interests of these powerful elites. It seems to be a trend across the American “left” and, as usual, the more retrograde conservatives.

  9. Carla

    The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) was the principal mover behind the battle to put the Lake Erie Bill of Rights on the ballot in Toledo, Ohio ballot, where it passed in 2019. Although it was later struck down by a federal judge, LEBOR made news globally and continues to inspire community rights activists around the country and the world.

    The following July 7, 2023 piece from CELDF’s website seems germane to many of today’s Links.

    15 Questions that Are More Useful than “What New Regulation Should We Fight For?”

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Lightning bugs, natch. It is the name for these enchanting creatures that I grew up using in the Great Lakes States. So I will retain that term. They aren’t on fire, and they aren’t flies.

    Yet lightning somehow describes those pale yellow flashes above the grass, along what Chicagoans call “parkways,” and in fields. Beauty as a kind of epiphany (of gods? who knows?).

    Another misnomer, but much better, is dragonfly. They are aerodynamically superior to mere flies. Their iridescence is another kind of epiphany. And they do look like dragons.

    1. GF

      A few days ago I was outside and the sun was starting to set and there were very,very many small and smallish insects flying which were backlit by the sun. I was in the shade and could watch them. While watching dragonflies appeared and starting snatching the small critters from the air. There were some clusters of small insects and the 3 to 4 dragonflies would corral them like some whales do with schools of fish and then the dragonflies would start eating. I have never noticed this behavior before. It was plainly visible with the backlighting.

  11. John

    The weather is quite normal for existing conditions, It is not an especially comfortable normal for humans, but then we created the conditions. You must be careful in what you “purchase.”

  12. KD

    Hard to know the unknowable, and the secret, but the outcome of the NATO summit seems to be that the West (basically America) is not seeking to escalate. No plan to admit Ukraine in NATO, pledges of security guarantees, this sounds like the terms of what was discussed in Istanbul in April 2022. People are making a big deal about the cluster bombs, but its really an admission that the collective West lacks the manufacturing capacity to keep Ukraine supplied with 155 mm ammunition. It appears NATO wishes the Ukrainians well, and will do what they can to keep up with prior support of tanks and other materials, but Ukraine is on their own. I think the idea is that hopefully Ukraine can prevent or slow down any Russian advance (in part due to Russia’s unwillingness to suffer high casualties) while setting up institutionally something like the conditions sought in Istanbul. This puts the tempo on the side of the Russians, and the outcome will depend on whether the Russians can make anything happen on the battlefield, or if its just more attritional stalemate. Specifically, can the Russians start some kind of maneuver offensive to encircle some large pocket of Ukrainian forces or do they just keep bombing them.

    I get the attritional war/assymmetric casualties argument, but it takes a lot of casualties to break an army. The American Confederacy had just short of 500,000 KIA’s before they surrendered on a population of about 5.5 million free and 3.5 million slaves. Ukraine started the war with about 40 million people, yes that number is a lot lower, but even at 20 million, you would need about 2.0 million KIA assuming comparable resolve/morale. You could look at the Germans in WWI who were broken by attrition, I believe you would find similar numbers. I saw a study once that claimed that you break the opposing army when you kill off about 30% of the fighting age male population. So if Russia goes for attrition to the end, this war will go on intensively for years, and even at 7:1 kills, you are talking on the order of 300,000 dead Russians, plus god knows how much money and diversion of capital from more productive uses. A colossal waste of human and other forms of capital. Plus, they would have the issue of winning the peace, in a military occupation of a country where many hate them, and trillions of ruble necessary to rebuild.

    Presumably, Russia at some point if they can get reasonable security guarantees is going to seek to end this thing. I do not think the time is now, but a long war is not going to be good for Russia in the long term, which faces many of the same problems of demographics, democratic shortfalls and corruption Ukraine faces, although perhaps not on quite the same scale.

    1. ilsm

      cited 155mm dpicm cluster bomblets are highly unreliable.

      war crimes justified to keep a few surviving 155 tubes with shells

      new low for the neocons!

    2. magpie

      I agree. It’s appalling to see the lack of planning on the Western side of this disaster, but if Russia’s strategy doesn’t escape the outlines of what you describe, they’re in for serious trouble too.

      Maybe the (sabotaged) Istanbul agreements were the key; maybe they thought Ukraine would actually hold elections or experience a coup; but if Russia’s strategy hangs on such wild cards now that the invasion shock is past, then Russia is in profound trouble. Not to mention the Ukrainians themselves.

      1. KD

        I think problem is that a diplomatic victory at this point for Russia has to justify the sunk costs to the Russian People from the SMO. At the same time, a diplomatic victory for Russia has to be spinnable to the NATO leaders as some kind of NATO victory, or NATO won’t play ball. The longer the SMO continues, the greater the sunk costs, and the less room RF has for diplomatic resolution of the conflict. Not to mention the trust issues and verification issues around any agreement with the West.

        At the end of the day, we may see Ukraine wiped off the map, Russia hamstringed by the costs of the war and rebuilding, NATO looking like a paper tiger who can’t win a conventional war with a peer competitor, and China looking like a fire-breathing dragon staring down on the fray from above.

      1. JBird4049

        Sounds somewhat like the French during the First World War where there was effectively one after the Neville Offensive, although that was not a collapse as much as a strike to force a change of strategy. The Wikipedia article on the mutinies does spin them them as labor strikes or strikes against the then current French political ideology. However, the three solid years of mostly failed offenses with extremely heavy casualties with the only real solution offered being more of the same was the greater reason.

        Restated, we will stand, fight and die, if needed, but we will not allow our lives to be wasted in pointless attacks. Since, IIRC, over 60% of all French soldiers either died or were casualties during the war, they had a point.

    3. Feral Finster

      Morale and willpower aside, the Ukrainian regime will collapse with a much lower proportion of casualties than the Confederacy or Wilhelmine Germany, because those two societies had a much lower median age than does contemporary Ukraine.

      War is a young man’s game. The median age in Ukraine was over 40, and that before the war and millions of refugees, which in turn skew young.

    4. Revenant

      Armchair Warlord (known as Vampire Six on Telegram) posted on the historical example of the Wehrmacht and found the Ukraine much closer to the breaking point. They started with a lot less than 40m given immigration since the previous census, refugee flight into EU and Russia and loss of four oblasts to Russia. Probably on 20m population and 300k casualties (not all KIA) and with a capacity to absorb of 350k-700k casualties from memory of the post.

      Their daily losses are 800+ in the past week and Russia is advancing due west everywhere north if Artemovsk, in what nay be a long awaited Big Arrow counteroffensive….

    5. hk

      The problem is, what’s in this for the Ukrainians? I don’t mean Zelensky and his gang–they won’t be in the Ukraine for much longer if things get any bleaker, either because they’ll be in the West or the world beyond. But whoever inherits the Ukraine will have to find something because the current situation is not sustainable for much longer and the West will not provide the blood (and not enough iron either) to keep things going. I don’t see the Ukrainians going along with the Western wishes for long: they literally can’t.

      The Western strategy/hope, I think, is predicated on a more or less accurate read on the direction of the current crisis. Russia does not really care to win in Ukraine if that just means defeating the Ukrainians. Russians want to defeat the NATO as things have evolved, and Ukraine is merely the means to the goal. By throwing Ukraine under the bus while washing their hands, the West can deny the Russians the “real” victory, at least in the medium term. So the war may wind up being frozen, but the main line of demarcation won’t be in Ukraine, but at the Polish-Belarussian border (who know what’s going to happen with whatever’s left of Ukraine). The end result will be terrible for the Ukrainians, but this “freeze” will serve the West if only to the degree that the open bleeding of Western resources will stop for now, at least, while they take stock.

    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Confederacy KIA was around 250,000. Rifles were still cutting edge and the means of production were radically different. Modern weapons are going to require a radically different workforce than the Confederate army which means many of the people available to be soldiers are required to rehang transmission lines or the tank repair factory won’t operate. Then they need people 24/7 repairing tanks because soldiers in the field can’t repair them and so forth. They may not be soldiers, but they are very much part of the war effort.

      The total with wounded and prisoners was 500,000 for the Confederacy, but I should note the Ukrainian wounded aren’t getting airlifted to Germany like invading soldiers in Iraq as they are under fire. Many of the wounded aren’t going to be fit soldiers or fit for work. We can’t discount the wounded number.

      An estimate has been made versus WW2 Germany. Ukraine is closing in on the state of the German army in the late Spring of 1945.

      With the NATO photo-op, they were supposed to have map painting gains with stories about Leopard, TIgers, and Bears…crushing Russian hordes. The meeting was scheduled, but I don’t think there was much to do, and the idea that anything less than a combined arms approach could remove the Russian forces demonstrates the NATO “leaders” don’t have much in the way of critical thinking skills. I doubt they really discussed much or have a clue about tomorrow except hoping it goes away. They might expect a freeze, but Moscow has recent experience with Kiev, DC, and specifically Biden. There won’t be a freeze.

      1. KD

        Looks like you are correct, although I got 490,000 off a source today (maybe it was casualties?)

        I did find this, suggesting it was much higher on both sides:

        But if its 250,000, that would be 1.0 million or so KIA’s assuming Ukraine has 20 million population.

        The Ukrainians sure act like they have plenty of troops to expend, but I can’t imagine a lot of depth in the officer corp or NCO’s by now.

      2. Glen

        Yes, I tend to agree. Who is going to maintain/repair what NATO has already sent, and who is getting serious about building replacements? American MIC is structured like a “boutique” industry that makes maximal profit for minimal produced units. They don’t seem very serious about making stuff, or if they did, they would want trillions a year to do it. What is America going to do? Get it made in China?

    7. ChrisPacific

      People are making a big deal about the cluster bombs, but its really an admission that the collective West lacks the manufacturing capacity to keep Ukraine supplied with 155 mm ammunition.

      Biden actually said this in as many words, according to one of the articles:

      Biden was asked last week why the U.S. plans to deliver cluster munitions to Ukraine — munitions that can be dropped from the air or fired from howitzers, spreading small bomblets over a large area.

      “They’ve run out of ammunition,” the U.S. president said, referring to the shortage of large-calibre artillery shells in both Ukraine and among allied nations supplying them.

      Voters will no doubt remember those stories in 2022 about how Russia was in imminent danger of collapsing due to resupply problems. If they don’t, I’m sure the likes of Trump and Carlson will point it out for them.

    8. KD

      I thought the following was very interesting:

      If you consider the form of the talk, Kotkin hits all the Neocon talking points:

      -Ukraine SMO is an unprovoked act of conquest;
      -Putin weak and grasping to hold on to power as demonstrated by Prigozhin mutiny;
      -Russia is an example of Asiatic Despotism with a thousand faces, Putin is the new Stalin and the new Romanov;

      etc. etc.

      Then if you look at the substance, he acknowledges:

      -Ukraine is losing the war;
      -West can win the peace if Ukraine joins EU (not NATO);
      -More important for Ukraine to join EU than achieve territorial integrity;
      -Russia will lose peace if Ukraine joins EU;
      etc. etc.

      Of course, Russia has said they don’t have any issue with Ukraine joining EU (just aren’t going to subsidize energy sales to Ukraine or give them trade preferences if EU doesn’t reciprocate for Russia).

      It sounds like the foundations of a peace agreement that is consistent with what Russia has been seeking diplomatically for a long time (and could have been achieved without the war and without territorial losses to Ukraine). Also, Kotkin makes an important point about how difficult getting Ukraine in the EU is going to be as a political matter that is interesting.

      In terms of Western messaging, after over a year of cheerleading, a place like Hoover has a guy on stating Ukraine is losing and this is how the West can win the peace (like we did in Vietnam), it sounds like there has been a shift somewhere on high. There is a long way to go before some kind of peace deal could be concluded, but if the West is going to reduce the amount of gasoline it keeps throwing on the fire, and starts making reasonable diplomatic concessions, its a good sign for the world, and reduces the risk of a nuclear conflagration.

      I agree with Yves regarding the EU as an economic roach motel, but if that is how the West wants to sell defeat, god bless them.

  13. pjay

    – ‘House Republicans Accidentally Released a Trove of Damning Covid Documents’ – The Intercept

    I just don’t understand why people get upset when “experts” refuse to debate “conspiracy theorists.” Trust The Science!

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know whether to classify your statement as irony or sarcasm. Is “snark” a Carrollism of the previous two? [It is not strictly a portmanteau word, but….]
      Also, I get very suspicious when something is described as having been “accidentally” released. Little happens by chance in the District of Columbia.

  14. Lexx


    ‘The idiocy was bipartisan: Clinton and Obama were as clueless as their Republican counterparts.’

    Never underestimate the intelligence of the opposition, render unto Caesar. Two presidents, both law school graduates (Yale and Harvard) and law school professors before going into politics. One was a Rhodes scholar. Idiots, no… and clueless? The logic being that surely if they had known that years in the future legislation passed then would favor the upper classes, they’d have vetoed it immediately, intuiting farsightedly the inherent unfairness to the American public and consequences to the global economy and the billions that depend on it. ‘Oh, hell no!’

    Surely the POTUS seeks the common good for the majority in this republic, whatever the political costs to them and their chances of reelection?! No one serves four to eight years as President out of self-interest!!! I mean whose ego and ambition could possibly be that gargantuan?

    I see in them two men who can’t distance themselves enough in their individual lifetimes from their humble beginnings. They were always greater, “more special” than their roots and I think it made them vulnerable (in ways we’d like to think they’re above) to the powerful seduction of wealth and privilege… not that they put much energy into resisting, nor do Supreme court judges apparently… in fact everyone who goes to Washington has ‘for sale’ tattooed somewhere obvious so that special interests can easily identify them in a crowd.

    Idiots though? There are worse character flaws to have than stupidity serving in Washington.

    1. hunkerdown

      > They were always greater, “more special” than their roots

      Exactly why Plato’s oeuvre apologizing for slavery should be deemed harmful to minors and banned from every institution in the realm.

  15. mrsyk

    I see that Cornel West and Marjorie Taylor Greene are both calling for the US to leave NATO. West responded to the NATO summit with a press release picked up by exactly nobody in MSM, Greene via an amendment attached to the NDAA. I find it interesting when the extremities of the left right line model of political leanings meet on common ground.

    1. Bugs

      I’d humbly note that Mr. West and Ms. Taylor Greene are most definitely not the most extreme representatives of left and right. I think both of them fall fairly within the mainstream of American politics. It’s only what’s been permitted as “reasonable discourse” by the elites in American media is indeed very restrictive and I think becoming even more so.

      To wit, Cornel West isn’t calling for the ownership of the means of production by workers and Marjorie Taylor Greene is not nearly as far right as former segregationist George Wallace, who 50 years ago was polling around 30% as a Democratic candidate for president. I think there’s plenty of common ground for these two to meet on.

      1. mrsyk

        True that, and thank you for reminding me to perform a perspective check from time to time.

      2. LifelongLib

        Not sure Wallace fits comfortably into today’s notions of left and right. He used racist rhetoric to get elected but supported things like expanding Medicare and Social Security. He was the opposite of politicians now, who use inclusive rhetoric but somehow avoid doing anything concrete.

        1. JBird4049

          I think the point really is the increasingly very, very limited and controlled discourse permitted by the American political establishment, which has been hidden from the public

          The entire establishment was much more diverse before the ejection of anyone, Republican and Democratic, during the 1990s who was not at least economically neoliberal and using the created social ideologies as maskirovka approved by the leadership of the parties and generally the elites. When one adds the cooption or brute destruction of the various political and social movements, plus the communist and socialist parties from the 1960s through the 1970s, the still conservative tilted, but still big tent, American politics became an exclusive façade of moderate parties using increasingly extreme social ideologies hiding the increasing economic conservatism of both; the socialists, the pragmatic hawks, the New Dealers, the Civil Rights old guard, the moderate leftists, liberals, and conservatives, even the pragmatic policy wonks or administrators, anyone people who would not play along and become convivially corrupt, were removed from power.

          A good thread to use as a start for a study of this process might be the Clintons’ DLC or Democratic Leadership Council. Former Speaker of the House and political arsonist Republican Newt Gingrich is also another good beginning.

          One of the reason for these radical changes not being as well noticed as they should have been was the use of the social ideologies and the false neoliberal shibboleths that created the maskirovka, plus the fictional political story of struggle between both parties which really got going under NAFTA, North American Free Trade Agreement, which greatly sped up the hollowing out of the American economy; all this has hidden and distracted attention from the economic and social changes from most people in their fifties and up. Unless you make a practice of really looking for and studying the changes of the last forty years, and keep basing your views upon what was true for most of the past century before then, you will not see. People build their beliefs from what their families’ experienced and believed, and for three, four, even five generations before the Baby Boomers, maybe Generation X, the sketch comprising the left, liberal, conservative, progressive, Jim Crow, Cold War or communist antipathy, Democratic and Republican Parties, could remained essentially the same picture.

          One could drop a Baby Boomer or Generation X from the 1930s through the 1960s and to an increasingly lesser extent up to forty years before then. Understand that the further back one goes, the more different the political and social elements as well as how they are mixed together become. Still, somewhat from the 1880s and increasingly so towards the end of 1970s. There notable, often effective anarchist, communist and socialist parties through until the 1950s. Neoliberal economics only really became a thing after the Second World War with all the other economics driven out only in the 1970s although the cleansing started decades earlier. Then there is the memory of the American System creating the economic strength, vitality, and vast capabilities of the whole country that grew for over a century and a half, only starting to decline after the boom times of the 1960s. The cliché arrogant American was earned and had good cause.

          What all this means is that when you talk to an older friend, co-worker, family member, they are informed from what they saw as a young adult or even a child, and from what their parents and grandparents, and their parents and grandparents experienced and past on, even if it is just fleeting emotions and conversations. It is a growing communal weight of memory that normally would inform and not deceive. As William Faulkner wrote, “the past is never dead, it is not even the past.” Whoever created a way to make at least nine decades and five generations hide the past four decades of the growing neoliberal kleptocracy ruling an increasingly hollow state was a social and political genius. An evil one, true, but still a genius.

          How does one argue with the truth of the past that is hiding the truth of today? After all, the forms are all there, just as with the Roman Republic becoming the Roman Empire after 27 BCE? The illusion is all encompassing.

      3. digi_owl

        Sometimes i wonder if the PMC wants to reintroduce segregation in “enlightened” form…

  16. EssCetera

    re: We’re not Amazon

    “Sullivan dismissed the activist’s claims as “unfounded and unjustified” and said that Biden’s reasoning for not wanting Ukraine in Nato right now was clear: the US and Nato do not want to be in active conflict with Russia, and Kyiv needs to undertake democratic and other reforms before joining.”

    Yes, having literal Nazis as NATO partners would be problematic from an optics perspective, especially since the Nazi worldview lends itself to certain types of “solutions” being considered acceptable, which could embarass NATO in the long run.

    The Russians thought they could denazify by attrition but, while this does help somewhat, you can’t fight an ideology on the battlefield. This leads to NATO’s quandary – the US has created a Nazi version of European mujahadeen to fight the Russians and now needs to cleanse them of ther ideology before they can be considered for NATO membership, which won’t happen now or anytime soon. I don’t see Z as capable of culture shifting his country.

    1. chuck roast

      Worry not. When the Russkys motor into Dinipro, the Nazis will be looking at their very own Stalingrad and be working the rat lines for Calgary, Winnipeg and Chicago. They will be welcomed and lionized by adoring populations as political refugees from Putin’s full-scale (hat tip FT), brutal invasion. They will then re-fertilize the vast cesspool of revanchist knuckleheadism and abuse generations yet unborn with their hateful nonsense. And so it goes.

  17. Carolinian

    Kristof LOL.

    To break this cycle, Kallas said, it’s important to make Putin fail, and to hold him accountable in a war crimes trial.

    If Putin ends the war with a chunk of Ukraine, she said, dictators would get the message that aggression pays, and “Nobody could really feel safe.”

    Why it’s almost like a Domino Theory with emphasis on the theory. Kristof is doubtless old enough to remember Vietnam but gets paid not to. Thousands of USians died to save the world from a communism that didn’t happen anyway even though we lost.But some things do change in that back then the NYT had a few genuine reporters and columnists instead of dopey shills. Perhaps we were the domino that fell over.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      The people of Oregon dodged a bullet when this insufferable and willing dupe wasn’t allowed on the ballot for a Senate run. Along with this mildew-y bit of propaganda, I can off the top of my head recall him raving, in that faux thoughtful/compassionate Times Op Ed-ian way, about Darfur and why we should send in the military. On a more national/local level, he shilled heavily for charter schools and “innovation” in the public schools when Obama was busy attacking them, which is also a reliable tell.

      The effort and energy that just a single institution like the Times puts into maintaining its brittle orthodoxy is tremendous and runs non-stop, which suggests to me an underlying fear and insecurity that belies their surface smugness. Trump’s election unhinged many of them, and created a business model feeding that, but beneath it all is a lot of fear, which is debilitating.

      1. hunkerdown

        Well, as much as any middle-class Puritan is always a little unsure whether they are of the Elect or whether it’s all a waste of time, their worries tend toward not having overmatch.

        As we have seen in many capitalist societies, fear is not debilitating enough to bring the ideal down; they can masochistically transform it into virtue as Christian philosophy has done. Nonetheless, the lash of hunger cuts through all, and may all priests become meat to feed the hungry.

    2. Bugs

      I always felt very uncomfortable reading his “investigation” type op-ed work on his pet subject of underage prostitution. Something just not right with the way he approached it. He reminds me of a Doonesbury character. That intrepid reporter with the khaki jungle outfit who’s out to aggrandize himself at the expense of the people he’s covering. “Cringe” is what the kids would say.

    3. Steve

      And in 2022, Vietnam was ranked as America’s 8th largest two way trade partner in the world. Thousands of American jobs and farmers exporting stuff made in America benefit today, by Vietnam being a successful developing nation with a young, educated population. Somehow I wonder if Vietnam had lost the war, would it be just another highly indebted, poor, developing nation at the mercy of Wall Street bankers and dependent on the IMF and World Bank?

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg Should Cagefight Then Go Away”

    Personally I think that they should totally do it. Recreate the ‘Thunderdrome’ from the 1985 film “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and with the same rule – ‘Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves’ – after locking them in. here it is if you have not seen it- (3:24 mins)

    Just recreate that huge metal dome frame and build it on one of Musk’s rocket barges at sea. Have all the main stream media cover the match from the outside of the cage itself like the audience in that film.

    Then sink the barge.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      How about a Tournament of Billionaires with those rules? At the end, we’d only have one billionaire to deal with.

    2. EssCetera

      I think what is likely to happen is they’ll become friends, which is probably not the outcome people are hoping for. Sportsmanship and all.

    3. Michael Mck

      Perhaps as an Aussie who mentioned the movie you can help me out. I have never seen this confirmed but I suspect Blaster was Max’s brother in law. Could I be correct?

  19. junkelly

    “AI Junk Is Starting to Pollute the Internet”

    Two if my hobbies or activities are woodworking and home improvement projects. I frequently search for answers or information. I have noticed in the last six months or so a dramatic increase in trashy sites with clips clearly cut and pasted from other sites, surrounded by difficult to read filler. These sites were infrequent in the past and I attributed then to content farms, at least written by real people. Now I’m sure they’re all written by AI. They are around 50% or more of search results. Very discouraging.

    Hopefully soon there will be ways to blacklist them.

    1. Mikel

      It’s like somebody doesn’t want people communicate with other people.

      BTW: I’ll never throw away or sell another book.

      1. EssCetera

        Based on the description of the algorithm in that article, I would say the testing criteria would false positive a large number of native speakers as well.

        By the way, I know you were being sarcastic re: DIE department but a common objection to AI is that it’s white-centric, Euro-centric, and therefore if widely used would erase any other cultures from the narrative. So if it does inadvertently discriminate as described, that’s a danger we want to evaluate and correct for, right?

        Jordan Peterson was looking for just such a language detection model not too long ago, only he wanted to use it to censor perceived “cultural Marxists” in academia, so there’s other nefarious uses for training algorithms to detect language patterns, it can be weaponized. I can see ICE perking up on reading that description of the algorithm – what, another way to detect foreigners?

  20. pjay

    – ‘Here’s What the Experts Say About Managing Putin’ – Nicholas Kristof, NYT

    When I saw the author and the source I knew what I was in for. It was actually worse than I thought it would be, but I went to all the trouble of reading it because I just had to know who Kristof’s “experts” were on this issue. There were two: the former President of Latvia and the current Prime Minister of Estonia. So there you go.

  21. flora

    From Charles Hugh Smith.

    But without inflation, the economy and financial system collapse. So the slow erosion of the bottom 80% is a systemic cost of maintaining the credit-dependent economy and financial system. The dependence on inflation to keep credit expanding generates winners and losers, but hey, maybe you’ll win big at the stock market roulette wheel.

    This dependence on speculation to keep up with inflation has another pernicious consequence: it incentivizes the diversion of capital and talent into speculation rather than into investments that increase productivity. So while capital chases the stock market chimera of AI, the nation’s creaky, outdated electrical grid that is the foundation of whatever fantasy-economy speculators are betting on continues on its path to breakdown.

    1. hunkerdown

      So? As long as there are slaves and masters, the ruling class has succeeded in its remit of reproducing “civilization” and they have nothing to worry about. The electrical grid is only as useful as the industry it serves, and slaves don’t need to be served. In fact, as we saw in the 20th century, letting the slaves get served too much ruins their slave nature.

    2. Lexx

      ‘Consumers can only buy big-ticket items with credit.’ Only?

      ‘Imagine the horrors of living solely on earnings and having to laboriously save up cash to buy a car or home.’ Saving isn’t laborious.

      A home would be tough, especially while renting, but every other ‘big ticket item’ is doable by saving, so I have a problem with his premise. I can only assume with that second sentence he’s being facetious.

      We’ve paid cash for our last four vehicles and the 5th wheel. It feels deliciously unpatriotic, like flipping Washington and the banks the bird, and I think everyone should try it at least once. There are few acts in life more stress reducing than being debt-free, owning those items outright.

  22. Mikel

    “Building blocks of Mars life? Perseverance rover digs up diverse set of organic molecules on the Red Planet”

    So many planets to wreck and so little time.

    1. Ken Murphy

      Nothing to wreck on the Moon, it’s sterile. But it is loaded with potentially useful energy and resources for both Earth and future space efforts.

      I’m personally of the opinion that we should focus our efforts on the Moon and from there cleaning up the asteroids and their resources, which helps to decrease impact risks here on Earth.

      While some may be horrified at the thought of humanity corrupting anything other than our precious home planet, I thrill at the idea of taking the life of Earth to where there is no life and helping it “find a way”. As life, it is our responsibility, some would say a sacred responsibility, to create and cultivate and protect life.

      How do we know that Mama Nature doesn’t want us taking her life and spreading it through the cosmos?

      1. hunkerdown

        Nah, that’s just PMC cancer culture, replete with imaginary friends to project your desires on and then pretend they commanded you. Fertility cults are cringe.

        1. Ken Murphy

          Why is valuing life “cringe”? And who are these imaginary friends of whom you speak?

          Life is precious. There are way more places in the universe without it than with it. When we go out there, we will be taking Mother Earth’s biome with us whether we like it or not.

          Some may experience anthropic odium at the thought of humanity leaving Earth. I revel in what humanity has been able to achieve in its short time here on Planet Earth, and what we may achieve if we embrace a future in space. That kind of optimism may be distasteful to you, but as far as I’m concerned that is your issue to deal with, not mine.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            I share your optimism but also agree with Hunkerdown.

            My optimism stems from an irrational belief that we will disentangle ourselves from The Blob and that we (the United States/the West) will eventually reengineer our economy to let us live with nature, lessen pollution, increase the quality of life and, as much as possible, perform helpful support services to the Russians and Chinese as they explore the stars even as the US battles to restore water/sewage services to Jacksonsville and other failed American cities.

            Not sure if that’s a half-filled or half-empty glass POV.

          2. Ghost in the Machine

            I recommend reading Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. We better learn to live within the ecological boundaries of this planet. Physics and biology is going to keep us here. It really is a beautiful planet and we could have a run of 100s of millions of years if we a wise. And avoid big meteors and such. Not bad in my opinion.

          3. aletheia33

            KM, i revel in the idea of you embracing a future for life in space.
            i share your kind of optimism, the kind that will buoy you up to that vital, life-affirming level of existence, ASAP.
            i salute your benevolent readiness to bestow your biome on the universe.

          4. EssCetera

            Two of my all time fav books are lunar-based, ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ and ‘The Dispossessed’, and part of me hopes *some* aspects of both eventually come to pass. Also, who can forget Space:1999, we gotta put those uniforms into practice.

        2. Ken Murphy

          Had to look up PMC. Um, no, I really have no military affiliations other than being an AF brat. I’ve generally steered clear of military stuff, both in my International Business studies, as well as my Space studies (MSS from ISU, very roughly equivalent to an MSc in Space Science, kinda).

          I will admit that the Space Force did use one of my Space Review articles on the Cislunar Econosphere for an early study group they did. Some of my customers get military discounts on purchases. But I think you’re barking up the wrong tree with PMC.

          1. ambrit

            Ah, the Two PMCs paradox.
            Google, in it’s unfinite wisdom now posts links to the PMC you mention, (I’m assuming you encountered Private Military Company,) rather than to the version of PMC that we here on the blog usually consider ‘canon,’ [couldn’t resist the pun,] Professional Managerial Class.
            As used here, PMC is somewhat of a ‘Backhanded Compliment.’ PMC is generally lumped together with such words as apparatchik, functionary, and bureaucrat. Strictly speaking, the three terms I mentioned are sub-sets of the PMC.
            Be of good cheer and keep working towards the O’Neil Habitats.

            1. Ken Murphy

              Oh, the guys who Peter Principled their way to the top. Yeah, no, screw those guys. They just make my job of delivering results more difficult.

            1. Ken Murphy

              Gravity’s everywhere. Could you be more specific? We are just talking about orbiting the Sun vs. orbiting the Earth. Some of the harvested resources may be going to places other than LEO.

              Oh, and interesting fact – the Moon technically orbits the Sun. Has to do with convexity of its orbit relative to the Sun. 3-D orbital mechanics is a wacky beast, and of course always relative to a frame of reference.

      2. Mikel

        “As life, it is our responsibility, some would say a sacred responsibility, to create and cultivate and protect life…”

        Here? On “The Jackpot” planet??

        In a world that puts a price on everything, I don’t see that ethos. Not one bit. Unless you’re talking about some tech start-up marketing plan hype that gives lip service to caring about humanity.
        That’s not being done on this planet. I don’t share the fantasy that there’s anything meaningful TPTB have to bring to the universe.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        You should become an Earthseed enthusiast:

        The Destiny of Earthseed
        Is to take root among the stars.

        While I admire Octavia Butler’s foresight in the Parable series, and consider Earthseed to be far from the worst way of understanding the universe, her push for space colonization beyond the solar system was quite misguided. If we need some sort of species goal, let’s start with fixing some of what we’ve screwed up on this planet while making sure all of our fellow humans have the basic needs met.

        Have you considered the carbon footprint of space travel? All those rockets to lift all that weight at least to orbit? Do you think it’s a good idea to hasten the spoiling of this planet so we can go where no human has gone before to spoil some more?

        For these times, when travel of any kind beyond walking, biking and possibly horseback riding is contributing to overshoot, Lao-Tzu has some observations contrary to all this Conquistador mentality exploring and traveling:

        You don’t have to go out the door
        to know what goes one with the world.
        You don’t have to look out the window
        to see the way of heaven.
        The farther you go,
        the less you know.

        Tao te Ching #47 (Le Guin rendition)

        Let there be a little country without many people…
        The next little country might be so close
        the people could hear cocks crowing
        and dogs barking there,
        but they’ll get old and die
        without ever having been there.

        Tao te Ching #79 (Le Guin rendition)

        Everybody needs to stay home and plant a garden and some trees.

        1. Revenant

          Il faut cultiver nos jardins
          – Candide, Voltaire.

          The big V gets better and better as I get older.

        2. Ken Murphy

          “ Everybody needs to stay home and plant a garden and some trees.”


          While I’m game for gardening and planting trees, I will not stay home. Our planet is full of wonder and beauty and I enjoy seeing and exploring. From the golden twilight of dusk in Tromso, to the weird way the sky changes hue depending on head tilt with my polarized sunglasses in New Zealand. From the magnificent sunsets in Texas, to the really cool maglev train in Shanghai. From the wonderful country of France of which I adore pretty much everything, to the canyons of NYC after a fresh snowfall.

          Why would you deny anyone such experiences? Why should the rest of the universe be any different?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “US-India fighter jet engine deal takes strategic ties to new heights”

    This might prove to be a poisoned pill. In building weapons platforms, the main way to bring down costs is to export them to other countries as sales like is being done with the F-35. Typically, the armed forces of a country are not large enough to generate enough sales to do so alone. But if the Indians go to sell those engines to other countries, then the US can step in and say yay or nay because they contain US technology. Have they thought that one through? Come to think of it, when those engines are built who exactly will have the contracts to service those engines? That alone is a very lucrative part of the business.

    1. ilsm


      f414 started out for the failed a-12, allegedly too heavy for us navy carriers.

      not same generation as p&w engine in f-35, but I prefer ge to p&w as does the navy!

      some countries get a large part of the sustainment with the buy…. others just buy sustainment as a service.

      if us navy has depot for f414 it could sell the capacity to India if it buys.

      normal government depots “own” the repair processes and can share ….

      or depot can be an fms case…

  24. John

    When did we give central bankers the right to reorganise the economy in favour of the wealthy?

    We didn’t, but there was no effort to stop them either. Given an inch they took their mile. It is to be expected.

      1. eg

        Exactly. “Independent” central banks are aristocratic institutions inimical to labour, by design.

  25. John

    Censorship is unnecessary. Paywalls will do the job. Soon there will be little left of the “free” internet of yesteryear. I do not mind making contributions, but I would go broke trying to keep up with the incessant demands.

  26. Ken Murphy

    Re: Private Equity

    Honest question, if somewhat heretical: If labor is the source of capital, through the creation of excess value, then why is labor taxed at so much higher a rate than what it creates? Especially given that the excess value is so cherished, as compared with labor.

    Twenty years in international banking and finance have made me quite skeptical about most of the industry’s practices, and private equity is one of the more cancerous poisons around. “Maximizing shareholder value” is one of the most noxious philosophies, as it misdirects companies from their core purpose to becoming an ATM. GM’s job is to make the best transportation vehicles in the world, but we got GMAC. GE’s job is to make the best electronics in the world, but we got GE Capital. The examples are endless.

    Finance needs to remember that it is a tool of, not the raison d’etre for, our economy. Perhaps it needs a good smack upside the head with a clue x 4. I know if I was ever President I’d take a decidedly Jacksonian view of and approach to the situation. (so you can rest easy and assured that that will never happen, lol)

    1. hunkerdown

      Authorities tax labor, raise consumer commodity prices, create new pieties, etc. to contain labor in its subordinate role.

      Class mobility is a myth that industrial-commercial capitalist society allows to work just well enough to keep the poor from burning everything. Any excess free labor will be used by labor to escape subordination to capital, which capital obviously wants to prevent. All these emotional dramas and progressive productivity requirements serve to distract us from building the tools for our emancipation.

      1. GramSci

        Once we all agree on a Maximum Wage (I put it at 10x the minimum wage), we will be emancipated.

        1. redleg

          If someone is getting a wage, they probably aren’t rich.
          They need to be hit in the portfolio, not the wallet.

    2. griffen

      There was a window which quickly closed in or shortly after 2009, as my recall is that so many institutions were failing or going to fail ( personal poster child for myself, Citigroup ). But combined with a ZIRP cycle to first support and then boost ever upward asset values, plus a very forgiving regulatory response to all sort of accounting and control fraud (ie, mortgage securitizations, foreclosures) voila look where we are. That’s a simplification I grant, but the day is young and I’m semi busy with TPS reports.

      Companies that are prevented from failing ever is just not the same as those companies turning around. Plenty of corporations succeed without the overt subsidy and regulatory capture, but banking and finance at the largest global entities is a different beast. I believe we averted the opportunity to implement greater reform than Dodd Frank. Fast forward to spring of 2023 and we get the failure of SVB.

      1. Glen

        Yes, GFC should have been handled like S&L crisis with many people going to jail (See Bill Black). Obama bailed them all out and nobody went to jail. Now PE rapes and destroys anything it can get its hands on, and why not? Obama made it an extremely viable business model.

    3. eg

      Our ancestors used to hang pirates, now we just let these looters roam free to plunder at their leisure.

  27. LadyXoc

    Lightning bugs. When my son was 8, we took his “bug jar” out in the early evening to capture lightning bugs, as they are so magical and fascinating. Welp, over the course of the evening before bed, one bug attacked, killed, and then ate the other. Not quite the experience I had been hoping for and slightly traumatizing for my son. Nature, red in tooth and claw.

        1. ambrit

          I’d imagine that he is worrying about the reaction of the Zeta Reticulans to our attempts to escape the ‘Gravity Well Mundial.’
          The Cosmos is far stranger than we can imagine.
          Be safe and don’t give up.

    1. GF

      When I was about that age, and not knowing any better, I caught a preying mantis and put it in a ventilated shoe box then caught a lizard and put that in there too. They were about the same size. When I opened the box a little while later there was the preying mantis with only the tail of the lizard.

  28. Katniss Everdeen

    In the “Dogs and Cats Living Together” category…

    fbi director, christopher wray, “testified” before the house judiciary committee yesterday. Republican representative Mike Johnson from Louisiana, a member of the committee who questioned wray, was interviewed by Glenn Greenwald on System Update last night.

    It was a cordial discussion. Worms continue to turn, and the term LOTE continues to be redefined.

    Video only, no transcript.

  29. Mildred Montana

    >Scientists choose site to mark the start of the Anthropocene Climate and Capitalism

    With a *proposed” start date of 1950 and so an elapsed time thus far of a mere 73 years, it seems to non-geologist me a little early to declare the new epoch of the Anthropocene. After all, the Holocene (the epoch of glacial retreat and the one we’re currently living in) is ~12000 years old.

    The way things are going, how long the fledgling Anthropocene? A few more decades or at most a century or two? A hundred years give or take. Does that brief and tentative span qualify it as an epoch?*

    The proposal is highly controversial and must be approved by two committees before being voted on by the IUGS (International Union of Geologic Sciences) in August 2024.

    *On the other hand, maybe it’s a fitting idea. A last hurrah. Like a bequest in a will. And an epitaph for all those former Anthros (including geologists). “Here lies the Anthropocene, the last-named—and shortest—epoch in human history.”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The Ecomodernists regard the emergence of the Anthropocene as a good thing, at least potentially:

      To say that the Earth is a human planet becomes truer every day. Humans are made from the Earth, and the Earth is remade by human hands. Many earth scientists express this by stating that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans.

      As scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens, we write with the conviction that knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene. A good Anthropocene demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world.

      They try to transform our elite’s failure to control its appetites for convenience, comfort and luxury into a positive step forward.

      Their next idea for vaulting us even further forward is to shoot sulfur in the sky every two years to prevent burning ourselves up because of all this wonderful progress.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Thirty years ago I was an optimist. I was confident that technology could save us from the apocalypse.

        Now I’m not at all sure of that. Everywhere are problems: Deadly heat waves, droughts, tornados, inundations from sky and sea, melting ice in the poles both north and south, species extinctions, deforestations, pollutions of the environment, etc. etc. etc.

        And the best technology can offer us is shooting sulfur into the sky with unknown and unpredictable consequences? If not already clear, I am now a pessimist.

        1. Vandemonian

          I’m not sure that the resulting consequence of acid rain (dilute sulphuric acid) is entirely “unknown and unpredictable”, although the precise rate at which it degrades steel and concrete may be.

      1. ambrit

        I’m putting the start of the Anthropocene at the creation of sophisticated tools, as in the Neo-lithic.

      2. eg

        That’s more in line with my own thinking, the inflection point being the initial large scale exploitation of fossil fuels.

    1. Bugs

      This is astounding. From what I’m hearing this guy has zero holes in his narrative. The whole thing comes together: “The Ukrainian people were played”.

  30. Mikel
    SAG-AFTRA Strike Imminent as Talks Conclude With No Deal

    Will they let it drag on with the threat of actors losing their homes too? What would that do to the LA housing market?

    Lexx shared this article yesterday:
    “…The threat of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) would complicate negotiations, according to sources, but not change the fundamental strategy. To “grind down the guild has long been in the works.”

    The DGA (Director’s Guild of America) has signed a deal already, SAG is still negotiating, but the WGA is being targeted for the harshest treatment in what “all sides agree is a game-changer one way or another for Hollywood.”

    Again, the DGA always walks away, seemingly just fine. Hmmm…..

  31. from italy

    >>>>Maybe — work with me on this, Jamie — the whole “leader/people” paradigm is wrong?”

    😄 may I just thank you for this sentence? Besides from making me smile, this simple quote wrecks the entire industry of Fuhrership.

  32. John Beech

    Tax Research UK asks . . . When did we give central bankers the right to reorganise the economy in favour of the wealthy?

    Let’s be fair! The only tool central bankers have are interest rates. Will higher rates lead to recession and kill off inflation? Well, yes. And it’s a really bitter medicine, I agree 100%. But it’s government through tax rates, who really decides who is more impoverished by the cost-burden of operating society, not the bankers In short, government plays the real role in selecting winners and losers after the worth of the individual and their opportunity. We may all be equal but opportunity determines most of it as even the most innept Rosthchild is richer the Croesus.

    1. eg

      The distraction of monetary policy is part of the grift — it keeps the groundlings gulled whilst the real work of fiscal policy is conducted as far as possible behind the curtain in order to shield our elected representatives from accountability for economic outcomes.

  33. .Tom

    temporary nationalisation sounds like a combination of bankruptcy restructuring and bail out

    1. Bart Hansen

      Not to do the above was Obama’s great unforced error. He was trampled by Little Timmy, Big Hank and Bloated Larry.

  34. Matthew G. Saroff

    That is a cat with absolutely no **familyblog**s to give, and kind of scary.

    Then again having no no **familyblog**s to give is kind of the way that cats are generally.

    He just appears to be a stunningly good exemplar.

  35. C.O.

    The Tyee has a new opinion piece on the BC Ferries situation which may be of interest to folks here both if they are interested in using BC Ferries to travel and for examining what is causing crew shortages and cancellations. The article also references a filing by BC Ferries itself on the issues which I have added a link to here as well.

    The Tyee: Why is BC Ferries Cancelling Sailings? Bad Jobs

    BC Ferries/ Supplemental Filing PT6 2023-03-03 to the BC Ferry Commission

    1. Earl Erland

      One of the great things about NK is it is exactly like a Museum, an Art Gallery, or a Library that allows you access to the stacks. It encourages wandering by its very existence.

      After reading the Tyee article on BC Fire Bombs (nature imitating Curtis LeMay?) I poked around a bit and found this: Sometime ago, and I think from this site, I learned of a British Scientist who had come to understand the danger posed by greenhouse gases. I had forgotten his name, so I hunted a bit and think it is Chamberlin:

      Anyways the Tyee article tells of the time when Robert Teller educated a gathering oily and gaseous elites on what would happen if we continued spewing. ” Edward Teller was no back-to-nature romantic. The scientist who took the podium after Dunlop was known primarily for his lead role in creating the world’s first weapons of mass destruction. Teller was part of a secret government team at Los Alamos, New Mexico, that during the 1940s developed atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing the deaths of over 200,000 people. Yet Teller began his talk at Columbia by warning of a threat that was potentially greater than nuclear destruction. “And this, strangely, is the question of contaminating the atmosphere,” he said.”

      Worth a read.

      Also, while wandering I ran across this, which surely someone great in politics on the last ditch human side of history could use:

  36. EssCetera

    re: Ukraine’s Mossad-style assassination programme claims another ‘scalp’ despite US concerns iNews

    The author seems unaware that a founding member of Azov was Nathan Khazin, who returned from Israel during Euromaidan to lead the “Jewish 100”, proudly proclaiming himself to be the “Jewish Bandera”. Khazin was IDF but same as Mossad since the IDF operational doctrine is also extra-judicial assasination – “the best defense is offense” which roughly translated means “we’ll pre-emptively kill enemies, real or imagined” and includes children throwing stones at tanks or not even, sometimes just standing there or walking. So IDF doctrine, training and thinking likely had major formative influence, not necessarily Mossad. Likely not even intentionally, Israel early on didn’t want to help, but just by virtue of the fact that wherever IDF trained people roam, there also goes the IDF doctrine, it’s carried forward to a conflict.

    Khazin led the Aerorozvidka, Ukraine’s drone force during Euromaidan, and now we’re starting to see in the news recently the IDF are using drones in targeted assasinations. Perhaps Khazin has returned?

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