Links 7/8/2023

Some hummingbirds are flower robbers. Here’s how to spot them Science

The Simple Mistake That Almost Triggered a Recession The Atlantic. The deck: “Leading economists said we’d need higher unemployment to tame inflation. Here’s why they were wrong.”

The economy’s doomsday clock has been reset Insider

There’s an enormous gravity hole in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Scientists say they’ve finally worked out what’s causing it Insider (Rev Keb).

A New Experiment Casts Doubt on the Leading Theory of the Nucleus Nautilus


Financial models on climate risk ‘implausible’, say actuaries FT

Climate-friendly air conditioning inspired by termites (press release) Lund University


China Controls Minerals That Run the World—and It Just Fired a Warning Shot at U.S. WSJ

US firms snub ‘de-risking’ to give China another shot – but they’re finding a new obstacle Channel News Asia

Blackpink Vietnam concert organiser apologises over South China Sea map Channel News Asia=


US Willing to Help India Deal With Violence in Manipur if Asked, Says Ambassador Eric Garcetti The Wire

China-India Border Escalations: A Triangular Explanation The Diplomat

Orchids are blooming earlier than usual in the northeast — and it’s not good news Monga Bay

Philippines writes off US$1 billion in farmer debt to boost food production Channel News Asia


How Israel has tightened its grip on the West Bank FT

Syria conducts joint operation with Russia to take control of local Wagnerites Ukrainska Pravda

European Disunion

The French riots and what works when it comes to social unrest Tony Blair, FT. Not The Onion!

These French Riots Are Different — and Far More Disturbing Politico

In Service to the State London Review of Books

Austrian high court dismisses youth protestors’ climate change suit FOX

Dear Old Blighty

(Why) The Death of the NHS Is a Parable of Civilizational Collapse umair haque, Eudaimonia and Co

Anglican archbishop declares ‘Our Father’ to be ‘problematic:’ ‘Oppressively patriarchal’ FOX

Oldest public library of English-speaking world takes visitors to time travel into past Anadolu Agency

New Not-So-Cold War

Stoltenberg ‘confident Ukraine will move closer to NATO’ at Vilnius summit France24. “Closer” doing a lot of work, there.

The elephant in the room at next week’s NATO summit Responsible Statecraft

Don’t Let Ukraine Join NATO Foreign Affairs

Ukraine ‘deserves’ NATO membership, Turkey’s Erdogan says Al Jazeera

* * *

Biden says sending cluster munitions to Ukraine ‘difficult decision’ Anadolu Agency. The deck: “Biden believes Ukraine needs cluster munitions as it is ‘running out of that ammunition.'” So the cupboard is bare.

Cluster Weapons U.S. Is Sending Ukraine Often Fail to Detonate NYT

* * *

“Fake News” from NBC on US-Russian talks about an ‘off ramp’ to the Ukraine war in April 2023 that never took place Gilbert Doctorow

South of the Border

Caribbean leaders criticize US for imposing sanctions on Venezuela Anadolu Agency

Democrats en Déshabillé

Democrats, Wake the Hell Up! Michael Tomasky, The New Republic. The deck: “President Biden has amassed a historic record in his first term. Why aren’t he and his party bragging about it?” I want some of what Tomasky’s smoking. We’re well past a million deaths from Covid, and more died on Biden’s watch than Trump’s.

MUST-READ: US Democrats’ Lessened Willingness to Enable Plutocrats & Republicans Brad DeLong


Activists want to disqualify Trump from ballot in key states under 14th Amendment The Hill. Hence the instant “insurrection” framing.

McCarthy declines to endorse Trump — looking to avoid a GOP civil war Politico

Capitol Seizure

Trump coup plotter John Eastman is finally facing real accountability Greg Sargent, WaPo

Spook Country

Transcript: America This Week, July 6, 2023, “Get Off The First Amendment’s Lawn” (transcript) Matt Taibbi, Racket News


Zuckerberg’s “Threads” Acknowledges It Wants No Politics Or News On Its New Twitter Ryan Grim. That was fast!

Elon Musk Is Making Mark Zuckerberg Seem Cool Again WSJ. No, he’s really not.

Feral Hog Watch

If only they were:

When Your Neighbor Is a Farm With 2,500 Hogs WSJ

Book Nook

The Prescience of Octavia Butler Jason Kottke

Class Warfare

Machinists Ratify Contract at Airplane Parts Supplier, But Expose Rift with Union Leadership Labor Notes

Teamsters, UPS battle may be just a warmup for future Amazon fight, experts say The Hill

Anger from voice actors as NSFW mods use AI deepfakes to replicate their voices: ‘This is NOT okay’ PC Gamer

Worker concerns about EV manufacturing wages could become unlikely fodder for Republicans The Hill

* * *

Americans Have Quit Quitting Their Jobs WSJ

* * *

The inheritance of social status: England, 1600 to 2022 PNAS

The persistence of cognitive biases in financial decisions across economic groups Nature. From the Abstract: “We therefore conclude that choices impeded by cognitive biases alone cannot explain why some individuals do not experience upward economic mobility. Policies must combine both behavioral and structural interventions to improve financial well-being across populations.” No duh.

The Marxist theory of the state: An introduction Liberation School. There’s one?

Cary Grant’s suave persona belied the poverty and trauma of his British childhood The Irish Times

AHHHHHH: Enjoy the Relatable Catharsis of Watching 100 People Scream As Loud As They Colossal

Antidote du jour (via), Polar Cat:

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. mrsyk

      According to an NPR opinion piece (I’m not providing link) titled “After days of destruction, Macron blames a familiar bogeyman: video games”, Macron begs to differ.

      1. Wukchumni

        Oh, a, oh
        Oh, a, oh

        I heard you on the wi-fi back in twenty two
        Lying on a screen tuning in on you
        Being a conduit for Kiev your message coming through
        Oh, a, oh

        You took the credit for your Zelensky sympathy
        Rewritten by machine on new technology
        And now I understand the problems you didn’t see

        Oh, a, oh
        You met the press
        Oh a oh
        What did you tell them?

        Video games killed the investment banker star
        Video games killed the investment banker star
        Ps-5 came and broke your heart
        Oh, a, a, a, oh

        And now we meet in an abandoned burned out studio (ohh)
        We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
        And you remember the jingles used to go (ahh)

        Oh, a, oh
        You were the first one
        Oh, a, oh
        You were the cursed one

        Video games killed the investment banker star
        Video games killed the investment banker star
        In my mind he ain’t no czar
        We can’t rewind we’ve gone too far
        Oh, a, a, a, oh
        Oh, a, a, a, oh

        Video Killed the Radio Star, by the Bangles

        1. griffen

          Channeling the Bangles, and our better leading lights here in the US. Instead of Eternal Flame by the Bangles, how about Coke Addled Brain by the Bangles. I digress.

          Close your eyes
          Give me a bump
          Don’t you feel my heart racing
          Do you understand, don’t you numb the pain
          Am I just Biden dreaming
          This could be an Addled Brain…

          I believe this stuff is meant to be,
          I snort it when others are sleeping
          Coke belongs with me
          Don’t you feel this pain
          Am I just dreaming
          This is my Cocaine High Brain..

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I think Macron may take his first name too seriously:

        Emmanuel is a transliteration of עִמָּנוּאֵל which means “God with us,” a name which appears in Isaiah 7:14 and is interpreted in the Greek bible as a prophecy of Christ.

        Similarly, Netanyahu means “gift of YHWH.” Are exchanges allowed?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and my name, Josef, means “he shall add”.
          if i remember right, after 45 years.

          as much as folks sometimes accuse be of “speaking hebrew”(being incomprehensible), i do not…nor Gaelic, sadly.
          Latin and its derivatives…and a poking around reading ability in Koine.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      I mean it’s not a mystery why they are rioting if you really want to look into it. Keep raising the pension age. Keep taxing fuel more. Keep inflation on food high. Keep punching down economically and see what happens.

    3. JustTheFacts

      On the one hand, we hear Tech leaders say that AI will get rid of all the jobs, and basic income will be necessary so that people can live in dignity. On the other hand, we see what happens to people who can’t get jobs even in countries with security nets such as France. Is basic income remotely credible given how we treat people today?

    4. .Tom

      A confusing piece. It appear to first fear for poor Macron (he’s so competent), then to blame him, and then wraps up by blaming the cops, i.e. systems. What to make of a sentence like “the current government, despite its technocratic prowess, has given nearly every segment of French society, across all demographics and regions, cause to feel that they are governed sometimes competently but almost always with humiliating impunity” ?

      Are the new riots because people hate Macron or not? I still have no idea.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        hence the american style blame it on the bad immigrants messaging.
        i had hoped that the french were more sophisticated than us…we’ll see, i guess.
        Hobbes’ State of Nature obtains, as policy, everywhere in the West….to cover up the utter corruption and evil that resides in those who have taken power, lo these many years.
        i cant decide on the roman or the ottoman empire as the better analog for our current situation.
        im on record…right here at NC…comparing trump to Honorious…him, being told that Roma had fallen, thought they were talking about his pet chicken of that name…wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued…with the courtier unsure how to correct the boy.
        i may have been wrong,lol.
        Biden resembles Honorious a lot more than trump did.

  1. Joe Well

    Re: Biden vs. Trump, Beyond lower Covid deaths, Trump seemed much more like a socialist to the average person: no evictions, student loan payments paused, cash magically deposited in people’s accounts, payroll protection to keep people in their jobs, Medicaid for all who would fill out the form, small business loans, low interest rates (yes, I know, Fed policy, not trump), no looming WWIII with Russia and China, no skyrocketing inflation.

    Of course, you and I know that Trump was also working to restructure the economy to benefit the rich and inflaming tensions with Russia. But on the whole, for me and the large majority of Americans, life was a lot better under Trump. And there are still kids in cages.

    1. jackiebass63

      Actually for me life wasn’t any better under Trump that Obama. Trump was lucky because he inherited a good economy from Obama. Like most republicans he managed to destroy the economy. Since he wasn’t reelected he got off Scott free.This seems to be the cycle I lived with in my 82 years.

      1. griffen

        Meh I don’t agree that the US economy was destroyed, rather than it expanded on a solid economic footing. Low unemployment rates and inflation was pretty well contained. That pandemic thing really upset a lot of things though, did it not? I mean our last national emergency related to disease goes back 100 years. I mostly didn’t care for the tax cuts (although it made personal tax filing much simpler) or the goofball trade wars which were lead, my recall, by idiot Peter Navarro. The end of the ZIRP cycle was going to break a lot of punch bowls, no matter who was in the Oval Office.

        Obama let crooked people walk, fwiw, and many will just never forget it. The Biden administration has shown form in the transportation failures (Mayor Pete!) and many issues with major industry like the railroads and the airlines. Joe Biden owes some of us an inflation adjusted $600. Biden and his cabinet are still worse on the border and they insist on punching down to the poor and the lowest.

        1. Jackiebass63

          I don’ believe AISD happened 100 years ago. It I believe started in the 60’s. It was hidden from the public for several years because of who it infected.

          1. griffen

            You are correct, my thought went to the influenza / Spanish flu in 1918 to 1920. Away to the wiki entry I went to find such things.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘Trump was lucky because he inherited a good economy from Obama.’

        I think that Doc Hudson may disagree with that idea after reading through his post today “The United States’ Financial Quandary: ZIRP’s Only Exit Path Is a Crash.” Obama had a choice between saving the banks which financed him or saving the American economy long-term. Guess which one he picked.

      3. TomDority

        A good president is one who happens to be on the job when you are having a run of good luck. 1923

        He isn’t really a big time crook unless you must let him alone to prevent the loss of public confidence. around 1923

        More power to you at 82

      4. Jason Boxman

        They didn’t call it Obama’s jobless recovery for no reason. I’m not sure what the rocking economy is of which you speak?

      5. Joe Well

        If life wasn’t any better for you, then I guess you didn’t need Medicaid, weren’t at risk for eviction, didn’t have outstanding student loans, or any other debt that would be affected by higher interest rates, don’t own or work for a struggling small business, …and now aren’t that worried about the possibility of a nuclear war, or care about the people being killed and displaced in proxy wars.

        In short, you’re the ideal Democratic voter which is the reason so many people have broken up with them. I talked with a lot of people like you when I was canvassing for the Bernie campaign. The toughest customers were the complacent old, and on the other extreme, the hopeless young who thought voting was pointless (maybe they were right).

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          here in texas, obamacare did exactly squat for people like me…by design, if i remember right…having been laid up for the whole episode, waiting for a goddern hip(6.5 years it took), and thus having ample time to peruse the entire corpus.
          i was writing letters and lobbying on fb and everything else.
          he left the door wide open for states like texas to abstain.
          main reason i voted third party for his second go-round.
          frell the dems.

          1. Joe Well

            In contrast, Trump’s emergency Medicaid expansion was in every state. The fact he was a republican gave R governors cover. And now that a Dem’s in the White House they can’t throw people off fast enough.

    2. caucus99percenter

      As a U.S. citizen living abroad, under Trump I received two Covid relief checks. Under Biden I got bupkis. A deliberate difference in policy? I don’t know — perhaps someone else in the commentariat knows?

    3. marym

      “…no evictions, student loan payments paused, cash magically deposited in people’s accounts, payroll protection to keep people in their jobs, Medicaid for all who would fill out the form, small business loans…”

      Weren’t all those benefits that were first passed by Congress? Trump signed them into law, and at one point publicly argued for a higher cash subsidy, but generally I may be wrong, but I don’t recall that he played a big role identifying or advocating for specific programs.

      As far as Medicaid, pre-pandemic he supported the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion. As a 2024 candidate he doesn’t seem to be campaigning on those specific types of benefits, and his conservative base – elites and non-elites – typically think those types of benefits are indeed “socialism” and wrong.

      1. Boomheist

        I continue to believe that Trump made one enormous mistake just when Covid began to explode in the winter of 2020. As the crisis grew, and people began to panic, this would have been in the January-February period, hospitals filling up, people confused and fearful, if Trump had announced that in the interest of the nation and the crisis he was establishing Medicare for all on a temporary basis to get us through the crisis, during that period when we were throwing trillions everywhere, had Trump done that then, he would be President today and well on his way to somehow taking a third term. Of course, once you set up Medicare for all on a temporary basis, and people get familiar with it, that temporary category becomes….permanent, and Trump would have received the benefit, winning huge in 2020.

        Just sayin.

        1. Joe Well

          Of course any president could become as beloved as FDR if they enacted FDR’s policies. But would they find themselves the victim of a lone shooter or a sudden heart attack followed by a quickie cremation?

          1. GramSci

            Don’t forget that after FDR’s untimely death, all his medical records disappeared from Bethesda Naval Hospital. Odd, that.

        2. chris

          Trump’s biggest mistake was not embracing mail in voting and making it easier for his supporters to vote. If he had just done that one thing he would have won.

      2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        IIRC, Mnuchin and the fed drove a lot of the compensatory largesse. Trump dutifully signed on and now 50 years of bad monetary and fiscal policy not to mention colossal distortion in labor ‘markets’ is being blamed on ‘free government money’.

      3. Joe Well

        The parties and the rest of the elite want us to listen to the candidates’ words and ignore their actions in office.

        At this point, no one should care what is in a party platform, policy paper, or campaign speech.

        1. jsn

          If you look at what they do, you see there’s no point in voting (excepting some local elections).

          There’s obvious functional consensus that the rich and powerful need more of each which should be got from the poor and weak.

          Everything else is quibbling about details to keep your eyes off the game.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i withdrew my Consent years ago…in an email to the texasdemparty in austin.
            they didn’t reply.
            i consider my 5 acres of our 20 acre place a microstate, a la Andorra.
            “i pay my property taxes and dont cause a fuss, and y’all leave me the hell alone”.

            i never agreed to not corrupting the youth who visit my fair republic, however.
            Wilderness Bar is the embassy space for outsiders.
            “Think Like a State”

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    With regard to social mobility, or lack thereof in the UK, readers may be interested in the following:

    A study of MPs in the 1930s revealed that over 400 were cousins of varying degrees. A study of MPs in the 1950s showed that Tories often had French names, as per the above, and Labour MPs had Anglo-Saxon and ‘ or artisan names.

    With regard to names, NC’s French contingent, especially Aurelien / David, who will know why I specified him, may be interested in

    An academic of Maghrebin origin has studied educational and professional achievement and noted that people with traditional French names did better than those with English / American or made up names. If one is called Appoline, the sky’s the limit.

    When I see Jordan Bardella or Moshe Zemmour on the air waves, I wonder where the likes of Alphonse and Gonzague are.

    1. MaryLand

      Did the Normans (somewhat French) bring the class system to Britain? Were the Britons/AngloSaxons more egalitarian before the Norman Conquest?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you. The Angles, Saxons and Vikings in England were a bit less class conscious. The Normans made it worse and formal.

      2. scott s.

        I guess in the Danelaw the 3-class thrall/karl/jarl viking social structure prevailed.

      3. Kouros

        Likely. And they were the only one eating beef (boeuf) and pork (porc) while the Anglo-Saxons were left only with chikens, while the cows and the pigs were taken away…

      4. Don

        The names for food on the hoof are Anglo Saxon; the names for food on the plate are Norman:

        cow, pig, sheep…
        beef, pork, mutton…

    2. Lexx

      One great grandfather was a stone cutter and the other was a farmer. Very few since got educations and those, up to my generation, were male. Also each generation of our tribes did ‘better than their parents’ up to the Boomers and then there’s a precipitous decline.

      The ‘iron law’ of oligarchy… hand and glove?

    3. Joe Well

      This is amazing, especially for me, who is from a corner of the world (New England/Boston) where French surnames have been associated with the working class or at least non-elites.

      The implication is that they are the distant heirs of the Norman conquest?

      Supposedly that was the most thorough replacement of an elite class of any invasion in history.

      1. Paleobotanist

        The French names in New England are almost entirely from Quebecois fleeing poverty and the iron hand of the Catholic theocracy (La Noirceur) in Quebec pre-1960s. They were working class trash immigrants. No nobles there. When Eugene O’Neill in the 1910s and 1920s needed someone from the desperate underclass, he wrote in one of these Quebecois. In Mourning Becomes Electra (his retelling of the House of Atreides cycle), his Cassandra is an Quebecoise concubine in Boston.

        1. mrsyk

          Thank you for this. I grew up in western Maine during the entirety of the 70s. Illuminating.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Come to think of it, there was a corrupt governor of Maine – Paul LePage – who grew up speaking only French and had to learn English as a second language before eventually going on to win office. Last I heard, the guy went to live in Florida where he liked the politics more.

    4. Stephen

      This is a super interesting discussion. I always think of Field Marshall Montgomery as an example when this comes up. Descended from a Norman knight with the name Mont de Gomery.

      David Starkey described England once as a post colonial state. People forget how thorough the Norman conquest was. French replaced Old English as the language of court and commerce for over three hundred years. After 1066 the first English king to speak the language as his mother tongue was Henry IV after 1382. English was a pure peasant language for most of that period with no real written continuity until the rebirth with Chaucer.

      I have read works that describe the Norman Conquest as genocide against the Anglo Saxon elite. So it kind of stacks up that having a French name is still associated with higher status. Our culture also tends to associate “French” with sophistication.

      My own surname is totally Anglo Saxon by the way, albeit via Ireland and then to England after the famine!

      1. synoia

        Very astute. I need to recall the names of my classmates, at UK public school and reflect.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Synoia.

          I know what you mean, especially as you and I went to similar schools. Your alma mater was the ancestral home of the Bigod and Howard / Norfolk families. Mine, celebrating its centenary, was the home of the Temple / Cobham / Grenville / Buckingham families.

          The NC community will be relieved to hear that the Colonel’s real name is reliably French and Catholic.

          I’m at Sadler’s Wells for a Flamenco concert as I type.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Stephen.

        English was used at the coronation in 1066 and then displaced for 4 centuries.

        Courts were allowed to hear cases in English from the late 14th century. A hundred years later, English took over.

        However, the Tudors often spoke in French, including as late as Elizabeth. Henries VII and VIII and Mary had French aumoniers.

        Think of food and what we write in English for some varieties of meat.

        I’m off to the Perigord, Quercy and ancestral Limousin in September.

      3. LifelongLib

        I’ve read of a later battle where the order was “spare the commons, kill the gentles”. Peasants were needed to work the land, and it didn’t make much difference to them who they were working for. If the enemy nobility survived one battle they would just be planning the next one.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Like Joe Well says above, in the New England area, French surnames are definitely not associated with sophistication. My uncle who grew up in Maine surnamed Lebel likes to tell the story about the nun who smacked him in Catholic school for acting up when he was 10 years old or so, and he, not being the shrinking violet type, whacked her right back!

        I will leave readers with this hilarious song, which is evidently based on a true story, about the escapades of one “Toddy” vs. Poulin and Pelletier at a place called the “Chez” somewhere in Maine –

        [Family blog] ’em up, Toddy!

        Oh, and definitely NSFW.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Lewiston, Maine is the largest Franco-American locale in the country, and has a large Catholic cathedral built by the Quebecois who worked in the woolen mills. The spire can be seen from the Maine Turnpike.

          People may recall the cartoonish Paul LePage, who was Governor from 2011-2019… a Lewiston native.

          There was also that Kerouac guy, from Lowell, Massachusetts; I’m pretty sure his Mamere worked in the mills.

          1. hk

            More so than the Cajun country? My other people in Louisiana are nominally Cajun, but I got the distinct impression that my favorite lady’s father, who, I think was the first person to go to college in his family, apparently was ashamed of his background and decided to assimilate to conventional Southern population…. Certainly not a group associated with cultural sophistication.

      5. hk

        Yup. Several historians noted with irony that the Normandy village where Rommel was strafed was called Foy de Montgommery or something. Always wondered if Monty’s ancestors or relatives used to own it.

    5. Aurelien

      Oh yes, and I freely admit that I burst out laughing when I saw a story about French men called Kevin. Even after all these years it still just seems … surreal. Poor Kevins. But actually there is a more significant point: the americanisation of French popular culture, especially since the deregulation of TV under Mitterrand. Go into a supermarket in a working-class area these days and you’ll find a lot of the produce has names in English, the background music consists of American acts and most of the overweight clientèle are wearing sweatshirts with logos of US sports teams. And the manager is probably called Kevin. Pity, because French working-class culture used to be quite a thing.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i said…yesterday…that i’d like to eat my way around europe.
        france and italy and greece would have been my main stops on a foodie tour…and backroads, at that…mom and pops in the hinterlands..not michelin, etc.
        that remains a dream of mine…one that i’m unlikely to be able to fulfill.
        but what you say saddens me immensely.
        must american mediocrity and homogeneity overtake the whole world?
        i’ve always hated the idea of a mcdonalds in Paris(“a moveable feast”)…or Moscow(altho ive never had russian cuisine).

        (i have, however, caught a carp and kept it in a bathtub for christmas dinner…a la a Czechy/Bohemian tradition my grandad told me about..caught it on a coffeebean glued to a hook in the Llano River, just upstream of White’s Crossing…with a fly rod, no less,lol)

    6. skippy

      Wellie … ain’t that a pip …

      My family sir name and first name predate the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D., sir name being native and the first name Germanic in origin used locally, but reinforced by Scandinavians arriving before the Norman conquest of England. Ancestors in America landed in Virginia in 1620 on the first supply and a few more dribbled in shortly thereafter. Not a common sir name which can befuddle people it seems, early spelling makes more sense from an historical perspective.

      Family Crest & Coats of Arms makes me ponder the significance of green grapes, three lots at that ….

      Then again on the mothers side of the family the sir name is an old city in Northern Germany and some French early American settlers that ended up in small farm towns in Iowa quite a long time ago. Hence anything that happens in that state I have deep family roots to draw from e.g. quite the opposite of how east and west coast media portrays it. Say my Aunt worked for USDA all her life and ended up near the top in the state.

      Sunday here and seems if not fixing up past bad works for others I’m doing it here at my new digs, curse my eyes ….

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i love genealogy.
        i hail from Bohemian Jews, who converted prior to 1700’s, whence i can trace my first ancestor in that line.
        he was a catholic, but with ties to the moravian brotherhod(??)…the language makes it difficult to go any further…altho i know where the village was outside of now Prague.
        mom’s side, direct descendant of the brother of one David Crockett…hence, Hugenot, French Court, etc.(and goptea people have yelled at me that i aint a real texan,lol)
        another line goes to Clan Lamont, of that ilk….and of some ill repute, it seems…but i cant make heads or tails of scots irish politics in the 20th century, let alone in the 1200’s.
        the fourth line that makes me is swamp people from east texas, mixed with a stolen choctaw wife from oklahoma(my grandad’s momma)…just to even things out.

        nsa(waves middle finger), fbi, etc…all know who i am already…because i haven’t been silent, and have spoken truth to power for a long time, and have chastised my employees in government whenever they angered me…until recently, when i gave up on the project as hopeless.

        1. skippy

          Were all bastards of a sort, regardless of how some like to project otherwise …. eh

    7. Revenant

      No Norman names here but no vocational names either. We’re yeomen farmers named in Cornish / Devonian after our land / village, on my mother’s side (but one can be traced back to “Richard de [local town]” under William I). On my father’s side, they were from the industrialist/professional nexus.

      Regarding other markers of social mobility:

      My mother’s generation, the Boomers, were the first to go to university. Her father was one of six brothers and they drew lots for three farms and the losers went into the Midland Bank (retail banking). Her mother wanted to escape the farm and trained as a concert pianist but her teacher was a Miss Fuehrer and was interned in WW2, closing the door on that.

      My father’s parents did not go to University either. His father ran a shipping agency. His mother however was quite a bluestocking and suffragette – she and her sisters went to Roedean (their father was a famous lawyer for liberal causes and could afford it and her mother was a coal mine owner) and I still have the milking stool she made in woodwork class. Strong Marie-Antoinette vibes. :-)

      Curiously, I am the first person in my family not to go to school in my own house since Roedean granny (my grandmother and mother went to school in the half we rented out, father had a governess as a child and started a school for his own children so my half-siblings went to school in our house and when I was born the school had moved out but I went there too).

      In the wider family, some of the farming cousins moved up thanks to having a good war, ending up Lt Colonels, or making good in the post-war agricultural boom, and their children have ended up in merchant banks, off-shore wealth management, lawyers, scientists, company directors (globally famous retailer) but in every case, one step away from the real money. Still yeomen, passing as gentry, but definitely not aristocracy.

  3. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War

    “Biden believes Ukraine needs cluster munitions as it is ‘running out of that ammunition.’” So the cupboard is bare.

    Maybe NATO should feature a guest appearance by William Shatner at their Vilnius meeting bearing weapons for Ukraine lifted from old Star Trek sets – phaser guns, photon torpedoes, and deflector shields. Mark Hammel could do similar by joining Shatner on stage. Yoda could give Zelensky some tips on using The Force. Maybe that would keep Zelensky out of the news for a few days with his new weapons against Russia. Too bad Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us as he could show Zelensky the Vulcan death grip and the shoulder pinch which could used on Putin when Zelensky could arrange, based on the pretext of signing a surrender agreement with Russia.

    Magical thinking can really work sometimes or at least keep things that are not working to continue longer all the while more and more folks die.

    If nothing else, this would allow Zelensky to forge contact with (albeit old) Hollywood icons which might help him launch a new and more profitable phase in his acting career – which he gave up to run for President of Ukraine.

    On a serious note, the big question in my mind is what does Russia do what it is she is going to do, once Ukraine has reached the level of attrition she seeks?

  4. John

    Prescience of Octavia Butler…The Parable of the Sower was published in early 1990’s. When asked what inspired her, Butler replied that she just looked around at what was happening in the country.

    1. mrsyk

      That’s next to the bed in the “short list” of books to be read. I’m looking forward to it.

  5. mrsyk

    “Americans Have Quit Quitting Their Jobs ” Does this mean the Fed will stop jacking interest rates?

    1. griffen

      Can’t speak to the exact specifics from that article (I listened to the available intro and excerpt), but based on my armchair analysis from watching CNBC this week it seems more likely than not the FED is set on another rate move or perhaps two. The very wildcard thing to the Friday payroll number, was that earlier in the week there were big headlines about how the monthly ADP forecast was showing a larger jump to payrolls.

      As for quitting, yeah maybe the quit rates finally tapered off but I saw a different news headline that now “loud quitting” was becoming a trend. Like take your job and shove it kind of quitting.

      1. mrsyk

        I remember that article. I also remember discussions equivocating hiking interest rates to exercising a call option on labor. Myself, I don’t expect interest rates to be reduced anytime soon. Further, (for me) when a headline sounds like narrative it probably is exactly that.

  6. jackiebass63

    I have a couple things to throw out. I’m not an economist but I think too much of economics is based on assumptions.The facts are often distorted by the assumptions that are made. The other is about Covid. We tend to want to blame someone for it. Being a new disease many mistakes were bound to happen.This has frequently been the case in the past. AIDS is a glaring example. Some of the deaths from COVID are the fault of those that died. They didn’t take COVID seriously.Instead of acting cautiously they continued their activities like this wasn’t a serious disease. When I first read about COVID the first in my mind was COVID was serious and was going to be a long term problem.Unless a vaccine that prevents the disease is developed COVID will be a serious health problem and kill many. Being cautious in your behavior increases you chances of avoiding COVID.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > We tend to want to blame someone for it.

      I fully agree with your assessment that the population as a whole does not behave in a sufficiently objectively self-protective way, but this doesn’t mean that powerful individuals have not been influential on the response of the wider population.

      Without naming names, I have the impression (from commentary by medical people) there is a significant overlap of highly-placed personnel between the flawed US response to the AIDS epidemic and the flawed US response to the CV pandemic.

      It’s not all down to historical forces and population propensities, “great men” still matter at times.

      1. Boomheist

        Just as there is a serious and consistent overlap between the neocons who frothed us into the Iraq War and the people today advising on Ukraine…Elliot Abrams, anyone?

      2. marku52

        Even today there is no mention from the useless US health authorities that VitD is an important predictor of Covid outcomes. No exhortations to “get your D tested” and “it your level is low ask your doctor!”.

        Or better yet, just send out 5,000 IU pills to every citizen and tell them to take one a day.

        Cheap, safe effective? No chance big pharma would allow it.

    2. Lex

      They weren’t mistakes, they were failures. The issue isn’t how Covid was handled medically but how it was handled as an emergency response. If either the Trump or Biden admins had performed even basic emergency response procedures with any consistency, the whole situation would have been an order of magnitude better.

      1. ambrit

        As the floor worker said to the academic; “It is all a matter of Union Scale, isn’t it?”

      2. GramSci

        «assumptions need not be “realistic” to serve as scientific hypotheses; they merely need to make significant predictions»

        I.e., p<.05?

        1953. The dawn of academic publishing?

    3. Lexx

      It was farce, JB. I read ‘Pathogenesis’, there’s no one to blame because no one is truly in control nor could they gain it. We’re shaped by and divided again and again by that shaping into winners and losers. I don’t think we know enough yet to get ahead of the curve; we’re simply too short-sighted a species, defining everything into terms of ‘politics’ and ‘economics’.

      George Monbiot’s piece in The Guardian was interesting… maybe we need to have a rethink about thinking.

      1. hunkerdown

        Read Marx, and you will see that the capitalist realism you attribute to “our species” really only applies to the Western “middle class” who live in a myth bubble anyway; read Graeber, and you will see that “political economy” is a particularly capitalist origin myth that doesn’t exist outside of capitalist society; read Stirner, and you will see that all of it is a self-important dissipation.

        Be careful of that royal “we” stuff and your careless erasure of knowledge you don’t happen to believe in.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’d recommend Joseph Campbell’s 4 volume Masks of God, as well…to get a handle on how us in the west are not exactly the center of the universe, after all.
          many deep, complicated civilisations, possessing deep histories, well outside of the West’spurview

          although he does tend to harp on Us(sic) in the last volume.
          (Grail Myth as fundamental to Western development, etc…hence Amfortas…Grail King wounded “in the thigh”, and thus the Land to which he was married was the wasteland, etc etc, and on and on)

    4. Dan Berg

      The US response wasn’t “some mistakes” but the PRECISE opposite of a rational public health response. Go down the list: early intervention? No – go home, spread the disease, come back when you’re really sick and we will put you on ventilator and remdesivir. Use widely available, safe and effective medicine? No, remember “horse medicine?” Focus on the vulnerable and try to keep life as normal as possible? No – lock downs, schools, churches, beaches and outdoor basketball courts closed, etc. Widespread dissemination of best practices? If “some mistakes” were made, the results would look randomly hit and miss. Ask: cui bono?

      1. digi_owl

        And also Keen’s more recent work where he goes all the way back to the French Physiocrats and refresh their “land first” thinking with modern physics (energy from the sun drive everything). And from there attempt to build a coherent model all the way up to the banking system. I just hope he lives to see his work taken seriously, and not distorted like Keynes was after his death.

    5. Bsn

      We should “tend to want to blame someone for it.” It was manufactured by some people, planned by some people, handled by some people. We can name names and places (Ralph Berick, Fauchi, Gates, Wuhan, Georgia USA, Ukraine bio”labs”, lockdowns, WHO, mandates, etc) easily. Some people may cry or debate and say “conspiracies” but those same conspiracies are being revealed as more and more true, spot on and correct. Not wanting to blame someone is a form of no accountability. This is too important (and deadly) to just say we shouldn’t blame someone. Many people need to be blamed, shamed and de-famed.

    6. GM

      Being a new disease many mistakes were bound to happen.


      If proper protocol was followed, it would have been contained, regardless of whether it is “novel” or not.

  7. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    The Unit was in a bit of a cluster funk, as all we had left in the MIC pantry aside from H bombs was tactical land grenades, a veritable shitlode of them mostly all going off at once, kinda similar to lighting off a brick of 144 packs of firecrackers I suppose-but with more carnage asada.

    …so when we run out of those, can we get to the Big Stuff?

  8. berit

    Our former PM, Jens Stoltenberg, a thoroughly groomed social democrat since childhood, honoured member of the once great Norwegian Arbeiderpartiet, (Labour) social economist by education, is finally showing his true colours. I checked the dictonary, to be certain that I’ve got the meaning right. He’s like Tony Blair, overreaching his competence, without a reliable ethical compass, a jerk, foolish, servile to POTUS Biden and TPB, contemptible, probably telling himself that he’s doing GOOD, making war on Russia, Russia, Russia, for “peace in our time”? Jeg gremmes – good grief. People are demonstrating against NATO in Germany and France. All hope is not lost – not yet.

    1. The Rev Kev

      When the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) was established back in 2008, wasn’t it Jens Stoltenberg that signed up on behalf of Norway? I guess that the cluster munitions that old Joe wants to send are safer and better than the ones used in 2008.

      1. ambrit

        According to Scott Ritter, the cluster munitions in play here are the 2008 production class.
        Somewhere in his weekly talk with Judge Napolitano, Ritter said that America never sends the latest versions of their munitions to foreign clients. He also mentioned that neither Russia nor America signed the convention against cluster munitions. Too useful to not have available.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If I recall correctly, the bulk majority of those Russian cluster munitions are sitting in storage so that if things go bad, then can be pulled out and used. Otherwise they just sit there with the Russian State not willing to really use them. The Ukraine trying to mass use of cluster ammo would count as an excuse for Russia to bring them out of those depots.

          1. digi_owl

            All in all Russia has been approaching this whole mess with silk gloves. We have seen time and time again that if the wanted to they could level the power and transport networks of Ukraine pretty much over night. But they seem to consider at least the eastern population as “cousins”, and so try to avoid undo harm to them.

            1. hk

              I doubt that, if Russia decides to “hit hard” somewhere, it won’t be in Ukraine: they know that even if they defeat Ukraine thoroughly, it won’t win them the war. In a way, Karaganov is right: Russia has to (hopefully only figuratively) crush Berlin and Paris: fighting in Ukraine is useful only to the degree that Russia can put pressure on them. But Western leaders won’t see this and will keep on escalating until, i suppose, Russians blow their “peaceful warplanes” attacking Russian people with illegal weapons out of sky en masse “without procation.”

      2. digi_owl

        Yep. Norway had MRLS sitting mothballed waiting for a modification that never happened since then. And when the Ukraine mess kicked off, they were handed off to UK as replacements for the MLRS UK was shipping to Ukraine.

        A tag team of Arbeiderpartiet and Høyre (Right) has presided off a slow dismantling of the Norwegian military after 1991, with all that remains is a small professional force that can be used as mercenaries for US adventurism.

        And even now that there is a resurgent “threat” from Russia (FFS, we got along fine even when Sweden tried to play Baltic empire), our politicians are dragging their feet about expenditures while the generals are getting ever more frustrated.

          1. ambrit

            If I remember my history correctly, one could “go viking” to the East as well. The Rus were descended from Northmen who travelled up one set of the rivers from the Baltic and then down another set of rivers all the way to Constantinople. The Eastern Emperor had his Varangian Guard comprised of Vikings.

            1. hk

              The House of Rurik, to which the rulers of the old Kievan Rus belonged and all Russian tsars claimed descent from, were vikings, as far as I know.

    2. Ignacio

      He wouldn’t be the only who when ageing looses empathy, intelligence etc.

      Specifically, the state of the research is that older adults have lower cognitive empathy (i.e., the ability to understand others’ thoughts and feelings) than younger adults, but similar and in some cases even higher levels of emotional empathy (i.e., the ability to feel emotions that are similar to others’ or feel compassion for them). A small number of studies have examined the neural mechanisms for age-related differences in empathy and have found reduced activity in a key brain area associated with cognitive empathy.

      So, according to this review, as you age you get more emotional and less empathic.

      1. digi_owl

        I do wonder if it has to do with long tem thinking.

        From own relatives it seems that the older ones more easily get stuck running in mental circles without noticing.

    3. britzklieg

      Can’t find a link but I remember reading that A. Breivik has publicly supported AZOV. I could be wrong, but if that’s true, the irony of Stoltenberg (PM at the time of Breivik’s attack) now supporting AZOV in Ukraine is almost surreal.

      1. digi_owl

        Heck, Norwegian media was all about “scary neo-nazis in the Ukraine trenches” almost to the day that Putin formally ordered the SMO to commence.

        Now it is all about pushing as much pathos for the Ukrainians as possible.

        1. flora

          Francis Fukuyama, he of his 1992 opus, (and neoliberal suck-uppery book), “The End of History and The Last Man” fame? / oy

          1. flora

            adding: I here only comment that I have great sympathy for any who are so frightened by their own personal history that they feel compelled to side with “power” however “power” presents itself, seeing siding with power as a necessary personal survival tactic. And so, I can sympathize with Mr. Fukuyama’s outlook. I sympathize. But I do not agree with it. Not at all.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Zuckerberg’s “Threads” Acknowledges It Wants No Politics Or News On Its New Twitter ”

    But wait – there’s more. They have already started to ban people and posts on day one. Not only can you not talk about politics or the news, which is what a town square is all about, but people have found out that if you go to delete Meta’s new Threads app, that it will delete your Instagram as well. Gotcha! I wonder how many of those supposed 30 million people who supposedly signed up for threads have realized that they have signed unto a turkey-

    But for people in America as they enter into the election season, what is the point of going onto Threads if you cannot talk about it?

    1. griffen

      I know I know! Post photos of wonderful plates of food, post photos of a fab concert or fab location doing the “sunset heart hands” pose. Puppies and unicorns! It’s a rainbow at the Grand Canyon.

      It’s early days yet, but this super launch is looking, from my outside perspective, like those scenes from 15 to 20 years ago, where known or really highly suspected PED and steroid users ( Bonds, McGwire, Sosa ) were hauled before Congress. At least one, my recall, was he wasn’t there to speak about the past. Much ado on something or other I suppose.

      1. digi_owl

        All of which lead others to develop a depressive inferiority complex thanks, believing everyone but them lead such perfect lives.

    2. jan

      FYI. Maybe you can’t delete your threads account, but you can uninstall the app without problems.

  10. Samuel Conner

    I enjoyed the Nautilus article on the discovery of problems in the pion-exchange approximation to the strong force in nuclear force calculations, but the title had the feel of “click bait”, suggesting (to this reader, anyway) that there were hints of something wrong with the underlying theory of the strong force itself, which would be earth-shattering news to physicists.

    A more accurate title would have been “New experiment exposes limitations in the currently favored approximation employed in nuclear force calculations.” That’s a much less provocative headline, but an accurate summary of the content of the item.

    The click-bait worked, I suppose.

  11. FM

    Catharsis Screaming: giving me very strong I’m-Mad-As-Hell-And-I’m-Not-Going-To-Take-It-Anymore vibes 😎

      1. griffen

        I was thinking of an updated angle on Fight Club? I want you to hit me becomes I want you to shout in my ear for as long as you can. Turns out maybe shouting and screaming is therapeutic, just think of this film clip below.

        When you got no jobs, and your pets are dying unnaturally, life can seem grim ( sarc )

  12. William Beyer

    On cluster munitions, Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett has been reporting on their use by the Ukrainians for months…with pictures of many miserable little unexploded devices lying around that appear very child-friendly. Those dropped in the 1960s are still maiming children in Laos every year. Stir in a little whiff of Elliot Abrams and you’ve got a war crimes stew.

    1. Lex

      Slightly different. The “petals” are anti personnel land mines dispersed similarly to cluster munitions but they aren’t supposed to explode during the firing. Indeed, “petals” were developed by the USSR to mimic remote mining munitions used in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. These cluster munitions are supposed to all explode during firing but they have a high dud rate.

      Theoretically, the munitions being sent now are less problematic than the petals but it won’t work that way.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Should it be mentioned that Eva Bartlett was harassed so much on her Syrian war reporting as well as her Palestine reporting, that she ended up moving to Russia for her own safety back in 2019. She said in an interview that the last time she was in Canada, that she did not recognize it as the country that she grew up in. After that female German was threatened with jail time for reporting on the Ukrainian war if she returned to Germany, Bartlett might have been wise here.

      1. EssCetera

        I would say she’s right. Russia, somehow, is what we ought to be but aren’t.

        It would be interesting to explore the whys and wherefores of how this came to be, I know many here have observed and commented on it. How do we go from Stalinism and formerly Soviet so-called “communism” to this, present day Russia, with more freedom of thought than in the west, and meanwhile how does American-style so-called “free market capitalism” end up functioning more like Stalinism and Soviet so-called “communism” with clampdown on freedom of thought – this huge drive toward ideological purity which is precisely what characterized Stalinism.

        Russians seem to do social media very differently, don’t seem to have quite bought into it, I’d wager it’s an important factor.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Seems that an obvious war crime has now been reduced to a “difficult decision”. It’s stuff like this that really makes me wish Dante’s hell was a real place, because that where all these psychopaths belong. If they can’t make it to the 9th circle, I’d settle for them all being upside down in a lagoon of excrement for eternity. The number of that circle escapes me at the moment…

    1. Bart Hansen

      My take is that these particular hummingbirds are avoiding the pollen that they have become allergic to, just like many of us.

  13. griffen

    Breaking news in many portions of the US. It is July and likely will be a hot one. And speaking locally for my region of upstate South Carolina, there may be thunderstorms or showers mid afternoon today and tomorrow to offer a brief hope. Stay hydrated out there.

    1. Paleobotanist

      Montreal is already hot. The heat wave was supposed to break with storms yesterday. It didn’t happen. Yes, drink lots of water.

      1. Keith Newman

        @Paleobotanist,July 8, 2023 at 9:37 am
        In Gatineau (beside Ottawa) it’s 26C at 4 pm today and the air is clear. A few days ago it was 30C to 32C, so it is less hot.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Meanwhile our elite continue to slow walk any serious attempts at mitigation; I’m not sure how antagonizing China is going to help, and the Times today had a headline about Yellen in China urging them to do stuff on climate, as if China would take anything the US says seriously? The doddering Biden administration bumbles forward.

      1. curlydan

        I’m in southern China now, and I can attest it’s hot here, too. One thing that’s changed over the five years since my last visit is that the air quality is WAAY better. It seems that gas scooters have been banned and all taxis and scooters are electric. The result is much better air.

        I realize it may be all due to burning coal somewhere else to fuel the electric vehicles, but I find the change refreshing.

  14. Lex

    The US is out of 155mm artillery ammunition. Biden admitted it (twice) and Sullivan was even more direct in saying these deliveries are an interim solution “until we ramp up production”. Which admits that the US hasn’t ramped up production yet. A year into a high intensity conflict and the US hasn’t been able to increase the 15k/month shell production. I’ll bet we haven’t even gotten to the 20k/month planned for spring of 2023. The 90k/month sometime next year is likely a pipe dream.

    The congressional record shows well over 1M 155mm shells sent to Ukraine, plus another million from forward stocks in Korea and Israel. In 2022 there were some estimates of the US stock being ~3M shells. Big numbers but 1M shells translates to <3k/day over a year if there are no losses before firing. Ukraine has been firing 3-6k/day and complaining about a starvation diet.

    Since actual deliveries probably exceed what’s publicly acknowledged, the question becomes what are the remaining US stocks? And since there have been no announcements about new munitions factories being built, much less going active, we can assume that if a ramp up is coming it’s still well in the future. There’s a very strong chance that Biden has nearly eliminated the US’s ability to wage war. That would mean the US cannot enter Ukraine directly and Ukraine’s ability to continue this fight has a definite end point.

    1. Boomheist

      This also suggests that if Russia decides to press westward into Poland, or the Baltic states, or, God forbid, Germany or Hungary or Romania, they will be unopposed but for tacticakl nukes….

      1. hk

        I expect, more than half seriously, that we will see the Russian army retaking Paris, before the end of 2024.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Biden lied and said that it was only a temporary thing because they are out of 155 mm ammo but without mentioning that it will take years to get regular 155mm ammo production back up. So if cluster ammo starts running short, is Biden going to say that the US will be forced to send White Phosphorous ammo because they are now short?

      For Biden, he is so emotionally involved in the Ukrainian that he cannot back down or even negotiate. Only victory will vindicate him but unfortunately there is the little matter of an upcoming election that will not go away. With cluster ammo, Biden will see it as a win-win for him in the meantime. Cluster ammo will kill more Russians and that cluster ammo will really be used for what is now Russian lands and it will be the Russians that will have to deal with it in the decades to come.

      And for the Ukrainians? You just know that they will not be able to resist dropping them all over civilian towns and cities. Sullivan said that he got a piece of paper where the Ukrainians promise not to do so but c’mon, man.

        1. Paradan

          Three months from now….

          “White House says it won’t send surplus stockpile of smallpox and anthrax to Ukraine.”

      1. Jason Boxman

        These people seem to have no grasp of reality. To engage in a hot war with Russia and not bother to go on a war footing. While the political class moves in lockstep and most Americans are now along for the ride, particularly most Democrats. No executive function at all.

    3. Glen

      About four months ago there was reporting on the ramp up for manufacturing to 11,000 shells a month (Note to math impaired – Ukraine was at one point LIMITING shelling to 5,000 a day, Russia uses sometimes over 20,000 a day):

      Ukraine War: US factories ramp up weapon production

      Inside an ammo factory racing to replenish dwindling US & Nato stocks

      With massive weapons aid to Ukraine, can US rebuild its stocks?

      There are ways to max out existing capacity – by hiring more employees (difficult in a tight labor market) and adding a third shift to the schedule. But go beyond that and there are tall hurdles to jump, from building new factory space to acquiring advanced manufacturing equipment to complying with government regulations, says Cynthia Cook, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. “Ramping up production is not necessarily just a question of turning the crank and increasing what factories are producing,” says Dr. Cook. “It’s a heck of a lot more complicated than that.”

      It’s complicated! I’ll bet that it takes advanced degrees and at least a $250,000 a year salary to figure that out.

  15. Alice X

    >The Marxist theory of the state: An introduction Liberation School. by Summer Pappachen

    Well traveled rhetoric but, I’m sure, somewhat threadbare for many previous exponents. While the author does mention Marx’s The German Ideology only published in 1931, Lenin was unaware of it. Therein Marx describes the alienation inherent in the capitalist mode of production, the producer is alienated from her work product. This is a fundamental of class relations; Lenin’s society only made it worse with the employment of Taylorism.

    What do I know? Less and less as I go and humanity has run out of time, climate catastrophe is upon us.

    I’ll offer several clips from the end of the piece.

    The socialist state and its withering away

    The socialist state differs from the capitalist state in two crucial ways. First, it is the state of the majority and not of the minority, and second, it is a transitory apparatus unlike the capitalist state that, because it maintains class contradictions, foresees no end.…


    To the second point of difference: the capitalist state claims to be at its final stage of history. By contrast, the final aim of the socialist state is to render itself irrelevant. It serves only as the transitory apparatuses that will deliver humanity to classless society.…


    The main principle is that the socialist state would transform social relations, grow the productive forces of society, eliminate material scarcity, and then itself “wither away into the higher phase of communism” [33].  No socialist state, historical or present-day, has been able to move past the state.


    1. Alice X

      >The persistence of cognitive biases in financial decisions across economic groups Nature. From the Abstract:

      Policies must combine both behavioral and structural interventions to improve financial well-being across populations.

      How about we prohibit absentee ownership? One can own the home one lives in. One can own their means of production but only up to a certain size, maybe twenty assistants.

      That would decrease inequality.

      But of course I’m only dreaming? The ownership class would have some indelible cognitive bias’ against any such wicked thinking.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. My go to test of one’s class allegiance is to ask, straight faced; “How much is enough?”
        On a related note, I’ve been turning to the conclusion that the push towards the modern day Panopticon is a way for the Elites to remove the last “means of production” still in the hands of the working classes. That “means of production” being one’s “self.” (‘Self’ here is doing a lot of lifting, but it is legitimate work.)

    2. Bruno

      The Marxian Theory of the State, spelled our with utmost simplicity in “State and Revolution,” is that the State is the body of men (ranging from the cop on the beat to the President and his National Security confederates) with the monopoly right and power to use whatever degree of force it chooses to maintain the existing system of property rights. De Maistre and Weber, (not to mention Machiavelli) agree. As Lenin insisted, any “Socialist State” must be of an entirely different essence–it is to consist of an armed *people,* not a special force above the rest of society, and its function is the protection of the democratically-controlled property of all the people during the transition period (to a propertyless communist society) while private property forms continue to coexist with collective property. The “withering away of the state to nothingness” signifies the elimination of private property in favor of universal social wealth equally accessible to all.

      1. Alice X

        Thank you! Lenin’s Revolution and the State, September 1917, which I have read, has been said to be his most anarchic work. In fact he was criticized at the time by some fellow Bolsheviks as having thrown in with the Anarchists. In it he drew heavily on Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program. But compare what he wrote in September and what he began doing in November. He kept the Tsar’s secret police and he used them. For him, democracy was only held by the vanguard party, the Bolsheviks. Not the workers control envisaged by anarchists. The anarchists who he began arresting afterwards. For an anarchist viewpoint of the October Revolution (it was a coup) and afterwards, consider Maurice Brinton’s The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control – The State and Counter-Revolution. I won’t link to it but it is available at One might surmise that I am most sympathetic with the anarchists.

      2. Darthbobber

        State and Revolution, to me, is a Leninist, not a Marxian, theory of the state. Like a southern Baptist with a bible he strings together those bits of Marx that, in isolation, seem to support his take, but pretends never to have seen any of the parts that point in a different direction.

        In any case, once the work had accomplished the purpose of justifying the October revolution, he made no effort to actually build the “transitional” state on that basis. (nor, in my view, could he have, be a use a weakness of the work was it’s rather cavalier dismissal of many of the practical problems involved.

  16. Carolinian

    Re Archie Leach, er, Cary Grant–Jennifer Grant’s take on her father doesn’t sound very interesting but it’s not like there are any shortage of biographies. Contra Jennifer, consensus seems to be that he was bi when convenient but also enthusiastically hetero. Much the same has been said about Laurence Olivier. He also shared a characteristic with other actors from a poverty backgrounds (Greta Garbo) of being tight with money and obsessed with making it. The effectiveness of Grant’s self reinvention as a completely different screen personality is a tribute to his skill as an actor. Pauline Kael wrote an essay about how much she loved him.

    And finally while the article says “English gentleman” about a dozen times I doubt many Americans even knew he was English (same with Bob Hope). The melting pot used to melt a lot better than it does these days.

    1. ambrit

      I see the loss of the “melting pot” social function as being down to the loss of a cohesive National Identity. Going a bit CT here, but the one thing that any self respecting Globalist Conspiracy would fear the most is a strong National Identity.
      Relatedly, I do not see the Globalists, or whatever that power centre really is, articulating any coherent and all inclusive World Identity. I suspect that such a functionality would be as dangerous to the general socio-political control of said Globalists as any strong National Identity would. The danger posed to the Elites by National or World Identities would be in the ability of National or World popular ‘elites’ to prioritize the benefits of the general population, (the People,) above the selfish interests of the Global Elites.
      Follow the Power flows.
      Stay safe.

      1. Carolinian

        I feel very American myself and have even returned, like a salmon home from the sea, to the natal spawning ground. I wonder whether Cary would have been equally welcoming to a telling of the Archie Leach saga. But apparently he was devoted to his daughter–that part is true.

        And in general I think the US is still very much it’s own thing. For most Americans all those DC machinations might as well be off on another planet. Just keep your government hands off our Social Security.

        Backtoya on the safe down there in the Cotton Belt.

        1. ambrit

          Thanks. We sometimes quip that we are the lascivious tongue of the buckle of the Bible Belt.
          The problem, insofar as the potential Social Security ‘Grand Bargain’ is concerned is that the financial elites, who hold great power over how the Social Security system is handled, seem to be, by and large, creatures of the Globalist camp. Today’s American Elites are so out of touch with objective reality that they can convince themselves that whatever they do to the social safety nets is “for the good of the national economy.” Nothing else is important any more to these aberrant apparatchiks. It will take a full on economic collapse and subsequent social turmoil to change their course. naturally, many of these Elites will die before they change their ways. Thus, a different sort of eugenic culling will take place. Absent a full on nuclear exchange, then the cycle will begin again.
          As for Archie Leach, many people I have met who were originally poor would never refer to that past. A shame, engendered by society at large or family dynamics, of said poverty ruled their later lives. As Cary Grant, it almost seems that Leach became the character he played.
          Terran human nature is wonderfully weird.

      2. hk

        In 1789, the French troops would not shoot at French citizens. The Swiss did. (And the Polish hussars and lancers kinda became the Swiss Guards in the Napoleonic Empire). Naturally, global elites then and now would prefer the Swiss and the Poles.

  17. Daryl

    > US Willing to Help India Deal With Violence in Manipur if Asked, Says Ambassador Eric Garcetti The Wire

    Arsonist willing to help fight fires

  18. Jason Boxman

    To survive, hummingbirds must guzzle nearly their body weight in nectar every day. So they’re always looking for ways to get more nectar for less movement. For some hummingbirds, that means using their tiny toes to cling to a nearby branch or flower instead of hovering.

    Man, I thought I was kidding when I said those hummingbirds coming back after last year to where the feeder was absent this year was life and death, but sounds like it is. A wasted trip burns some serious calories! I’m happy to report this has been rectified, and refueling is now possible.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m guzzling my body weight in food everyday, ugh.

    1. wol

      We planted a cardinal flower (fenced, to protect it from deer) in case hummingbirds return hungry and the feeder hasn’t been hung yet for the summer.

      1. lambert strether

        It’s probably too late this year, but hummingbirds love bee balm, which is very easy to grow (i.e., invasive (like that’s a bad thing)). I think flowers are better than feeders.

  19. Roger Blakely

    (Why) The Death of the NHS Is a Parable of Civilizational Collapse umair haque, Eudaimonia and Co

    From the article:

    “Our civilization’s systems for that — political economy — are broken, now, and badly broken, too. Capitalism fails to really lift living standards, and just produces stagnation for most, fueling nationalism, hate, spite, rage, while making the super rich giga rich — which means underinvestment, and the shrinkage and destruction of public goods and systems.

    “That’s the real story of how the NHS died. It’s the story, too, of why the World Bank couldn’t finish its beautiful and noble and bold vision, of ending war, hunger, deprivation — it had bright minds, but it was a relative pauper. It’s why we don’t have the things we need anymore, and that’s becoming literal, as in, the air outside’s unbreathable, inflation’s skyrocketing, who knows how long the water will last, and there’s no real plan for when the crops fail or the killing heat descends.”

    1. MaryLand

      Every time I bring up the article it flashes on screen for a split second and then changes to a completely white screen. It happened on Brave and on Firefox. Anybody else? Tried a general search and got to the home page of Eudaimonia and Co: saw the article title listed along with others. No matter which article I clicked on it again went quickly to a totally blank screen. I’m in the US; maybe it’s blocked here somehow.

      1. Keith Newman

        MaryLand, July 8, 2023 at 1:08 pm
        Maybe you could get it if you clicked on the little image that looks like a sheet of paper with writing on it? You have to do it asap after you click on the url.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          That “little image that looks like a sheet of paper” is the one-click shortcut for clicking on “View/Enter Reader View,” which works great for aging eyes. And maybe eyes not so aging. The “F9” key also toggles in and out of reader view.

        2. MaryLand

          Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m not quick enough I guess. If it’s so difficult to access then he must not be trying to actually communicate. Pass.

    2. Keith Newman

      Roger Blakely, July 8, 2023 at 10:58 am
      I’m not a fan of Umair Haque. According to him every problem in the UK is because of Brexit. GIve me a break. He also suffers from an extreme case of Trump derangement syndrome.
      I agree we do see symptoms of civilisational collapse all around the West but his reasons are silly sorry, unconvincing.

  20. djrichard

    > Zuckerberg’s “Threads” Acknowledges It Wants No Politics Or News On Its New Twitter

    Good insight at the end of the article

    I have always gotten the sense that YouTube really wishes there was no politics content on its platform at all for the precise reasons Mosseri articulates. The platforms want our data and want to serve us advertising, but they want none of the responsibility that comes with citizenry.

  21. Pat

    I’m going to bring up an oldie but a goodie. There are two Americas.
    Looking at the delusional, and yes I do consider it delusional, opinion that Obama left Trump a good economy, it was went through my mind. But unlike John and the brilliant Elizabeth Edwards, I believe things are bad for more people in America than realize it.
    America’s economy hasn’t really been good since sometime around Carter. But that could be that the standards that determine the so-called health of the economy are based on limited economic measures that have little to do with the financial state of Americans.

    There have always been two Americas, but sometime decades ago any desire to improve that economic situation was jettisoned entirely and the measure of the economy became how well the investment class was doing.
    So we became a country where child poverty grew, a first world country with maternal health and child birth issues make many third world countries look good, homelessness and hunger was allowed to thrive and grow. One income families became rare, real wage growth disappeared, and good jobs were shipped away from the US, not only without protest from the government but with encouraging tax breaks. Education was weakened overall and higher education became a debt trap.
    No Trump didn’t inherit a good economy from Obama. Obama got a mess as well. The major difference was that Obama was in a position to correct some of the policies that had encouraged this destruction of on the ground economics, but he actively worked to protect many of those who had pillaged it. I don’t know where Trump would have taken things given time, but I do know that child poverty decreased under his administration and Biden exploded it. Possibly Trump would have pivoted in the same manner.
    But one thing that does need to be exploded and killed with fire is the mistaken notion that Democrats clean up the economy after Republicans blow it up. Nope, they have both been killing it. I’m pretty damn sure that more people slip from the swimming portion of America into the sinking part every day. And both parties are fine with that.

    1. tegnost

      Yes to delusional

      Obama was in a position to correct
      Old Mr Hopey Changey, currently with 2 oceanfront manses if I’m not mistaken.
      When the history is written I expect the whole mess will be dumped in his lap, and deservedly so.
      Trickle down didn’t work for raygun, it doesn’t work now, and it didn’t work for obummer either.
      Good luck getting a homeowner whose property value has been tripled since 08 to be able to grok that it wasn’t their own pure american bootstrapping that got them their wealth. It was that their property had been rehypothecated so many times that the owners of the debt (that would be the entity actually owns the house, btw) that prices needed to double in order to make them “whole”, and once they were doubled, then why not tripled?
      Can’t stand the guy.
      No working class person should vote for a dem.
      They’re the party of rich people.
      Cornel, mickey, or anyone else will do.

    2. griffen

      Per the sage and wise oracle of Omaha, it’s a class war and his class continues to win. It’s like a Ricky Bobby economy for the winners, they just awake every day and “p*e excellent p*e”, and their wealth deviates yes with the whims of Wall Street but by and large when they fail it doesn’t seem to harm or impair their personal lives quite the same. Golden parachute for me, a few mere weeks of severance for thee (if one should be fortunate, and yes I have been severed from two separate companies and was given a reasonable severance deal, reasonable for time with that company I do mean to add).

      An older sibling who really ought to know better doesn’t comprehend how anyone can not maintain a 6 month emergency fund or that an emergency expense, out of pocket, $1,000 is a big deal to many individuals and families. Insurance is crap, and that’s with the job I currently have.

      One favorite line or turn of phrasing, specific from the Obama years to the bankers and Wall Street, it is I who stands between you and those pitchforks. Worked good for his interest after all, didn’t it.

      1. ambrit

        It’s becoming more apparent that the Populists lost a wonderful opportunity when they neglected to spear the Wall Street apparatchiks, through the ‘saving’ persons body. It will come to that eventually.
        The socio-political elites did what they have always done. They prioritized their interests above the interests of everyone else, even if it works out badly for everyone in the long run.
        Our elite’s motto now is: “IBG-YBG.” [Perhaps it always was.]

        1. Bruno

          The fundamental fallacy in the meme that “the economy was good” at anytime since well over a half-century is that it works from a diametrically false Liberal concept of “the economy” as something in any way separate from the ecosystem as a whole. Free from that delusion,the global deterioration over that whole span becomes blindingly evident.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Exactly right. And when “the economy was good” is when we’ve been hurtling even faster toward our civilization’s self-destruction. We need to get over this nostalgia for the gas-guzzling 50s and 60s that trained us all to Happy Motoring. They’re less a Golden Age than the beginning of disaster.

            We’ve been sold a bill of goods about what life is, and so many buy into it that the airlines sucker people into buying tickets for airplanes, crew and airport time slots that don’t exist. Then they stand around airports for their vacation. All for a ride in a Covid tube. People are nuts. Don’t they know that flying sucks? That’s why anyone with money flies private and screws up the Earth big time.

            Maybe part of what’s at work is that people realize in their subconscious that this is all coming to a screeching halt, not in the next generation, but, at least, by the next decade. Get in that trip to Paris before… Oh wait, Too late, the riots already arrived. I want to go fly-fishing in Canada. Oops. It’s on fire.

            Sorry. It’s my mood this evening. I just listened to Nate Hagens interviewing Patrick Ophuls, author of Wiring the Titanic about electric cars, whose current book is about the tragedy of industrial and post-industrial civilization, a tragedy because the off-ramp has always been before us and our leaders, but it has been rejected for 50 years. All bad news, but honest and persuasive.

            About all we can do now is dissent from all the madness.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      From a Guardian article on the 2008 obama election victory:

      Barack Obama is the first president-elect in 32 years to receive a Congress under the firm control of his party, a powerful political gift that bodes well for the enactment of an expansive Democratic agenda.

      Democrats picked up at least six Senate seats and 18 in the House of Representatives, where their hold was already strong. With four intense races remaining too close to call, their 56-vote Senate majority stands to grow in the coming days.

      Even if the Democratic hierarchy shifts by next year, Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the House leader, are well positioned to begin coordinating with Obama on a variety of new legislation.

      Comparing the obama presidency to Trump’s is apples to oranges. Trump was reviled by the leadership of both parties and was stymied at every turn. obama could accomplish anything he wanted to and, in fact, did.

      He bailed out the banks and bankers and refused to insist that congress allow mortgage cramdowns in bankruptcy, throwing millions into foreclosure and creating the “home ownership” nightmare the country is living with today.

      He shoved through obamacare, which is responsible for the “healthcare” and medical insurance nightmare the country is living with today.

      He intensified the afghanistan clusterfuck and started two more wars of choice in Syria and Libya, both of which continue to this day.

      He allowed his slimy vp and his slimy secretary of state and her “foundation” to strip mine ukraine, and turn it into the ward of our war state that it is today.

      He allowed arne duncan to turn public education, including higher education, into the steaming pile of unconscionably expensive garbage that we are living with today.

      And, of course, he’s responsible for the white house occupant the country is suffering with today.

      Fact is, claiming you were “better off” under one president or another is pretty much meaningless until you discover what time bombs he left to go off after he rides off into the hawaiian sunset.

      1. pjay

        Well said, and an important concluding point about “time bombs” that have been institutionalized. I remember the “booming” economy late in the Clinton administration, which provided cover for the major economic “bombs” that would eventually detonate in the 2000s.

        I’d add to your list of Obama’s greatest hits the continued expansion of the post-9/11 surveillance/censorship state to the point that the media is now just a vehicle for state propaganda.

      2. Carolinian

        Thanks. I don’t think Obama’s authenticity problem was a big secret and in fact it got a lot of discussion at the time here on the blog and elsewhere. But then Dubya and Clinton were also more marketing concepts than leaders with lifelong professional shill Reagan serving as their model.

        Trump by contrast seems at least somewhat more real and willing to make fun of himself while playing the Don Rickles role against all of his opponents. At one early rally he asked a lady to come up and pull on his plugs or whatever they are to prove that they aren’t a toupe.As a huckster himself he was well able to skewer Fauxcohontas and others of the less well practiced would be spokespresidents.

        I’m not sure there’s a solution in any direction but getting rid of Biden would at least be a step up. We’ve got to be at the very bottom of this particular hole.

    4. eg

      From the outside looking in it appears that America has an internal empire of exploitation — the metropole lording it over 3rd world hinterlands.

  22. EssCetera

    re: There’s an enormous gravity hole in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

    I’m a bit baffled by this – the gravity hole is caused by slightly lower gravity in the area, causing lower sea levels, and to my (non-expert) mind wouldn’t that cause a gravity hill, and wouldn’t sea level be higher where gravity is lower since the sea will want to move outward toward the atmosphere/space? I’m thinking in terms of tides where gravity pull from the moon counteracts normal gravity in an area, pulling mass of water toward it. Where am I going wrong?

      1. EssCetera

        So water in an area of lower gravity wants to move toward surrounding denser water in an surrounding area of higher gravity, rather than up toward less dense air?

        1. cfraenkel

          The surrounding water isn’t any denser – water doesn’t compress. It would have a tiny bit of higher pressure, but that’s balanced by the higher gravity force. The pressure applied by the air above is not relevant to the movement of liquid water. (the air pressure doesn’t keep the liquid water ‘down’, it is what keeps the water from boiling into vapor)

        2. NN Cassandra

          Less gravity means less attraction so the water molecules have less reasons to be there and will be pulled to places with more gravitational force. Imagine iron dust on paper with magnets bellow, then when you remove few magnets and create hole in the magnetic field, the dust above will move to remaining magnets around, mirroring the hole below.

          1. EssCetera

            Yes, in this case it would be a bowl with magnets on the sides of the bowl (e.g. more gravity), so the dust would want to move outward, toward the sides, which presumably would cause a dip and hence lower sea level in the middle. Makes sense when explained that way, thank you.

    1. cfraenkel

      The water gets pulled away to the higher gravity regions (same as tides being pulled by the moon). Water is incompressible, so higher or lower gravity doesn’t cause it to contract or expand.

      1. EssCetera

        That makes sense, that gravity attracts. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

    2. Paradan

      The lower gravity makes it easier to get into orbit, so all the UFOs that are stealing our water, steal it from there, resulting in a lower sea level. It goes back up to normal on their days off.

  23. EssCetera

    re: China Controls Minerals That Run the World—and It Just Fired a Warning Shot at U.S.

    I dunno what the fuss is, Darth Brandon wants the US to stop relying on Chinese exports of anything, really, and China is only trying to help move the US toward this goal.


  24. Randall Flagg

    >Machinists Ratify Contract at Airplane Parts Supplier, But Expose Rift with Union Leadership Labor Notes

    Towards the end of that article…

    During the strike, workers learned that one of the union bargaining committee members had been meeting with company representatives outside of bargaining.

    “After the end of the night, the union committee members would get together discuss their strategy or their game plan for the next day,” said Grace. “And this gentleman was communicating that information to the company.”

    “After the violation of the rules bargaining committee members had established, Cornell Beard, president of IAM District 70, issued a statement through the union app. “We had one of our negotiating committee persons violate those rules and undermined our ability to negotiate a contract for you. Information was being shared with other company’s officials,” a screenshot shared with Labor Notes said.”

    Call me old school, but shouldn’t that member of that bargaining committee be taken out back behind the woodshed in the dead of night to be made aware of the ramifications of being a spy for management? How could he possibly think that action was going to have a positive outcome for himself if found out?

    1. ambrit

      Such a “dispositive” outcome for the spy would require a deadly serious Union management. Until true radicals gain power within the present day Union movement, such perfidy will be both common and safe.
      The alternative is an actual alternative, a parallel institutional Union management. This is really the traditional way to manage these sorts of problems. The Public Face of the Union can denounce the radicals and play the “game” while the Radicals can carry out the necessary work behind the scenes and in secret.
      An example is the way in which King Henry II doesn’t come out and say, “Someone kill this man for me.” Instead he misdirects and asks; “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” The henchmen fill in the blanks using what they know of their liege’s character and foibles. A strategic objective is attained by indirection.
      Stay safe all.

    2. KLG

      “…shouldn’t that member of that bargaining committee be taken out back behind the woodshed in the dead of night to be made aware of the ramifications of being a spy for management?”


      The member of the negotiating committee in the union chemical plant that employed me after high school was “promoted” to foreman after the local contract was renewed for three more years. This was a small operation, perhaps 150 employees in three shifts plus 50 maintenance workers who worked 7:30-4:00 M-F. Another 50 company employees including management and engineers. Suffice it to say that no one ever listened to this company man again. About anything other than daily assignments. I hope the extra few dollars a year, minus overtime and union protection, was worth it to him.

  25. Onward to Dystopia

    Always wondered why it was called the “White” House
    I guess now we know, or should I say, nose.
    👃 SNORT 👃
    🥁🥁 tsssss

  26. semper loquitur

    Michael Tomasky at The New Republic shares a hopium dealer with Noahpinion. They are hitting the good rock. The photo of Biden shouting and looking enraged at the podium is about the only thing reflecting reality in the whole piece. This bit was downright nauseating:

    “The Biden administration, chiefly through Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and then–Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, kept imploring the rail companies to come around.”

    Because that’s what you do with the aristocracy that Tomasky, at a hygienic distance, serves. You implore them, beg them, to do what’s right or even legal. Tomasky’s crisp assessment of Biden’s crushing the railworkers only bit of leverage, short of walking off the job, is jarring by comparison. But then they aren’t real people to a guy like Tomasky. No jobs to be found pandering to them, sez he! Therefore, there is no need to implore them about anything.

    “But the press has that reflex because Democrats let things happen that way. There’s no central message that everyone repeats. And there’s far less touting of the administration’s accomplishments than there ought to be.”

    Right, those fumbling, bumbling Democrats are too gosh-golly wishy-washy to manage the narrative. In the consensus reality outside of Tomasky’s sphere of delusion, all they do in fact is repeat the “central message”. But maybe they do need someone to tout their accomplishments more publicly. What’s the silver tongued VP Harris doing these days?

    “And now we know that the one big thing that a lot of people on the left actively disliked, his lack of sympathy last December for rail workers, has been corrected.”

    Four fu(king days. And where exactly are all those jobs Biden’s created? Are they more part time service dead ends? Phantasms conjured to give Jean-Pierre something to look aggrieved about? Tomasky is a wretched camp follower.

  27. Raymond Sim

    I see that Naomi Wu has had her “wings clipped.” Call me foily, but this elevates my concern over what’s happening on Okinawa.

    1. Acacia

      I thought Naomi Wu is in Shenzhen. Has she tweeted about Okinawa?

      There are lots of sources discussing what’s happening on Okinawa. E.g., The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

      As you suspect, though, we can say things are not going well…

      1. Raymond Sim

        Naomi is capable of (and has demonstrated the courage for) explaining actual Chinese government mishandling of pandemic response, as opposed to the western fantasy bs the government can just brush off.

        Okinawa is a major destination for both Japanese and Chinese tourists. Japan is experiencing quite a severe Covid wave right now, with Okinawa suffering especially – consistent with an “It Came from China!” scenario. If that is indeed the case, and bad things are in prospect for the Chinese people as well, Naomi being told to put a sock in it is one of the things I’d expect to see.

  28. John Beech

    Visited Mayo Clinic yesterday (FL), and despite an airborne class 3 biohazard, other than one other couple I took note of, my darling wife and I were the only ones masked. And theirs was of the surgical variety so us in N95 were it. Something’s wrong when people are not taking precautions. Or am I overreacting?

    1. Raymond Sim

      When precautions aren’t being taken at a clinic, something’s wrong. The idea that this is in any way controversial flabbergasts me.

    2. Acacia

      Summarized in a tweet that Lambert posted in the last WC:

      I think if surgeons just wipe their hands on their shirts we should be good to go.

      Let’s live life.

  29. upstater

    In Ukraine, They’re Doctors; in Britain, They’re Unemployed NYT

    Often jobless or languishing in low-skilled posts, doctors who fled Russia’s invasion are forced to confront a difficult dilemma: see their skills go unused, or return to a country at war.

    After fleeing the Iraq war at age 16, Dr. al-Sheikh built a life in Ukraine as a trauma surgeon, gaining admiration for his work at the City Clinical Hospital in Kharkiv even as the Russian shells began falling.

    According to United Nations estimates, about 47 percent of the eight million refugees from Ukraine have a university or other higher education qualification.

    Send more cluster munitions! Perhaps they can recruit Afghan trauma surgeons for the ones that have bailed?

  30. Willow

    UK has *no choice* but to push NATO into war with Russia. UK’s economy is failing and can no longer afford its global military footprint to ensure its *special relationship* with the US. Like a punter at the horse races, UK will put what remains of its resources and reputation on a 1:100 odds bet that it can get US into a war with Russia *before* Trump becomes president gain. This is the *rational* behaviour of a cornered rat.

    1. Diocletian

      This is the *rational* behaviour of a cornered rat.

      No, it really is not. In a war (or a breakup of NATO), the UK is truly screwed. It is, rather, in the UK’s interest to have a perpetual strong bear threatening Europe (and ideally America) so that the UK can extract as much cash and concessions from the US as possible while contributing as little as possible beyond platitudes and headlines.

      Canada has already perfected this strategy, of course, but England has to overcome geographical disadvantages and at least a history of competence that the Canadians never had to deal with.

    2. c_heale

      The UK’s economy is going to fail whatever it does. Promoting conflict and war has been its modus operandi for a long time.

  31. William

    Went to the theater and saw Sound of Freedom recently. I found it to be a well done movie about a horribly disturbing topic. Today I read a hit piece by Rolling Stone regarding the movie. The writer not only attacked the movie, but also attacked and mischarecterized the movie goer. Anyone else gone to see the movie? If so, can you please explain the reason for such a biased review? It has done really well at the box office with very limited advertising. What am I missing?

  32. Diocletian

    Weirdest thing–I am in a cafe listening to15 or so) of university law students vehemently debating over which event will occur first:

    1) Ukraine will capitulate and negotiate
    2) George RR Martin will finally release the next volume in the Game of Thrones series (Winter Winds or something like that)

    Apparently the debate is hinging on the one hand over whether the Ukrainians actually implement the agreement or whether they just sign and ignore it, and on the other hand whether the book actually comes out, or if it just needs to get sent to the publisher.

    The devil is in the details, I guess.

  33. Paradan

    OK, so I just saw the new list of toys being sent to Ukraine, something caught my eye, and has made me stupid enough to speculate out loud. Ready?

    AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles, and here’s what I think this means:

    Ukraine already has a squadron or two of older F-16s, with pilots, and the good news that NATO is going to reveal to them at Vilnius is that they also be getting half a dozen of the new block 78(?)s that have the fancy new AESA radar on them(APG-85 or something). Now, AIM-7 are useless in modern air-to-air combat, unless your opponent cant shoot back, but you could use them to try and take down cruise missiles, like KH-101,Kaliber etc. The F-16s are gonna be used as airborne air defense systems to protect western Ukraine. They can’t really go past Kiev cause the s-400’s in Belarus will force them to run away(Poland will have EW radar up to detect SAM launch and tell pilot to run). I suspect they will try some BS where the planes are stationed in Poland, or Slovakia, etc., but never fly mission from there. Instead they transfer half a dozen to random airfields and groomed highways, where they sit on alert, pilots in cockpit/ but powered down for a few hours or until an attack is detected. They do a touch-and-go after the mission to claim there not returning to Poland,etc. Remember that they have probably been sending planes back for repairs etc. for a while now, and Russia hasn’t hit a NATO airfield. Please note that western Ukraine is hilly enough to allow terrain masking from Russian airborne radars (at long range), so it will be difficult for the Russians to know where they have been temporarily based. The Russian cruise missiles all have deceptive jammers so it’ll be interesting to see if the AIM-7s can hit since they are a generation behind the new jammers. Russia does have some very long range air-to-air missiles, but the still have to cross over into Ukraine a bit to use them, and you can bet you rear-end that there’s gonna be a SAM ambush set up. Oh and in order to pull this off on a day to day basis, you’ll need at least 2 squadrons, with fully trained ground crews.

    1. hk

      I’d been calling F16s, if they ever happen, a “game changer” not because they’ll be any good, but because they will be barely disguised NATO (really USAF) aircraft operating from Poland, Slovakia, and Romania to maintain a “F16 Alley” over Western Ukraine like the MiG Alley during the Korean War.

      The big difference, I think, is that Russian MiG15s basically blew B29s out of air and made US strategy of strategic bombing untenable. I don’t think F16s, or even the entire NATO air force, with F22s and F35s, can stop Russian missiles if the Bear gets serious. In addition, given how depleted NATO armies are, their bases provide tempting targets for the Russian Army if they ever decide to return to the English Channel and reimpose the Peace of 1815. It is ironic that a new Peace of 1815 might be born out of another Crimean War (since the first one was broken as the consequence of the Crimean War in 1850s).

      1. Paradan

        About an hour after I made that post, I remembered hearing something like that too. Kicked myself, felt foolish for 10 seconds and moved on.

        AIM-7’s are semi-active radar homing, it’s like the radar version of laser guided. You shine a beam on the target and the missile flies towards it. So I guess they could adjust the BUK to shine the right frequency and pulse pattern or whatever.

        hmm, Intel Slava was where I saw the list, and it specifically said air-to-air missile after listing AIM-7. That could have just been the editor adding info for non-nerds, or he could have actually been specifying that it wasn’t for the BUK. odds are on the first explanation.

  34. britzklieg

    Is it still okay to find Biden’s reupping of Eliot Abrams an abomination and absolutely unacceptable?
    It’s so easy to forget stuff over the weekend…

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