Links 7/28/2023

Patient readers, sorry for the slight delay. VPN problems! –lambert

Where do deep-sea creatures live? Where they won’t dissolve Science

Endangered birds experience ‘virgin birth,’ a first for the species National Geographic

U.S. durable goods orders climb 4.7% led by Boeing contracts MarketWatch

GDP grew at a 2.4% pace in the second quarter, topping expectations despite recession calls CNBC. Commentary:


UN chief says Earth in ‘era of global boiling’, calls for radical action. Al Jazeera. Commentary:

Climate change threatens to cause the next economic mega-shock Chatham House. Who knew?

Americans are moving toward climate danger in search of cheaper homes Bloomberg

Why we need more venture capital funding for impact-led start-ups now World Economic Forum


COVID-19 Metrics See First Increase Since January: CDC US News. As NC readers have known for some weeks.

The failures of our political and health care leaders are a feature, not a bug Halifax Examiner

As groups celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary, COVID still looms large The 19th

ICAN FOIA: Moderna Data Shows Alarming Lot Specific Data on mRNA Shots UncoverDC. The data’s not very clean, though. And the captcha for subscribing is “45th President of the United States? (last name)”. Still worth watching!


Chinese anti-corruption investigators target top PLA Rocket Force generals, sources say South China Morning Post

LONG VIEW: China’s Meat Consumption Has Plateaued China Charts

First Invincible-Class Submarine Arrives In Singapore Naval News

The Star-Spangled Kangaroo Caitlin Johnstone


How the coup in Niger could expand the reach of Islamic extremism, and Wagner, in West Africa AP. “More than 1,000 U.S. service personnel are in Niger.” Oh.


Biden Is Weighing a Big Middle East Deal Thomas Friedman, NYT

Israeli Spy Agencies at Crossroads in Political Crisis Spy Talk

Dear Old Blighty

Thames Water to datacenters: Cut water use or we will The Register

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Brings the Pain Foreign Policy. The deck: “Kyiv’s forces are finally starting to breach the dragon’s teeth.” The “dragon’s teeth” are anti-tank fortifications on Russia’s second line of defense. Aerial photographs with dragon’s teeth or it didn’t happen.

* * *

A Winnable War RAND

The War That Defied Expectations Foreign Affairs

Opera Buffa in Ukraine Seymour Hersh

Former U.S. Official Shares Details of Secret ‘Track 1.5′ Diplomacy With Moscow Moscow Times

* * *

News not fit to print Gilbert Doctorow

Biden praises Italy’s Meloni on Ukraine, downplays ‘far-right’ concerns Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

Senate negotiators advance all 12 funding bills for first time in years The Hill

Spook Country

The US Press, Spooks & the Church Committee Consortium News

Mapping Public Reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Across America RAND


Two Buyers of Hunter Biden’s Art Have Been Unmasked, Despite Attempts to Keep Their Names Secret ArtNet:

“Hunter Biden’s art career is back in the headlines. It turns out one of his collectors is a Democratic donor—a Los Angeles philanthropist and real estate investor named Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali who gave $13,414 to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and was later named to his Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad…. The other known Hunter Biden collector is Kevin Morris, a Los Angeles lawyer who has also helped the artist financially, lending him some $2 million to pay off his taxes. (Biden pleaded guilty in June to two tax misdemeanors.)

Leave it to Hunter — dear Hunter! — to invent the most obvious payola scheme imaginable.

Donald Trump accused of asking staffer to delete camera footage in classified documents case Chicago Tribune. A superseding indictment.

Supply Chain

Corporate governance in shipping: Who’s been naughty or nice? Freight Waves

The Bezzle

Almost every big streaming service is getting more expensive Axios. Enshittification proceeds apace.

Tesla’s Shadowy ‘Diversion Team’ Buried Hundreds of Range Complaints Every Week, Report Says Gizmodo

Digital Watch

Automakers Try To Bullshit Their Way Past ‘Right To Repair’ Standoff In Massachusetts TechDirt

Inside Adobe, some staff worry their AI tech will kill graphic designer jobs and undermine the company’s business model: ‘Is this what we want?’ Insider. Management: “But what about quarterly results and our bonuses?”

Code Kept Secret for Years Reveals Its Flaw—a Backdoor Wired


These New Alzheimer’s Drugs Are a Travesty The Nation

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why America’s Largest Tool Company Couldn’t Make a Wrench in America WSJ (Glen).

Has the Pentagon Learned from the F-35 Debacle? POGO. From June, still germane. I’m so old I remember when “You start coding, I’ll go find out what the requirements are” was a joke, not standard operating procedure.

How to Roman Republic 101, Part I: SPQR A Collection of Unmigated Pedantry. Part II.

Class Warfare

Blood of Young Mice Extends Life in the Old NYT. So we don’t need to worry about youth unemployment….

Shorter life expectancy gives UK pensions an unexpected windfall FT. Silver lining!

* * *

How to Invest Like the 1% A Wealth of Common Sense

Hedge Funds Seek to Cut Off $1 Billion Meant for Opioid Victims WSJ

* * *

Activists denounce violence against essential workers after UPS driver shot in Humboldt Park Chicago Tribune. Framing we rarely see.

Censorship of the Black Left Black Agenda Report

Are You a Lucid Dreamer? Scientific American

Have We Gotten Dark Matter All Wrong? Nautilus

The big idea: Why the laws of physics will never explain the universe Guardian. The deck: “We should think of the cosmos as more like an animal than a machine.”

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Mildred Montana

      “They called those mad who did not suffer from the general madness.”
      —–Madame Roland (ca. 1793 France)

    1. griffen

      Oh for about the past 20 to 30 years or so. Make it thus and so, fire xx% of essential employees or outsource, and my options on the company shares will vest and kaboom, I now possess a vast fortune. Rinse and repeat. Make believe is appropriate !

      Boeing is the model child of “we swear to thee, next quarter, we will try harder to be a bit less cr*ppy on the reported numbers”. Well, them and Intel in the recent market history. Good to be a market champion for your industry, integral to the economy and all that. Added, I’ve long thought durable goods to be among the most static of reported economic activities.

      1. hunkerdown

        Intel, for their part, is at least trying to adjust to the new reality where they lost a big battle royale that didn’t really mean very much except as spectacle. Now they’re offering access to their 16nm process as a merchant foundry service, affording near-SOTA custom semiconductor fabrication services to a much broader community of engineers.

        (There is a contradiction here between custom chips and the “right to repair”, in today’s even more petulant and jealous world of intellectual property rights and trade secrets encumbering actors, yea, unto the seventh degree. Those property rights weren’t necessarily there fifty years ago, and they do complicate reality.)

    2. digi_owl

      The claim in some circles is that while it retained the Boeing name, the company culture became all MDC after the merger in 1996.

    3. christofay

      I don’t know the breakdown of big gov military versus commercial their business is under normal circumstances. But my wonderment today would be how much of a viagra surge hit they are receiving for selling junk for the Ukraine boom doggle.

  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    Why America’s Largest Tool Company Couldn’t Make a Wrench in America

    This is such a crappy click bait headline. You, of course, can make tools in America including wrenches. FTA;
    Stanley was already making mechanics’ tools for the premium MAC and Proto brands at a factory in nearby Farmers Branch, Texas.
    Stanley just wanted to automate the whole thing which didnt work out. Turns out you still need to pay people who know what they’re doing.
    Better headline; “Tool production automation set back at Stanley”

    1. vao

      For decades there were reports about how Japanese firms were automating their manufacturing plants, and how they were at the forefront of robots in industry. The most accurate reports, those that delved into the nitty-gritty details beyond aggregate statistics, noted that Japanese firms avoided full automation of their production lines, reserving specialized robots for carefully selected, strategic manufacturing steps.

      At the same time, those overenthusiastic firms in the USA that attempted full-fledged automation of some plants with general-purpose robots (I seem to remember Motorola tried something like that in the Sematech days), met with disappointment.

      Somehow, the lure of “reducing wage-related costs” rather than “increasing productivity” appears to be the driver of those investments in robotics. Except that the production know-how resides in people (with experience, hence the expensive ones) and is not — and often cannot be — elicited and formalized…

      1. John Beech

        I wish we had for wages, something like depreciation for equipment, which incentivizes up to buy new machinery. Thinking if the tax code were written such that a company benefits tax-wise when wages go up, or when you hired more people, then more hiring would result.

        Basically, then there would be an inventive for hiring, just like there is for us now. E.g to replace an older VMC with a new VMC (vertical machining center) since we can depreciate it over five years. So I’m wondering if the secret fix to employement and shitty wages does lay within the tax code’s ability to shape business behavior.

        Anyway, maybe then we’d get back to the old Henry Ford idea of paying employees enough for them to be able to afford our products.

        1. some guy

          In other words, make all the other non-employER taxpayers pay for employER wages and salaries to employEES?

    2. B24S

      Spot on. It takes more than the money to pay software “engineers”, it takes an understanding that machines/robots can’t always replace skilled people. Notice the mention of “graybeards” and “artists” in the article. Those of us in the trades are aging out, and there are few interested in filling the already thinned-by-offshoring ranks. We also lack machinery, a lot of which was literally shipped overseas or scrapped. We are so family blogged.

      (written @ 11am, posted w/o refreshing)

    3. Glen

      I agree with all that said in these comments. The legacy of “grey beards” (glancing in the mirror – I guess I am one too) is being lost. Plus, in the past, the American tax law was structured to “encourage” the investment in factory equipment and infrastructure – that incentive was removed, and it’s all too easy and perhaps money smart to devolved the factory and take the money and run.

      In the factory covered in the article, Stanley essentially gave up and closed them. Maybe money smart, but I’d rather have a functional factory than a pile of money on a PE hedge fund. I suspect (since I have seen it many, many times) that the whole factory start up plan was “extremely optimistic” (a euphemism for idiotic and unrealistic) game plan forced on everyone by the C suite, and therefore doomed to failure. A shame since, America has proven over and over it can manufacture money, but is losing it’s ability to manufacture real things.

  2. flora

    Ed Dowd on Gettr.

    “With the FTX news on dropped charges & Hunter Biden court room drama to hide future immunity, it should be apparent to even the feeble minded amongst us that the justice system is set up to protect the uni-party looting operation that have existed for decades.

    It’s in your face.”

    Decades? The last 40+ years of neoliberal economics and govt?

    1. Screwball

      I can’t find it now, but I read earlier they have now dropped 6 of the 12 or 13 charges against SBF, including the campaign finance charges. At this rate he’ll walk free in another couple of months.

      But it’s all good because they got Orange Hitler with a few more charges (up to what now, 40, 42?). What did they need to get off the headlines?

      As far as I’m concerned, our DOJ is a complete joke, and you could probably include the FBI. I’m not including congress as they were already a clown show.

        1. mrsyk

          For sure. If I may, Id like to add to that idea. If my memory serves me well, FTX dropped major coin on both color color squads of the “uni-party”. Ryan Salame (former co-head of FTX’s derivatives business) donated about $23mm to team red. There were other methods used to to skirt campaign finance law as well. For instance, I recall reading an analysis (this article was offered on Links or Water Cooler) of campaign contributions by FTX related persons showing four particular persons contributing the max to numerous local congressional candidates indicating a “funneling scheme”. Considering the breadth and scope of FTX’s largess, I can’t help but conclude that FTX’s campaign contribution strategy was designed not only to secure favorable legislation, but to also buy up all available prosecution futures. We shall see if they managed to do just that.

          1. Screwball

            I’m pretty cynical I admit, but I’m guessing Ukraine has been a giant money laundering cesspit for our District of Criminals for a long time, and it would span both parties.

            Along with Hunter, someone connected to Kerry, Pelosi, and Mitt Romney’s associate Cofer Black to name a few. Can’t remember the names of Kerry and Pelosi connections but read where they were involved in one way or another.

            This also makes me think nothing significant will happen because it would expose way to many guilty parties of both tribes. So all we end up with is enough fodder to keep the heard divided while the perps walk into the sunset much richer.

            Come on, just once, go down the rabbit hole and expose all of it. Hahahahahahaha! Wishful thinking. That will happen when pigs fly.

              1. Screwball

                Thanks for this flora. I should have qualified I was talking in broader terms than just SBF, but Ukraine in general, and of course Burisma (which is where I read bout Black, Kerry, and Pelosi connections involved).

                Also, spelling error I now notice; herd, not heard.

  3. leaf

    I think there is footage going around on Telegram on a single IFV almost making it to the dragon’s teeth of the first line. Almost, because it fell into the anti-tank ditch in front of it and that was the end of it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know if it is true or not but one guy said that there was video and pictures from a Russian patrol assigned to check it out and reported that the driver was already dead. And that IVF was moving eastwards, not southwards like you would think.

      Just in passing, it looks like the Russians have nabbed themselves a French AMX-10 light tank and sent it on to Russia. In other news, Moscow start construction of another wing onto the present military museum.

      1. Benny Profane

        “it looks like the Russians have nabbed themselves a French AMX-10 light tank and sent it on to Russia.”

        And much laughter is heard as the Russian engineers inspect the clown car.

        1. vao

          There is much sniggering and chuckling at the AMX-10, but for the wrong reasons. It is an “engin blindé de reconnaissance”, i.e. an armoured reconnaissance vehicle — not a tank, light or not.

          It does have an exceptionally heavy gun for that kind of vehicle (105mm calibre, the same as a Leopard I), but this is deceptive: the idea is that if an AMX-10 falls into an ambush during a patrol or while scouting, it must be able to extricate itself by blasting the ambushers with its big cannon.

          Now, one might find that doctrine questionable, but the French felt this was the way to go, well, 50 years ago when the AMX-10 was designed. But one thing was sure right from the beginning: it was never supposed to serve in an attacking role. Ukrainians must be desperate to employ that superannuated equipment as some kind of light tank or assault gun.

          1. hk

            I’ve been incredulous that they’d been talking about the darn thing as if it was worth a pile of rocks. It was built to support France’s colonial ventures, mobile, light, and big gun for it’s size (technically, not the same gun as Leopard I, but a shortened version of the French F1 (used for AMX30 tank). I believe the shortened version was used to upgun Israeli Sherman’s, too, I think. All in all, a useless relic from a bygone age far from it’s natural element. It’s criminal that they are being used for combat at all.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Indeed. It’s hard to say if that is the “breach”, but the general assumption on the Russian TG seems to be that it was a Ukrainian IFV that merely got lost during the battle.

      The video has been geolocated about 2 miles east of Robotyne (a site of heavy fighting this week) and about a mile in front of the first Russian defense line. It seems to be a fortified hill position between the villages of Robotyne and Verbove, designed to channel the attackers into the killing zones, not yet the actual fortified line.

    3. begob

      That may be the same video as on the Simplicius1991 bitchute channel today. The ditch is less than a couple of meters deep and wide, with no rampart on the defence side, so definitely not the vast constructions in the rear that we’ve seen from aerial footage.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Americans are moving toward climate danger in search of cheaper homes”

    Maybe Bloomberg has it wrong. Maybe what the headline should be is “Americans forced to move out of cities due to excessive costs of homes and renting. Forced to move to only place they can afford – home in regions vulnerable to climate change”

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Not to mention the high crime rate/safety concerns/cost of replacing catalytic convertors or broken car windows (from being “bipped”…look it up) that expensive city living includes…

      Finally found my 5 acres and we’re gone in 2 years!
      Been trying to buy a place not here for 18 years.

  5. Lexx

    ‘Two Buyers of Hunter Biden’s Art Have Been Unmasked, Despite Attempts to Keep Their Names Secret’

    Hunter seems to be a ‘tool’ for absolutely everyone who cares to use him. Looking at him through his art may be the closest anyone gets to seeing him as whole and separate from that usage, and even that looks really fragmented within the frame. Art appears to be his saving grace. In every other respect he seems to be a failure as a human being… aka ‘artist’. So far he’s kept both of his ears.

    1. griffen

      Hang them high and proudly in the foyer entrance to the Beverly Hills estate, or maybe just the modest mansion in the hills above LA in view of Bel Air country club ( which I’ve read is about as exclusive a golf club there might be in LA ). “And here you can see are a few world class works of art, and tangentially next on the wall I have some first editions from Hunter Biden. These will be keepers for the decades to follow!”

      I always flail at Jeopardy questions related to art and classic painters, to be clear. Begs a question, would you park a Hyundai next to the exclusive Ferrari or Lambo? Asking for a friend and I have no ill will towards a Hyundai !

      1. ambrit

        The Hyundai would be the “chase car” that the repair crew uses to shadow the expensive auto.

          1. britzklieg

            wassa matta? u dint like my “Flash, Dadaaaaa!” cartooooon reference?

            a lil bit of levity shouldn’t be a prob but hey, it aint my blog…

  6. ilsm

    A Winnable War RAND

    another analogy for consideration is kursk 80 years ago! but nato side has longer lines of communication and far slimmer content than the wehrmacht in 1944.

    reading rand is now more like reading washpo!

    1. pjay

      Yes. I laughed out loud at the RAND boys using the allies’ Normandy example from WWII rather than the more obvious lesson from the Russian front. The Ukrainian effort, of course, is analogous to the heroic allies’ “slow, grinding attacks through the Normandy hedgerows.”

      Lots of cheery news from Ukraine in the foreign policy press today. What happened to the “realists” at RAND?

      1. The Rev Kev

        And not a mention of Operation Cobra which carpet-bombed a path through the German defenses which ended the the Normandy hedgerows phase-

        ‘After the one-day postponement, Cobra got underway at 09:38 on 25 July, when around 600 Allied fighter-bombers attacked strongpoints and enemy artillery along a 270 m (300 yd)-wide strip of ground located in the St. Lô area. For the next hour, 1,800 heavy bombers of the U.S. Eighth Air Force saturated a 6,000 yd × 2,200 yd (3.4 mi × 1.3 mi; 5.5 km × 2.0 km) area on the Saint-Lô–Periers road, succeeded by a third and final wave of medium bombers. Approximately 3,000 U.S. aircraft had carpet-bombed a narrow section of the front, with the Panzer-Lehr-Division taking the brunt of the attack.’

        Did they ‘forget’ to mention it because that is not an option for the Ukrainians?

        1. ilsm

          F-16 won’t help, too few, too much fuel, and not enough repair time

          many years ago, while I was on active duty in the usaf I met a WW ii veteran, when I said I was in the Air Force he related being at the front when those bombers were at work.

          He seemed glad for the fliers!

          Sadly, some of the bombs from the heavies fell short causing friendly fire casualties and creating better comms between ground and air cover.

          Heavies were not used much after.

          1. hk

            The highest ranking US general killed in the ETO was killed by friendly fire, via heavy bombers doing carpet bombing, in Normandy, iirc.

  7. Lexx

    ‘Almost every big streaming service is getting more expensive’

    Now that the streaming services have allegedly cracked down on password sharing, penalties for subscribing and unsubscribing (like within a month or two) should follow. It’s incredibly easy to subscribe, suck up all the desirable content over a short period of time, then discard it for the next service. Rinse, repeat. Hard work for those who produce the content, fast food for the viewers, and what is probably income stream chaos. There they are in Hollywood, out on strike and fighting for a piece of those profits.

    1. digi_owl

      Watch “piracy” surge back into the headlines as people get tired of this dance.

      Netflix was doing what Steam did for games and Spotify did for music, but naturally the rodent had to get greedy.

    2. Pat

      It was clear over a decade ago that subscription streaming was a limited market, and even the growth of cord cutting wasn’t going to change that. Recognizing that stagnant wage growth limits disposable income does seem to be something that the Chicago and Harvard business schools and their acolytes refusal to accept.
      Hulu was the smartest of the immediate or almost immediate streamers. People also failed to recognize that HBO’s seeming dominance of the premium area was funded by their core cable subscribers that got the content in connection with that.
      So the Hulu group has splintered off and every network has their own streamer, sometimes paired with an extensive catalogue. Or some piece of genre programming. There are multiple premium streamers. Etc.
      Rather than lose it all, the logical choice would be to go back to a Hulu merged content scheme, with one or two of the current major players combining forces. Where there is an even split of the take, between the merging entities and one share to the merged entity. All would provide library but also originals (release and marketing coordinated within the merged entity). There could be three of these along with the profitable but less risky “free with advertising” streamer models.

      But that way less C suite money, and less production lard to be divided. (It’s being corrected but there was serious money for producers from these and outrageous production costs on top.)

      1. digi_owl

        > Recognizing that stagnant wage growth limits disposable income does seem to be something that the Chicago and Harvard business schools and their acolytes refusal to accept.

        Because it is masked by “cheap” credit.

        Us NC readers know better, but by far most still hold to the twosome of loanable funds and money-multiplier.

        Those two combined suggests that rich savers are a boon to the public, as their savings, with a little in return in the form of interest payments, allow everyone to spend beyond their direct means.

        Not the case though. Every last time a credit card is swiped, new money is created. And that new money helps hide the long term effect of stagnant wages.

        It “worked” as long as cards were used only for once in a blue moon purchases like fancy new TVs etc. But now i hear people have taken to using them for even basic foods. That suggests the system is nearing collapse because the interest will be unmanageable.

    3. semper loquitur

      A short time indeed. We have subs to a number of them; with some exceptions the “library” of movies is stunted and filled with dreck. New movies are the draw but then so many of them are formulaic, tired and tiring to watch.

      I had Criterion a while back but I found that there is a lot of (rap there as well, although the offerings were superior to the mainstream services. MUBI was a horror show of graduate student projects, PoMo disjointedness clichés, and hybrid cinema. I still recall a particular sci-fi Western musical with palpable revulsion.

      Here’s the Russian film channel Mosfilm on Utoob:

      which has great stuff.

      Here’s a classic film channel:

      There’s a lot more out there.

      1. anahuna

        I dodge and weave between streamers for now and recently found myself with a month of Hulu, due to a bundle that allowed me to watch Wimbledon. Did some random screen rambling (as recommended on Big Think) and came across two unexpected pleasures: “Trust,” a stylish sendup of the Getty family, with Donald Sutherland and other worthies, and a British show called “National Treasure” which I started watching only because of the incomparable and now departed Robbie Coltrane. It starts out as a somewhat puzzling version of a celebrity MeToo story, then gradually and almost imperceptibly turns into a study of, among other things, self-deception and conflicting loyalties, ultimately devastating to all involved. Nuance! Subtlety! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it.

        1. semper loquitur

          Robby Coltrane always delivers, thanks for the reference. I have found some treasures here and there as well. I just think there is a lot of “bleh” in their collections.

      2. aletheia33

        thank you SL, i’ll be watching at these sites.
        i’ve seen some great russian movies on criterion, but had to give it up, can’t afford these streaming services.
        it does seem like many of the greatest not-to-be-missed movies can be found online with no subscription needed if one looks hard enough.

      3. skk

        We have prime and Peacock ( dollar a month deal) but all we watch is brit bbciplayer and itv itvx. I pay $60 a year for a static ip and the vpn. I’d pay for both even but they wouldn’t take my usbased money and block me if they could.

      1. ambrit

        De-cluttering your mind. It is work, but very rewarding. Many people I know to one degree or another look to be somewhat disconnected from “reality.” There’s a big, wide world “out there” that does not respond to our petulant or self absorbed clicks on a remote. The remote control scene on the Washington street from Paddy Chayefski’s “Being there” is a priceless evocation of that theme.

      2. CanCyn

        Thanks for the reply. Rambling is a fine activity, many here at NC agree with that I think. I ramble daily, either on my feet or in my mind, seated as I learn Vipassana meditation… as Ambrit says, both good ways of decluttering my mind but I still enjoy well done tv or movies. The platforms are awful, there is no doubt about that. But there is still entertaining and sometimes even meaningful and thought provoking stuff to find. Maybe someday I won’t need the distraction, but for now, I do.

      3. JP

        Ah the terrible curse of undistracted time. Only the saints don’t masturbate. The rest of us are looking to pleasure ourselves constantly.

        1. aletheia33

          pleasure, enjoyment, and joy are all related and overlapping, though they are not the same thing.
          it is important to learn to discern and appreciate what is happening, especially in oneself, at any given time.
          many do learn this, though apparently too few, unfortunately.

          1. JP

            Pleasure, enjoyment & joy are welcome respites from the abyss of time that is experienced by the undistracted mind.

  8. griffen

    CNBC report on the GDP for Q2. I noticed that government spending in the quarter was up 3.5% or so, thereabouts, and now I’m left wondering on this question. Most local or state governments, to my knowledge, have a fiscal year end at June 30; in my financial analyst past I reviewed (infrequently, at any rate) financial summaries on the year just closed from municipal bond issuers like school districts in Texas (all those ISDs in north Texas!). My takeaway would be, possibly, entering this quarter that any budget surplus from government spending was +/- blown out by late June.

    Sets up an interesting prospect for growth ( or groaf ) in the second half of 2023. Historically, tech companies would usually experience a lull in their quarterly numbers during July to September. My recall could be wrong, and I reserve the ability to be wrong.

  9. Mikerw0

    RE: World Economic Forum: We Need More Venture Funding

    For context, I am the CFO of a privately held, early stage renewable energy company. We have developed a breakthrough technology that achieves the ‘holy grail’ of emission-free power production. It is proven and verified by outside experts, it is baseload, it is cheap, implementation and mass production involves doing nothing novel that isn’t done today.

    You would think the financial community would be all over what we are doing, instead of throwing money away on things like fusion and carbon capture. What I am about to say will not come as a surprise to NC readers. The capital formation systems are completely broken. VC and PE firms say one thing and do something completely different. They have no real interest in “investing” or funding new technologies. Full stop. They say they take “risk” and fund growth, that is a lie. They want no risks. I know we have talked to all of them.

    When I read an article like that it comes across as virtue signaling or greenwashing. Sorry folks, it ain’t gonna happen. Come to them with something new and they have no interest.

    PS Everyone needs to read the Energy Destinies Series — nothing my colleagues and I didn’t know, but readable and well laid out.

    1. Pat

      You are more expert than I but in my opinion they aren’t interest in investing in anything period, at least not the version of investing used to sell the public on their special status. They are only interested in getting a share of something that costs them little but can be sold to a gullible public as the next big thing. Marketing value of that is all they are interested in.

      I consider them this century’s mass up of snake oil salesmen and penny stock traders. Mind you their biggest marketing fraud is themselves – always parading as seeding the future with integrity, expertise and future vision.

        1. hunkerdown

          Encumbering is a better word. The permission dispensing role of “investors” is superfluous to the production function.

      1. digi_owl

        Yeah, the system is an overgrown Ponzi or pump-and-dump scheme.

        Been that way pretty much since the dot-com days.

    2. Michaelmas

      Mikerw0: …I am the CFO of a privately held, early stage renewable energy company. We have developed a breakthrough technology that achieves the ‘holy grail’ of emission-free power production. It is proven and verified by outside experts, it is baseload, it is cheap, implementation and mass production involves doing nothing novel that isn’t done today.

      Link, please?

      1. Michaelmas

        To add: –

        Mikerw0: VC and PE firms … have no real interest in “investing” or funding new technologies … They say they take “risk” and fund growth, that is a lie.

        Who have you talked to?

        Yes, many VC firms — and almost all PE firms, you’re better off talking to sovereign wealth funds, especially about energy and water investments — aren’t really interested in funding new technologies. But there are those out there who are serious.

        However ….

        Mikerw0:They want no risks

        [1] Of course. Everybody ideally wants to minimize risk (and so do you); some VCs define de-risking as the main task of a VC. And the canonical reality of the VC business is, too, that nine of out ten investments don’t pay off: it’s that tenth one that becomes a $2-50 billion dollar company underwriting the rest. And so ….

        [2] Part of de-risking is that a serious VC firm may not give a startup’s founder(s) the often-inflated seed-round valuation they may think they’re entitled too. If the startup is a real prospect and much more money is necessary later, subsequent rounds of investment — and the resulting dilution — can take care of that.

        Is your startup asking for too high an initial valuation?

    3. hunkerdown

      If what you are making doesn’t create property and rents for a ruling class, it’s an insult to the structure of society and will not be funded.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “A Winnable War”

    More RAND think tank thinking. Should I, a civilian, point out that as far as troop densities are concerned, that the Russians now have the edge over the ever-dwindling number of Ukrainians? They seem very keen on historical analogies but draw the wrong conclusions too. And what do they mean when they say that ‘Russian forces also cannot see beyond their flanks?’ Isn’t that what all those satellites, aircraft and drones are all about? And if they think that the Russians are going to break own and run away I have news for them – and it is all bad.

    Look, the Ukrainians are throwing everything at the Russians right now and seem to be losing a score of tanks alone on a daily basis. What is worse is that it is Biden/Nuland that are forcing them to do this, even though they know that military logic states that they do not have enough in the tank to break through the Russians lines and still retain forces enough to exploit it. But the White House thought that the Ukrainians might be able to do it through their bravery and initiative, That is not a plan. That is a wish.

    I came across a comment today that seemed apt. This guy likened the Ukrainian attacks to Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg and he had a point. General Longstreet knew that it was a forlorn hope but General Lee, in his arrogance, insisted that the courage of his army would overcome all obstacles and that the Union army would break – the rest is history. I think about this scene from the 1993 film “Gettysburg” here and I think that you could update the technology for the Ukrainians right now as they try to break the Russians- (2:54 mins)

    1. Benny Profane

      The final paragraph of that Rand thing is just something. “The United States and its allies have only invested treasure—not blood—in Ukraine”, the Lindey Graham argument, but they seem to imply, with the WW1 analogy, that as long as Ukraine is patient, they’ll get saved by the cavalry, i.e., our, and, I guess, Nato troops and those troops using western weapons. Ain’t gonna happen. I’ll bet that even the present Polish government would be in danger of falling if Polish kids were sent to die for Banderites, furgetabout German, French, and American kids. Britain can afford to be jerks because they essentially have no army left.

      1. Michaelmas

        Britain can afford to be jerks because they essentially have no army left.

        In 2023, workers at the UK’s intelligence agencies — GCHQ, the Security Service (real name of MI5), the Security Intelligence Service (MI6), and the UK’s Defence Intelligence agency — substantially outnumber members of its armed services.

        Given that it is the 21st century and the UK also has a nuclear arsenal, it may even be that the UK’s allocation of its resources in this way is more intelligent and practical for the purpose of implementing its desired foreign policy outcomes than maintaining a big, old industrial-era military.

        1. paul

          In 2023, workers at the UK’s intelligence agencies — GCHQ, the Security Service (real name of MI5), the Security Intelligence Service (MI6), and the UK’s Defence Intelligence agency — substantially outnumber members of its armed services.

          If that is true, then it reveals the true enemy.

          I do wonder that vapourising the security services and distributing the remains to the atmosphere would be a great geoengineering prototype,;

          It would bless and free the people of them and make little trouble in the ionosphere.

          If that’s the case,,
          maybe the DOD could be reduced to a few double barell names, they can find them slipping letters into the internal guardian mailbox

          de bretton-gordon

          garton Ash

          I would admire them more if they presented at the front of this decision (WW3 in a humane way) they have chosen to share with us.

          SSPs the lot of them

          1. Michaelmas

            maybe the DOD could be reduced to a few double barell names

            No DoD involved. The Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office, and COBRA would be the relevant entities.

    2. hk

      So, we are now thinking like 1944-5 Japanese, now? What’s next, encourage the Ukrainians to form Special Attack Squads and start distributing bamboo spears to schoolgirls?

  11. Mikel

    “Almost every big streaming service is getting more expensive” Axios

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Just as I predicted.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can see a future sequence here-

      Big streaming service get more expensive.

      Americans switch to ebooks and start reading again.

      Ebook producers get more expensive.

      Americans switch to actual books to read which is also easier on the eyes.

      Book publishes raise their prices sky high.

      Americans start reading books, and then swapping them with other people for unread books.

      Check mate.

      1. Lexx

        ‘Americans start reading books, and then swapping them with other people for unread books’… that had been purchased ‘used’ anyway at the biannual ‘Friends of the Library’ sale (or favored content reseller).

      2. hunkerdown

        Nice try, though. The next response: New information doesn’t make it onto paper anymore, or paper copies are controlled.

        Response: Return to an oral culture of myth and other lies, as separatists sometimes do.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Myths aren’t lies. There’s no intent to deceive. Myths are the answers formulated by creative humans to questions for which neither science nor anthropology can provide answers at the time of the myth’s creation.

          First Genesis myth: How did we and all this stuff around us get here?
          Second Genesis myth: How did things get so screwed up?
          Babel: Why do humans speak so many different languages?

          Every human culture is going to try answering the first question. The second was specific to the plight of the Jews who returned from exile.

          There are many “myths” surrounding the United States and its founding. Those may indeed be lies as you contend, but I don’t include them as real myths because the facts around the founding could have been determined at the time by journalists or now by historians. There was writing after all.

          There are questions now like whence arose hierarchy: between the sexes; between individuals, etc? Murray Bookchin, a Red-diaper baby, predictably said it was the shamans’ fault. We might instead investigate the question using anthropology and archaeology.

          But there are still some questions that can be answered only with myth.

  12. pjay

    – ‘Opera Buffa in Ukraine’ – Seymour Hersh

    I thought this was an interesting comment. From an unnamed “American official”:

    “Ukraine is the most corrupt and dumbest government in the world, outside of Nigeria, and Biden’s support of Zelensky can only come from Zelensky’s knowledge of Biden, and not just because he was taking care of Biden’s son.”

    I have not yet been able to read the paywalled part, but this statement makes sense to me.

    1. Benny Profane

      I’m waiting for the Zelensky Tiktok/Firside chat with one of Hunter’s valuable and groundbreaking artworks on the wall behind him.

        1. Michaelmas

          Has he done one of Banderas yet? That seems like an as yet unexploited opportunity.

          Hersh does seem to rely on a ‘bank’ of disgruntled Washington intelligence agency insiders who have learned over the years that he’s a reliable outlet when they want to leak something. But then he is 86, too.

  13. Mikel

    “How to Invest Like the 1%” A Wealth of Common Sense
    The 1% invest in global markets and private as well as public companies in a way not accessible to the average Joe.
    I often notice financial commentators pimping emerging market stocks. I always wonder how many of these emerging market countries have an IMF or World Bank loan or any type of loan with all sorts of strings attached (which I personally associate with a lack of sovereignty). Then I couldn’t risk that type of investing without deep pockets and insider knowledge.

    1. Mildred Montana

      One cannot invest like the 1% until one becomes one of the 1%. I know enough about investing and read enough books to know that the average retail investor is considered a pigeon to be plucked. Even more so if he/she deals with a broker who, oftener than not, offers junk, sure-to-lose investments with high commissions.

      On the other hand, hedge-fund manager John Paulson, back in 2007 was able to cash in big ($4 billion personal profit) on the sub-prime mortgage crisis by shorting the housing market and buying credit-default swaps.* This investment option was unavailable to Dick and Jane retirees. Paulson was, because of his connections to the financial industry, even able to get certain investment banks to put together CDOs, CMOs, etc. that were guaranteed to fail. Then he would buy more credit-default swaps and reap more certain profits.

      Hence $4 billion in his pocket and much more for his hedge fund. Doesn’t leave much if anything for Dick and Jane.

      *As it turned out the seller of the credit-default swaps AIG was unable to meet its obligations to him and others. The government (ie. taxpayer) was forced to bail it out. Dick and Jane still got screwed.

      1. Bugs

        Thought the exact same when I skimmed it – these guys have family offices and use multiple private banks with insider knowledge. The very idea that anyone outside that caste can “invest like the 1%” makes me spit.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        And don’t forget that Blankfein’s Goldman Sachs depended heavily on those AIG default swaps.

    2. Random

      Most of US financial wealth is still in publicly traded securities (stocks/bonds mostly).
      The 1% do get access to some investments unavailable to the public, but most of the difference in returns simply comes from lack of disposable income and inability to save/invest.

  14. Henry Moon Pie

    Guterres on boiling–

    Guterres quote:

    The “destruction” unleashed by humanity “must not inspire despair, but action”, he said, warning that to prevent the worst outcomes humanity “must turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition”.

    Not gonna happen, and here’s a couple of reasons why:

    1) Psychology professor Sheldon Solomon has studied how humans’ primal fear of death exacerbates both overconsumption and tribalism in a population. We get a reinforcing loop in which climate disasters fuel fear (and fear of death) unleashing even more overconsumption. The July 4 airport crunches are a good example of people driven by something to sit for hours stranded on a runway, risking heat exhaustion, so they can take a ride in a Covid tube while pumping more carbon into the air.

    Solomon’s interview by Planet Critical’s Rachel Donald is a good entry point into this thinking.

    2) Cognitive scientist John Vervaeke, a prof at the University of Toronto, studies the “meaning crisis” in our culture. He contends that our society has lost its access to wisdom as the old, established religions lost their hold on much of the higher rungs of society. Moreover, he argues that there will be no meaningful response to Overshoot until this “meaning crisis” is dealt with. He’s not arguing for some return to a Sunday-go-to-meeting culture, but for a formulation of a new religion with elements of Stoicism, Neo-platonism along with Eastern religions like Taoism and Buddhism (he teaches Buddhist psychology). Rachel Donald’s podcast interview starts with the two of them out of sync, but picks up steam about a third of the way through. The discussion also has significant relevance to the discussion here earlier in the week prompted by the article about Bellah’s work on the importance of religion in society.

    It was about a half-dozen years ago that I came to the conclusion that we had three possible outcomes in front of us: totalitarianism, Mad Max or a widespread and deep change in worldview. Attempts to foster that last possibility have been gaining steam. More and more, people are becoming aware that the only effective response is degrowth in the WEIRD countries mode possible by deep cultural change. Even the EU managed a watered down degrowth conference in the past few weeks. This is where there is real fermentation going on.

    1. Rodeo Clownfish

      “It was about a half-dozen years ago that I came to the conclusion that we had three possible outcomes in front of us: totalitarianism, Mad Max or a widespread and deep change in worldview.”

      Rather than alternative destinies, I wonder if these will all be stages of our collective destiny, and in precisely the order that you listed them.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Very true, RC and begob. What doesn’t seem a realistic possibility to me is continuation of Business As Usual given the levels of Overshoot damage to carrying capacity and social dissolution.

    2. hunkerdown

      Someone really needs to throw capitalist reverends like Guterres off of their ritual keening pulpits and permanently humiliate them. Vervaeke, too, for doing his part in preserving capitalist culture and capitalist class relations.

      A society emerged from religion (someone else’s errors) isn’t worth living in, and Stoicism and Neoplatonism are exactly the sophistries that led to our miserable existence in total slavery to someone else’s delusions.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I don’t know how Vervaeke is trying to preserve capitalist culture and class relations. His work does try to show how capitalist societies seek to divert or sublimate this fear of death. In our culture, when things are working “smoothly” by the culture’s standards, it’s diverted into consumption, especially conspicuous consumption. This serves to confirm the consumer’s status and belonging in the society, thus ameliorating the death terror. His point is that this diversion is both insufficient as evidenced by the high percentage of people suffering from anxiety, depression, etc., and that the diversion is degrading the planet.

        He does discuss briefly in that podcast about how a couple of early 20th century ideologies operated as religions themselves, leading to a “holy war” between the two of them.

        1. hunkerdown

          Stoicism is why we have a cult of action and why we’ve enslaved our genitals to a fertility cult. Neo-Platonism is the sickness of totalitarianism, hierarchy and competition and all the moral and material perversions that issue therefrom. Both those elements must be post-‘ed with extreme prejudice in any society that isn’t merely the lethally-armed realization of someone else’s delusions romanticized as dreams.

          See that there are far too many idjits on Caitlin’s substack trying to reform the causes so that they have a theater in which to signal individual virtue, as if that were the defining feature of a society worth having. Nah. Homework and dinner first, then act like a familyblogging drunk delusional liar on your own time.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            You don’t think the superstars of the Enlightenment, Descartes, Mills, Locke and Bacon, have played a little role in bringing us to this point? Maybe the Enlightenment is the purified child of the Church, free of religion, so it thinks. But new gods arise as easily as they die because the source is inside us. It’s an impulse that will not be denied. At best, it can be shaped to do less harm than The Invisible Hand.

            1. eg

              I am inclined to agree with you about the inevitability of religion in civilization, Henry — I see no evidence in the archeological record of any civilization without it.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I’ve often thought the only way out is for people to rediscover a deep reverence for the Earth and its creatures and act as stewards, rather than exploiters, of the planet. To selflessly serve the planet rather than ourselves seems antithetical to neoliberal capitalism.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        What you’ve stated is almost exactly what the ex-Catholic theologian Thomas Berry was urging and working on 30 years ago. His work is carried on by the Thomas Berry Foundation. Cosmologist Brian Swimme is an offshoot of the Berry line and has made a couple of short films.

        The physicist Fritjof Capra has pursued a similar course. He offers a course with the same sort of aims. He wrote and produced a movie called “Mindwalk” back in the nineties that was a dialogue about these issues.

        Jude Carrivan, a cosmologist with a multi-disciplinary background, has started an organization called Whole Worldview that cites Berry. I haven’t explored it yet, but did watch Rachel Donald interview Carrivan on Planet Critical.

        Vervaeke, mentioned in the above comment, a cognitive scientist and teacher of Buddhist psychology, has just begun “Awaken to Meaning” which he calls “a dojo for the cultivation of wisdom.”

        None of these efforts reject science; they consider what science has revealed about cosmology, evolution, biology and physics to be the foundations of this new spirituality. The aim of all of them is to replace the Enlightenment’s Bacon-esque “tie Nature down and do what you will with her” with a loving and aweful relationship with the Earth and the cosmos. All are premised on the maxim: Change the worldview; change the behavior.

        1. aletheia33

          HMP, i admire and always find hope and intelligence in your comments and contribution here at NC.

          questions: how do those who cogitate on this more wholistic and reverent approach propose that our ruling scientists discover humility and abjure any of the phenomenal power (and wealth) they now enjoy in human society? what experience other than complete collapse can teach them it? if even that?

          who will secure the nuclear reactors, the nuclear weapons, the nuclear waste? who will surrender the profits of better living through toxic chemistry, as long as there are profits to be made–who will restore clean water to all the living things, and how? these are crucial unprecedented practical questions.

          while i share with many others the sense that the idea of the rediscovery of some kind of spiritual humility, in those societies that have lost that failsafe of sorts, carries some hope, perhaps the only hope there is, it remains unclear to me how those who are thinking (and presumably praying/meditating and holding discussions) on this matter expect the camel to become able somehow in our era to pass through the eye of a needle. i really would like some clarification on this.

          MLK was the only person i know of who has been capable of negotiating such a dilemma in my lifetime, and he came out of a long-established, tough tradition of spiritual survival and had a lot of help from a great many friends who were not afraid to die. so few even today understand the nature of his aims, let alone seem capable of mustering the political intelligence and backing to pursue them. i don’t mean that a great leader is a necessity for substantive change. just that i wonder, and would ask you, what the current philosophers of crisis whom you mention think would be the necessary level of cultivation of wisdom among enough human beings to change the “outcome”. and how this would happen.

          what am i missing here?

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Thanks for a beautiful and honest statement.

            Sometimes explicitly, sometimes between the lines, most of these folks at this point believe that only an unraveling or crash will bring things to a halt. Some talk about a Machine or a Superorganism that can’t be stopped. Several point out that even if we accurately perceived a choice between business as usual and making sacrifices now for preserving a “friendly” Earth for later, human psychology tilts toward the bird in the hand. Those scientists set off the Bomb even with the acknowledged chance it would incinerate the planet.

            A digression which I hope leads somewhere: The other day, I was listening to Sam Stein interview Doug Rushkoff which was pretty funny in itself–Rushkoff telling one his Leary stories and Stein squirming in his seat. Rushkoff was doing his schtick about the billionaires’ bunkers, which is always pretty funny, when Stein blurted out, “These billionaires have seen “Red Dawn” too many times.” Wrong, Sam. The original “Red Dawn” was about people sleeping in the open, hunting for their food and conducting guerilla attacks to free those left behind. That’s pretty much the opposite of the billionaires, and especially the younger tech billionaires that Rushkoff talks about.

            The real analogy is the first big-budget sci-fi movie, “Forbidden Planet,” made in the 50s. It was no “The Spider that Ate Toledo” movie with crude special effects and laughable monsters. “Forbidden Planet” employed the best Hollywood mechanical special effects and set painting artists. It’s a beautiful movie with scarcely a place that looks hokey or makes you laugh when the moviemakers didn’t intend it. (Well, except maybe Leslie Nielson in the lead romantic role.)

            The plot can be seen as an extended myth related to the Adam and Eve myth in Genesis, but it’s explicitly about technology, hubris, what too much power reveals in us and what’s required to stop the madness, all with overtones of Freud and Jung.

            So I’m beginning to wonder about the Machine or Superorganism that now gets to be described as controlling us. That’s what everyone thought on Altair IV too. It’s the same with AI, another human-created machine that cannot exceed the intelligence of its creators. But it does greatly multiply the power of whoever controls it.

            I’ve seen “Forbidden Planet” many times, but until that moment listening to Sam Stein, the full scope of the myth was opaque to me. It was not on any streaming service to which I have access, but it was on Youtube dubbed into Spanish, and so I watched it again. After claiming such importance for it, I’m sorry that I can’t now provide a link where it can be seen for free, but if you ever get the chance…

            Thomas Berry felt he had realistic hopes. He had a whole program of education, of a refocus of the arts, of drastic changes in the socio-economic system, all on top of a new religion based on what we’ve learned about how we came to be. At the core of it was the miracle that life defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the more organized becomes less organized. That’s the way it has to be. But life over these billions of years has become more complex, more diversified. Even when meteors struck, the whole process began again. What makes me sad is that we humans are acting like an only slightly slower version of a meteor.

            I don’t think these folks working on this now have those kind of hopes. The systemic breakdown, in the West at least, is already taking place as Bendell points out. Those working on a new spiritual outlook are really preparing something for the survivors, something to sustain them after they see what they will see and face what they will face. And there are likely to be other worldviews on offer which aren’t so focused on being gentle to the Earth and each other. The people of Anarres had Odonism. Octavia Butler’s survivors had Earthseed. The people who come out on the other side of this will need something, and that’s what these people are trying to give them a head start on, I think. Really, it’s an attempt to provide some continuity to human culture while opening things up to our new knowledge and new situation.

            So you aren’t missing anything. You’ve gone to the heart of it. But it doesn’t hurt to try. I’m too old for eat, drink and be merry anyway. And after what we’ve done collectively to the future, it seems like the least we can do, sort of like laying aside some essentials in a protected space, not for ourselves but for those who may be trying to start things up again. Maybe that’s why that Genesis story keeps cropping up. Ezra and his people were trying to start up again after the destruction of their city, exile and the loss of nationhood. In a way, the most palatable part of humanity’s future may lie in the hope that some will be left to start up again without screwing it up so colossally this time.

            1. aletheia33

              your reply that brings so much together is a gift. thank you.

              “laying aside some essentials in a protected space.”
              this is beautifully put.
              and, i’d like to see an essay from you naming these essentials and specifying the kinds of space you mean and how such spaces can be protected.
              a tall order but some of us need such specificity.
              –if you’ve not written one already that i missed, or someone else has that you would recommend.

              you sometimes refer to your own activities on the land in this regard and i see what you’re doing there. amfortas the hippie’s project resonates there also.
              however i do not often see these sorts of concrete actions clearly associated with/in a “spiritual” context. your discussion of this here was very welcome.

              i have an odd theory that science fiction has provided the most recent generations of thinkers with the only access to a spiritual orientation that many of them have had.

              the lineaments of a worldview that encompasses “all that we know we cannot know” do exist in US society, including in ways and places that are not often thought of that way.

              as lambert puts it with such acute simplicity, “look for the helpers.”

              again, thank you. i will pursue the film and written “sources” you’ve mentioned.

  15. Carolinian

    Latest Turley

    That is not even including potential felony charges for the original gun violation, money laundering, or other crimes. If the Justice Department were to show the same aggressive effort toward Hunter Biden that was shown to figures like Manafort, Hunter could be looking at a real possibility of years in jail.

    There is, however, the ultimate “break-the-glass” option that I raised previously if the Bidens and their supporters could not rig the process: Joe Biden could pardon his son and then announce that he will not run for reelection.[…]

    Everyone in Washington would win — except, of course, the public: The Bidens would keep alleged millions in influence-peddling profits; Hunter would not even have to pay his full taxes; members of Congress and the media could avoid taking responsibility for burying the reports of corruption.

    Of course it would also amount to a confession of guilt on all counts. Shouldn’t we also expect shots of Joe stumbling up the steps of Air Force One, raising his arms and making the V sign, taking that final flight back to Delaware? Kamala would then take on the Gerald Ford role for a few months.

    Heck it might even end the war in Ukraine. Biden said the solution to the conflict was that Putin must go. But of course there is one other solution: Biden must go. Sooner is better than later.

    1. nippersdad

      “…an admission of guilt on all counts” would also sound the death knell of the Democratic party, though. They went to a lot of trouble to rig those primaries to get such as he in office, and to admit their grift would be to turn the election over to such as Trump without a fight.

      Could they afford to divest themselves from half of the duopoly they have spent generations building up?

      1. hunkerdown

        Sure. The other half of the duopoly will construct them a new one just to keep the drama appearing “timeless”.

    2. GramSci

      Just back from ‘vacation’ among the True Blue Believers[1], and Turley was my first stumble-upon while searching “Garland Nixon” massive fbi corruption[2][3] .

      Pass the popcorn!

      1. where vacans is the appropriate Latin root
      2. only Google took me to the target, #FAIL for Brave, DDG, and Bing.
      3. Sam Bankman-Fried makes a cameo appearance around 42:00 ;-)

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Biden praises Italy’s Meloni on Ukraine, downplays ‘far-right’ concerns’

    Well of course he does. Meloni is just like AOC. A fresh face that campaigned on radical change that is needed but once in office, reverts to just another Loyal Daughter of the Empire. Meloni will do whatever Biden orders no matter what the cost to Italy. If he orders her to cut off all economic ties between China and Italy, then that is what she will do.

    1. Feral Finster

      Meloni could feed migrants alive to piranhas and nobody in the EU or US would raise so much as a peep of objection, as long as there was a possibility that any replacement would question US hegemony in general or the war in Ukraine in particular.

  17. Mikel

    “Shorter life expectancy gives UK pensions an unexpected windfall” FT. Silver lining!

    Have there been any reports in the USA about the effects of Covid deaths on Social Security.
    Or even the effect of rising numbers of single people who die without having a legit heir for SS benefits?

    1. tegnost

      White house actuary…’wow this is going really well…if only you could get them to stop masking…”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      David Leonhardt has already “informed” us that even overall excess deaths are now back to (a new) normal. So whatever effect there was, is all over. Not.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The Star-Spangled Kangaroo”

    Every new “swabbie” boarding his ship in the Pacific in the years to come-

    ‘Why does this ship have a red, white & blue rat on the side of it?’

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Opinion | A Biden Peace Deal Between Saudi Arabia and Israel?”

    The problem with reading anything by Thomas L. Friedman is that you know that you will never get those minutes back again. What would Saudi Arabia gain from making a deal with Israel? After that new law was passed, this guarantees chaos for years to come. Some powerful settlers are already saying that they should have one-third of Temple Mount as it is their anyway. So what “concessions” will the Israelis ever make to the Palestinians? And sending Sullivan and McGurk? Both of them are-arch neocons in Biden’s mold. MBS will love those guys, especially when they demand that he cuts all ties with China. And why offer mutual defence with Saudi Arabia? They have that already and as they have made peace with Iran, that is a huge load off their minds. And ‘a civilian nuclear program, monitored by the United States?’ I can see how that will work. The Saudis will pay for it, it will take decades to build and maybe the only Saudis allowed into the place will be the janitors. I loved this piece by Friedman though-

    ‘For instance, the U.S. was not amused by reports last year that Saudi Arabia was considering accepting Chinese renminbi to price some oil sales to China instead of the U.S. dollar. Over time, given the economic clout of China and Saudi Arabia, that could have a very negative impact on the U.S. dollar as the world’s most important currency. That would have to be canceled.’

    Yeah, right. Like that is ever going to happen. And they want the Saudis to cut Chinese with tech giants? This whole deal is not about the Saudis. It is about making Netanyahu look good – at the Saudi’s costs in the order of tens of billions of dollars – while cementing US control over Saudi Arabia itself. It would not be a deal. It would be a Saudi surrender document. It is trying to wind back the clock twenty years or more.

  20. Carolinian

    The Techdirt pro ‘open access to privacy invading telematics’ article links to this article as debunking the privacy argument even though it does nothing of the sort.

    The truth is that there is currently a standardized data port on all cars that the consumer can use (with a purchased reader) to read engine trouble codes and even some sensor values. Telematics on the other hand broadcast driving style and location back to the dealer on the theory that owners can quickly be notified of problems (you might be informed for example that your tire pressure is low). This info can also aid repairs by not requiring a mechanic to drive the car around for a test as would happen in the old days. But surely privacy is a question and the ability to reprogram the the engine control computer very much a question. In other words it’s more complicated than the lightly informed techdirt article would have you believe.

    Odds are if your can needs repair these days it’s likely to be the kind of mechanical fault that cars have always had–failed fuel pumps or transmission troubles etc. Private repair shops are still perfectly able to do these. But if your car computer needs repairing then perhaps the dealer should be the one to do it. Such changes can go beyond repair into the realm of re-engineering.

    And finally if telematics are so controversial then could be the car companies themselves should be restricted in their use and not just third part repair shops. Do we really want our cars to be Internet of Things objects?

    1. hunkerdown

      Why does a tire pressure sensor need to round trip back to the hive mind? It doesn’t, and as evidence I present the numerous non-networked cars with electronic TPMS already on the road. As usual, corporate spokesreasoning is spurious.

      Engine ECUs are already heavily protected against unauthorized adjustments, because they are emissions components under the Clean Air Act. They are generally contained in sealed packages and have one or two large connectors to the under-hood wiring. Electronically, they have been using challenge-response codes to control access to important parameters or code since before OBD-II, and IP security technology and public-key cryptography have only developed and trickled down since then. These tamper-proof ECUs, backstopped by Federal fines and jail time, allow these vehicles to uphold their own performance guarantees and document any deviations, so that the PMC can somewhat foresee and plan the shared futures of capitalist industrial society and natural environment.

      As for the last question, 1) CARB does want our cars on the IoT (real-time check engine lights to get covert “smokers” off the road. The poors’ll love that, surely), 2) cars have been that since OnStar, and 3) a 2021 law calling for technological measures against “drunk and impaired driving” might ultimately be implemented as a network function, along mainstream technology flows and according to capitalist relations.

      1. Carolinian

        Hope you are right about paragraph two. I have a scrape of the factory html manual for my car and there are changes and adjustments that can be made to the car’s firmware via a laptop plugged into the obd port and using the quite large chunk of proprietary software that comes on a special hard drive. In fact the immobilizer recall for my car involves making changes to the ECU firmware.

        As for paragraph three, telematics depend on cell radio which is something that can be disabled if you want to go to the trouble that probably includes disabling all the radios and the entertainment system. The point of comment though is that telematics are a dubious thing and perhaps we shouldn”t be encouraging even more parties to have access.

        Also cars are quite a different situation than iphones or even John Deere tractors. Public roads and safety are involved.

        1. hunkerdown

          I hear Ford and Chrysler engine controllers are well hardened using RSA-based cryptography, at least as of a few years ago when I was looking into it. I’ve heard about old GM ECUs (late 1990s) that were pretty decently hardened, for the time, but now we can automate brute-force attacks more easily and it just takes a little longer (© Henry Kissinger). Body control modules, being crucial to anti-theft features, are also well-hardened, with time-based loopholes for service personnel.

          Then again, the engine controller probably isn’t going to be the juicy target of attacks, but the telematics system itself, which can command the engine controller on any vehicle with driving assist. While a Stuxnet-style gasket-blowing or transmission-grinding attack would be amusing and interesting, it wouldn’t be very weaponizable.

          I too really would rather have a telematics-free, radio-free vehicle. I already have one always-on computer with me far too often, in my pocket.

          1. J.

            This is an interesting topic actually. Cars don’t seem very secure to me.

            Here’s a discussion of the Jeep hack from Defcon a few years ago:

            Apparently a lot of fobs have had replay problems, which is just embarrassing. Cars get stolen all the time around here with key fob hacks, and then of course there’s the Kia Boyz.

            Here’s a Honda replay attack from last year:

            And you are correct to be concerned about telematics:


            I heard a few years ago that new cars all had at least 3 sims. One for telematics, one for infotainment, one for the manufacturer portal and then possibly onboard wifi or whatever.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Off topic, but it feels really good to strike a blow back at the endless liberal Democrat email fundraising spam by NGPVAN. I got another spam, apparently, today, but I checked the logs and Google did it right. It bounced Tough news re: Ted Cruz off to Scott Brighton at his Duke email address with appended subject: “UnsubscribeMe”

    Victories in life can be few. Take ’em where you can.

  22. Jeff W

    “Patient readers, sorry for the slight delay. VPN problems!”

    I often wonder, in these circumstances, wouldn’t it be better if you apologized to the impatient readers? They’re the ones who would be miffed, presumably, by a slight delay. The patient readers probably don’t care about that sort of thing (or, at least, not much).

  23. Mildred Montana

    >These New Alzheimer’s Drugs Are a Travesty The Nation

    The deck: They cost a ton, have major side effects, and there’s deep skepticism that they even work. So why are we pushing them on patients?

    No need to read further, the answer is obvious: Big pharmaceutical market, big profits. Then there is the consideration that any results of studies, based largely on self-reporting by the sufferer and his/her caregivers, can easily be manipulated or massaged to arrive at the desired “improvement”.

    If only these pharmaceutical geniuses would turn their attention to the problem of spinal-cord injuries, something that primarily afflicts younger people, would have untold benefits for the incapacitated and their families, and seems infinitely easier to investigate and perhaps cure.

    What’s the problem? Results too easily measurable? Market too small? No profits?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The market will always supply what consumers want, just not necessarily what they need. Is there anything that Alzheimer sufferers and their families want more desperately than a way to even hold off the disease for a while? Big Pharma, with the FDA’s help, is happy to oblige whether or not their offerings are really nothing more than Grace’s “pills that mother gives you.”

      Here’s a couple of tunes about wants and needs:

      You Can’t Always Get What You Want

      Sketches of China” (Grace Slick-“It ain’t what you want; it’s what you need”)

    2. britzklieg

      Pick your MIC, military or medical, it doesn’t matter. They are two sides of the same coin and the currency is perdition.

    3. ACPAL

      I heard a report on this months back where it was admitted that the drugs did little or nothing. The response was that “it gave people hope.”

  24. John k

    …secret track 1.5…
    I’m suspicious of ‘… senior kremlin official admits war was a mistake…’
    Would such a person survive such a statement?
    Maybe ‘former’ official?
    Of course Biden dismisses, if he wanted any talks you probably wouldn’t hear anything.
    It’s not clear to me the kremlin wants talks, either, in which case the above statement is even more unlikely.
    Plus… kremlin has no idea of an end game? Maybe when Boris nixed Minsk 3 in march 22 there was great uncertainty of what do do beyond protecting Donbas and crimea. But now… shelling crimea from Odessa oblast and weapons smuggling likely clarifies the need to cut off Ukraine from Black Sea. And liberating Kharkiv moves the Ukraine rump a little further from Russia. Imo what to do about Kiev might be questionable. Maybe no power resolves it?

  25. Carolinian

    BTW thanks for the Roman Republic tutorial. This is interesting stuff.

    A book I read said that the founders such as Madison were classically educated but far more so about Rome than Greece and Rome formed their ideas about how to create our own country. Not that we have to follow their ideas of course but aristocracy was always a given with the poors having a voice. It’s also a convenient model if you happen to be an aristocrat (like Madison).

  26. Adam Eran

    A recent pair of WSJ articles is very critical of (left-wingers) Portland and its kinder gentler treatment of the homeless. Of course it doesn’t have single-payer healthcare, but it’s stopped rousting them out with police and discarding their meager possessions.

    The result, as WSJ’s micro-focused reporting says, was more incidents involving the homeless, and ultimately people leaving the city. The formerly vibrant downtown has suffered.

    The critical bit of information this bit of propaganda omits is that COVID was a big part of the downturn in downtown.

    But this is a systemic problem, and the focus of WSJ is entirely on individuals–like some shocking encounter with a predatory homeless guy, or the increase in petty crime, etc.

    Meanwhile, Finland has effectively ended homelessness.

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