Links 7/25/2023

Dear patient readers,

Your humble blogger has landed but is still very much underwater due to various tasks that would have been better sorted before I left…but oh well. And my supposedly international T-Mobile #, which I need for 2 factor verification, is NOT working here (no signal! and yes the phone gets signal with other SIMs). 10 calls to T-Mobile have resulted in lots of customer service rep shows of empathy and no solution. So the really weird short version is I’m really not able to start integrating here yet….I don’t yet have the bandwidth to look at apartments or go to expat meetings. :-( The T-Mobile time sink alone is eating ~ an hour a day.

One way readers might help on another front: It would be useful to get my other US # back in action via Vonage, but I need to convert WiFi to ethernet to do that. I had thought I could do that with a WiFi extender (many have ethernet ports) but they all seem to presuppose home router login (as in a single password) but hotels like mine serve up a panel in a browser window where you enter info in two fields, a user ID of some sort and then a password. And I expect to be in this hotel for a while, so I would like to solve this problem if at all possible. If anyone has dealt successfully with this issue and can recommend a device, please pipe up in comments!

* * *

The songs of the wolves aeon (Dr. Kevin)

In case you missed it (guurst recommends full screen):

Don’t be a robot! Think for yourself! Critic Magazine (Anthony L)


Several large studies show vaccines prevent long COVID-19 Skeptical Raptor (furzy)

Long COVID Is Still Affecting Some People’s Brains Two Years After Infection Science

COVID-19 can cause inflammation that results in bone loss, higher fracture risk MedicalXpress

Use and misuse of research: Canada’s response to covid-19 and its health inequalities BMJ


Mexico steps up rain-making project amid intense heatwave and drought Guardian (Kevin W)

‘The World Without Us’: The abandoned sites overrun by nature CNN (Dr. Kevin)

Antarctic sea ice levels dive in ‘five-sigma event’, as experts flag worsening consequences for planet ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Fish Near Fukushima Contained Radioactive Cesium 180 Times Over Japan’s Limit CommonDreams (furzy)

Farmers are struggling with climate change, but yields continue to rise. What’s going on? Modern Farmer. Um, not in France….

Greta Thunberg carted off by cops at Sweden protest — hours after getting fined for blocking oil tankers New York Post


How China’s military is slowly squeezing Taiwan Financial Times

We made this point early on (as did others), but it apparently bears repeating:

Meloni May Signal Plan to Exit China Pact During US Visit Bloomberg

Can Washington discourage South Korea from wanting its own nukes? Responsible Statecraft

Why Is America Undercutting Japan? Project Syndicate

Old Blighty

Reports of modern slavery double in UK care sector BBC

‘No more cover-up’: Nazi concentration camps on Channel Island finally to be officially investigated Guardian (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukrainian Forces Take Major Losses in Donetsk, Kupyansk and Krasny Liman: Western Contractors Killed in Lvov Military Watch

Russia Raises Stakes With Bold Strike On Danube Port Simplicius the Thinker


Then on the topic of Poland and Galicia, Putin makes the most important statement by a Russian leader in more than a hundred years. Putin warns the Polish government, together with the Lithuanians, not to make a troop move on Galicia’s capital Lvov, as the Germans had done in 1941. He also warns Berlin not to imagine they can recover the old Prussian or the more recent Third Reich sway in those territories.

Between the lines also, Putin issued an invitation to two of the ruling factions in Kiev – the military command and the Lvov Banderites – that they should remove Zelensky quickly, before they lose what will be left of their territory, after the Russian Army goes on the offensive. If they want to keep Galicia, “this, I repeat”, Putin said, “is in the end their business. If they want to relinquish or sell off something in order to pay their bosses, as traitors usually do, that’s their business. We will not interfere in this.”

Note this is a reversal of the Medvedev map, which contemplated Poland, Hungary and Romania eating up most of western Ukraine, leaving “Ukraine” as Greater Kiev. Do Putin’s remarks mean Russia has worked out an end game for Western Ukraine?

“Ukraine is DISINTEGRATING the hospitals are FULL” Col. MacGregor Redacted with Clayton Morris

Ukraine’s Stalled Offensive Puts Biden in Uneasy Political Position Wall Street Journal. Gee, ya think?

The Empire Knows It’s Pouring Ukrainian Blood Into An Unwinnable Proxy War Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

China secretly sends enough gear to Russia to equip an army Politico

Ukraine’s Illiberalism, and Ours American Conservative

Demining Ukraine will take 757 years – WaPo RT (Kevin W)


Israel’s parliament votes through Netanyahu’s controversial Supreme Court changes – despite mass protests Independent (Kevin W)

Israel judicial crisis: White House and Jewish groups express ‘profound’ disappointment Middle East Eye

Israeli startups act to relocate over judicial shakeup, survey finds Reuters (Kevin W)

Pakistan’s election body issues arrest warrant against ex-PM Khan Aljazeera

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google Reportedly Disconnecting Employees from the Internet Bruce Schneier

Imperial Collapse Watch



GOP, McCarthy on collision course over expunging Trump’s impeachments The Hill


Exclusive: Hunter Biden’s gallery sold his art to a Democratic donor ‘friend’ who Joe Biden named to a prestigious commission Business Insider (Kevin W)

GOP Clown Car

Pathetic: DeSantis Campaign Planted That Bizarre Anti-LGBTQ Ad in Fan Account New Republic (furzy)


Alabama defies Supreme Court order for additional majority-Black district The Week (UserFriendly)

Justice Department sues Texas over floating barrier in Rio Grande River The Hill

Former Anti-Abortion Leader Arrested on Child Sex Abuse Charges Rolling Stone (furzy)

Police State Watch

Just skip down to the slide from the DHS:

Sugar Shortage Threatens Candy Production Ahead of Halloween, Holiday Seasons Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin). The cost of buying American.


Cigna Sued Over Algorithm Allegedly Used To Deny Coverage To Hundreds Of Thousands Of Patients Forbes (Kevin W)

The risks of AI are real but manageable Bill Gates (Dr. Kevin)

UBS agrees to pay $388 million over Credit Suisse’s Archegos failings Reuters (Kevin W)

Noose Tightens on Consumer Credit, Auto Loan Rejections Hit Record High Michael Shedlock

The Bezzle

Musk says Twitter will change logo to X, ‘bid adieu’ to bird Yahoo! Finance (Kevin W)

X Marks The End Reliable Sources (furzy)

Class Warfare

Why America stopped building public pools CNN (Kevin W)

The Causal Effects of Admission to Highly Selective Private Colleges Tyler Cowen. Wow, legacy admissions WAY more important than in my day. No doubt the result becoming hedge funds with universities as appendages.

Affirmative Action for rich kids: It’s more than just legacy admissions NPR (Dr. Kevin)

The Beltway’s Favorite Bogus Budget Model American Prospect (UserFriendly)

Experts say it’s hard to find jobs for 14- and 15-year-olds Iowa Capital Dispatch (Robin K)

Why Businesses Can’t Stop Asking for Tips Wall Street Journal (Dr. Kevin)

Antidote du jour. Ann M:

The graylag goose family in Roger Williams Park. Two parents, 3 grown siblings from a couple years ago- can’t tell them apart- and 6 new members of the family. According to ebird, they are exotic escapees.

And a bonus. guurst recommends sound off:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Adam1

    Yves, it’s been a long time since I’ve dabbled in networking, but if you have an ethernet port on your laptop/pc, you should be able configure the ethernet port to bridge it’s connection to the laptop/pc wifi connection. This would allow you to sign-in to the hotel’s wifi via their webpage but also provide your vonage box with network access.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, Apple gave up on Ethernet ports a LONG time ago. Apple hates ports. It’s hugely annoying how their thinness fetish has gotten in the way of functionality.

      1. Hank Linderman

        I’m an Apple user, agree with re ports. I have several USB-C hubs that give me HDMI for video, old style USB, card readers, and a few with ethernet. It’s a damn bother but it works. They used to be a lot more expensive, here’s one for @ $30 from the dreaded Amazon:

        They often have a USB-C port as well, but it’s for powering your laptop only. I seldom use this port since I burned up one of my early hubs using it that way.

        Hope this helps.


        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I forgot to mention my laptop is so old it has a Thunderbolt port and I do have quite a few Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters. But no idea if Thunderbolt could be configured in the way Adam1 suggested.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Thunderbolt is old? But they just introduced it a few [quick google] um decades ago.

            I was going to use my thunderbolt port, really! I just hadn’t gotten around to figuring out how to hook a USB drive up with it yet…

          2. Acacia

            Should be possible. The macOS Network control panel has Thunderbolt as an option. There are guides on the Net that give the config details. Best to use the “+” button to create a new service and fiddle with that, instead of changing the one that you have working now, so you can easily switch back to a known functional configuration. HTH.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It looks like you have to have to use a contacts file. I don’t allow any app to access that. And the tutorial says it is only for placing calls. When I put SMS into the search fields, I get no results.

  2. digi_owl

    Just a thought, but it may be that the T-Mobile SIM is not configured for roaming and thus will show “no signal” because it can’t find a T-Mobile antenna in reach.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks but there are widespread reports of T-Mobile customers being able to operate all over the country. T-Mobile tells me setting the network to one of the Thai carriers should work but it doesn’t. And T-Mobile itself maintains things ought to be working for me and seems not able to do much beyond pretty basic trouble shooting. There is pretty clearly a block somewhere. I was recently unable to make international calls from the US and it took four calls to T-Mobile to get that cleared out. I mistakenly assumed fixing it on the outbound end would of course fix any problems when I landed here. Nope.

      1. digi_owl

        That seem to reinforce my suspicion that it is a roaming issue (the SIM of one carrier accessing the network of another carrier), and that is something that has to be enabled on the phone. Sadly each phone is different in exactly how it is done.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, T-Mobile was very clear that setting it to any Thai carrier should work (there is no T-Mobile in country and only domestic networks so any foreign operator with international plans has already sorted how to run their signals on these domestic networks). Tried that days ago and still a fail.

          1. Kevin Smith MD

            I recall that T-mobile uses some oddball frequencies, different from most other cell companies.
            I wonder if the local cell companies use frequencies which cannot be accessed either by your T-mobile SIM card, or by your actual phone? You might consider using an eSIM [for example, as found in iPhones after Model 10].

      2. Terry Flynn

        Apologies if this is too obvious but whilst the issue of phone models working in USA but not big parts of Eurasia have largely gone, if T-mobile where you are only snagged frequency bands not supported by your particular smartphone then you’ll never get T-mobile without switching the sim to another handset.

        Last time I bought a phone (4G+) I looked carefully. There are certain frequency bands that can’t be used…. And one of these is used by a major carrier in several 1st World countries! In theory your handset will likely be able to access one of the “other generation” frequency bands of the carrier (e.g. only give you 2G) but even this get out is disappearing as countries are turning off 2G and even 3G networks.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, T-Mobile knows what phone I have plus I have a second phone of exactly the same make and model that is running my SIM happily.

          1. TimH

            “exactly the same make and model”

            Apple had two different chipsets on one recentish iPhone series, with AT&T and Verizon provider-supplied phones being different.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              My phone is not recent. And again, I don’t understand why readers keep second guessing what I have stated. T-Mobile knows what phone I have. They even asked for the IMEI #. Their incentives would be to blame the phone. They aren’t doing so.

              1. vao

                Is your T-Mobile subscription “not recent” too?

                If you subscribed to a T-Mobile price plan a really long time ago and it was grandfathered, then it might be that its specifications are not organized for roaming in other countries on frequencies that were not available then, and therefore in order to enable that, some tweak is necessary — which requires a competent technical support from T-Mobile.

                A hint would be if you had similar problems when visiting other countries.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Yes, the plan is grandfathered and everyone agrees it should allow for international calls and there are supposedly no blocks or barriers to that. That is the most likely source of the problem. But T-Mobile does not allow customers to speak to tech support and despite all the nice noises, I don’t think anyone is taking this seriously.

                2. Acacia

                  I doubt this has anything to do with Yves’ phone or the frequencies it supports. Aside from ensuring that “Data roaming” is enabled, no adjustments to the phone itself may be required. The problem is most likely in the T-Mobile infrastructure.

                  My guess is that the phone already supports the correct frequency, it is connecting successfully to the cellphone network and, not finding T-Mobile service on the local network, it thus connects to a local service provider with a request for temporary service, which then attempts to connect to T-Mobile on behalf of Yves’ phone, forwarding the IMSI number to set up a connection outside of T-Mobile’s service area. This is what “roaming” entails: a handshake between a “guest” service provider and T-Mobile. However, for some reason (probably on the T-Mobile side) this handshaking is not happening as expected, and T-Mobile is not granting service.

                  Of course, there are many moving parts and it could be some “impedance mismatch” with the local networks, but the fact that other T-Mobile customers can connect strongly suggests against that.

                  Yves, I really hate the “multi-factor authentication hell” that requires this kind of connectivity (I’ll omit my own horror stories) and hope you can get it fixed !

                  1. vao

                    I understand that, but I also remember to have been in a situation — a long time ago — where SMS could not be exchanged between customers of two different operators in the USA.

                    So I suspect the SMSC of T-Mobile is configured so that SMS forwarding to another operator is not enabled by default for the old, grandfathered price plan of Yves, probably subscribed when SMS roaming was an option that had to be explicitly bought and added to the price plan.

                    If that is the case, a competent customer service, aware of such technical details, would solve the problem.

          2. Jessica

            Could you use the phone with the SIM as a mobile hotspot, then run your T-Mobile phone with phone over wifi?
            I did this once, though in Portugal, but in principle, it should be the same. Of course, in principle, your T-Mobile phone should work fine.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, I need to get SMS. That is the use case. I need to be able to get SMS from the US using the US #. T-Mobile in the US needs to “see” the SIM card here. It doesn’t. This is a matter of the network settings in the US, which are somehow blocking international service even thought I am supposed to have it on this account.

      3. Gregorio

        I don’t know about other countries, but here in Mexico, it’s much more reliable and convenient (and much cheaper) to just use the local telco Telcel, than to use a U.S. based wireless company, almost everyone that I know here with a U.S. based international plan, struggles with poor service and usability. Some U.S. banks won’t send a two factor ID to a foreign number, but others will. We use Schwab bank for all our international stuff, and they’re extremely friendly to international use. If the local telco there doesn’t offer free or low priced international rates, an internet based service with a cell phone app, can be used for international and U.S. based 800 numbers.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You do not understand. I need to get SMS for bank two factor verification. They have to be able to text my US#. This is not about connectivity but a very important need. And they won’t allow me to change the 2 factor verification # from afar for the obvious reasons.

      4. Anon

        T-mobile uses Wi-Fi calling… so long as your phone is logged into wi-fi, you should be able to make and receive US phone calls for free, routed through the internet a la VoIP, without cell service.

          1. Anon

            I do it literally every day Yves, my phone is often on airplane mode (to conserve battery), but with Wi-fi on so I still receive texts and phone calls. I’ve also employed it numerous times overseas. Perhaps there is some restriction I am unaware of, where the phone has to first register with some local tower before the feature is enabled, but I’ve used it through VPNs so that does not figure.

            Perhaps your SIM is damaged. Here’s the T-Mobile customer guidance on Wi-Fi calling

    2. salty dawg

      Yves, it’s not an immediate workaround, but you might consider moving your T-Mobile number to Number Barn. This link may give you an idea of whether or not this would work for you ,

      I travel a lot and have used Number Barn, TextNow and Skype and find Number Barn the easiest to use. They’re all limited in some ways with SMS for 2 factor authentication (so if you can get a phone call instead of a text message for 2 factor authentication, that’s a workaround), but they do let you maintain a US number wherever you have an internet connection.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Thanks. I would VERY much like to escape T-Mobiel but I am super hostage right now. The SMS fail has had the effect that I can’t get to a recent bill, which is required for a # transfer.

        1. John Beech

          When we moved to Panama in 1985 we needed to buy a car pronto. Deciding was made dead nuts simple by noting many, many taxis, and even the cops relied greatly on the Toyota Corolla.

          My point? You’re a local now, so maybe look around and see who/what locals rely on and bite the bullet and switch. It may be as easy as a SIM chip and going on your way. Good luck in your new life.

          One thing, immediately plugging into the expat community means life becomes little different than being stateside (in my opinion) except there are a great many more retired blowhards and drunks. Heads up.

          Last thing, my youngest half-brother lived there maybe 10-12 years. Just before COVID he moved stateside but may be a resource. Reach out if you feel like it.

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Out of the box solution: email T-Mobile’s marketing dept and send them a link to these comments along with a screenshot of your latest traffic numbers.

          This is more or less how I got Substack to fix a credit card glitch in just one weekend: I let their marketing dept know they weren’t processing charges for new subscriptions to Seymour Hersh etc. Every other contact method was perfectly looped, making it impossible to contact real human beings.

          My strategy bears a mild resemblance to extortion so it’s best to word your information carefully when contacting marketing.

          1. WhoaMolly

            unfortunately the ‘screenshot of big blog’ maybe only option. We have a competency crisis in US, which may be affecting this problem.

            PS: Impressed as hell that Yves made expat jump!

          2. WhoaMolly

            Email the CEO of T Mobile
            Or DM via X, the CEO
            Or Put on X, copying the CEO

            CEO’s have PR troubleshooting teams tasked with catching and fixing just this kind of complaint.

  3. digi_owl

    Interesting to see the old “capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty than any other system” discussion stopper getting refuted with graphs and numbers.

    1. nippersdad

      It was always difficult for those who thought that was a conversation stopper to explain the roving Rust Belts engendered by capitalisms constant search for cheap labor. By the time you get to the point where most people cannot afford to live in their own country anymore there really isn’t much of a conversation left to be had.

            1. Petter

              You load 16 tons and what do you get?
              Another day older and deeper in debt.
              Tennessee Ernie Ford

              And that was the good old days. Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

        John Kenneth Galbraith in Age of Uncertainty

        Capitalism is a creator of people of privilege. Peter Turchin talks about the “wealth pump.” Well, that’s capitalism ultimately.

        Check out Ruskkoff on the billionaires who are risking a Great Extinction event that might include humans. Those same billionaires are calling the shots as the lunatic neocons risk nuclear war.

        Galbraith, teaching at Harvard for decades, knew whereof he spoke.

    2. Sailor Bud

      The ‘capitalism has done more…’ discussion seemingly fails to mention the many other systems that left their own continental land mass to war upon, enslave, annex, and filch the resources, technologies, and talents of antipodal nations all around the Earth.

      They also always fail to mention the wonderful inventions of trash and advertising that festoon the globe.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    i have been wondering…but never got around to investigating:
    20 years ago, i bought 12 “Weeder” geese.
    they ended up all white…and 12 “african” geese, which ended up brown.
    theres a recessive gene in there somewhere…because in the last 10 years, ive hatched 10 or so almost black geese, that look a whole lot like the ones in antidote.
    i’d never heard of Graylag…so another datapoint for when i get around to investigating goose genetics.

    1. hemeantwell

      Never heard of graylag either. We’ve thought they might be swan geese. There are three at a pond nearby, good at scrumming with Canadians when fed.

      1. Harold

        You never heard of Konrad Lorenz? Won Nobel Prize for his study of graylag geese? He invented animal ethology. But it turned out he was kind of a Nazi, i think.

      1. YetAnotherChris

        Yes. He had some weird ideas about humans but his writings about furry and feathered creatures are beautiful.

  5. digi_owl

    Putin seem to have outplayed NATO to a downright scary degree. And leaving Galicia to the banderites seems like something some of us has pondered as an outcome. Never mind Putin now declaring Zelensky as worthless to him, ouch.

    1. Ignacio

      I thought that Russians might have seen interesting to test what might happen if Poland expands to Galitzia (Galicia is a region in Spain and the English speaking have turned lazy with geographic names for the sake of confusion). Not being Galitzia part of the EU Poland integrating the región might force the whole country out of the EU and create some instabilty in the región and the whole EU as well. It seems Putin has ruled out this option .

      1. Steve H.

        Thanks on Galitzia, that explains the back-of-the-head uneasiness about invading Galacia. Recalibrating.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        that whole Helmer thing is rather ominous.

        especially the words of Putin.

        but the seriousness only now is being spoken out loud in eastern europe.
        and only by former politicians, as near as ive seen.
        “Are the British and Americans all at the beach?”

  6. griffen

    Art is valuable to the buyer I suppose. I never have pretended to have a passing interest in art, generally speaking, maybe more interest in a spike haired Calvin with his pet tiger Hobbes. But reading about the trade of original hunter biden art pieces, I am left with this overall impression; that maybe it is comparable to much of the board room conversation in Margin Call. I particularly have always enjoyed the delivery of these speeches by actor jeremy irons in the titular role of Tuld.

    Back on topic, maybe it’s just me but we’re always told “nothing to see and please move along”. It’s capitalism and all is fair in “our democracy!”. ( \ sarc )

    Sam Rogers: You are selling something that you know, has little to no value.
    John Tuld: We are selling to willing buyers, at a fair market price, so we may survive.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s all easy to understand. If a person gives Hunter Biden $200,000 for “services rendered” in setting up a business deal with the help of the Big Guy, that is illegal and cannot be covered up for too long and may have consequences for the Big Guy. But if that person gives $200,000 for a piece of artwork to Hunter done by Hunter Biden himself, then it is all legal and above board. Any business deals are incidental and unrelated. There are other ways of doing it as well – such as when Hunter was paying his dad a massive amount for rent that was way, way above what it should have been. And remember when Obama received $65 million for a book deal back in 2020. I wonder what that was for?

      1. Wukchumni

        Hunter is an artificial art official, and there is no guideline to value-so it’s a perfect fit for the First Son, who may or may not have had a hand in rendering the works so feverishly desired…

        It’d be awkward explaining why Wall*Street paid $250k for a speech by Hunter-as they did with Hillary, and frankly who would buy a book he authored?

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Looks like me playing with an art program on my computer. It is possible that I may have — on rare occasion — created art, but that doesn’t make me an artist any more than drinking makes you an author or caffeine makes you a blogger.

              1. Dida

                Hunter Biden’s art: Shades of Klimt but sans the soul and depth, says the Village Sun expert.

                It may not be art, and I’m not an expert either, and it most surely is a political-influence-peddling scam, and I abhor the man…

                All these being said, I have to confess that I don’t dislike it. And it’s surprisingly elaborate, I expected some rudimentary scribblings from this loathsome free-loader.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  i like his prn better than his “art”.
                  look forward to the “Jailbird” Series.
                  “Prison Shibari”, and whatnot.

                  (and, fer dogs sake, i aint judgin the derned s^x, nor the (consensual) filming of it…its all about who he is, and the almost banal impunity of all those people(see: Arendt))

        1. The Rev Kev

          Quite true that. Wasn’t Bill Clinton paid $500,000 to make a speech in Moscow in 2010 when Hillary was SecState too? Or was that more of that Russian disinformation that I keep on hearing about. :)

      2. Pat

        Just one small correction. Barack and MICHELLE Obama were given a $65 million book deal. Never forget that.
        (Although I do have to admit that Michelle’s book sale numbers could almost give that pay off a little cover.)

      3. XXYY

        And remember when Obama received $65 million for a book deal back in 2020. I wonder what that was for?

        The guy is just a really, really good writer. We never knew because he was always runnng around being president.

        1. Wukchumni

          You could produce fairly exact digital duplicates of every painting for a pittance and most people couldn’t tell the difference from 10 feet away, but where’s the exclusivity in that?

          1. hunkerdown

            Exactly; Europeans did the same thing with wampum, one of the most well-known proof-of-work tokens.

    2. Benny Profane

      The actual art is, interesting, but hardly what I would think a crackhead sex addict who forgets where he left his laptop would produce. I suspect that these works were produced by someone else.

      1. Dida

        ‘I suspect that these works were produced by someone else.’

        You are so right! I find them intriguing too – just posted a comment about how unexpectedly elaborate the paintings are, coming from a loathsome freeloader like Hunter.

        I feel like such a fool… given that I pride myself on being very suspicious of the upper crust! I guess one is never suspicious enough. It must be my unconscious belief in the redeeming power of art, otherwise I cannot explain this obvious miss.

    3. Feral Finster

      That is precisely why Young Hunter decided to reinvent himself as an “artist”. The value of a given piece of art is entirely subjective, whatever the “buyer” and seller agree upon.

      Hunter as wunderkind artist is even better than nonrecouplable publishing advances as a way to launder money, and it is totally legal. Now, pretend that one of Trump’s spawn were to decide that he needed to express himself via canvas or perhaps sculpture…..

  7. The Rev Kev

    “‘The World Without Us’: The abandoned sites overrun by nature”

    There is a lot of interest in the thought about what would happen if people went away and it could happen. Years ago there was a TV series called “Life After People” which featured various buildings and aspects of humanity and how they would degrade over the decades. The skyscrapers of our cities will only last a few centuries before one after another they fall down for example. Here are videos from an unofficial Life After People channel on YouTube-

    And here is one sample video on the Jefferson Building in DC- (2:03 mins)

    1. jefemt

      Great book by Alan Weisman.

      I actually felt a zen-like equanimity and resolute calm after finishing Weisman’s fascinating book. Made a note to not move to NYC or Houston.

      We are phuc’d, we phuc’d everything to a fare thee well (seemingly Not Done Yet!), and none of it matters, really.

      I take it as not a free pass to Nihilism, but affirmation to do little with less, and observe the Final Acts…

      Popcorn Futures! Hunnert and six in Billings MT yesterday and I did not desire any popcorn.

  8. Dr. John Carpenter

    One quibble with Mindy Robinson’s Tweet: I’m not seeing anything in the DHS slide mentioning “right wing” extremists. They’re just using the extremist tag period. There’s plenty of boxes I can check off on that list, and I’m pretty dang far to the left I guess.

    I mention it because it matters. It’s not left v. right. It’s us v them. Anything that differs from what’s presented in mass media outlets (to cop their phrasing) has a target on it, not just one end of the pole or the other.

    I’d also throw out that the DHS hasn’t “lost their f’in mind”, rather that things are going exactly as planned. Anyone paying attention since the DHS was formed has seen this coming. That’s another reason I think it’s crucial to lose the left/right framing. It’s too easy to pin this concern on the other team being looney when it’s presented as a partisan issue. Maybe our friends on the right are just now starting to realize it too?

    1. Pat

      One just has to remember that Joe Lieberman was instrumental in the development of Dept of Homeland Security…

      1. Mark Gisleson

        As is pointed out in the tweet comments, all of that documentation came out in 2009 and not recently.

        Which begs the question: did any of this ever get rescinded? Because going after veterans in this way sounds a lot like some of what the FBI has been up to.

        1. Bosko

          Thank you. I didn’t read the comments (not on Twitter) but it appears that that isn’t a DHS slide, but a slide that integrates info from other DHS sources, some of which are from 2009. So it’s deceptive in the sense that the slide doesn’t really support the tweet with evidence, as she suggests, but is essentially doing the same thing that the tweet does (sounding alarms at info from other sources). I think the gist of the tweet is probably accurate, but my question would be, Does the DHS say that military veterans are extremists, or that military veterans are more susceptible to extremism… The framing is problematic, but I don’t really find that idea objectionable.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            its an old slide.
            but i have no reason to think the attitude has changed in something called “Homeland Security”,lol(Das Heimat!!–raises fist)
            theyve never, to my knowledge, singled out socialists, or lefties…except by proxy(environmentalist).
            but i share the suspicion of government with my lunatic right wing gun nut neighbors.
            i’ll gladly…if symbolically…step to their side of the line in solidarity.
            free speech is free speech.
            sending “progressives” to the fainting couch is not mentioned in the text of the relevant Amendment.
            again, “come and get me, coppers”.
            I remain, unrepresented.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Doctor John: Yep, anyone on the Left recognizes immediately the problem with the Department of Homeland Security guidelines (for concentration camps?). These categories and characterizations have been used against the Left for years. Why, the absurd Schenk decision about “shouting fire in a crowded theater” was against a man and woman who had sent out leaflets opposing WWI and registration for the draft. Sound familiar?

      Mindy Robinson’s points are well taken, yet she is also a libertarian, which means she takes them to an illogical conclusion, which is where libertarians always end up. My definition of libertarians is White Boys Who Don’t Want to Pay Taxes. And she’s still fighting the battle against the Internal Revenue Service. (I suppose that I’ll take a tart-mouth libertarian over congresscritter in kente cloth any day…)

      The most telling warnings from DHS are advocating third parties and quoting the Constitution. We are back in the McCarthy era.

      But we all knew that when they came up with the name Department of Homeland Security, didn’t we? The banality of evil.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Remember twenty years ago when they came up with the name the Department of Homeland Security how so many thought how the word ‘homeland’ seemed strange and foreign to American lexicon? Other countries used the term the Fatherland and the Motherland but I do not think that America had an equivalent.

        1. Mildred Montana

          If Orwell were alive today he would have congratulated the government for coming up with such an inventive euphemism (Homeland Security) to justify eternal war. For those who might not be aware the “homeland” (Fortress North America) is already secure and always has been, barring the nuclear attack which the demented senescent idiots in charge seem intent on provoking.

          Think I’ll coin a new acronym here: NAID (nuclear assistance in dying).

          1. The Rev Kev

            Bush set up the Department of Homeland Security and said it was to protect Americans from those terrorists but what it really was was a tool to lock down Americans and protect the Establishment from them instead.

            1. digi_owl

              Wasn’t the Patriot Act (a groan of a name all its own) written in fully way ahead of 9/11?

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              the border wall is for us, not “them”.
              theres better, cheaper, access to healthcare and dentristry down there.

          2. hunkerdown

            > the “homeland” (Fortress North America) is already secure and always has been

            Secure for whose children, though? These are the important questions, to elites.

        2. griffen

          Coupled with the threat coded as colors. Thank you DHS Secretary Ridge.

          Alert level orange! Occasionally my TV will prompt with a message from EAS, and it is shrill and always super loud for whatever reason. Yes bad weather is nigh. Albeit those alerts are useful for tornadoes being about.

              1. digi_owl

                Ok, just seemed similar to some alert system that i have seen other Americans complain about on their phone (and for some reason is being imported here as well now that the FM radio broadcasts has been replaced with DAB).

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  i get very loud and insistent(pay attention to this RFN!) alerts about kids being kidnapped 400 miles away.
                  (Texas isnt conetticut…its frelling huge.
                  what happens in Beaumont doesnt concern me.)

                  (interestingly, perhaps, spellcheck wont give me the correct spelling of that state…”confirm”, “convict” etc,lol)

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Recommend highly the well-paced and well-argued piece, Hal Freeman’s Exceptional and Indispensable Nation, and the consequences of such belief.

    Freeman tells some interesting stories to illustrate his point. But much of the piece is about the, errr, gaps in knowledge among Americans.

    The lack of humility among Americans–the lack of a sense of how to listen–is remarkable. I was giving a little tour of the Chocolate City to some visiting Americans. We were on the Via Garibaldi (which becomes the Corso Francia, which goes all the way to France). A friend asked, “Who is Garibaldi?”

    Who is Danton? Who is Saint Catherine of Siena? Who is Garibaldi? It doesn’t matter–these people don’t turn up in PowerPoint presentations. And the bombs keep pouring out of the factories and dropping on faraway lands that have to be subjugated to U.S. interests. While Blinken polishes his résumé.

    1. JBird4049

      To be fair, the study of history, just as with philosophy, art, music, the liberal arts are all unserious by the American Regime. Better to get a STEM degree that will not teach you how to think because who needs to be taught how to think or learn. Instead, get that “serious” or “real” money making degree.

      That being ignorant of American history especially of American political philosophy or of people like Garibaldi means that they don’t know what being a participatory citizen, never mind an American, means. That is what they want and since being in a democracy means listening to the other side it’s all good for the elites.

  10. TomDority

    DHS out of their mind!!!
    Yes they are… Why don’t these fusion center cowards talk to those folks they suspect to alleviate their concerns? because they have to show they are doing something with all that largess.
    Remember the old days of the Red scare drummed up by McCarthy of old… that useless paranoid public money con/hacker. The 9/11 commission report stated that what was needed was small nimble organizations to counter terrorism……so what do we get? a bloated bureaucracy of money snatching paranoid cowards. We have the Democrats and Republicans run by private finance and they have managed to paywall the entire thing no money no way to run except by never ending pan-handling.. All this enforced by fear of all that has shadow
    Yo – DHS …give me a call.. show yourself

    1. Anon

      The irony, that DHS views the individual exercise of democratic freedom, in the support of a ‘third-party’ candidate, as an indicator of ‘extremism’. Voting is now a revolutionary act… if you support Cornel West, you are on par with Al Qaeda?

      One would think participation indicates a deep faith in electoral politics and the American system, i.e. the opposite of extremist… but I gather this is part of the ongoing exercise in ontological reductionism, and ‘extreme’ has subsumed ‘radical’… much in the way ‘left’ has subsumed ‘right’ in this country, making the labels meaningless.

    2. kareninca

      “a bloated bureaucracy of money snatching paranoid cowards”

      Yes, that sounds right.

      My online zoom church group is hoping that we will be spied on by them so that our pacifist message will reach more people.

      1. JBird4049

        But wouldn’t pacifism be considered extremism as well? For the UniParty, there must always be war peacekeeping. If you are against the American peacekeepers, you are for war and terrorists win. /S

  11. nippersdad

    It is difficult to find a difference between the parties when the Democratic party is never more than a few years behind the Republicans. The extent to which the Democratic party has wholeheartedly appropriated Bush II’s policies is breathtaking, It really shouldn’t be all that difficult for PMC types to understand why no one wants to vote for George W. Bush VII, and yet one never sees the issue framed that way.

    1. Will

      It struck me the other day, after seeing another piece on how Russians will overthrow Putin once they realize how evil he is etc etc, that it’s basically the same fantasy as Shrub believing democracy would just spring into place once Saddam was taken out. Hard to imagine how cloistered and privileged you have to be in order to maintain such illusions.

      1. jefemt

        Lotta guns to be sold in the interim! And plenty of biz for dims, repugs, independents…
        The US Medical and Military Industrial Complex Tents are large and welcoming!
        C’mon in, the water is fine!

        Just be sure to hedge The Schrub-think and have an off grid independent living bunker stateside and in an off-radar Nation-state like Paraguay or some such.

        And Schrub beat Hunter to the canvas by a few decades….

      2. The Rev Kev

        There is another factor with these Neocons. For them, history is a brand new blank page for them to write on. They take no account how the history or culture or religion of a county has an effect on the people living there but ignore such factors. As an example, before the Iraq invasion George Bush had no idea that there was not just Muslims but that you had Sunni and Shia factions. It was all about the patrimony. That is why the US military was tasked with protecting what was important – the Iraq Oil Ministry – while the libraries and the museums were looted and burned. They cared nothing about the later as for them it was of no consequence.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Luckily for everyone, neoHistory will salvage the reputation of our newly emerged status quo!

          [That’s it, that’s the whole joke. Not going to get sucked into making a crack about the 1619 Project, nosirree!]

        2. jax

          Of course, the neocons don’t care about history. All we need is a 2004 statement from a member of Shrub’s inner circle to journalist Ron Suskind. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

          Frequently attributed to Karl Rove who has such a punchable face I’ve been willing to believe he said that until I rechecked my memory this morning.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      third parties? the uniparty has been passing rank choice voting bans in state after state – bipartisan collusion to keep the uniparty in power –

  12. Wukchumni

    A cryptocurrency project described as being “dystopian” has been launched by AI entrepreneur Sam Altman.

    Worldcoin gives people digital coins in exchange for a scan of their eyeballs.

    In sites around the world thousands of people queued to gaze into silver orbs on day one of the project’s full launch.

    The BBC visited a scanning site in London where people received free crypto tokens after going through the process.

    Mr Altman, the chief executive of Open AI which built chat bot ChatGPT says he hopes the initiative will help confirm if someone is a human or a robot.

    “Worldcoin could drastically increase economic opportunity, scale a reliable solution for distinguishing humans from AI online while preserving privacy,” Mr Altman claimed in a launch letter on the company website.

    Worldcoin also claims that its system could pave the way for an “AI-funded” universal basic income. But it’s not clear how.

    Ah, the numismatrix!

    Love that silver orb you peer into, which turns your countenance into moolah…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Ever notice that whenever the “next big thing” comes out – whether it is cryptocurrency, AI, smart phones, ChatGPT, surveillance, Alexa, NFTs, etc. – that it always seems to end up requiring acres of server farms needing insane amounts of both electricity and drinking water plus endless swap outs of computer gear?

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Nice little digital economy you’ve built there.

        Be a shame if something happened to the electrical grid.

        1. digi_owl

          LNG/diesel generators galore.

          Them fiber trunks on the other hand.

          Heck, didn’t Meta/Facebook have to cut their way into their own data centers “recently” thanks to some fat fingered router configs?

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            hmmmmmm…..would a strong CME with monster EMP do the trick? – a 21st century Carrington event? ol’ Sol’s been pretty active of late – did a number on Quebec 1989

            1. Wukchumni

              My buddy from Tucson was here in Tiny Town for about a month and a week ago we lost power for 3 or 4 hours, and in the midst we did a ‘what if the the grid went down and this is it’ scenario.

              The only lifeline would be your vehicle and whatever gas is in it, and you’re not going to get any more go-juice, so use it wisely.

              The electric pumps that bring water to the SoCalist Movement wouldn’t work anymore and 20 million people would be mostly dead in a fortnight, but the good news is the Hollywood strike would be over.

    2. R.S.

      … gaze into silver orbs on day one of the project’s full launch.
      … confirm if someone is a human or a robot.

      “You know that Voight-Kampff Test of yours? Did you ever take that test yourself?”

    3. semper loquitur

      I think there is an ad for this scam painted on the side of a building overlooking the highway not too far from here. I read it as I was riding by and didn’t get a great look but, if it is that, it’s totally being presented as some sort of power to the people thing. It’s been painted in a manner to make it look graffiti-ish and “real”. It definitely mentioned a UBI…

  13. The Rev Kev

    Ukraine is already cannibalizing some Bradleys to keep other Bradleys operational. By now, the number of vehicles destroyed or put out of action by maintenance has attrited the offensive potential of the force earmarked for the southern offensive. They had one chance and blew it.’

    Obviously I am not a fan of the Ukrainian army but is this guy serious? They were forced to go in by Biden when they wanted to delay until the autumn. They had virtually no air cover and not that much air defence either. They struck in the place that they had said they were going to over the past six months in talks. They did not have sufficient armour, their troops were under-trained, the best of their officers and NCOs were long gone and even a fully-trained and equipped NATO force would have come to grief. And this guy says that they had one chance and they blew it?

    1. Polar Socialist

      I tend to think they didn’t have a chance no matter what.

      Even if NATO joined the fray and miraculously managed to send 200k troops and enough working equipment to actually threaten Russian positions, Russia would use tactical nukes before giving up Crimea.

      The best chance Ukraine had was to implement the Minsk Accords, and that they did blew.

      1. digi_owl

        The equipment will likely be the biggest issue, seeing as NATO seem to be down to WW2 surplus by now.

      2. Pat

        But considering the US, the UK, and the EU were using that as a delaying tactic to arm their little three week proxy war with no intention of allowing it to happen, did Ukraine even have a choice in the matter. Especially since the coup that took out the last guy who put Ukraine ahead of that trio’s interests saw the rise of the Azoz and neo Nazi thugs to power and close enough to elected officials to take them out.

      3. Lex

        They might have been able to get to a negotiated settlement right after the Kharkov offensive when Russia was at its weakest. But that ship sailed and now Russia has had almost a year of building strength for the conflict as it is now (different from spring/summer of 2022).

        It’s clear that the whole Crimean offensive plan rested on Russia doing what it did during Kharkov without regard for changes in conditions, the landscape, etc.

        The US is now in damage control mode because the Crimean offensive was political goals for the US, not military opportunity for Ukraine. It failed because of the U.S.

        1. juno mas

          See Polar Socialist above. There was and is no chance for any currently existing army to defeat Russia in this matter.

    2. Acacia

      And this guy says that they had one chance and they blew it?

      Yep, ridiculous. But we’re going to see more of this, as the blame shifting accelerates.

      It’s a variant of: the PMC can’t fail, and can only be failed.

  14. semper loquitur

    “An image of abandoned Namibian ghost town Kolmanskop by photographer Romain Veillon.”

    It’s always sad to hear of an abandoned ghost town. Imagine having to leave your favorite closet, basement, or attic for the open road! Where will they all go? Maybe they can get jobs as copy editors at CNN….

  15. farmer in canada

    Port your North American phone # to . VOIP.MS is a service that converts phone numbers to voip services and more. With this service, any text coming to your original NA phone # can be forwarded to any valid email and be forwarded to any phone #. Using a number on is a great way to have a portable number for 2 factor authorization where you can reveive text data by VOIP, text or email.

      1. sbarrkum

        I can’t port w/o a copy of the bill, and I can’t get that w/o SMS. I can’t regain access to the account w/o that.

        Catch 22 at its best

        It is pretty impressive how much is tied up to ones smart phone/

  16. digi_owl

    While not abandoned, this gets me thinking about the shell of a late colonial era spa hotel somewhere in Africa that had become a home for “squatters”.

  17. Teejay

    “They were forced to go in by Biden when they wanted to delay until the autumn.”
    I missed this. Do you have any links?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not without doing a deep dive into Google but I do remember the articles that described how Biden & his Merry Neocons were demanding that the offensive took place sooner than later. When they had that NATO Summit in Vilnius several weeks ago, I think that the political calculation was that by then the Ukrainians would have broken through to the Sea of Azov, cut the Russians forces in two, threatened Crimea and incidentally destroyed the Kersh bridge. At that point, the NATO leaders would have been making demands of Russia as they would have been in a superior position to have the war end on their terms.

      1. Benny Profane

        Some think that the disappearance of Zaluzhnyi before this offensive was a sign that he was dead set against this stupidity, and just walked away from it.

      2. Jabura Basaidai

        “…the political calculation was that by then the Ukrainians would have broken through to the Sea of Azov, cut the Russians forces in two, threatened Crimea and incidentally destroyed the Kersh bridge.”
        any other fairy tales? they must have been smoking some strong s#@t to believe that one –
        read that Russia is raising the compulsory military service to 30yrs old – they’re getting ready –

    2. ilsm

      ukraine has a tendency to go muddy in the autumn.

      nato gave ukraine scant capability to take on a modern army.

      the donated tanks and gun systems are a fraction of the weapons needed to go on offense and the donated weapons were not established to be “maintained in contact”.

      headline weapons were emphasized for tactics shown in old war films, ignoring operational and logistics necessity.

      bradley’s being cannibalized for parts is reality for us army, but us army has technical support establishments.

      someone expected us/nato propaganda was real!

  18. ilpalazzo

    Yves, it appears your hotel’s Wifi uses “captive portal” and/or “WPA enterprise” authentication. Not many consumer grade devices support it but some supposedly do, I found this on quick googling:

    I’m not well versed in this stuff so I can’t vouch if this would help but maybe it would be a start for a search.

    Anyway, connection sharing with your laptop should work regardless of the type of ethernet dongle you use. Not that difficult to do in Windows but I have no experience with Macs sorry.

  19. GDmofo

    Dear Yves, (for hotel wifi to ethernet)
    So I haven’t tried to this since Windows XP, and it was for an Xbox, but it should work. On XP, you had to manually enter the DNS server numbers, they’re easy to look up.

    Not the greatest video, but should get ya there.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks! Will check it out! Would be very amusing if I could do this with just the big supply of cables and adapters I hauled with me.

      Back when I first moved to Oz I got 3/4 of the way to being a sys admin trying to get Vonage to work with weirdly uncooperative DSL and had to fool with DNS and port settings. Of course I forgot all that….

  20. semper loquitur

    I thought some of the readers might appreciate this. The topic came up in my feed for reasons I’ll never understand. It is pretty cool:

    Build mini hydropower on a small stream with a powerful unit

    There are other videos out there about small hydro plants for ponds and streams. One guy is cranking out 500 Watts. Seems like a great idea, although they probably run on spare parts as windmills do.

    1. juno mas

      Wonderful craft skill on display. A PV panel from Amazon would get you 200 watts, delivered by prime in a couple days ;)

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        If they’d figured out a way to put the turbines at the bottom of the pipes rather than at the tops, they would have been able to capture the energy available from gravity due to the 3 foot (or whatever it is) height of the dam.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      As the electric utility industry emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a lot of the generation was provided by a small hydroelectric plants. In the 1960s and 70s many of these operations were decommissioned as fossil fueled power plants scaled up in size rendering them more costly to operate and maintain. Beginning in the 1960s the utility industry began switching existing coal burning plants to use oil, and many new ones were built to use oil or natural gas only. Then came the oil shocks in the wake of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the revolution in Iran in 1979. This latter event drew small entrepreneurs out of the woodwork who bought up decommissioned hydro sites, refurbished them and put them online in hopes of selling the power to the utilities. This was not compatible with the Insull* business model that had dominated the industry since the turn of the 20th century. Utility companies had no procedures through which to buy power from small independent generating businesses. They could only do so through the interchange procedures that existed for buying and selling with other utility companies.
      This got Wall Street’s attention and they set up the first power brokering companies. On several occasions I walked into utility companies who were in shock over the fact that control room dispatchers, who were working under union contract, had recently left their jobs her brokerage positions at more than double their salaries. This set in motion the upending of the legacy business model under the banner of “deregulation.” From what I can tell, having been in the industry for half a century, electric service reliability is no better for these changes, and almost certainly more costly. For Wall Street, of course, this is a feature and not a bug.
      * To the extent he is remembered at all these days, Samuel Insull is the poster boy of the utility trust abuses of the 1920s. However his biographer, Forrest McDonald, makes a good case that he was set up by the Morgan interests in revenge for having decamped from his position as the first CEO of General Electric to move to Chicago, where he created the first utility empire without their financial participation. He also sinned by being the person who proposed utilities be given a geographically defined monopoly for providing electric service in exchange for submitting to regulated rates of return established by the government. Samuel Insull should be better remembered as the Steve Jobs of the electric utility industry, a person who was not a technology creator himself but had an uncanny ability to envision the possibilities of technologies created by others.

  21. Steve H.

    A new Ian Welsh piece has this paragraph:

    > Take public all natural monopolies. Monopolies and oligpolies can charge more because people have to buy what they have. Private enterprise is only better than government at providing differentiated goods. If everything is the same (and a joule is a joule and a liter of safe water is a liter of safe water and a cheap, fast train trip is a cheap, fast train trip) then government can do it cheaper and better than private enterprise, since it doesn’t have to make a profit.

    Is this valid? I’m stuck in a resonance about substituting Spam for steak to keep the CPI flatlined. With a side of Chicago parking meters.

    1. jefemt

      Well, I was driving around bumphuc listening to National Propaganda Radio yesterday and the issue of climate change and property casualty insurance going Poof! in high risk areas was a topic (think Cali and FL- no biggie, few residents and very little national influence in the US out of Cali or FL…)

      Anyhoo, I thought, nationalize property-casualty. It’s a Utility. Or at least create a national, gubmint owned entity to compete with private sector. Analagous to the notion of cost savings with Single-payor for medical services. Anti-American as all get-out.

      So, is a natural monopoly a Utility? Is my definition of a Utility the same as an anti-tax Libertarian’s?

      If unreasonable shareholder expectation of return on ‘investment’, and obscene executive pay are stripped out, there is relief to be had in cost of good/service sold. I’d also argue that these ‘nationalize’ ideas could be a great way to keep people working part -time, job share, and de-grow.

      1. Michael Mck

        Somehow I suspect there would end up being even more subsidies to the wealthy like with federal flood insurance. Yes to public ownership but make sure people pay the true cost of providing the service.

    2. Daryl

      Well, “can” is doing some heavy lifting there. Problem is in the US gov’t is fully captured… with parking in particular for example, see them leasing the ability to collect rents on parking spaces / toll roads effectively forever and for little return to private corporations.

    3. Mildred Montana

      >”Is this [Ian Walsh piece] valid?”

      Yes and absolutely. I’ve been saying this for years to no avail. Many areas of an economy could be efficiently nationalized to the greater (not private) profit. The way I see it let the privateers duke it out in the market of consumer goods, where individual tastes and preferences are important. I speak here of autos, clothing, food, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. etc. etc. Private companies in competitive markets are very good at satisfying these specialized needs at a reasonable price while still making a reasonable profit.

      On the other hand…

      1. Transportation: I don’t care about frills. I just want to get from A to B safely. Nationalize it all.
      2. Resources: Gold is gold, oil is oil, gasoline is gasoline, lithium is lithium. No differentiation here. Therefore they belong to the people and no private company should be able to make obscene profits off them.
      3. And finally, the biggie, the banks. As currently structured they are an oligopoly with little differentiation. They all offer the same interest rates, mortgage rates, fees, etc. Yet they operate as private entities with only the illusion of competition. Perfect candidates for nationalization.

      1. Alice X

        I like your thinking. I guess I’m a bit more off the wall as I would restrict absentee ownership. Restrict as in eliminate it. Oh well.

  22. flora

    “Trust the Science.” (or not) The downfall of Stanford’s president. / ;)

    Stanford president resigns over manipulated research, will retract at least three papers
    Marc Tessier-Lavigne failed to address manipulated papers, fostered unhealthy lab dynamic, Stanford report says

    An in-depth report on the whats and whys of the resignation of Stanford’s president.

  23. Trollbot Reply

    Yves, convert your Tmobile account to Google Fi, then login Google messages on the web using your account. You now will have all your SMS messages on your browser.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      As indicated elsewhere, to port a number you have to show you own the account by providing a recent bill. I can’t do that w/o access to SMS. I had login issues and T-Mobile requires you to confirm a password reset with a code sent via SMS.

      1. Jonhoops

        You have a Mac, if you have an iPhone you can sync your texts using iMessage. As long as you can get your Mac on the net you should be able to get texts that way. Of course with all the 2-factor nonsense there is probably another catch-22 trap that will foil you. At least you don’t need your T-mobile bill to set it up.

      2. WhoaMolly

        A neighbor got caught in same phone doom loop after her husband died without giving her passwords. No email. No phone. No bank. No authentication possible to change names on accounts.

        After several people tried to dis-entangle the mess unsuccessfully, I eventually bought her a cheap hot-spot wi-fi unit sold by “carrier”. She was able to plug it in, go wi fi to “carrier” immediately, and do all her authentications.

        The trick seemed to be that the dedicated hot-spot unit was issued by “carrier”. If T Mobile sells hot spots, might be an option. They are over priced little units, and require subscribing to a new number tied to the wifi unit.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “X Marks The End”

    When Musk purchased Twitter, I wonder if there was a payment to use the name Twitter as well? If so, it seems to have been a bit of a waste as nearly twenty years of public recognition of the name Twitter and the little blue bird has just been thrown away for an anonymous ‘X.’

    1. Wukchumni

      Oh, yeah

      Do you remember back when Jack had a line of attack
      Country Jesus, hillbilly reds, liberals talking smack
      From coast to coast and online, in every country there
      Talkin’ ’bout that outlaw X, Elon’s cuttin’ through the air

      Anywhere, y’all
      Everywhere, y’all
      I heard it, I heard it
      I heard it on the X


      We can all thank Elon Musk, he stepped across the line
      With lots of billions, he took control of the Twitter kind
      So read your tweets most each and every night
      ‘Cause if you don’t, I’m sure you won’t get to feelin’ right

      Anywhere, y’all
      Everywhere, y’all
      I heard it, I heard it
      I heard it on the X, yeah

      Oh, yeah, whoa
      Come on, come on
      Yeah, come on

      Heard it on the X, by ZZ Top

        1. Pat

          There is a street in NYC that has been officially known as the Avenue of the Americas for all of the almost forty years I have lived here. It is rarely if ever refer to as that, it is always Sixth Avenue. And the artist formerly known as Prince was still Prince.

          IOW, I think Elon should prepare himself to be very disappointed.

    2. John Beech

      Having been involved in four distinct branding efforts in my professional life, just as I find it inconceivable Coke would rebrand as Glato, the same holds for Twitter.

      Twitter, a name separating themselves from everything else on the planet. Good grief!

      1. hunkerdown

        Ha’aretz works fine for me in a private window. Relevant snippets from the front page:

        Netanyahu Says His ‘Reforms’ Strengthen Israel’s Democracy. One More Lie
        Dahlia Scheindlin / Analysis

        ‘It’s a dark day in Israeli history and I don’t see a way back’
        Netanyahu’s shameless lies will destroy Israel’s Third Temple
        Can the Supreme Court disqualify the first law of Netanyahu’s judicial coup?

        Post Judicial Coup Election Polls Give Gantz 30 Seats, Netanyahu’s Gov’t Losing Majority

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Fish Near Fukushima Contained Radioactive Cesium 180 Times Over Japan’s Limit ”

    In a public statement, Rafael Grossi of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission stated that they could not determine the source of the Cesium 90 in those fish. ‘So mysterious’ he was quoted as saying before boarding a plane to go back to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

  26. Jeff W

    Why Businesses Can’t Stop Asking for Tips Wall Street Journal

    At the Main Squeeze Juice Co. in Mandeville, La., tips add $3 to $5 to workers’ hourly pay, which starts at $10. Owner Zachary Cheaney said he added the option when he opened the location in 2020.

    “We can’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re going to charge $2 extra’ instead of having tips, because we have a duty to our customers to have a very fair price point,” said Cheaney, who also consults for Main Squeeze’s corporate office. If customers think the price is too high, he said, they won’t return. Asking them to tip, he said, is different because it’s optional.

    Whether it’s “optional” or not—and at a limited service establishment (e.g., one with counter service like a coffee shop or a bakery), I won’t tip—the subtext of the WSJ piece, it seems to me, is that tipping is, in effect, generally, a form of “psychological pricing”—the effective price you pay is more than the apparent price. Companies that make the apparent price closer or equal to the effective price “lose” competitively. (That might be too obvious to state but I never see it stated anywhere.)

    The whole “troubling history” of tipping aside, it’s a pretty hard practice to defend, one of the countless ways the US (and Canada, unfortunately) is behind much of the rest of the world. I’m almost embarrassed to have to explain it to friends in Korea when they’re about to travel to the States.

    1. hunkerdown

      “We have a duty to our customers to let them subordinate our apprentices, because servitude is educational” says the Puritan innkeeper.

      Where people tell you to look at economic rationality, look behind it for the social relations masked by the alleged economic rationality, and who put those economic reasons there.

    2. John Beech

      There’s a lot that’s hard to explain to folks traveling to our country. Agree, or not, it’s part of what makes us great. So great, some die trying to get here and others undergo a fair bit of hardship and expense only to arrive with the clothes on their back.

      May God Bless America!

      I’m sad for you if you disagree, while standing for your right, to do so.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        Huh?? it seems to me that a lot of what is happening at the southern border may have a bit to do with the ongoing interference of our government for the last century in central american politics, economies and societies with chicanery utilized as well as brute force – perhaps it’s not what they are coming to but what they are trying to escape – please spare your sorrow for me – but standing for your right too –

    3. Oh

      With the new type of Credit Card payment device for a cup of coffee or other small purchase, the first screen that pops up is the amount plus several tip options most of which are exorbitant. I’ll bet that the real workers are shorted and the company pockets the tip. If you want to tip, use cash.

    4. swangeese

      If your frou frou business is in Mandeville of all places, you can afford to raise prices especially to raise wages.

      Mandeville is a yuppie/higher net worth community in Louisiana. And yet most retail jobs never seem to go for more than $12/hr. Somehow the wealth never trickles down.

  27. Ignacio

    China secretly sends enough gear to Russia to equip an army Politico

    Político condemns China for supposedly selling bulletproof vests to help “sustain the 15 months long Putin’s war efforts”. On the other side supplies to Ukraine include cluster munition and depleted uranium munition but anything is kosher when It is against Putin (as if Russians army was made of Putin’s clones). If It was for Putin intentions the SMO would have lasted over a month. So we can say there was 1 month of Putin war followed by 14 months of Biden war.

    Político, running for sanctions like crazy. The West wants to take the fast track to global decline.

  28. Felicia

    Kennedy replies to accusations from non voting house member Stacey Plaskett, (Jeffrey Epstein’s enabler in the Virgin Islands) at House Weaponization of the Government hearing.

    Two Trump voters in our family who laughed at RFKjr previously, heard the middle of it, and wandered into the room where the TV, stood in the doorway and listened to the end.

    Older one, “I’d vote for him.” His son, “That guy makes a lot of sense, I might vote for him, guess I’d have to switch parties?”

    My God, what a breath of fresh air, a strong intellect, reasonable ideas and not one personal attack on anyone. Kennedy is a born leader.

    1. undercurrent

      Please tell that to the Palestinians.
      Some groups of people in human history always seem to get up on the wrong side of the bed.

      1. Oh

        Unfortunately, the US is bombarded with anti Palestine, Pro Israeli propaganda. Any Presidential candidate will be committing suicide if he dares to speak a word in support of the Palestinians.

        I’m not a supporter of RFK Jr. but I like his work to support environmentalism and his stance against Big Pharma. The Dem party will never let him have the nomination. Saint O will take care of that.

  29. tegnost

    color me sceptical about the skeptical raptor.
    Sounds like a press release from big medicine throwing percentages around, sure, but most of the tone is triumphalist pro vax which viewpoint has not covered itself in glory over the course of covid.
    So many confounding factors and no real research built into the process, but plenty of covering action research. It stinks to me because of the use of percentages. 37% reduction? What does that mean in real life? I suppose most of my issue could be with the “i told you so” tone, and the not specific but rather “we looked at lots of studies” rather than showing specific data points. Also, vaxxed don’t get reinfections? Not true in my circle, which has multiple reinfections of vaxxed who also skew well off, for what it’s worth…

    “Why are these vaccines so effective against the long forms of this disease? Well, some of the papers speculated on this.”

    Confounding factors? Among other things, one is data from ehr is a selected population. There was no ehr for my case, and likely for most others, those who had an ehr almost certainly skew wealthier. Severity for the latest variants seems less, how does that affect the numbers?
    Seems like more vax and relax pr, but I am quite cynical at this point and wonder what others think about it. I’ll add that among my vaxvaxvax acquaintances denial would be a point of pride and if they had long covid I couldn’t say for sure they would admit it. Maybe I would feel better about it if they had picked one paper and highlighted it’s findings.
    At the end it’s “people have given up on masking” gets the agency wrong, completely.
    Also vaccines don’t increase the risk of long covid? Where does that come from, is it there just so the author can say “debunked”?

    1. britzklieg

      Your scepticism is well warranted. The guy is big pharma writ large and brags openly about it in his bio. And you’re spot on about the EHR guided “studies”, the problems, indeed inherent failures of which, Yves has posted about in the past. Couple that with the fact that many doctors do not believe long covid even exists and so would not be reporting it as such. Big “meh” to Mr. Simson, who seems to be the sole writer/editor at his blog, and who overtly politicizes his opinions.

    2. Late Introvert

      I laughed at the “37% reduction” remark also. It’s not even a D or a near F, it’s exactly 1/3 correct. I bet the details are even uglier but I stopped reading.

  30. AG

    re: geese

    As a young girl living on the country-side in a forlorn Eastern European region my mother had to shepherd those white geese typical for Eastern Europe that were almost taller than her at that time and turned out to be extremely nasty beings, wounding her as they were picking at her despite her stick. It was a labour of the worst kind for a kid, however nothing unusual, and her memories of geese still make her despise them whenever there is an encounter in some city park. I tried to change her mind via Lagerlöf´s Nils Holgersson tales. But that didn´t work either.

    1. John Beech

      Showed up one evening to a neighbors and they had two Canada geese. From where I don’t recall. Anyway, foul tempered creatures. Trick was grabbing them around the neck when they pecked at you, hold them still and talk to them . . . ‘Don’t even try it you silly bird, I’ll make a dinner of you! What’s the matter with you, you you long necked bird, calm down.’ Basically, say whatever nonsense occurs to you in a very even tempered sing-song now-now kind of voice.

      You’d feel then release tension and if you’d keep it up a little longer then let them loose, one would waddle off the other would have another go, but less forcefully whereby you repeat the grab and conversation.

      Eventually they grew to ignore me – and I them. Territorial. Glad they’re not as large as giraffes.

    2. ilpalazzo

      Oh yes I have this story in my family as well. My grandmother was a half orphan from the mountain village. Stepmother used to force her out of home looking for work for board during winters so there would be more food for the rest. Otherwise mostly lived with with animals in the stable. Had to sheperd a flock of geese in the mountains since age 5.

    3. Kouros

      I guess the geese from my grandma’s village from somewhere in Eastern Europe were better trained since they didn’t need anyone to shepherd them to the village commons, where hundreds and thousands of geese flocked each morning, all by themselves. However, after socialism fell, the flocks of geese, herds of pigs and cows have dissapeard entirely. SO sad.

  31. Palm & Needle

    Hi Yves, about your wifi -> ethernet conversion:

    If you have a spare wi-fi router with ethernet port sitting around, you may try to install OpenWRT with Travelmate addon. Warning: doing this will erase the operating system of your router and replace it with OpenWRT.

    You can check your wi-fi router compatibility with OpenWRT here:

    OpenWRT supported devices:


    In general, this is a great solution for people who need to connect several devices while travelling.

    1. Acacia

      I went through a series of routers that either sucked, burned out, or both.

      Then I set up OpenWRT on a Netgear and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

      Can’t recommend this platform enough!

  32. Jason Boxman

    I appreciate having had the opportunity to meet Yves a few times at Boston meetups before the Pandemic. Between the distance and the Pandemic, that’s probably not a thing that’s happening again.

  33. Jason Boxman

    So the US CoC has a report on where labor shortages are: Durables manufacturing, wholesale & retail, financial activities (??), professional and business services, and leisure & hospitality:

    Understanding America’s Labor Shortage: The Most Impacted Industries

    Seems to track with what WaPo reported months ago:

    Most of the country’s missing workers are no longer missing

    Can’t find anything about SARS-COV-2 infections actually affecting the labor force.

    Brookings does get into it.

    What’s interesting is that these two approaches yield broadly similar results. When we extended both works through December 2022, we estimate that long COVID accounts for around 700,000 workers missing from the labor force.

    Why haven’t workers returned to the labor force after COVID-19? (podcast)

    One billion days lost: How COVID-19 is hurting the US workforce (McKinsey)

  34. Sub-Boreal

    It’s a bit surprising to see that Lauren Pelley of CBC is covering the BMJ bundle on the bungled Canadian COVID response. So far, she has given lots of uncritical coverage to COVID minimizers, so this is a refreshing change. Perhaps another example of what Lambert recently noted — getting religion once it’s too late to make a difference?

      1. flora

        Ha! You’re right. The link came up on today’s news page so I assumed… and you know what that means. / ;)

  35. Wukchumni

    Giant sequoias, the biggest trees on earth, are only found here in California. Nearly half are found in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

    Some scientists are worried that we could face a future with no giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park. Since 2020, up to a fifth of the world’s giant sequoias have died from severe fire — fires made bigger because of climate change and poor management decisions.

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are proposing to replant giant sequoias, mostly within wilderness areas. By law, these are areas of public land set aside from development, protected as natural and “untrammeled” from human impacts.

    But some environmentalists say that replanting the sequoia trees goes against the very definition of wilderness, and sets a dangerous precedent of trammeling the land in order to restore it to a natural state. The debate is really around the question: What is natural? How much should humans intervene? And what does wilderness mean on a changing planet?

    1. Ignacio

      There are a few giant sequoias at the Royal Palace and Royal Gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia Spain. A place i recommend a visit when coming to Madrid. Of course these are not as old and Big as their ancestros in Sierra Nevada yet magnificent trees

      1. Wukchumni

        Turns out they’re just about everywhere, and i’ve seen photos of the ones in Segovia and they’re nice specimens. I enjoy playing the away game with the Giants, there’s about 100 in New Zealand, and being in a rainforest they grow much quicker than the locals, i’d say 3x as fast, but with an interesting twist in that some of them have low branches that droop to the ground, and you’d never ever see a decent sized brobdingnagian around these parts where the lowest branch isn’t at least 25 feet high, I think the Kiwi Sequoias must not feel the pressure from say 1,743 summers where lightning strike fires are a given in the Sierra Nevada, and no humans to put them out.

    2. Berny3

      Giant Sequoias do very well in western Oregon and probably Washington, though they’re not native here. Some houses in and around Portland made the mistake decades ago of planting them in their not very big front yards. I look at them now and think at some point soon, either the house or the tree will have to go.

  36. marym

    Today, the Teamsters reached the most historic tentative agreement for workers in the history of UPS, protecting and rewarding more than 340,000 UPS Teamsters nationwide. The overwhelmingly lucrative contract raises wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and includes dozens of workplace protections and improvements. The UPS Teamsters National Negotiating Committee unanimously endorsed the five-year tentative agreement.

    [Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said] “UPS has put $30 billion in new money on the table as a direct result of these negotiations. We’ve changed the game, battling it out day and night to make sure our members won an agreement that pays strong wages, rewards their labor, and doesn’t require a single concession…”

    1. notabanker

      Whether he had anything to do with it or not, that is a monster win for Biden. If they go on strike, he was cooked.

    2. rowlf

      Hopefully it all gets from the press release and into the contract. Often the union workers have to vote for the contract to see what is in the contract.

      1. Alice X

        >Often the union workers have to vote for the contract to see what is in the contract.

        IIRC, that is not what labor law requires.

        1. rowlf

          What union have you been a member of?

          I had the experience of transitioning from a industrial union to a craft union and we got to see all of the negotiating records from past contracts. It was quite an eye opener to compare what the union officials said versus what actually was happening.

          As an aside, from leaving the union group years ago, most unions never reach the high limits of what the company would agree to in contract negotiations. (Maybe ALPA comes close)

          Good on the UPS Teamsters if all of this comes true.

          1. Alice X

            >What union have you been a member of?


            Unfortunately, many in labor-management want to keep their own jobs more than reach the limits of what the companies might agree to.

  37. Wukchumni

    For years, beavers have been treated as an annoyance for chewing down trees and shrubs and blocking up streams, leading to flooding in neighborhoods and farms. But the animal is increasingly being seen as nature’s helper in the midst of climate change.

    California recently changed its tune and is embracing the animals that can create lush habitats that lure species back into now-urban areas, enhance groundwater supplies and buffer against the threat of wildfires.

    A new policy that went into effect last month encourages landowners and agencies dealing with beaver damage to seek solutions such as putting flow devices in streams or protective wrap on trees before seeking permission from the state to kill the animals. The state is also running pilot projects to relocate beavers to places where they can be more beneficial.

    California has planned two pilot relocation projects, including one to bring beavers back to the Tule River. Kenneth McDarment, a councilmember for the Tule River Indian Tribe, said the tribe started seeking ways to reintroduce beavers nearly a decade ago due to drought and hopes to see them relocated later this year.

    Jedediah Smith was the first American to see the western flank of the Sierra Nevada in the late 1820’s and pronounced the waterways emanating out of the range of light to be the finest rivers for beavers he’d ever seen, and seeing as that was the object of his desire, that’s really saying something.

    They were extirpated by the end of the 19th century…

  38. praxis

    Hi Yves.

    I’m sure you are getting lots of unsolicited advice about US phone numbers for two factor authentication etc.

    I’d thought I would throw in my 2 cents. I have ported US numbers to VOIP providers and have the VOIP service send me an email of received SMS messages. The email arrives promptly after a bank sends the SMS code. This allows most two factor authentication (sometimes voice is required) without needing a VOIP endpoint set up 24×7 (I only set up the endpoint when I want to make calls). You might be able to something similar for voicemail.

    1. britzklieg

      I’d score it as potentially good news and wonder what “cutting back” or “curtailing” actually means. I doubt the IRS will be visiting Taibbi again, that’s for sure!

  39. Petter

    Bill Gates and AI – It’ll be all good (OK,I skimmed it)
    He didn’t mention the fear that GAI might kill us, as Elizier Yudkowsky warns.

    Currently reading:
    What to Believe and What Not to Believe and How to Tell the Difference.
    P.R. Linkov

    1. Acacia

      The risks of AI are real but manageable

      I read that title and thought:

      “The risks of Bill Gates are real but manageable”

      … and then wondered about the “manageable” part.

  40. 2FA

    ”And my supposedly international T-Mobile #, which I need for 2 factor verification, is NOT working here”

    I went to set up a line with T mobile for that same reason and they told me if the phone I used with them was outside of the United States for more than 90 days, they will cancel the line, and I will lose the phone number. Google fi and others all said the same thing, only exception to that rule was for active duty military. Verizon had an international option that would not get canceled but it was way expensive like 120$/150$/month or so. There is a whole discussion about this SMS-while-living-abroad problem at Krebs on security, people trying to circumvent the problem using google voice and such, but some banks wont allow VOIP for 2 factor verification. My solution to the SMS issue is to simply switch to banks that have an alternate way of doing 2 factor authentication, Fidelity for example allows you to download an application on 1 device (smartphone,laptop, tablet) that you can use for 2FA, so all you need is Wifi to be able to use the app downloaded on your device in order to get the code for 2FA. No need to deal with U.S mobile phone companies that way. Its called, ”2 factor authentication by VIP access”
    From Fidelity’s website, ”Through our partnership with Symantec, Fidelity offers you free use of Symantec’s Validation and ID Protection (VIP) Access app, which generates a randomized 6-digit code on your Mac, PC, or mobile phone each time you attempt to log in. To complete your login, you’ll then be prompted to enter the code from your VIP app, which is valid for 30 seconds.”

    But if your business is centered around a particular bank that doesnt offer a VIP access app and it is impossible to switch banks then…that sucks. I have not actually left the U.S yet or tried using this app for 2FA but this is the best looking option for the SMS 2FA problem I have found so far.

    Schwab offers a checking account with no minimum balance requirement that has a great policy on foreign transaction fees, and I believe they also offer the VIP access app.

    1. LTL

      Using SMS for 2FA has been a bad idea for a long time now. Of course it’s not much use to you at the moment, but I believe T-Mobile also let’s you use Google Authenticator to do 2FA.

  41. Willow

    As expected, Ukraine will be left as a rump and Russia will take everything from Zhytomyr & Vinnytsia Oblasts to the Sea of Azov including Kyiv. Now in the end game or will Poland go for the gun like Scorpio in Dirty Harry?

  42. Alice X

    Yves, I once had two phones, an iPhone and an Android. The iPhone died and that was my main number. I took the sim out and put in the Android. It worked. That might be worth trying in your situation, it might tell you something, especially with two identical phones.

  43. spud

    if american sugar is in short supply, then just plant more. if the WSJ is insinuating that america should import sugar, i was in a dollar store the other day, piles of unsold halloween candy. ask the manager why, can’t sell it, even marked down.

    in fact america is drowning unsold merchandise, just as it was in 1928.

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