Links 7/17/2023

What to know about Louisiana’s newest invasive fish Axios New Orleans. No opposable thumbs? Good.

Huge granite ‘body’ on far side of the moon offers clues to ancient lunar volcanoes

How We Measured the Title Lending Industry in Georgia Pro Publica

Via Michael Hudson, this animated video on inflation:


Dangerous heat wave spreads across southern U.S. Axios

Canadian wildfires put nearly 60 million US residents under air quality alerts CNN

Are we ignoring the smokejumpers? Wildfire Today

Why Climate Pledges Become Hollow Promises Atmos

Why do cloud providers keep building datacenters in America’s hottest city? The Register


“The Mekong is Dying”: How China’s River Diplomacy Neglects Locals, Exacerbates Climate Change China Global South Report


Flattening the Curve The John Snow Project. “Instead of optimizing the pandemic response for the best health outcomes, which also helps the economy long-term, the default position adopted by most governments established a new principle that the total amount of human suffering caused by disease is not important, only the immediate stress on healthcare systems. This principle continues to be dominant to this day.” Rule #2.


China’s economy misses forecasts as youth joblessness hits record Al Jazeera. Commentary:

Cover Story: Dark Arts of Fund Manager in China’s Bond Market Lift Lid on Debt Mess Caixin Global. Commentary:

Why Chinese entities are turning to People’s Daily censorship AI to avoid political mines South China Morning Post

The Human Level of China’s Security State The Diplomat


Myanmar military regime accused of murdering political prisoners Al Jazeera


Modi’s Visit To France Madras Courier

India’s start-up sector feels the chill amid global funding winter Channel News Asia

In rare political drama, Singapore lawmakers quit over “inappropriate relationship” and Singapore minister, tycoon arrested in rare high-level graft probe Reuters


Russia increasing unprofessional activity against U.S. forces in Syria CBS

Dear Old Blighty

Bring back face masks in Scottish healthcare, doctors tell ministers Holyrood. “Face mask guidance should be reintroduced in Scottish healthcare settings, doctors argue – and claim its removal is like ‘playing Russian roulette’ with staff and patient health.”

European Disunion

The inexpiable crime Africa is a Country

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine’s Security Service and Navy damaged Crimean Bridge Ukrainska Pravda

Russia blames Ukraine for attack on key Crimea military supply bridge that kills 2 AP. Not unreasonable, given that Ukraine took credit for it. Maybe bridge mavens in the commentariat can comment on the damage shown in the photos.

Ukraine-Russia war hasn’t become stalemate but counteroffensive is ‘hard going’: Sullivan ABC

* * *

Nobody could have predicted…

While the Russian invasion has shown the world the next generation of high-tech warfare, old-school tactics are decimating Ukrainian troops: land mines, booby traps, and tripwires Business Insider

Ukraine’s counteroffensive stalled by array of Russian mines Task and Purpose

* * *

The Incredible Shrinking NATO Dmitry Orlov. A must-read.

America’s strategy for the NATO alliance is failing Responsible Statecraft

* * *

Russia pulls out of Black Sea grain deal FT

Putin, Prigozhin and the management principle: “work with the hand you are dealt” Gilbert Doctorow

Biden Administration

Why they’re smearing Lina Khan Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. More to the point, why isn’t every Biden appointee being smeared? (Khan’s seminal article in the Yale Law Journal, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.”)

Supply Chain

A Good Prospect​: Mining Climate Anxiety for Profit The Drift. “Metal miners stand on the verge of a planet-spanning, multi-decade mineral boom, driven by the demands of an electrifying world.”

International Negotiators Just Missed a Deadline to Regulate Deep-Sea Mining. Now What? Gizmodo

Massive Norwegian phosphate deposit could meet battery and solar demand for 50 years “Could.” Nevertheless.

Three inconvenient truths about the critical minerals race FT

B-a-a-a-d Banks

Credit Suisse inquiry will keep files secret for 50 years, says report Business Standard

Why it’s dangerous to assume banks are profiteering FT

Digital Watch

ChatGPT can turn bad writers into better ones MIT Technology Review. Not after a few cycles of autocoprophagy with the training sets, it won’t. Still, wages can be cut in the meantime, so there’s that!

Dream of Antonoffication​ The Drift. Music producers in the cross-hairs too.

Influencers Are Realizing That A.I. Might Not Be a Magic Money-Making Machine For Artists After All ArtNet

FTC investigating OpenAI on ChatGPT data collection and publication of false information The Verge

* * *

What Threads Needs to Beat Twitter WSJ. Users who can do more than take selfies?

Rescuing the Future from Silicon Valley Tech Policy Press


Chemically induced reprogramming to reverse cellular aging Aging. From the Abstract: “We identify six chemical cocktails, which, in less than a week and without compromising cellular identity, restore a youthful genome-wide transcript profile and reverse transcriptomic age. Thus, rejuvenation by age reversal can be achieved, not only by genetic, but also chemical means.” The lead author’s Tweet:

Yeah, gotta get “affordable” in there. I don’t see “access” but doubtless that will come. More from the Daily Mail, whose science reporting is often good. “[O]ther scientists, including a Harvard professor, have said the study ‘is mostly hype and preliminary’.”

Mapping the Kitchen Microbiota in Five European Countries Reveals a Set of Core Bacteria across Countries, Kitchen Surfaces, and Cleaning Utensils Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The country variations are fascinating. The press release says “mostly harmless.”

The Bezzle

The crypto ecosystem: key elements and risks (PDF) Bank of International Settlements. “Rather than providing a more resilient financial architecture, crypto displayed the same well known vulnerabilities of traditional finance, but in amplified ways.”

Sports Desk

Tour de France spectator who allegedly ‘wanted to get a selfie’ causes massive crash FOX

Imperial Collapse Watch

Typo leaks millions of US military emails to Mali web operator FT

Class Warfare

Pay Raises Are Finally Beating Inflation After Two Years of Falling Behind WSJ

Slave Trade Legacies in Britain and the Question of Reparations Internationalist 360°

The world is in the grip of a manufacturing delusion The Economist. Stoller: “The Economist absolutely despises making things.”

The Labor of Polyps and Persons Lapham’s Quarterly. The deck: “The meaning of coral jewelry in nineteenth-century America.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

The effect of gathering so many golden retrievers togther seems exponential, rather than additive.

Double bonus antidote, since today seems to be a dog day. Via Dezert Dog:

Dezert Dog writes: “Ely and Ike are my Icelandic sheepdogs loaded up in the pickup and headed out to work for the day.”

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. griffen

    Spectators who want to get a selfie with the riders in the peloton. Hey here’s a thought as well, go pose for a selfie with bulls in Pamplona?!? WTH.

    I see this during almost every professional golf tournament, fwiw, especially on the latter holes of the closing round nearly every Sunday. I didn’t have a cell phone or a selfie but have a vivid recall from Sunday at the 1999 US Open in Pinehurst. Being able to volunteer a few days, also meant my volunteer badge would get me access when I was not scheduled.

    1. CanCyn

      The fans getting so close to the riders has always frightened me whenever I’ve watched Tour de France coverage. It is really only surprising that they don’t cause more crashes. We just watched some of the Scottish Open (on TV) and noticed a distinct lack of fans with cell phones. They seem content to take in the spectacle without filming and photographing, selfie-ing constantly. Cell phones used to be banned at the Open (British, that is, for non-golf fans) and there too, there seem to be fewer fans on their phones. Cell phones are banned at the Masters in Augusta.
      On one level I understand a selfie with an event in the background as a memento of being there but endangering players, riders or yourself is just beyond stupid. As for filming or taking pictures, I just don’t get it, especially if the thing is being broadcast. You’re not getting any better shots or footage than the pros doing that work. And often you see people standing at a golf tournament and they’re looking at their phones instead of watching what they’ve paid to watch live. Are they watching coverage of another hole? Something else entirely? IDK but whatever the reason seems to me they’ve lost the point of being at a live event.

      1. hunkerdown

        Commodity fetishism’s effect on social capital; use value divorced from exchange value; call it whatever you will but “being” at an event without “participating” as a proper witness could be construed as a form of appropriation. Such ideas can be used strategically in other venues, however.

      2. digi_owl

        Do wonder when forgoing a phone will become a class signal.

        As in they do not need to carry a phone, as they have servants/assistants for that.

        This in reverse of when a Blackberry on the belt was a sign of being in the business big leagues.

        1. cnchal

          > Do wonder when forgoing a phone will become a class signal.

          We got rid of the “”smart”” phone and went back to a land line. The silence from digital crapola world is golden. Scam calls? Gone. Giving the finger to Google and Samsung, priceless.

      3. TimH

        “The fans getting so close to the riders”

        Think motor racing in the 1950s (and earlier)… 1955 Le Mans accident killing 80 people for example.

    2. John k

      My daughter was in Spain for a language course when about 18, maybe 2002, went to watch the bulls, got in their way and allegedly was saved by a random us male of similar age. Well, that was the story. Dunno if a selfie was involved, wouldn’t be surprised.

      1. Xihuitl

        “My daughter was in Spain for a language course when about 18, maybe 2002, went to watch the bulls, got in their way and allegedly was saved by a random us male of similar age.”

        Was thinking: “and then the got married.” (smiley)

  2. jhallc

    Golden’s and the “Highlands” – Gonna be a lot of Brown spots on that lawn in few weeks.

    1. griffen

      Per the song Outshined by Soundgarden. h/t to writer Chris Cornell. An all time lyricist and singer, at least in my personal favorite listings.

      Well someone let the dogs out
      They’ll show you where the truth is
      The grass is always greener
      Where the dogs are $h*tting

    2. .Tom

      Lambert wrote

      > The effect of gathering so many golden retrievers togther seems exponential, rather than additive.

      Agreed. It’s a wonder no nasty fights broke out. Or maybe they did and those videos don’t get selected for sharing and for STV News.

  3. Benny Profane

    “Russia increasing unprofessional activity against U.S. forces in Syria”

    What a strange choice of words. “Unprofessional activity”. Is this my first encounter with an AI written headline?

    1. El Slobbo

      I’ve seen that word used recently in situations where the US military is successfully engaged in these types of interactions.
      I believe they’re trying to say something like “here we was, jus’ mindin’ our own business, and you come in and harass us for no reason at all.”

      1. jsn


        The Pirate Empire has established its beach head on Assad’s oil wells.

        It’s just so totally unprofessional to start scaring the pirates with fly overs!

      2. jrkrideau

        Of course it is unprofessional. Harassing illegal surveillance drones and overflying an outlaw base that helping is stealing Syrian oil in just not cricket. Why, it’s against God’s Laws the rules based order.

        I wonder if this means the Russians are getting a bit annoyed at US antics?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Thought the same thing when I read the headline.

      Found myself wondering what level of “professionalism” the use of cluster bombs indicates.

    3. caucus99percenter

      It reminded me of the part in the movie The Truman Show where the main character Truman Burbank (played by Jim Carrey) starts to suspect his “wife” is not what she seems. And indeed she isn’t, instead being (as is almost everyone Truman has ever known) a cast member of a 24/7 reality-TV show broadcast worldwide starring him.

      Seemingly out of control and raging in a way that is completely out of character for him, he terrifies her so much she breaks the fourth wall and appeals to the unseen producer-director, “I can’t work this way! It’s so unprofessional!”

      1. griffen

        Here I was trying to guess who played her in the above film and my guess was right, Laura Linney. I really enjoyed her portrayal in the HBO mini series about John Adams.

    4. hunkerdown

      No, the PMC actually talk and think like that. Think of them as the authoritarian English Puritan movement that refused to accept its own exhaustion and made the rest of the world suffer for it.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        They were NOT playing by the rules! Their columns were out of order, some of their soldiers hid behind trees and rocks instead of marching into our cannons! Their uniforms were not properly pressed, many wore mismatched socks!

        How can we be expected to fight such rabble?!!!

        1. Not Qualified to Comment

          I was gobsmacked when I heard of someone in the US Military say they wouldn’t/shouldn’t supply F-16’s to Ukraine “because conditions aren’t ideal for them.” I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised if the attitude of the US Military is that it would be ‘unprofessional’ of it to embark on a war in anything less than ideal conditions for it.

    5. Dan S

      How rude of the Russian military, there at the behest of the elected leader of Syria (whether you like it or not), to not just embrace the illegal occupation of Syria’s sovereign territory by the U.S. Trump let the cat out of the bag on this one when he bragged about being there to steal the oil.

    6. digi_owl

      Heh, i do wonder if the French knights reacted similarly when the English killed them rather than capture them for ransom.

    7. The Rev Kev

      The truth of the matter is that the Russians are in Syria legally whereas the US troops are just occupying parts of it and stealing their resources which is illegal under international law. And for a great power it is all a bit grungy and undignified. “Unprofessional activity” though is what the Pentagon says when it is the other guy that has the initiative but the Russians are very professional acting indeed. Just a day or two ago a group of saboteurs left the US base in Al-Tanf after receiving their training whereupon the Russians bombed the crap out of them as soon as they crossed the line. All very professional of course. :)

    8. Procopius

      > Is this my first encounter with an AI written headline?
      I doubt it. I’ve seen the phrase used frequently in the last year. It describes the case when a Chinese destroyer crosses in front of an American ship, 100 yards away. It describes the case where a Russian fighter flies within 20 meters of an American fighter or flies a circle around it. I can’t tell whether Chinese and Russian ships and planes are being more aggressive or the MSM is reporting their activity more often. The trouble is, if the ISIS forces camped 20 km from the American base in Syria attack the Americans, the MSM will report that the Iranians are behind it, so we can’t hope they’ll be able to drive the Americans out of their illegal base. I also wonder how many troops we actually have on the ground there. Is it 900 or 3,000? Or more?

    9. Mildred Montana

      “Unprofessional activity”

      These words mean nothing, say nothing, describe nothing, inform nobody. How many possible definitions of “unprofessional” and “activity” are there? Ten? Twenty? A hundred?

      I read the CBS article with trepidation, looking for clarification. Little to be found as expected but I did come across this nugget: “The U.S. did not have aircraft that could immediately respond because the Russian mission [of unprofessional activity] coincided with a “gap in coverage” Oops. Now 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 I can understand. American imperial forces finally over-extended?

      Back to my main point: Military jargon is meant to obscure, not enlighten. Orwell was onto their game eighty years ago. The Pentagon desk-jockeys who come up with these euphemisms should be “terminated with extreme prejudice” and the more “collateral damage” the better.

      1. Faz

        That’s a very good reference from Georg Carlin and his stand up on US euphemisms. Good on you!

    10. Young

      The penalty for unsportmen-like conduct is 15KM and repeat the first down.
      It is the ruskies causing this. Wagner boys would have scored a touchdown already.

  4. Wukchumni

    Are we ignoring the smokejumpers? Wildfire Today
    Hit 111 yesterday in Tiny Town as we settle into the 100 days of 100 degrees (an exaggeration on my part-there were a mere 66 days of Hades in Godzone last year) exacerbating fire conditions while formidable fuels dry out in the higher climes as is their wont.

    1970 was one of the biggest fire years in Cali up til that time, coming on the heels of the previous winter of record in 1969, and this winter was about 10% bigger, to add fuel to the fire.

    Smokejumpers would have been of little use in relations with our most recent old flame, the KNP Fire-which ignited by lightning strikes at night. It created inversion layers as it burned so not only could the wildfire not be fought from the air, they couldn’t fly as it was just too dangerous, forget about brave smokejumpers doing their thing.

    A somewhat sane country would recognize the true enemy of our time and get rid of the F-18’s & F-35’s et al at Naval Air Station Lemoore & Miramar down south, and replace them with firefighting aircraft of all types, to be shared with fighting other wildfires across North America, just as what would happen in Colorado Springs and Fort Lewis & elsewhere.

    If there was ever a need for remote control firefighting aircraft, the time is now and we should develop systems that can go into the heat of battle sans humans, such as the inversion layer mentioned above.

    1. Lexx

      ‘At Death Valley National Park, signs warn hikers not to venture out after 10am, and while rangers make patrols, there’s no guarantee lost tourists will be reached in time.’

      Don’t. Don’t get there in time, don’t risk your lives trying. Dawdle. Drag your feet with numerous coffee and piddle breaks. Don’t run, crawl. There’s a culling going on, a real and necessary thinning of the herd of excess morons roaming the planet taking selfies and improving their tans, giggling into the camera lens at their own audacity. Enamored with their nihilism, what they believe to be true over the facts in front of them… just let them go. Let today be their ‘end of days’. They still have purpose; they can feed the coyotes.

    2. Mildred Montana

      Where are all the people on their balconies waving flags and towels and honoring and celebrating wild-fire fighters everywhere? Saw it with the pandemic health-care workers. But no balcony celebrations for the fire-fighters, despite the fact they are bona fide heroes.

      Their job is incredibly dangerous, dirty, and physically demanding. Not one, I suspect, that many of us would volunteer for. But they do, even at the risk of their own lives (so far this wildfire year two fire-fighters have died on duty in Canada).

      So, as a Canadian, I would like to say to all those brave fire-fighters that I appreciate your efforts beyond all measure.

    3. ThirtyOne
      Complete with Saint Ronnie’s cousin!

      Firefighting deficiencies

      One aspect which several investigations brought to the fore was the impact on firefighting efforts. An investigation into the July 1994 South Canyon fire in Colorado, which killed 14 firefighters, concluded that “Air support was inadequate for implementing strategies and tactics.” Eitel has alleged that the reason for inadequate air support was that the aircraft from the exchange program which should have been available to fire managers were instead doing non-fire related work, some of it secret, around the world.[8]

    4. Kouros

      I am trying to start an e-petition with Canadian PM to replace half of the f-35 order (88 – 14.2 billion) with water bombers (~4.5 water bombers for an f-35). I am looking for non-relatives as five co-sponsors of the petition. They would really help to safeguard US security…

    1. timbers

      At some point Russia does need to change tactics if she wants to acquire her Oblasts. The question is when and what? Military Summary had some interesting info on a possible prelude of a Russian push from the north east around Kharkiv. But that’s Dima so take it with a grain of salt. He mentioned various battle tested generals being moved around as if on a chess board, and Ukraine been given almost limitless time to construct such formidable dragon defense in the east in areas Russia abandoned earlier he doubts they could ever be penetrated. If the Russian’s are as risk adverse as so many claim, at some point the most risk adverse course of action might be to wipe out the entirety of Ukraine “leadership” and cut the head off. Many of the folks running Ukraine can’t and will never be negotiated with if only becuase they will just get out and flee when things start to crumble because they have amassed fortunes via grift and probably escape destinations in the West. Zelensky does not strike me as being a martyr but rather an opportunist…he is not going to die for any cause but himself. He and his gang will fight to the last American dollar and Euro, and not a penny beyond that.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I believe that there is a solid reason why they are conducting the war the way that they are. At the moment they are grinding down the Ukrainian military with several hundred soldiers killed daily as well as dozens of armoured vehicles and tanks daily as well. The Russians actually announced last year that that was their intent. Sooner or later the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian State will collapse. At that point the west will see that there is nothing to do done and so will just walk away like they did in Afghanistan. But if right now the Russians pushed out giant columns in big arrow offensives, that would panic both Washington and Brussels. They would have to ‘do something’ and that something might be to send in NATO forces to relieve the Ukrainians thus getting NATO and Russia into a shooting war with each other, much to the delight of the Ukrainians. And Biden is just the person to do something stupid like that. So the Russians are opting for slowly, slowly, catchy monkey instead.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          thats how i see it, as well.
          attrit UKr of its men and materiel, until it collapses.
          theres no need to go all Big Arrow…and it would be counterproductive, anyway…for the reason you state…inviting nato in…but also for pr/diplomatic reasons. ROW is watching.
          Russia prolly wont do cluster munitions for this reason, as well…looks bad, stooping to USA levels.
          …and on that note, i’m still seeing Blob warmongers crowing that russia is losing because they havent leveled Kiev…bc thats what america would do, first day.
          i also keep hearing that Russia is losing the PR war…but limiting “collateral damage” looks like a PR boon, to me….at least as far as ROW is concerned…those who have felt the hegemon’s fist, especially.
          the American People…at least those i know…have no idea just how bad we’ve been, lo these many years.

          1. jrkrideau

            i also keep hearing that Russia is losing the PR war.
            It probably is in the 40 or so countries that are sanctioning it or supplying weapons to Ukraine.

            A lot of the rest of the world is likely thinking Afghanistan, Iraq, Somolia, Libya, Haiti, and so on. Or Wagner in Mali and the CAR looks pretty good.

          2. Procopius

            I agree with both of you, but I don’t understand why the Russians haven’t made an effort to push the Ukies out of Donetsk oblast. They’re shelling civilians every day. I haven’t seen an update, but before the beginning of the SMO I read frequently that 14,000 had been killed since the Maidan. I really don’t understand how the Russians can allow that to continue, unless the Ukies have built up defenses like those the Russians have built between Zaporizhzhia and Crimea.

        2. GramSci

          … and in the mean time Russia’s restraint wins it Peace Points across the Global South. Win win.

      2. Benny Profane

        No rush right now. I’m guessing that they are content to grind up western equipment and Ukranian men throwing themselves at the front line with zero to negative success, as they build up forces and manufacture more weapons. Most important date is November 3 (4?), 2024, when America decides if they want to continue with this idiocy with an obviously senile old man who wants the job at age 86. He’s not very popular, his running mate is much less popular, and it won’t be a good look for them at the convention with both a Ukranian and Afghan debacle on their report cards. Looks like they could avoid the real spike in the heart, a recession, but, who knows. It’s been a recession for the Deplorables for forty years.

        1. Ignacio

          If they expect Ukraine Will run out of ammo in 2-3 months makes sense waiting as long as the Ukranians keep consuming them Will little or no strategic success.

        2. jhallc

          George Beebe’s “Responsible Statecraft” article -“America’s strategy for the NATO alliance is failing” seems to come to the same realization and that a change in the West’s tactics to begin negotiations is the best option. He might be right, but he seems to have memory holed the fact that in the eyes of Russia the West is not agreement capable post Minsk II.

          1. Kouros

            George Beebe has a wonderful quote that I love to reproduce whenever there is an oportunity:

            The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I’m using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney. “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.

            The key word here is hoping


            1. Not Qualified to Comment

              In my humble opinion “we” never anticipated anything would be settled on the battlefield. “We” were confident our superior economic strength and diplomatic arm-twisting would have the toy armies of this gas-station with a flag scuttling away from the battlefield with its tail between its legs.
              As that failed and “we” had no backup plan “we” are now in the position of the playground bully whose bluff has been called. Creep away humiliated or take a beating.

      3. Lex

        I tend to agree with a change in tactics being necessary, except one possibility which I’m coming to think is the main Russian strategy. If Russia is banking on internal collapse of the Kiev regime, a change in tactics might not be necessary. Although in this scenario Russia would need to be prepared to move fast to take advantage of any chaos or collapse.

        Obviously banking on a collapse in Kiev is a risky strategy and it will be almost impossible to predict in terms of specific timing. But I think Kiev is a lot closer to cascading failure and collapse than many assume.

        1. Keith Howard

          I remember reading, during early phases of the Ukr/RF conflict, that the Russians were well placed to infiltrate the Ukrainian government, security, military, etc. networks. I wonder if this is still the case. Russia may know that Ukrainian cohesion is very tenuous.

      4. Polar Socialist

        Technically Russia has superior (tube and rocket) artillery, ground attack squadrons and organic combat engineer units so if anyone can go trough layered defenses, they can.

        I may be wrong, but to my understanding fuel-air-explosives like ODAB-500 and M0.1.01.04M2 (for TOS-2) can “clear” minefields by creating enough pressure to detonate any mine inside the explosion.

        Those and a UR-77 Meteorit platoon can make a hole big enough for a battalion in less than an hour.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Ah, forgot to add that several commentators have predicted August as the month Russia will make her move, if she’s going to make a move this year.

          On the other hand, Ukrainians are right now making a lot of noise about Russian offensive in the Kupyansk direction: Syrsky and his press secretary claim that 1000 tanks and 100,000 men are about to go into action (or have actually started already).

  5. Wukchumni

    Tour de France spectator who allegedly ‘wanted to get a selfie’ causes massive crash FOX
    I was in the saddle on a trusty somewhat rusty circa 2010 Schwinn Sting-Ray (by no means anything close to the 1972 version I received for my 11th birthday which had a slick back tire, banana seat, ape handlebars & a sissybar…}Rosebud}) in the peleton of the Tour de Burn last year, and the thing is you only need 1 speed @ Burning Man, for its dead flat, and better yet, an e-bike is the bomb and was my other ride, so we fixed things by electrifying the Sting-Ray, my ersatz e-chopper of sorts for this year.

    Do they allow e-bikes on the Tour de France yet?

    1. The Rev Kev

      E-bikes? They won’t even allow the riders to use caltrops. Where is the fun in that?

    2. Benny Profane

      When e-bile tech first arrived, oh, about ten years ago, there was suspicion and general paranoia that some riders were using it somehow, so they established a random x ray inspection process after stages. Nobody in the Tour was disqualified, but some have been found out in lessor events. An obvious signal would be weight. Top Tour bikes are very light. E bike components add a lot of weight.

      1. Benny Profane

        I have to add, though, as a cyclist in his golden years, if somebody has invented a lightweight e assist device that I can hide from others, my credit card is ready, along with a few bottles of the drugs that some claim made Lance fast. But, I’m pretty sure that every one of those TDF riders would blow me and most mortals away on an old Schwinn with clean blood. They are genetic freaks. It’s amazing sporting event.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for link although it seems to debunk the allegation. If cheating is taking place it’s probably via the old fashioned way.

        It does say something that people still don’t trust the Tour and that these contests of endurance more than skill are more spectacle than sport and shouldn’t be viewed quite so moralistically. Surely in the end it’s all meant to be entertainment.

  6. jsn

    Stoller, Stoller, Stoller….

    Its not manufacturing the Economist hates with a passion hotter than the sun.

    Its the people who actually do it they want to see starving like they inflicted on the Irish in the Potato Famine. Same people, same program, just a broader ambition this time.

    1. hunkerdown

      Stoller, despite his good works, is nonetheless employed in the PMC function of preserving capitalist culture and capitalist class relations. He has pieties to attend to, regardless of his beliefs. That’s what the institution of work is really about: sacrificing yourself on guessing someone else’s dreams.

      1. Mikel

        “That’s what the institution of work is really about: sacrificing yourself on guessing someone else’s dreams.”

        The work culture is also about consumerism. From the commute to the clothes to the gifts, etc.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “The Incredible Shrinking NATO”

    Orlov has got a point about the failure of western military equipment. Rumour has it that after watching the Leopard 2s burn on the Ukrainian Steppes, that the British demanded that all their donated Challenger tanks – with their depleted uranium rounds – be pulled back west and not be deployed on the front lines. That is why you do not hear about them anymore. The Germans may be training Ukrainians to drive Abrams tanks but they will not be a wonder weapon either but will burn too. Would you believe that a German reporter let it slip that one of those crewmen is 61 years old? And if the fabled F-16s ever go to the Ukraine, they will not last long in a modern war theater either. This whole war must be kicking over a lot of cozy tea wagons around the world. You have all these nations either being bribed or threatened to buy western military gear and you are now getting a daily demonstration of how all that money will just go up in smoke. Why invest too much in armoured vehicles when you can buy Russian Lancet drones to take out your enemy’s armoured vehicles instead? So this may all end up changing how militaries around the world does business but it remains to be seen if this will be true of NATO as well.

    1. Ben Gunn

      I can’t help but wonder if the Western MIC/Capitalists/Globalists don’t care about outcomes since they’ve gamed the possible if/then results to 6-7 levels and have a plan for each. For example, if all of the West’s 4 generation military equipment is destroyed, then gear up MIC replacement production! Never mind that we no longer know how to design and manufacture functional equipment anymore, since the process is designed to manufacture profits, not systems that works in the field.

      “Oh well” about Ukraine as a functioning entity. Let there be a corrupt, Nazi-run, Russia-hating rump state on whatever new borders arise. Let Europe absorb the millions of refugee Ukrainians to facilitate the coming Balkanization of Europe into smaller, warring, easy to plunder, units. The same for the US, although that is another game altogether.

    2. nippersdad

      As regards those Challenger tanks that are no longer being deployed, one also has to wonder how many of those DU rounds the Russians managed to destroy back at the Polish border a few months ago. If you are out of bullets, the gun really isn’t much use.

      1. vao

        The question is all the more relevant since the cannon on the Challenger II requires a special kind of shell whose production was discontinued years ago. Yes, the Brits have been living off their accumulated reserves of old tank ammunition.

    3. .Tom

      “Orlov has got a point …”. I agree with that. He says “NATO is a captive buyers’ club for US-made weapons” and, yes, that’s right but that’s not all it is. I think NATO serves many purposes and that Orlov identifies an important one. But the array of purposes are many, dynamic and complicated just like the interests of the politics and businesses that try to make something for themselves by manipulating NATO.

    4. EssCetera

      Perhaps tank warfare and/or mechanized infantry thrust is now obsolete, maybe even air forces and navies, even combined arms are demonstrably not able to be combined here, the entire Western military doctrine is out the window.

  8. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    ‘Semper finance’ was our motto in the corps and every ether-neck knew their duty was to faithfully make money online somehow, with cryptocurrency being the favored way as far as incursions on the internet went, utilizing bit and run tactics.

    1. jsn

      “Semper Finance”, I like that!

      Why kill when you can get the money to do it for you.

      Its the battle cry of the Neoliberal ratchet.

      1. Wukchumni

        …from the haul @ Montezuma during the Tequila Crisis in ’94, to the shoring up of Tripoli after Gaddafi

  9. SET

    It would be great to have a link to that short Michael Hudson video on inflation. I found the 1:03:33 version, but haven’t yet had the time to view it. The short version would be much better to share on faceBorg

    1. GramSci

      You can right-click on the embedded video to get a link, but I don’t think my PMC sisters will understand this explainer. That’s a shame, because my sisters, although they are now PMC and woke and supported Hillary, were raised as FDR Democrats and can still be reached.

      I’m loathe to find myself again in the role of critic, but I greatly value Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, and Ben Norton’s work, and so I hope the following criticism will prove constructive.

      The first frames identifying two kinds of inflation are critical and clear, and the final frames about economists blaming workers are critical and clear, but until I turned on closed captions and slowed things down to 75%, I got lost in the middle section. My sisters will not turn on closed captions and fiddle with the speed settings in order to give the video a fair hearing. They’ll just see simple illustrations of a message they don’t quite understand, their eyes will glaze over, and they’ll move on.

      Entering the middle section. Dr. Hudson’s statement that the Fed has pumped $9T into asset price inflation is critical and clear. But then, we’re told this isn’t important because Milton Friedman was wrong and inflation is NOT always a consequence of monetary policy.

      Then, with pictures of what might be WWI warplanes, I got confused when I heard “non-monetary” as “non-military” — and, indeed, on re-listening the closed captioning also heard “non-minetary” while the script went on to talk about sanctions against Russia. Amidst this confusion of monetary and military, the script segued in mid-sentence to “the pharmaceutical crisis”. To this my PMC sisters would respond, “What pharmaceutical crisis?” They all have money and good health and haven’t really been paying attention. Then came a cartoon of Martin Shkreli, but confounding the confusion of the abrupt segue, the script only says “who vastly increased other prices”. What other prices? On screen we did see a pill, and the price $13.50 flashed by, fleetingly replaced by $750.

      My sisters are capable of vaguely recalling that Martin Shkreli was a bad guy, but given that (a) his name was misspelled in the cartoon, (b) mispronounced by the narrator, and so yet again (c ) differently misspelled by the closed captioning, I doubt this segment would have rung a bell with them. Better that the cartoon had statically displayed “$13.50 –> $750.00 = 5,455%” and that the narrator had said something explicit like “Martin Shkreli, who after acquiring the license to manufacture the 1953 anti-malarial drug Daraprim, now being used against AIDS, raised its price 5,455%.” My sisters would have heard and remembered that, because they are very woke.

      This could be a great video, and it deserves a remake. I’ll send the creators money to do so in the fall when my Minimum Required Distribution IRA slush fund gets its annual infusion.

      1. JBird4049

        The first frames identifying two kinds of inflation are critical and clear, and the final frames about economists blaming workers are critical and clear, but until I turned on closed captions and slowed things down to 75%, I got lost in the middle section. My sisters will not turn on closed captions and fiddle with the speed settings in order to give the video a fair hearing. They’ll just see simple illustrations of a message they don’t quite understand, their eyes will glaze over, and they’ll move on.

        Huh? Warning, slight(?) rant, here. I get annoyed when people whinge about the length or complexity of something especially of videos or the average textbook; Me with the aging brain get that following and understanding new things can be hard, but if this this aging college student can figure some of these books I have to read, so can they. It is like somebody whining about the long writings with their multiple clauses of writers from the American Revolution. It is not a mystery as to why some want the educational system dumbed down or why the internet with its memes and short takes make paying attention, following the connections, and making up your own mind after thinking about is so fricking hard for some.

        Thinking is hard. Program me, please.

        1. GramSci

          Preaching to the choir is easy. Teaching the handicapped is hard. They too serve who only copyedit.

    2. GramSci

      What inflation?

      Meanwhile FAIR, whose reporting I have often trusted, has this Don’t Worry Be Happy piece.

      Of course the story is all about the CPI and how good employment is — no mention of stuff like housing, homelessness, or yield spreads.

      Can Uncle Joe keep the war economy humming until November 2024? The Europeans will have to continue to sacrifice their economy for the U.S., but I don’t see that they any longer have much choice, so I think he just might.

  10. spud

    once your usefulness to the clintonites is gone, zelensky is a dead man walking, just like epstein

  11. petal

    Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours Vt. flooding hotspots

    “HARDWICK, Vt. (WCAX) – The U.S. Secretary of Transportation will be in Vermont to tour the destruction left by the recent flooding.

    From 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, Secretary Pete Buttigieg will join Governor Phil Scott and other state leaders on a tour of damaged sites. That includes the Inn by the River in Hardwick and the Hardwick Rail Trail Bridge.”

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Maybe I’m too cynical, but three electoral votes gets the three hour tour?!? That’s it?

      Here’s hoping for some uncharted isle in Lake Champlain the SoT might wind up shipwrecked on, desert or otherwise.

  12. ilsm

    Orlov is definitely must read! shrinking nato.

    to expand: us military industry complex weapon systems from ‘for profit corporate arsenals’ are unsuited to anything more than low intensity, no threat, 3rd world guerilla operations.

    unsuited is derived from suitable, a weapon is tested for effectiveness, it goes fast, long distance, with heavy load and bombs or shoots the target to destruction. effective is needed, but the weapon has to do it every day, numerous times a day and for weeks. that is the second engineering mandate: suitable!

    us weapons are not suitable, they are difficult to maintain bc the designers ran out of money trying (usually failing) to be effective. so they use up the money which would have built and provisioned repair plans, they also ran out of money to ‘harden’ the design for reliability and to manufacture a quality, reliable product. so the less than great effectiveness is complemented with failed reliability and shoddy contractor provided repair systems!

    f-35 is 20 year of bumbling through the failed engineering process!

    f-16 had a huge issue with engines failing in flight in the late 70’s eraly 80″!

    the movie pentagon wars about bradley was prophetic!

    m-1 tank is 50 years old, bradley that old….

    us’ nuclear armageddon machine needs a couple of trillion, more of the above engineering for profit!

    this is not new it has been going on since c-5 in the 1960’s, the for profit arsenal must be profitable all else is secondary.

    shrunken us war machine but lots of healthy companies!

    it is almost like the f-35 needs to be scrapped and more engines bought for f-16!

    1. Bsn

      Nice discussion about “The Twilight of American Elites” on the Multipolarity podcast a couple days ago. In depth discussion about, essentially, the USA eating it’s seed corn – militarily. Interesting however is their treatment of possible nuclear war. They seem to think a small percentage of people will survive, pull up their bootstraps and just get ‘er done again. Au contraire mon frere. Link:

    2. Old Jake

      shrunken us war machine but lots of healthy companies!

      You mean like Boeing? These healthy companies look good in the tests used to score them, but if they had to step out of their hothouse and actually manufacture effective products, they are not likely to look so healthy. It seems it has been more than forty years since they had to do that, and a lot can be lost in that time.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Slave Trade Legacies in Britain and the Question of Reparations”

    This whole issue is one of those ones deliberately set up to divide people and to get them fighting each other. Besides, how can reparations work in a country like the US when there was so much ‘nocturnal traffic, going on over the past coupla centuries? A coupla years ago you had this idiot white supremacist on TV going on about racial purity. So they gave him a DNA test and when the results came back, his own organization turfed him out.

    I have an idea. Instead of reparations, how about using that money to wipe out present day slavery for once and for all. I’m sure that all those spooks and finance people can identify the main players. And while they are at it, they can go after a subdivision of slavery – child trafficking. That alone is apparently now a multi-billion dollar industry. But based on the present outrage over that film “Sound of Freedom”, I would not expect any support for this idea from either our elites or even our ‘betters.’

    1. katiebird

      Have you seen that movie? An online friend has asked me to see it a couple of times. But I don’t go to theaters. And the title sounds un-entertaining. Is it an actual movie? or what?

      1. petal

        It’s a real movie, starring Jim Caviezel and Mira Sorvino. It’s about a former government agent that tries to rescue kids from sex traffickers in Colombia.

        1. Aleric

          Or, cover for the Mormons who are trying to buy children in poor countries – they are actually trying to “stop” sex trafficking, honest, officer.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Not yet but would wait until it comes out on DVD as I won’t risk cinemas these days. I don’t think that it has been released in Oz yet in any case. But here is the Critical Drinkers take- (5:48 mins) – some swearing

        But what I found really remarkable about this film is the outcry against it by, shall we say, the usual suspects? The typical smear is that it is QAnon adjacent.

        1. William

          It’s based on the life of Tim Ballard. He went rogue 10 days before vesting his pension to save some kids in Columbia. Set up a sting there and rescued 56 kids. Has since set up a non profit and saved 5000 kids. They use undercover operators etc. It’s called o.u.r. it is a good movie, and a good cause. The backlash is crazy. Our own govt has stated that trafficking is a huge problem.. one disturbing thing happening now is with the undocumented kids at the border. They show up at the border with a name, and our govt transports them to that sponsor. Only one third are going to parents. There is very little vetting of the sponsors happening by health and human resources. It’s not good

          1. Aleric

            Tim Ballard is a serial liar and much of the movie is a right-wing fantasy. His “rescuing” involves cultivating criminal networks that steal children from poor families in poor countries and sell them into Mormon and other religious adoption networks. Along with the push to legalize child labor, this is propaganda cover for an agenda to make Quiverfull-type movements self-financing.

            1. william

              Do you have any proof of the allegations you make? Are you denying that human trafficking is happening or are you stating that it isn’t a problem, just a right wing fantasy? His career and actions are right out there in the open. The movie isn’t political at all. Its a story based on the career of one guy who is trying to save kids from the worst kind of slavery. I for one think he did a great thing and is trying to continue doing great things. Nothing political about wanting to save kids,

        1. c_heale

          I have watched quite a few of his videos, and as good as they are, he doesn’t review more arty/foreign movies like Parasite for example. He tends to stick to standard Hollywood fare, and some of “humour”is too repetitive, and not that funny imo. He also comes across as reactionary at times.

  14. Ghost in the Machine

    Chemically induced reprogramming to reverse cellular aging Aging.

    My intuition tells me to wait on this until I see the effects on cancer incidence after a few years.

  15. Kurtismayfield

    And they only studied it for a week, just to see if it works temporarily. I would love to see a five year study with regular doses on an actual human, but that is a decade away. That won’t stop the anti aging crowd from trying to use these treatments however.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      please – i hope the anti-ageing crowd jumps the shark and does experiment with it and all the consequences inherent manifest and come to rest upon them – a fruitless endeavor imo and rather narcissistic a wee bit me thinks – myself no interest, just enjoying the passage on the one-way road –

      1. albrt

        Seems like this is the only meaningful way drugs are going to get tested going forward – trial by fire and then let somebody try to sort out the excess deaths and disabilities five years down the road.

  16. Pat

    Ely and Ike are true antidotes to a buzzing litany of issues. I’m not familiar with Icelandic sheepdogs, but I can imagine them being wonderful examples of the best of herding dogs. Bright, hardworking, funny, inventive and on top of everything.
    Thanks for sharing Dezert Dog. (And if it isn’t too much add a little praise and a treat to those lovely dogs from me.)

  17. Henry Moon Pie


    Jacobin published an article yesterday titled “The Problem With Degrowth” by Matt Huber, a geographer teaching at Syracuse. I can’t decide if he’s a Marxist Eco-modernist or an Eco-modernist Marxist, but whichever he is, he’s thoroughly into Cornucopia Earth and Salvation by Technology. Nowhere does he concede that there might be limits to growth. His approach is quite similar to those on the Right who deny even the reality of Overshoot, claiming it’s all just a hoax by the WEF to take away their Maypo.

    Overall, it would be quite sad to build a socialist movement capable of seizing the means of production only to prohibit from the outset the further development of the productive forces. Socialism is not stasis. What about fusion power? Curing cancer? We still have so much left to accomplish as a species that capitalism might be holding us back from.

    The distinct whiff of Eco-modernism there.

    Or this:

    But as soon as the concept of fixed planetary boundaries was proposed, it was hotly debated and critiqued by scientists of various stripes. And, even if we accept that the science on these boundaries is fixed and settled, it is not at all clear that the answer to many of them is degrowth or aggregate reductions. Again, the solution to climate change requires at least initially a massive expansion of production and infrastructure investment.

    “Various stripes?” I think we know who he’s referring to. Pure denialism there.

    How about this?

    Foster’s essay contains many other strange claims — including the suggestion that “labor itself might be substituted for fossil-fuel energy,” a proposal that would condemn us to a more labor-intensive economy of drudgery — but at its core, Foster’s degrowth socialism is yet another attempt to dress up post-1960s environmental ideology in Marxist clothing.

    Keep industrial Big Ag going, by all means. We sure wouldn’t want to have more farmers engaging in permaculture methods, building soil and sequestering carbon.

    This essay either demonstrates that this guy knows little about systems analysis, ecology and Marxism, or, if his characterization of Marxism is accurate, that Marxism hasn’t a clue when it comes living on a finite planet. I doubt the latter is true, but I’ll leave it to those much more familiar with the Bearded One to show where Huber is wrong.

    Degrowth is definitely past the “Ignore” stage.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Huber’s piece was partly in response to a piece in Monthly Review by John Bellamy Foster titled, “Planned Degrowth: Ecosocialism and Sustainable Human Development.” Foster accepts that degrowth is the appropriate path for socialists at this point. No wonder Huber, who wrote another piece celebrating reaching 8 billion in population, is on the warpath against us Doomers. More fusion! Decouple! Progress ad infinitum et ultra!

      1. hemeantwell

        Agreed on your basic point. Jacobin has adopted what they think of as a worker-friendly line, they’re worried about backing policies involving job loss and thereby risking ties with unions. The failed guarantees made by the globalization crew that job losses would be covered by retraining make a big picture argument hard to sell. I’ve seen no account so far of just who in the union movement they talk with but most of labor is far from visionary on these issues. The labor movement’s political weakness hobbles their analytic courage,

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Unions are an obstacle just like they were to the anti-war movement with exceptions like the Reuthers and the UAW. Unions went down two wrong paths: conceding any say over how things were done and produced and limiting concerns primarily to wages and benefits; forsaking organizing for reliance on the execrable Democrat Party.

          If we were (note the contrary-to-fact subjunctive) to really respond to this situation, we’d have to realize that every job has an ecological footprint. There are a few jobs, like being a subsistence farmer employing permaculture, that could have a negative footprint. These need to be expanded, but some land will need to be taken from Gates et al. and given to the farmers. Otherwise, we’d need to pare down to what was essential with a UBI as the replacement. Covid provided an opportunity to test how we might make this adaption, and we know how that went.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            reading you reminds me of Saul Wellman – met Saul through his daughter and son-in-law in the mid 60’s and had opportunities to sit with him and listen about unions and the machinations of capitalism – he fought in the Lincoln Brigade against fascists in Spain – an old-time commie along with his wife Peggy – an immense amount of love and understanding of working folks and the forces aligned against them – and there is a long story of the forces aligned against Saul and Peggy – they were both union organizers, he with printers and her with hotel & restaurant workers – feel privileged to have known them – don’t have much hope myself that things will settle out equitably – but do enjoy reading through the commentariat daily and know there are few out there around the world with a grasp greater than mine and able to expound – thank you all again, it does get a bit lonely out here –

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              Thanks for your kind comment. I had some experience in the union bureaucracy when I was young, and even though it was union recognized for being clean of corruption and progressive politics–that’s why I worked for them–the careerism in DC was overwhelming. It seemed to choke the honesty and commitment out of people. I know there were exceptions to that, but I didn’t run into many of them.

              What really informed my understanding was a couple who live here in Ohio: Staughton and Alice Lynd. They have served the downtrodden, right to convicted killers in the state prison, all their lives. Staughton was the child of academics and was tenure track in history at Yale, having already been the instructor for the kids going to Mississippi Freedom Summer. Then he and Dellinger and Bob Moses organized the first large march against the war in DC. Yale said goodbye, just like it did to David Graeber for his political activities.

              So he and Alice got law degrees and set up shop as Legal Aid in Youngstown as it was going downhill. His book, Solidarity Unionism, is where I got those ideas about labor’s mistakes. He spoke at the IWW convention, and spoke about why he never joined the Wobs. Too bureaucratic, LOL.

              I’ve told this story here before, but when he was asked about that at a local Wob gathering, after we had wasted his and Alice’s time doing motions and seconds and all the rest, he told a story about Mississippi Freedom Summer when they first heard that Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were missing. He said, “We had to decide so many things. Would we send more kids down there? Would we pull those who were there out? What could we do to help find those three? We didn’t make any motions. We didn’t make any points of order. We gathered in a circle, held hands and sang, ‘Kumbaya.'” (He then launched into what amounted to a tirade for a Quaker against Tom Brokaw and the way he characterized that as a song of the weak and naive.) After they finished, people began volunteering to do things one-by-one. Bob Moses would begin calling the parents of the kids to get a consensus of what they should do. Stokely Carmichael would go down through the backwoods and conduct his own search, and so on. At a point, he choked up and could not go on. Alice held his hand. They were already in their 80s. It was an extraordinary moment. We were there in Oberlin with them in 1965 for a while.

              I was around them several times with the Wobs. Never once did we gather with him that he didn’t have us sing together, usually “Solidarity Forever.” It was pretty funny hearing this group, with a lot of anarcho-punk head bangers, singing a melody.

              He once told me, wherever you are, find out what the people need. Do what you have to do–get training, acquire a skill–to enable yourself to help them. He was fond of the ideas of Archbishop Romero.

              Good advice. I see a number of the commentariat talking about what they’re doing in their neighborhoods, and there are an encouraging number of people taking that advice whether they’re aware of Staughton Lynd or not. There can never be too many of them, especially in these times.

          2. Don


            The last serious, effective anti-war movement I recall was anti-the-war-on-Vietnam, and, tho’ I can’t comment with authority on the movement in the USA, in Canada, unions were essential to it, and at its heart.

            But that was then, and now — what anti-war movement?

            1. Jabura Basaidai

              pretty sad isn’t it – all those folks from my generation that protested the war in Vietnam now feel patriotic cheering on the the proxy war in Ukraine – my friends that feel patriotic do not see the irony or duplicity –

      2. Darthbobber

        And the difference in the articles is striking. Foster’s is an attempt at a serious analysis. Huber’s is a high school debater’s first negative speech

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      well, it does take resources…including energy…to gear up for post carbon…or even for post-big ag.
      i’m living proof.
      polycarbonate r-panels for the big greenhouse come from somewhere, after all…and it aint the landfill.
      a lot of the stuff ive been toiling away at all these years was sourced from the landfill, of course…or diverted from it altogether…but such extreme recycling presupposes a functioning resource base: old telephone poles only get tossed when there’s new ones to take their place, for instance.
      all that said, i agree…degrowth will happen on its own, chaotically, and too late for the humansphere.

      i look upon my works and think: what i could have done with .0000001% of cargill’s executive compensation….or a similar percentage of what raytheon gobbled up in the last 6 months.
      theres only a labor shortage out here because people like me cant pay workers.
      because theres no market(yet) for what i produce(cant compete with slave produced produce)…and so on.
      then i remember Cuba’s Special Period, when their radical reordering of domestic ag caused a global shortage of mules.

      i can see the end, finally, of the infrastructure(sans the post-Mom stuff, like wind power, etc…given a still functional life insurance industry)…and then its clean and organise for a year, prolly…and then i’m ready to teach.
      Amfortas’ Lyceum of Autarky and Radical Horticulture, or something.
      send graduates out to found new Lyceii…and evengelise at the margins.
      given a tiny fraction of the welfare we’ve provided Big Ag, this could have been happening already.
      that’s the sad part.

      and i just whipped up another gallon of pesto– on-farm, but for the olive oil–and packed in the little jars i habitually never throw away.
      top of the bar fridge, for xmas presents to my neighbors.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s a good vision for the future. My best guess, informed by Octavia Butler’s prophecies about our era, is that post-collapse, there will be a great competition among the survivors to establish a new paradigm based on a new worldview. Autarky and Radical Horticulture, taught by a guy who’s actually a practitioner, will be a strong competitor in that world. I would say that your Lyceum may end up being the Harvard of a post-growth world, but I wouldn’t want to insult you. ;)

        And your point that we need some stuff to actually make a less-than-desperate transition to a New World is exactly the reason for a degrowth mentality. Kiss Happy Motoring and vacations in Tuscany good-bye so we can conserve resources for what we need to survive in a world where the weather often sucks and the energy available to do stuff is drastically reduced, if for no other reason than the rapidly decreasing EROI.

        But no, there’s not going to be any planned descent so we can do that kind of triage. It’s YOYO, and you’re actually doing it.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          what i worry about, in “coming out” like that…is the almost inevitable backlash by the Empire:

          thus far, my efforts at subversion have not even been grass root…but rather at the mycorhizae level…socratic corruption of the youth, by asking socratic questions when they’re drinking beer and grilling dead animals out here.
          …or working for me when i have a lil extra money.
          (a good number of these kids who have worked out here have gone on to work at the City or County…including at the landfill…and they bring me lumber, metal and even perfectly fine folding work tables and such, cats bringing you dead mice….because when theyd go there with me, we’d run by the metal pile…or i’d say “grab that!”…and it took hold)

          but to reveal myself openly…well, its rather intimidating.

          1. GramSci

            When I lived twixt Dayton and Cincinnati, we had lots of good grassroots action going on at the local flea markets–Billionaires for Bush and Single Payer petition drives. These were some monster flea markets, and the best media buy in Ohio. On a good day, a $20 table and a $20 tux from E-bay could buy you 10,000 eyeballs.

            One large flea market did kick us out after we got too anti-Iraq War, but the clientele found our B for B street theater funny, and the other markets kept us on as a draw.

            B for B was especially effective when we could get both Billionaires for Bush and Billionaires for Kerry facing each other on opposite sides of the aisle, with prominent Skull and Bones insignia.

            If family didn’t have other plans for me, I’d move back there just to do flea market agitprop.

          2. Henry Moon Pie

            Tragic and infuriating. And in groovy Austin to boot. We could use people like Kellogg on the East Side.

            I had hoped the Wob folks I was with for a while would head this direction. At one point, we were talking about establishing a worker center, but they were into classic workplace organizing, a good thing too.

            It’s sadly a risk to do anything that has the ring of permanence to it. The State can swat you or your organization quite easily if you’ve invested in real estate. As for permits, we had to get one to get the electric company to hook up our new panel. Once we passed, we could move in–with extension cords for a while–and inspections were not practical after that. We still get them for things outside like fences, but the interior work, five bathrooms, wiring 2,500 square feet in two houses,etc.–has been done anarchist style. Like the tree-top flyer, we could get caught, but given the state of city government, that’s unlikely UNLESS we got too visible.

            You have a lot at stake there and have every right to be cautious.

            But I believe that day is not far off when the niceties of permits et al. will be in the rear view mirror. We’re not far from that here in this part of the city.

            “Wise as serpents,” some guy said.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              only permits out here in the county/country are to do with septic. i bypassed that by doing composting toilets, which the county rules do not contemplate…so it reverts to state law, which i adhered to in the design.
              electric company is a coop, and i’m a member…and know all those guys.
              havent given me any grief, yet.

              once mom is gone(82) and stepdad’s property tax exemption expires(disabled vet), i expect BS galore from the appraisal district…but i’m more than ready to go to the mat with them…kept all teh receipts, and so much of what i built was from salvaged material from their own landfill. i am well known hereabouts for this,lol.
              ie: if that woodshed cost me whatever nails cost, it aint to be valued as if it were platinum coated.
              their market based(sic) algorithm be damned.
              (like they adhere to all that religiously anyway,lol…only when it suits them)
              other than that…nothing legal to be done about lil ol me and my anarcho-socialist-libertarian activities.
              i make a point of not bothering them unless i’m bothered with first.
              and when that happens, i’m known to be a PITA.
              a snarling PITA that will pay them in unrolled pennies and call down the muckraker hordes.
              its the extralegal, pseudovigilante BS i worry about*.
              …and corporate nonsense like the sandplant that almost happened…and bs from higher up the government ladder.

              (*lots of hidden christofascists around here.
              ive been ignored by them, because i dont run in their world…dont do meth, either,lol….and i share a lot of their antigov sentiments, if for very different reasons)

              ive considered a sort of Straussian exoteric/esoteric approach…cooking and gardening classes for the former…and the autarky/Think Like a State stuff for the latter.

              1. Henry Moon Pie

                “extralegal, pseudovigilante BS i worry about”

                These are the christofascists? Are they acting in concert? We have gangs here that duke it out in the streets with AK-47s They’re organized. If they quit fighting themselves and set targets, it will get interesting. Seems like some parts of the country that’s already happening.

                Septic tanks sent me back on memory lane. We have a picture still of when we were building the adobe in NM and we were putting in our septic. I forget the gallonage, but it was blue plaster, about 5-6′ in diameter and 8′ long or so. Red Trambley, with very red hair indeed, is on his backhoe, dangling the tank from a rope while I guide it into the hole. Red was the descendant of a Fort Union soldier from who knows where who married a local girl and stayed in NM.

                And that appraisal stuff is such a racket. We saw the political side of it in SC where we had a nice house and really got nailed with a re-appraisal. The neighbor and his son were big politicos with more land, and their increase was negligible. What are you going to do in a rural setting and you’re a Yankee?

                Be safe, and I’ll try to do the same.

  18. Darthbobber

    “rescuing the future from Silicon Valley”, the author apparently thinks that one of Musk and Zuck’s biggest faults is that they are white and male. And the body periodically frames things as a toxic masculinity problem.

    In solutions, after an exceedingly brief reference to unspecified proposed legislation and antitrust measures, the main “solution” turns out to be

    “Regulation and the enforcement of laws will not, by themselves, be enough. We will also have to create space and preserve energy for alternative futures to emerge and be nurtured. Instead of Marc Andreessen or Sam Altman’s visions of the future, let’s figure out how to make more room for Afrofuturism and Chicano futurism and Desi futurism and feminist futures. To do this will require the movement of ideas, people, and capital. Philanthropy must play a major role, and where possible the resources of the state should be directed away from projects aligned with Silicon Valley, and towards projects that think beyond it.”

    So grift, basically.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Russia pulls out of Black Sea grain deal”

    ‘Moscow’s move puts at risk tens of millions of tonnes of food exports from Ukraine’

    Yeah, where are all those Portuguese pigs going to get their cheap grain from now? They could have fulfilled the terms of the deal and all that food and fertilizers would have been going to poorer nations but these western nations could not just allow the Russians a single solitary win and so now the deal is finished. Erdogan will complain but it seems that he was getting a cut of the profits of all the grain going to Turkiye. Now that the deal is finished, the Russians can start bombing the port facilities in Odessa in preparation for perhaps taking it and the grain corridor can no longer be used by the Ukrainians for attacking Crimea or smuggling in weapons aboard grain ships.

    1. hemeantwell

      MoAlabama has a good piece on this

      e.g. .While the AP assertion that more than half of the grains goes to ‘developing countries’ is technically correct, it does not really say anything useful but obfuscates the real numbers.

      The total of Ukrainian grain exports to the eight ‘least developed’ countries, of which seven are also ‘low income’, was just 1,896,077 metric tons or 6.8% of the total. For comparison Spain, a ‘developed country’ with ‘high income’, imported a total of 5,980,657 metric tons of grain from Ukraine which is a whooping 19.4% of the total.

      The 116 million people in ‘developing’, ‘low-income’ Ethiopia received a total of 282,760 metric tons while the 17.8 million people in the ‘developed’, ‘high income’ Netherlands bought 1,920,649 metric tons of mostly corn feed for pigs.

    2. Lex

      I have a growing feeling that the grain deal itself is a near pointless exercise. In 2022 Ukraine was exporting its 2021 crop. The 2022 crop was 40% less than 2021. At this point, the majority of Ukraine’s best agricultural land is controlled by Russia, within active combat zones or lost irrigation. Most reports I’ve read indicate that Ukrainian farmers planted a lot less in 2023 than in 2022 and inputs are massively expensive, which means that yields will be down. Reduced yields will be most noticeable in the western half of the country where the soil is not the famous “black earth” and so heavily dependent on mineral inputs; this portion of Ukriane’s farmland is generally used to grow animal fodder.

      I think the Ukrainian sources I read most often exaggerate, but an actual collapse of the Ukrainian agricultural sector might be a realistic possibility. Ukraine should keep all of its domestically produced food for its population, but it won’t and that will make 2024 even worse for the average Ukrainian.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        You are absolutely correct re the grain deal. I cannot imagine that UKR has any significant amount of grain available for export in 2023 (whether to poor starving Africans or to wealthy EU agroholdings). It’s all just posturing and virtue signaling at this point, much like NATO dumping its old weapons and ammo on the UKR and claiming that’s it’s providing valuable help. Much like the help the bull provides to the cow, methinks.

        That said, UKR has wonderfully fertile farmland and will eventually recover its role as a breadbasket. But not anytime soon.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Russia had a good harvest and is expecting even better one this year. They have already increased their grain exports to cover twice the missing Ukrainian grains.

          Unfortunately the EU can’t buy Russian grain for animal food directly because of the sanctions and not fulfilling the obligations in the grain deal.

          In a decent world at least one member of the media would bring that up somewhere, somehow.

  20. Ignacio

    The inexpiable crime Africa is a Country

    Something that supposed leaders like Macron and many others manage to avoid considering is that institucional violence is a particularly problematic one. It leaves a feeling on impotence on the families and anyone that might consider him/herself the next victim of such violence, regardless of any justification that might be given. So, institutional violence should be the last resource used only when risks are overwhelming.

    Yet an increasing number of political figures see this as a solution. Let’s get rid of the scum and problem solved. Yeah, videogames are the problem and we just have to e to turn our police into another gamer with the most powerful weapons. Fear will solve the problem.

    I , on the contrary, believe that recourse to violence engenders more violence but who am I to say anything to the greatest leaders of sll times.

    1. Aurelien

      The problem isn’t institutional violence, it’s societal violence. For a generation now, people who live and work in these areas have been pointing out that the effective retreat of the state from “difficult” areas since the 1990s has handed them over to ethno-criminal groups who rule by violence. The rioters of a few weeks ago have known violence all their lives, in the home, in the school playground, and in gangs and “clans.” They live in perfect anarcho-capitalist enclaves, where the market rules and law is dictated by the strongest. The level of domestic violence among groups of immigrant extraction is frightening, and it’s a well-kept dirty secret because racism. There are many one-parent families, and many unwanted children because of a cultural refusal to use contraception.

      A lot of things have been tried: billions have been spent in the “difficult” areas since 2005, and libraries, sports centres and new schools have been built, only to be destroyed in the recent riots. A fortune has been made by specialists in “anti-racist” training, and school curricula have been revised to encourage children to reject pretty much all of traditional French history. But the fact is that the state does not control these areas, and the people who live in them have had enough of being ruled by drug dealers and seeing their children’s lives ruined. They are demanding a more muscular response, and perhaps that’s all you can do: how would you react if you were the mayor of a commune whose house was attacked by rioters driving a burning car into it and pursuing your family into the garden trying to kill them? The problems are so deep-seated that the state will have its work cut out even dealing with just the consequences.
      If it’s of interest, my Substack essay last week was partly on these issues.

      1. vao

        Except that the situation is more complicated than that, and, I would venture, even more intractable, because the inhabitants of the well-to-do areas are taking part in the riots. See my previous comment here.

        1. JBird4049

          With the understanding that since I know almost nothing about the recent French riots, I am going to make a comparison of the French banlieues to the American ghettos with the assumption that the process of what happened in the United States is a similar one in France.

          The ghettos are usually the result of migrants moving into cities where the factories were, but now are not, and the economy with its tax base has collapse now that the factories and all the businesses that both the factory and the community depended on are gone. Just as with the many, many towns and small cities that depended on the factories in them became economic sacrifice zones, dead zones really, but with the people still their, so with the large cities. The local towns, cities, and counties, sometimes the states as well, have hollow out communities and no tax base, which means no way to get the money needed to provide the services that any community needs.

          In the United States, the governments of these governments have taken to selling of the various parts of themselves like the parking meters, sewage, water, electricity, schools, to vampiric investors who promise to do a good or better job, which they never do. Even in the communities that somehow do not cannibalize themselves for the immediate, short term infusion of cash, still have the same problems. And as they die, or just decline, the first areas that have the police, roads, sewage, roads, and schools cut are the poor areas. The very areas that are usually black at least in the large cities with the whites scattered in smaller towns, therefore more hidden. If not in percentages, just in the count, I would guess the number of very poor people trapped in these areas are the same. The numbers I have seen suggest twenty million, probably more, Americans. Remember, these are the poorest, most ignored and exploited people in the United States. Adding the regular working poor would probably match California’s population. Certainly if you add the sacrifice zones of the Northeast and the Rustbelt.

          And so, in a process that started in the late 1960s with the first of the industries being moved out first in black areas and later in white areas, the decay started. No services really, except the very, very basic utilities, often overpriced, public benefits run by poorly funded, overworked government agencies or grifting NGOs, police that do not serve, nor protect, the community, but over surveilled and over police them with an often corrupt, usually overwhelmed government that just ignores them except with empty promises for their votes.

          Nearly sixty years with deindustrialization and over a century with the the redlining, first excepting the poorest white communities, the blacks and now everyone else in the past thirty years.

          It took over a century to build those prosperous, peaceful communities with their functional governments or at least even the corrupt ones had enough funding to work. Not paradise by any means as we are talking about the United States, but good still.

          I assume that the banlieues, like much of the United States are ignored, or punished, or helped in short term, disorganized ways that are patronizing to the people live their. However, it took the United States over a hundred and fifty years of continuous effort to make the America of 1975. That is over seven generations. As the initial deindustrialization started in the 1960s, it took the same United States about sixty years to tear it all down into the impoverish, deindustrialize America we have today or three generations. Generations of people trapped into a hellhole and who have their world view created by a dysfunctional, corrupt government and police that are often more like goon squads on the take. It is hard for a school to teach and socialize anyone when the community they are in is in such a mess.

          The United States of America was a somewhat poor, agrarian backwater in 1800, the economic policies that they implemented in the American System, which are very, very different than the polices of neoliberalism, created a wealthy country that had the resources needed to be great and to work. The poverty in much of the country in the late 1800s especially in the big cities was horrific as was the corruption, the various endemic diseases like malaria and yellow fever, but they did manage to solve it. It only took just over one hundred and fifty years.

          If the United States does get back to a new American System and starts to reverse or fix all the damage, it will likely be more than sixty years or three generations. Assuming that the those banlieues are full of discarded or ignored people trapped, abused and exploited by gangs, both criminal and police, inferior services, and bad reputations, albeit often earned, just how can such a place be saved? Would it not take at least however many of the same number of generations of being ignored and abused to be made whole? Remember, whatever the faults of the people living there, they have had their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, probably more, telling them of the same story, which is exactly the same of the black and now white Americans. Generations of the same story.

          1. JBird4049

            Maybe one of the reasons for the previous overly long comment of mine is the realization that America, like any other society or country, is the end result centuries and generations of efforts, or not, to create it. Like France, it is ill because of the bad decisions and the worse actions of its people as a group especially its ruling class; it like eating endless poundcake without doing anything to mitigate it such as exercise, and being shocked about the diabetes and the foot amputation. Just as how various parts of the body start falling apart unless things change only starting from a worse position that existed before all that delicious cake. However, it does takes time to learn how to exercise, about what kind of exercise is best for you, and to build up your body to where you are building and not repairing, where it is energizing and not exhausting. Time to get to where you can get better enough to where you can start becoming healthy.

            As with individuals, so too with a community as people learn the habits they need to become functional members of a functional community; they would need to learn how to trust and how to be effective, and just as importantly how to plan for the future, not just for themselves, but for their community and most importantly of as an actual community, not some names on a map.

            Of course, the police, the local government, NGOs, and the political regime whatever the party, do not want this to happen and would and have interfered to stop and reverse this. As others have said, “there is strength in a union,” and just as in business, the powers that be from the beat cop to the Oval Office, from the town judge to the Supreme Court, often do not want this.

            Anyways, one of the reasons for all this dysfunction in our society is the deliberate destruction of all the social organizations and then the economy with the degradation of one helping to do the same in a feedback loop because it was profitable to do so and it makes society more biddable. We can and should make people accountable for their actions, but for much of America and Americans, a massive effort over decades has gone into ruining their lives. People should get some slack for this. It has taken at least a lifetime to come to where we are and it will take at least a lifetime to get back to where we were and probably longer considering the restructuring needed for the ecological collapse and the changes in the climate.

      2. Ignacio

        I do not think that institutional violence is the root of the problem but once you find this as the solution for a problem which admittedly can be quite intractable and resort to escalating warfare then It readily becomes a problem and you should be prepared to go to its nasty and totally undemocratic end.

        On the way, France would turn a very different country.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for a comment with so much to think about. A couple of things:

        1) “anarcho-capitalist enclaves”–thanks for using such precise and correct terminology. Sloppy use of “anarchist” is something that bothers me, and it’s great to see the diplomat and historian shine through is this excellent description.

        2) “how would you react if you were the mayor of a commune whose house was attacked by rioters driving a burning car into it and pursuing your family into the garden trying to kill them?”– This is almost exactly a scene from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, a dystopic novel written in the 90s, set in California and in our current time period. In her book, Butler imagined these rioters to be fueled by a new drug that enhanced the fascination with fire.

        3) “They are demanding a more muscular response, and perhaps that’s all you can do”–This is the demand I have heard for the entire decade+ that I’ve been in on the East Side of Cleveland from citizens at ward meetings, local NGO community meetings, etc. Our situation deteriorated further after a federal consent decree after a couple of well publicized and especially brutal police slaughters of black citizens. The police union seems to have gone on a “working strike,” and we no longer see them on our street. Regular patrols were common before then.

        Thanks again, Aurelian, for your comment.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That is an excellent video, flora, and I can confirm anecdotally, here on the East Side of Cleveland, that the fly-by-night nature of charter schools is indeed the case. These places close and re-open under new names constantly, and it’s a great business opportunity because there’s hardly any capital required to enter. These charters move into public and parochial schools that have closed, hire teachers at the lowest rate possible while paying some administrator a fortune. They’re no different from the fast food joints and liquor stores that colonize this community and drain what little money there is here.

      It was interesting that Li tied the idea to Milton Friedman and Brown v. Board of Ed. When I lived in South Carolina, I had kids in the public schools, but had occasion as a guardian-ad-litem to visit a few “academies.” I was shocked at how crummy the facilities were, even though the public schools were nothing to brag about. At least in our mostly rural county, the more affluent sent their kids to public schools where they were sequestered in overwhelmingly white “ability grouped” classes while it was lower middle class and working class people who sent their kids to the academies.

      One more point not covered by Li is the abandonment of the inner cities by the Roman Catholic Church. The one remaining Catholic elementary school that was in this neighborhood was replaced by a charter that changes its sign every year or two. That school had been in existence since the 1880s when our house was built. Still remaining are the tony Catholic schools in the white suburbs sending grads to Notre Dame, Georgetown and the Ivies. Pretty sad.

  21. Lex

    It appears that the Kerch Bridge attack was not much bang for a lot of buck. It must have have been a surface or subsurface drone strike as there’s not indication of missile impacts on the top of the bridge from any photos/videos I’ve seen. The Russian internet is saying it was a British REMUS drone sub. It did temporarily ruin car traffic, as at least two spans are severely damaged or collapsed. The rail portion is already back in operation, and that’s where the bulk of supplies for the peninsula and/or military would route over, not the road section. AFAIK, the road section isn’t used for military transport at all; it has enough traffic problems without that. All indications from official Russian sources say that the supports are undamaged. It will take months to repair, but the backwards Russians made the bridge so that whole road spans are modular.

    I’m slightly amazed that the NYT is so willing to lie openly about the bridge and the land corridor, claiming that the road bridge is a main transportation route for military equipment and that the land route highway is under artillery shelling by Ukraine. Perhaps in the NYT editorial office the “counter offensive” has been a grand success, given that cutting that land route was the prime goal of said counter offensive.

    1. jrkrideau

      Gilbert Doctorow is suggesting that road traffic was actually almost all tourist traffic. Crimea is coveriny accommodation costs for tourists extended stay. I remember reading elsewhere Crimea was booked solid ’til September.

  22. Screwball

    LawnDart is going to have a busy day – two derailments today it looks like. Thanks for what you do.

  23. Acacia

    Re: ChatGPT can turn bad writers into better ones

    A new study by two MIT economics graduate students, published today in Science, suggests it could help reduce gaps in writing ability between employees. […]

    Econ grad students…. oh.

    Shakked Noy and Whitney Zhang recruited 453 marketers, data analysts, and college-educated professionals and got each of them to complete two kinds of tasks they’d normally undertake as part of their jobs, such as writing press releases, short reports, or analysis plans.

    So… yeah… writing a press release requires serious brainpower — good test !

    A group of other professionals then quality-checked the results, grading the writing on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 the best. Each piece of work was evaluated by three people working in the same professions, hired through the research platform Prolific.

    And did the grad students check that the “three people” hired through Prolific were actually doing this work by themselves, instead of, you know, outsourcing it to ChatGPT? Also, who grades writing on a scale of 1 to 7…? Oh right, sorry, almost forgot… econ students.

    However, the output of ChatGPT and other generative AI models is far from reliable. ChatGPT is very good at presenting false information as factually correct, meaning that although workers may be able to leverage it to help them produce more work, they also run the risk of introducing errors.

    No sh*t, Sherlock… and was that factored into the claims for improved productivity… ? Oh, wait, let’s quickly switch to a different interviewee now.

    Lawyer Steven Schwartz was fined $5,000 by a judge last month for using ChatGPT to produce a legal brief that contained false judicial opinions and legal citations.

    Slap on the wrist. What if his ex-clients decide to sue him?

    “Technological advances are commonplace and there is nothing inherently improper about using a reliable artificial intelligence tool for assistance,” the judge, Kevin Castel, wrote.

    “Reliable…” *snort*. Dry, Your Honor… very dry.

    The research hints at how AI could be helpful in the workplace by acting as a sort of virtual assistant, says Riku Arakawa, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University who studies workers’ use of large language models, and was not involved with the research.

    A real human assistant who lies habitually, fakes data and citations probably wouldn’t last very long. How about the “virtual assistant”… ?

    When a human leverages AI to refine their output, they can produce better content,” he adds.

    I suppose spending double the time to check everything the AI told you, to air out all the lies and falsehoods could force you to do that… too bad you kept working twice as long, missed deadlines, and got fired.

    Jesus, these people are such morons.

  24. redleg

    Re. Kerch Bridge
    Any competent military targeting staff would hit the rail bridge, not the automobile bridge. Military supplies move via rail, not by truck. For example, a whole armor company can be moved using one train, including tanks, soldiers, fuel, ammo, and other supplies, while it would take scores of trucks to move the same unit. This attack has to be considered a military failure as the rail bridge is still in service.

    Regarding the damage, the deck spans look repairable. The last attack was repaired within 2 weeks, IIRC (see the recent I-95 bridge failure for a similar repair). However, we can’t see if the bridge piers were damaged. That would take much longer to repair than replacing a span or three of the deck.

    1. flora

      Certainly one way to keep world grain prices high. Ru canceled grain deal after the bridge event. Who is speculating in high grain prices? Inquiring minds. / ;)

  25. Carolinian

    Cory Doctorow–a rant combined with a gush.

    We shouldn’t have to tolerate this sleaze. And if we back Khan and her team, they’ll protect us from these scams. Don’t let them convince you to give up hope. This is the start of the fight, not the end. We’re trying to reverse 40 years’ worth of Reagonmics here. It won’t happen overnight. There will be setbacks. But keep your eyes on the prize – this is the most exciting moment for countering corporate power and giving it back to the people in my lifetime. We owe it to ourselves, our kids and our planet to fight one.

    Doctorow used to be a great writer on the internet and computer tech but this lover of Disneyland and, as we now learn, computer games a lot less insightful when it comes to politics. One honest bureaucrat in a super hero suit–however welcome–isn’t going to change a system propped up by both duopoly parties. Big Tech used to maintain arms length from DC but are now deeply entwined and especially with the Dems. He who has the gold rules.

    And that current interest in politics is arguably precisely to protect their big foot status. Why else would rocket guy Bezos buy the Washington Post? I’d say the notion that the Bidenistas are really going to take on Silicon Valley is naive.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      At least Cory ditched Boing Boing which became one of the most unexpected and virulent of Russiagate floggers.

      Related: ” ChatGPT can turn bad writers into better ones MIT Technology Review”

      If this was true, then Bart Simpson will grow up to be the greatest writer of all time, having written so many sentences on that blackboard!

      If only writing worked that way but in truth the best advice to writer wannabes is to read as much as possible. The more you read, the more natural writing becomes, just like catching a baseball helps teach you how to throw one.

    2. JCC

      I don’t know if “insightful” is a good description, at least not for me, but I thought it was, at the very least, enlightening for those unfamiliar with Microsoft’s business style (and other obvious monopolies) and the massive conflicts-of-interest within the FTC. And he easily and clearly backed up his editorial with factual links, unlike sites like the WSJ that back up their editorial comments with few if any facts, and often pure BS.

      Plus I really enjoyed his slipping into Taibbi mode, something new for him, with great new phrases like “enshitification play” and sentences like

      “But if you think that Microsoft will be better once it eliminates its competition, then you have the attention span of a goldfish on Adderall.”


      “The idea that a chair of an expert agency should recuse herself because she is an expert is what the physicists call not even wrong.”

      Both statements are too true for comfort for far too many, particularly those who believe that monopolies promote “innovation”, as Congressman McCarthy recently informed me.

    3. Give Them Housing

      I’m rather surprised by his framing of culture war sexual issues as if they were solely an issue because of the right. As if what liberals are pushing isn’t being pushed at all, it’s just a universal natural law and the only reason anyone could object is because of the GOP weaponizing the issues. But liberals weaponize them just as much.

      And when it comes to opposing the utter insanity that is childhood transitioning, the GOP happens to be correct.

    1. britzklieg

      I’m not inclined to point people to Tom Luongo for many insights but he seems to know something about finance and has an interesting theory. It begins around the 3 minute mark:

      He talks about bonds and yield spreads and the value of the dollar and says that Yellen went to China, hat-in-hand, to beg them to buy US treasuries so as to avert an imminent, major and global economic crisis. I have zero chops when it comes to money talk so can’t vouch for the accuracy but the other guests, including Mercouris, find his explanation quite compelling.

  26. manderson

    RE China’s impending collapse. I am not sure why this site seems to like the takes by Michael Pettis. He is basically a neoliberal in China. Anyway, he always seems to be predicting the economic demise of China. Then in contrast, you have Michael Hudson who is bullish on China and notes that their use of debt via state banks is not the same (and I would agree). Also to what extent is high youth unemployment bullish for China as previously these youths would be in the factories and now have access to more education. Same could have been said for USA in the 1990s.

    1. Willow

      For all those wishing for a China collapse, this will mean China no longer buying US Treasuries. Real reason Yellen was in China? Panic on US side starting to kick in?

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Honestly the role of China as a buyer of Treasuries is highly overrated, after all she needs a place to park all that US Dollars, otherwise converting them to Yuan would cause the value of the later to rise, thus making everything made in China a lot more expensive.

        Michael vs Michael aside, why is unemployment even a thing in China? Like seriously? That’s something Michael Hudson has never addressed in any of his articles AFAIK. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If state banks are benign actors, then they should issue whatever amount of money is required to maintain social stability and economic prosperity. I don’t think Michael Pettis is a neoliberal, he’s just pointing out uncomfortable realities that exist within the Chinese economy whereas Michael Hudson always strikes me as someone who’s bought into a certain narrative when it comes to the Chinese economy. Just my 2 cents.

        1. Polar Socialist

          There’s an article in Real-World Economic Review by Marcello Spano saying that since 2015 all Asian central banks (led by China, of course) have been decreasing their dollar-denominated assets. The surplus has been purchased by institutional investors seeking higher yields than central banks did.

          Now that alternatives for dollar are slowly emerging, this concentration of dollars in the hands of private entities in Asia is a serious risk for United States (especially after the shock of confiscating the Russian reserves), and only choice is to change from global advocate of free trade to a very protectionist leader of much smaller group of allies.

          There are now clear signs of countries (outside The West) hoarding resources which may be due to a need to have something tangible to back up national currencies (for bilateral trade) while the international system sorts itself out on to a new tangent.

          This will not bode well for nations relying on finance disconnected from the real economy.

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