Links 8/22/2023

An underground network of wildlife lovers are illegally ‘beaver bombing’ local rivers The Cool Down (David L)

‘Bird killing machines’: New Zealand cools on cats to protect native wildlife Guardian (Kevin W)

Scientists Witnessed The Birth Of A New Accent In Antarctica IFLScience (Dr. Kevin)

Artists have forgotten how to draw Unherd (Kevin W)

Meditation: The Joy Trap The Taoist (David L)


Some seniors infected with Omicron variants were more susceptible to reinfection, not less: McMaster study Toronto Star (guurst)


Hard sail test hits the high seas, aiming to reduce cargo ship emissions by 30 percent Endgadget (Kevin W)

‘Historic’: Ecuador voters reject oil drilling in Amazon protected area Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Something strange is happening in the Pacific and we must find out why New Scientist (Dr. Kevin). Aieee.

Hilary live updates: As the storm moves out, Southern California assesses damages CBS Los Angeles

Hilary left California desert roads covered in water and mud. Now it’s threatening Oregon and Idaho Associated Press (Kevin W)

EPA’s new definition of PFAS could omit thousands of ‘forever chemicals’ Guardian (Kevin W)


Evil, Scary China Refuses To Passively Let Us Encircle It Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)


Rumors of War in West Africa Wayward Rabbler (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Germany’s new whistleblower law ‘risks return to Stasi era’ Telegraph (Li)

New Not-So-Cold War

Between Profits and Principles: Money, Morality, and the Russia-Ukraine War Modern Diplomacy (Micael T)

WARRIOR UPDATE 36 WITH SCOTT RITTER – NATO AND UKRAINE SPAR OVER TERRITORIAL CONCESSIONS Garland Nixon. Important section starting at 20:40 with how drones are revolutionizing war.

Official Suggests Ukraine Is Not Tracking Where It’s Using US Cluster Bombs (Kevin W)

Ukrainian drone destroys Russian supersonic bomber BBC (furzy)

Ukraine Introduces 3D-Printed Anti-Mine Boots Defense Post (Kevin W))

Putin, Pushkin and the decline of the Russian empire Financial Times (Kevin W)


Saudi border guards killed hundreds of Ethiopian migrants according to HRW France24

I have long rejected claims that Israel is an apartheid state. Now I believe that is where it is heading Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

X Blue users will need to send selfie, data to Israeli software company Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

In the event of apocalypse, find a 4-H club Washington Post (Dr. Kevin)

India doesn’t want BRICS to dismantle the world order built by the West Indian Punchline. Note Andrew Korybko has reported similar positions from other BRICS members, to much unwarranted hectoring by the commentariat.

Lavrov Explained How Russia Envisages BRICS’ Global Role Andrew Korybko (Micael T)

The new economic nationalism also has many benefits Eastern Angle (Micael T)

Economic Warfare Is Cruel and Useless Daniel Larison


Trump probably can’t move his Georgia case to federal court Washington Post (furzy)

The Flaw in Trump’s Georgia Indictment The Messenger (Li)

Top Trump advisor Stephen Miller unveils tough anti-migrant tactics of a second administration: From land and sea military deployments to building more border walls and buoys along the Rio Grande – and even denying entry to Marxists Daily Mail


Democrats aren’t laughing about the Hunter Biden debacle anymore New York Post


‘I can’t get into people’s heads’: Kamala Harris tries to reshape her public image ahead of 2024 Politico. Userfriendly: “Fucking clueless. You can tell how badly they want to blame everyone hating Kamala on racism and sexism ,but know it will fall flat so only hint at it.” Moi: If Kamala got into my head, I would need a lobotomy.

Hardline conservatives dial up pressure on McCarthy amid shutdown threat The Hill

Our No Longer Free Press

Tracking Orwellian Change: The Aristocratic Takeover of “Transparency” Matt Taibbi. Also featured in Water Cooler yesterday, but important not to miss.

Internet of Shit

hahaha we live in hell gravis again (Paul R). Important.

No app, no entry: How the digital world is failing the non tech-savvy Guardian (Kevin W)


Revolutionary Mathematics: Artificial Intelligence, Statistics, and the Logic of Capitalism

Google AI predicts floods four days early in South America and Africa New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Wells Fargo defeats shareholder lawsuit over fake job interviews Yahoo! Finance (Kevin W)

Doctors Must Pay for Privilege of Getting Paid Newser (Dr. Kevin)

New York and California each lost $ 1 TRILLION after major financial firms moved to Texas and Florida Daily Mail (Kevin W)

The Bezzle

Tech’s broken promises: Streaming is now just as expensive and confusing as cable. Ubers cost as much as taxis. And the cloud is no longer cheap. Business Insider (Paul R). And you are surprised? We warned you about Uber and the cloud.

Class Warfare

After 30% raise to bus driver starting pay, Kalamazoo Public Schools adds 15 drivers Michigan Live. ma: “It’s magic!”

Strategies of kleptocrats and their enablers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, experts warn PhysOrg (Paul R). Recall Aurelien warned that as governments weaken, gangs would be best able to fill the vacuum.

Slum photos were weaponised against the people they depict aeon (Dr. Kevin)

Coming to Kansas City: the first stadium built solely for pro women’s sports Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

SUNY Buffalo booting migrants from dorms over student safety New York Post (furzy)

Antidote du jour (embarrassingly having languished in my inbox). Upstater:

My son Matt and I were in Bonaire recently for 10 days of snorkeling and sun. Matt has an underwater camera and snapped this coral with 2 sea urchins and a pair of eyes peering out at him from the center of the coral! We think its a baby puffer fish, but maybe a reef expert can comment?

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Terry Flynn

    The “meditation” article confuses me…. But maybe that’s the point. I have had more than my fair share of mental health issues. This article made me think “maybe I’m right that there IS NO SOLUTION” but it also offered little in the way of cognitive procedures with/without pharmaceuticals that can help.

    Very confusing article.

    1. anahuna

      I find this somewhat confusing too. To simplify (maybe over-simplify), he seems to be saying “Don’t get hooked on euphoria.” Meaning, “Don’t stop there,” or “Don’t stop yourself there.”That might be extended to an injunction against using meditation as a means to any end, the advice being to accept whatever comes of it.

      He’s writing from the point of view of someone who has practiced meditation for long enough to have experienced different states within it. He’s not offering instructions on how to do it, so what he says is probably of no use to you.

      Warnings against euphoria and exciting experiences are common in many meditative traditions, for all sorts of good reasons. I tend to believe, though, that if you stumble into an exalted state, that has its own significance to offer. And if the alternative is crushing despair or meaninglessness, it may be that lingering for awhile in transcendent bliss is curative.

      1. Etrigan

        A friend who is has had a very long and expert meditation practice has told me there are more satisfying states of contentment beyond bliss. That word ‘satisfying’ is one I can’t shake thinking about, but personally I’d think euphoria would beat a state of depression so…

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Terry Flynn: The meditation article, by Soft Bran, suffers from the same weakness that much writing on theory, and, in fact, much writing throughout the English-language world suffers from: It is teleological. It seeks an end. It refers to steps on the way up to some Final Truth.

      Then Soft Bran tries to revise these assertions, not so successfully. Soft Bran, like many Westerners, can’t get past teleological assertions and seeking ends (“results”).

      Buddhists say that any meditation is good. It is a way of encouraging even lackadaisical Buddhists like me to make an effort. I also do yoga, which is considered practice to meditate (although I don’t subscribe to the Hindu theology in it). Likewise, in Christianity and Buddhism, there is something called walking meditation. As simple as it gets.

      Yet let’s not forget the Zen Buddhist saying: After ecstasy, the laundry.

      One is in the thus-ness of the world, just with fewer illusions. So think about meditation as a way of effecting states described in English as “knowing one’s own mind,” “being self-possessed,” and “presence of mind.”

      1. Nagarjuna

        There’s a Zhuangzian concept of “goblet words” whose meaning fills up the language and then it pours out as a goblet turning itself over. In the use of any language, we see “this” and “that,” “beginning” and “end,” as meaningful only in differance, yet it is a state of mind, a blow of wind, a sound of the leaf touching the ground. To ask whether ecstasy and suffering are different is to assume fixed signification…

      2. thump

        The meditation article is right that you should not get hung up on any particular feeling or sensation. If you ever think, “Now I’ve got it!”, then you really don’t, as there is nothing to “get” or “attain.” We are always “no distance” from enlightenment, and when you glimpse it, you will see there is no difference between being enlightened and not. It offers only the true nature of (y)our existence, seeing through all the mental pre-occupations with which we usually fill our consciousness to the basic nature of it all. It does not fix or cure anything. There is no “point,” in the way we usually do things for some reason.

    3. semper loquitur

      Agreed. The author doesn’t seem to be aware that there is more than one way to meditate, and more than one goal. I engage in active meditation, visualizing various symbols and archetypes, as well as chanting and prayer.

      I engage in another kind of meditation as well, the goal of which is to whittle down my consciousness until it’s just me, the I, the immediate sensation of being alive. I’m not looking for bliss or detachment, I’m looking to engage with myself, to feel myself as stripped down as possible. Just being in the moment of being. That is Mystery enough for a thousand lifetimes…

      1. anahuna

        Your description leads me to reflect that all generalizations about “meditation,” no matter how well-intentioned, fail to respect the particular path of each individual (add “spirit” “soul” or leave it blank, as you wish). Only an acute, seasoned, inspired observer can counsel any one on their way. In the past, I have more than once had agitated followers of one teacher or another attempt to deter me, saying: No, Wrong, Dangerous, Stop, only to have the teacher ask me a question or two, then smile and tell me to continue along that “dangerous” pathway.

        1. semper loquitur

          Thanks for this. Let me tell you about generalizations. As a ritual Magician, my entire field of spiritual inquiry is considered bankrupt. (A mixed curse as it keeps us off the radar.)

          Of course, the critics don’t know the first thing about it. Doubtless many of them are ardent practitioners of Eastern Mysticism, blathering on about energy centers and transcendence without realizing the West has it’s corollaries. Dion Fortune called the Western Tradition the “Yoga of the West” and for good reason. I can tell you this, I’ve had more profound, and I mean profound, experiences as a Magician than a thousand Land Rover Buddhists…

    4. Lee

      I don’t know but I’ve been told that the final barrier to enlightenment is the desire for enlightenment. I believe it is a Soto Zen doctrine that one does not meditate to achieve enlightenment but one meditates because one is already enlightened and that meditation is an aid to becoming aware of this fact. Very many enlightenment anecdotes make the point that the thing they sought was right there all the time. As the old saying goes, if it were a snake it would have bitten them.

      After having been taught and practiced Zazen a fair amount during my misspent youth, I’ve given it up and then begun again at various points over the years. Facing some disturbing personal crises of late, I’ve taken it up again. No longer having a group or a teacher to work with, I reacquainted myself with some basics by reading instructions on a Vipassana technique very similar to simple, just sitting, Zazen. Here’s the link if you want it. Mindfulness in Plain English.

      Also, if you find medication helpful take it. If not, don’t.

      1. semper loquitur

        “Also, if you find medication helpful take it. If not, don’t.”

        My meds make it possible for me to meditate, otherwise my mind is a raucous house-party of disparate thoughts and images….

        1. Lee

          If that dog hunts, or if you prefer, that cat catches mice, carry on. I have often wondered about herbal substance use among the ancient worthies.

          1. semper loquitur

            Some did and do, some didn’t and don’t. I found pot useful at one time, although I’ve happily set it aside since. Blue Nile Lotus was used by the ancient Egyptians for rituals. By the way, it makes a strong tea with a solid buzz, it helped wean me off the pot and it’s easy to drop afterwards. I’ve used mushrooms in ritual, was interesting but I got tired of wrestling with a particularly aggressive archetype when I did it.

      2. Lee

        In a case of East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet, I once asked a Tibetan Buddhist Lama (not the Dalai but another one) at a lecture if he understood how here in the West that there is a danger that some people suffering from neurotic self-loathing can be made worse by their misinterpretation of of the doctrine of non-ego. He seemed genuinely puzzled and asked “How is it possible for a person hate themselves?” as if it were a ridiculous impossibility. Meanwhile, he had a group of his most avid followers doing prostrations before him during the whole lecture. I did not care for this fellow and felt pity for his followers.

        1. anahuna

          That reminds me of a story about the first Tibetan lamas to teach in the West. When teaching Metta meditation, intended to arouse feelings of loving-kindness and then expand them to the entire world, they began instructing the students to first call up the image of their mothers. (Traditional in Tibet, I gather.) Great was their surprise when many of the students began to groan, weep, and pound their pillows in fury.

          The practice had to be adjusted to fit the culture.

        2. Raymond Sim

          The bad qualities of people I hate don’t trouble me. In fact I derive a certain satisfaction from them.

          My own bad qualities trouble me greatly.

    5. hemeantwell

      Thanks for saying that.

      To me ‘running away from the world’ amounts to running away from the vicissitudes of relationships with people, which is pretty much what these religions/practices explicitly advocate. But they pull a fast one by talking about states of experience that exist in and of themselves, apparently free of any interpersonal grounding, and this opens the way to talking about achieving these states via a cognitive-emotional manipulation of conscousness. I can appreciate using meditation as a way of at least temporarily suspending the thrall of interpersonal relations, but that’s very different from positing an ontology in which those relations – – which are, after all, at the core of our beings because we were all dependent babies once upon a time and took years to emerge from that- – are abstracted away from. There’s more than a bit of resonance with the abstractive force of the exchange principle at work here.

    6. Lee

      I don’t know where or what groups you practiced with but Zen Buddhist practitioners I have known were quite active in their respective communities doing hospice, particularly for those dying of AIDS when such persons were largely treated as untouchables, in various electoral and antiwar efforts, and one of my practitioner friends did a lot of pro bono lawyering on death penalty appeals. The list could go on. There’s nothing wrong with monkish withdrawal if that is what you need to do, but not everyone who practices needs be a monk.

      1. Lee

        “,,,if you have read the tripitaka you would know that this is forbidden and thought of as a distraction by the Buddha himself.”

        You seem to be following the Zen recommendation, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” This strikes me as very sound. The Buddha was a bit of cold fish and a humorless stick in the mud.

        1. Raymond Sim

          Difficult to say, but potentially the difference between rejecting all gurus and taking ones own self too seriously.

      2. Darthbobber

        Pah. There have been numerous interventions in politics by Theravada monks from Thailand to Myanmar, and by Mahayanists in numerous places, for many hundreds of years.

        If you’ve actually “read the tripitaka” that’s truly an amazing feat.

    7. NoFreeWill

      I’ve always been skeptical of meditation for this reason, and the fact that my moments of joy come from connection (play, dance) with the material world rather than retreat into my own sensations. It’s especially deployed today to ignore the fact our house is on fire, self-care is monetized as “buy stuff for yourself” and what about “other-care”?

      its also interesting to note who exactly subscribes to these religions, very often the middle rich or previously middle class.

      stressed about your shitty office job? meditate.

      that said i’d take Buddhism and Jainism in a second over Christianity if I had the choice, but I’d prefer if we got new religions more compatible with making transition together in our turbulent times…

    8. Raymond Sim

      There a saying: “If you’ve eaten your rice, wash the bowl.”

      That’s intended as guidance for Buddhist spiritual practice, but I think it has practical application to daily life as well, including meditative practices undertaken for practical benefit.

  2. griffen

    Stephen Miller’s plan on the border and immigration sounds an awful lot like a policy implemented by the creators of the film Elysium ( sarc ). Why not just build a super structure that orbits the earth and be done with it…serious policy needs to be implemented on the border issue to be certain. Miller strikes me as a hard-core type of thinker, and I mean that to say he’s probably quite serious about those policy thoughts.

    I don’t have a ready solution at hand, border towns in Texas and elsewhere have been dealing with this influx since what, the past 10 to 15 years running ? Maybe longer I will suppose if we trace this back to the passing of NAFTA.

      1. mrsyk

        Maybe the US should line the border with fast food chains, quickie marts, and dollar generals. Probably turn back some of the tide.

        1. semper loquitur

          I recall reading somewhere a long while back that many illegals work here for a while and then head home. They find the culture unbearable, toxic.

      2. griffen

        Don’t go giving them more ideas. They probably view the Weyland corporation in a positive light, and can correct for where the “damned company” seemed to go wrong…profit motive first, all other priorities deemed null and rescinded…

    1. Wukchumni

      If you really wanted to stop immigration on our southern border, make remittances illegal and the only way money can be sent down under would be physically.

      I’d imagine you’d cut the number of immigrants by half, just like that.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good idea but I do not think that it would ever happen. Can you imagine how much money the banks must be making in charges on all those remittances? They would never allow it to stop.

      2. Lost in OR

        The way to stop immigration is to penalize heavily those who profit from them. Hire an immigrant, go to jail. Or some such. And that includes the PMC that gets their houses cleaned, lawns manicured, and homes built by illegals.

        And of course, stop our messing up their native lands.

        1. notabanker

          Or have the people that designed and wrote the parking app to do the same with immigration. Problem solved.

      3. neutrino23

        To vastly slow immigration just undo the damage we’ve done to countries south of the border. If their home countries were safe with adequate economies few people would want to come here.

    2. marym

      Re: “a hard-core type of thinker”
      There are many immigration issues over which thinking people can disagree or despair, but he’s a white nationalist opposed to legal and illegal non-white immigration, birthright citizenship, and protections for DACA recipients. He was an advisor during the implementation of Trump’s Muslim ban, family separation policies, and, according to recent reporting, consideration of the “buoys” now being used by TX. His notions of a maritime blockade of ships from Latin America and military action against Mexico to have some overlap with other right wing proposals amounting to war.

      1. griffen

        He is a political creature of perhaps the possibly worse sort. Up from his bootstraps into Duke University, which is another reason to dislike Stephen Miller ( I firmly support the UNC-CH sports programs!). If you paired Miller in an elevator with a hard core liberal trained at Harvard or Yale, Berkeley too, for example, someone might come out of the elevator on a gurney. There is the blue flavor of kool aid and the red flavor, Miller seems pretty drunk on the red flavor.

        Probably holds aspirations for a high level office someday soon in a Republican administration. In spite of what I hold against a Duke graduate, he is possibly smart and capable and that is an alarming combination.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          North Alabama’s Mo Brooks is also a Duke graduate (economics, with honors!), so there’s that.

    3. Chas

      Our rural area suffers from a shrinking workforce and so few children that schools are closing and consolidating. We need immigrant families. I’m thinking of calling the Texas governor’s office to see if I can arrange for a bus load of immigrant families to be sent here.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        We need immigrant families.

        Assuming you’re serious, what do you “need” them for?

        Just for example, there used to be a school of thought that smaller class sizes, not to mention all students speaking the same language, would be beneficial to educational attainment.

      2. hunkerdown

        Your needs are unimportant because nothing you love needs to exist. Why don’t you just move, same as you neo-Puritans have been whining at the working class?

    4. Mark Gisleson

      If we systematically reversed our foreign policy in this hemisphere, would we still have refugees at our southern border?

    5. some guy

      Is this plan about the border different than what Kamalabiden will do if re-elected? If it is, then that right there is a dime’s worth of difference between the two tickets on this one particular issue-area. And if so, then people would get to vote on what approach they want as against don’t want for the border.

  3. IM Doc

    About the 4H article,

    As the article does, would also add the FFA.

    I have 2 teenaged neighbor kids in the program here with me all summer along with my own 2 kids. We have built and maintained greenhouses, raised beds, mushroom boxes, beehives, and kestrel and swallow boxes to keep smaller birds out of the orchards and the swallows greatly keep the bugs down.

    We teach them how to utilize organic material all around them, cow manure, ashes, meat bones, fish and chicken carcasses, to make all the non-chemical natural fertilizers the plants need. Nothing organic leaves the property.

    We teach them Mendelian genetics and how to serial passage traits they would need for their plants. We do this with both vegetables and landscape flowering plants that have been taken from seeds from plants growing around nature in our area. Teaching them how to landscape their places in the future with native, hardy plants that will be utilized by our own bees, etc. They learn how breeding plants is very tedious and very complicated and plays out over what seems to be eons of time.

    My wife has two teenaged girls in the programs, learning the non-intuitive methods of canning and preserving. I got home from work to head out to the greenhouses with the kids to the smell of big pots of marinara and salsa being canned last night all made with 100% our own stuff. All kinds of pickles and berry jams and preserves. My wife is also a seamstress and can make clothes and quilts and embroidery.

    We eat well. And we play and work hard. I would say to everyone interested, this life is hard, hard work. It is not be entered into lightly. It is, however, so rewarding. And the social networks that come along with 4 H are life changing.

    These kids and our own kids are learning valuable skills and thankfully not a lot of screen time.

    This lifestyle is met by howls of laughter and derision by so many of our fellow citizens. Let them laugh. We will see who is laughing in 10 years or so.

    I teach elite kids medicine all day. And I teach these other kids in the evening and weekends skills like turning cow manure into landscape gold. I will tell you for sure, I get so much more satisfaction with teaching husbandry than medicine – not even close.

    1. petal

      I was in 4H from 7 until they booted me out for being too old at 18. Then I became a judge and assisted the superintendents for whatever I wasn’t judging. The retired folks who showed open class flowers would get their knickers in a twist about a 19 year old judging their stuff. I showed flowers, vegetables, geese, ducks, chickens, cavies, foods I baked(blue ribbon for apple pie, among others), things I sewed. I worked shifts in the dairy booth making ice cream cones and milkshakes. My parents wouldn’t allow me to have a cow or pig, sadly. My friend showed her sheep. The kids who lived on much bigger farms on the mucklands obviously would do better, but I gave them a run for their money. We always sent entries to the State Fair in Syracuse. I won a small scholarship for college. It sure was a lot better than those precious Brownies/Girl Scouts. Talk about useless. If the apocalypse came, and the yuppies were banging on my door for help, I’d charge them up the wazoo or tell them to get lost. It’s those kinds of people that made fun of me and looked down on me for being a 4H kid, even when I was a student at the Ag school at Cornell. And like you, IM Doc, I’d rather be out picking beans than be in the lab. No contest. Cheers!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Many years ago I posed myself the question of what kids should be learning as they went through their schooling years. One of the things that I thought of was that kids should learn where their food comes from starting from the farms right through to the supermarket. Same for water supplies, sewerage systems, electricity generation, how their clothing is made, etc. The sort of things that you never think about as you grow up. Of course none of this is done in any schools and maybe one of the reasons is that they do not want kids to learn that other kids in third world countries are being treated as slaves to make the stuff that our kids use. And other kids are working in open mines so that they can have things like smart phones. Do that and those kids might start asking too many questions about our present system.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      I didn’t want to be a farmer so I didn’t pay much attention but I still remember Head, Heart, Hands & Health. Just double-checked and my 50+ year old memories got the sequence right.

    4. Kevin Smith MD

      One of my friends was in 4-H, and was a cattle judge. Now he is an outstanding MD, a leader in the profession and in the community. Has 3 adult kids who are all making their way in the world.

    5. Bsn

      Thanks Doc, once again. One of our phrases is “fruit first”. In our region it is the fruit we start canning and processing first. The greens are all year but the bigger veggies are just now going bansheeeee. Nothing like having a record playing in the background. Tonight it is some Gesualdo

      Nothing quite like a glass, some tsss tssss tssss from the canner and Gesualdo to confirm that organic living is the strongest. Enjoy it while you can :-)

    6. redleg

      I concur.
      Minnesota 4H has a performing arts program. Back in the day they needed musicians at the county and state level so i did that, but my sight reading skills suck so I was drawn to the technical side of this.
      When kids find something interesting, talents can be unlocked or improved. Examples:

      At the county, they always had trouble finding someone to direct a show, even though plenty of kids wanted to perform. One of the high schoolers volunteered to do it and enough parents backed her that they let her try. It went well, so well that she’s now getting paid to do it 35+ years later.

      The tech crew (sets, lights, sound, props, etc) for the 3 summers I did the 4H shows was a core of 4 people. Two do that professionally- one for theater and one for international trade shows, and the other guy and myself are just a step below that, each having our own recording “studios” while also doing sound and lights for local theater and music venues.

      The 3 of the 4 main costume people for the 3 summers of those 4H shows are elite: 2 currently work as costumers for movies/TV (credits include Sex in the City for 1 and Stranger Things for the other), while the 3rd got a PhD in anthropology (attire and textiles) while contacting to make costumes for local theaters, Ren fests, and shopping mall Santas.

      For something that seems mundane, that’s a whole lot of kids that turned the 4H projects into professions, including at an elite level.

      All this is in addition to the usual carpentry, farming, etc. that goes with stereotypical 4H stuff. The best part is that we are all (the above plus more) still friends after 30-40 years. We gather labor day weekend at the 4H building.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “I have long rejected claims that Israel is an apartheid state. Now I believe that is where it is heading ‘

    My eyes rolled so hard at this one that they almost locked into the back of my head. I wonder what this guy’s first clue was. The fact that he grew up in South Africa makes it far worse. You have had delegations from South Africa traveling to Israel in the 90s and when they see how the Palestinians were being controlled, had flashbacks to how the exact same damn thing was done to them under the Apartheid regime. So did this guy deliberately close his eyes to what he saw and refused to make the connections between Apartheid South Africa and modern Israel? If this shakes him now, wait until he wakes up to the fact that Israel is also being turned into a Theocracy. To me, his article is like a German guy in 1936 saying that he is beginning to suspect his country of having fascist tendencies.

    1. Carolinian

      Denial not just in Egypt–flows further north. Here in the States we have had a lifetime of this stuff and even have a Holocaust museum in downtown DC although it should more appropriately be located in Berlin. The illogic of Zionism demands that not just prejudice but also criticism itself be suppressed on the theory that fresh genocidal massacres are just waiting to spring up and therefore two wrongs do make a right if one of the wrongs is so horrible that it has its own Washington museum. The other wrong is studiously ignored as being off message.

      But true humanism says it’s all the same message. And while much of this is academic for someone in South Carolina the decades of denial are a self harm that those thousands in Israel are belatedly protesting. They should have given univeralism a lot more importance now that the homegrown fanatics are coming for them.

    2. Donald

      People like him are responsible for the situation— it was more important to feel good about Israel than it was to try and change its course. They paid lip service to opposing the occupation but spent more of their time attacking people as antisemites because they used the word “ apartheid “ to describe what was happening.

  5. griffen

    The answer to any questions surrounding our sitting VP, better PR. Problem solved. No need to dig any further. It’s not like she has any tangible history to explain as the California AG, or how she rose to her positions in the SF political machine. Her performance as the Border Czar? I’m being kind here and not bringing out the knives.

    Sorry to say Madame Vice President, there is no there…there. Just my opinion. Added, should this double post I lay the blame on the evils of Skynet.

    1. Benny Profane

      Great example of how the media concocts something out of nothing to further the whole narrative. There must be a guidebook in a lot of drawers. It’s, of course, the Republican’s racism and sexism, when everyone forgets she had, at most, 3% support from Dem voters in the primaries. She dropped out before the embarrassment of a dismal result in California, of all places. Nobody likes her. But, same on the other side. Trump Derangement Syndrome has given us full length articles about Christie, because, of course, he isn’t Trump, but the last poll I saw puts him at 2%. Nobody likes him at all, and yet, hope lives on for somebody, anybody.

      1. Darthbobber

        Indeed. When she says she’s the same person people saw in Iowa back in 2019, it’s worth mentioning that that person drew no support from any group in the party (or independents).

        And in California, the state where voters knew her best, and where the plan relied on her having “favorite daughter” status, the last polls before her withdrawal showed her in a distant 5th place, mired in single digits and trailing even Bloomberg.

        And this could not at the time be blamed on media coverage, which from the time of her announcement consisted largely of near hagiographic puffery.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Better PR is the Dems solution to any voter wrongthink. The problem is never their people or policies. It’s always that we were too dumb to realize their brilliance.

      1. Feral Finster

        Or we just needed to try harder. If we really believe and really push The Button this time, Ukraine will win and the Naizis will join hands with the gay rights types and All The Children Of The Rainbow (except for Russians, who are subhumans) Sing Together!

    3. Skip Intro

      For the symbol-manipulating caste, better messaging is the solution for problems from a deadly virus to a proxy army full of naz nationalists. If it works on Biden, why wouldn’t it work on Kamala?

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I knew I’d find the right subthread if I scrolled long enough : )

          Kamala Harris is unsellable. No matter which “accomplishments” you point to, they feed into the narratives about her rise to power.

          I’ve mentioned this before, but the KHive still thinks the best Willie Brown defense is to claim that she dated him when he was only running the legislature and not later when he became the all-powerful Mayor of San Fran-poop-on-the-streets. You can’t google Willie Brown and not see how flipped that is!

          Their gaslighting style is very interpersonal and doesn’t look good when put into writing (most people are only KHive aware because of their noxious online presence). In truth, almost nothing about Harris looks good when put into print. She doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s subtle but pervasive: Kamala Harris reeks of bureaucratic unaccountability.

          Also DeSantis-itis. Politicans who can’t hold onto their staff should be let go. It’s a huge tell.

          1. semper loquitur

            The cognitive dissonance one must be gripped by to hold that Harris is a viable and competent candidate for any kind of public office borders on Dissociative Personality Disorder. You really have to compartmentalize, if not simply refuse to process what is patently obvious. I’ve said it before: there is no more delusional political creature in the US than the $hit-lib.

    4. semper loquitur

      That article is a hoot. It totally ignores the fact that the women is a blazing ball of doofiness. “We’ve been to the border!” “Speaking as the daughter of a woman, and the granddaughter of a woman….” “I love Venn diagrams!” Her uncontrolled giggling at inappropriate times, bizarre digressions, and the fact that she has a higher staff turnover than Henry VIII go unmentioned.

    5. Feral Finster

      I dunno, Kamala is doing exactly what she was hired to do – serve as job insurance for her demented boss.

  6. timbers

    India doesn’t want BRICS to dismantle the world order built by the West Indian Punchline. Note Andrew Korybko has reported similar positions from other BRICS members, to much unwarranted hectoring by the commentariat.

    The lesson to learn from The West’s sanctions on Russia, is not that BRICS or other can bring about de-dollarization.

    The lesson is, Western sanctions can be worked around and blunted, and need not devastate an economy like it has Iran and may even strengthen it. The lesson is, develop and expand the alternate SWIFT system, and join it. Sanctions will impose some costs, but if alternate SWIFT is strengthened, those costs will continue to dissipate.

    That in itself will over time help move us closer to de-dollarization.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Also, RE: Lavrov Explained How Russia Envisages BRICS’ Global Role

      “Lavrov began by describing the global systemic transition to multipolarity, particularly its economic-financial dimensions, so as to set the context within which this week’s BRICS Summit is taking place. Of pertinence, he mentioned that “not only Russia, but also a number of other countries are consistently reducing their dependence on the US dollar, switching to alternative payment systems and national currency settlements.

      The abovementioned trend isn’t de-dollarization like the AMC understands it to be in the sense of advancing a political decision aimed at phasing out the use of that currency in totality. Rather, it can more accurately be described as diversification from the dollar in order to hedge against forex and other risks posed by dependence on it. While they might appear identical to the average member of the AMC since both goals decrease the dollar’s share in the economy, their motivations are entirely different.

      The first is a pipedream since it’s not realistic to phase the dollar out of global circulation anytime soon due to the size of the US economy, that country’s deeply entrenched influence over the financial system, and the dollar’s status as the global reserve currency. Furthermore, it’s a de facto declaration of financial warfare (albeit out of self-defense after the US weaponized the dollar for hegemonic purposes), which could prompt the US to viciously retaliate against any country that dares to openly pursue this goal.”

      [Emphases mine]

      I am just realizing that I am largely unfamiliar with the AMC that AK is describing. I don’t think that anyone I give credence as a lefty expects to “phase out the use of the dollar in totality” … that is a pipe dream. I think that Lavrov’s understanding is the reality:
      • Reduced dependence
      • Alternate payments system(s)
      • Alternate currency settlement(s)
      … and yes, I do believe that an alternate currency could be part of achieving the above, but it won’t be easy or come quickly.

      AK tries to rescue his assertion – “it’s a de facto declaration of financial warfare” – with the immediately following parenthetical phrase, and that irks me. If he were being blunt, the real de facto declaration of financial warfare has been initiated by United States administrations for decades now via the weaponization of USD reserves (sanctions).

      Gentle reminder: US Govt not only froze Venezuela’s USD reserves, but went so far as to give partial control of said reserves to the puppet regime jackass Juan Guaido whom the US Govt recognized as “leader” of the Venezuela. (via Reuters)

      How’s that for de facto declaration of financial warfare?

      1. hk

        My sense is that BRICS is not trying to come up with a full blown alternative: they will go with the existing institutions when they need to, but will try to build up insurance if things go off rails. This is not quite “dedollarizatuin,” per se, but perhaps a step in that direction if other dominoes start falling.

        The thing about existing “unipolar” institutions (financial, cultural, scientific, etc) is that too much stuff happen through them in so many parts of the world so that there is no “immediate” alternative. Going off of it will be a long term process that may take many forms–and may not happen at all if they can be meaningfully reformed from within, however improbable that might be

  7. SOMK

    Re: Artists have forgotten how to draw, I have met Samuel from the Dublin Drawing School once or twice, the kind of rigorous systemic drawing as craft he advocates was the general curriculum in NCAD (the National College of Art and Design), up until the student revolts in the early 70’s led to the smashing to a collection of casts of classical sculptures. The students wanted an art education similar to that found on the continent and a breakaway from the stifling conservatism. The fly in the ointment is that when you remove skill as a consideration of the artist, what are you left with? It’s the Taylorist dream of the worker, stripped of skill, by extension bargaining position and as such easily replaceable, it gives rise to the curator class which has exploded in the past 20-30 years. The students from those protests waltzed into art lecturing jobs pretty much straight from college (plus a one year H Dip), retired roughly 15 years ago on generous pensions, their students would be required to do MFA, followed by PHDs for an equivalent position earning a fraction of what they did, in a far harsher economy. It’s not entirely fair or even remotely accurate to say “artists have forgotten how to draw” (I know plenty and am not bad myself, they are not however lionised, certainly they are not the ones sent to the Venice Biennale) however I recently saw what might be the finest contemporaneous painting I have ever seen in my life, in an alcove of a church attached to Glenstal monastery just outside Limerick, a wonderful depiction of Jesus meeting the woman by the well, it was painted by a monk.

    1. nycTerrierist

      “It’s not entirely fair or even remotely accurate to say “artists have forgotten how to draw”

      Agreed!! patently absurd (clickbait?), or the statement of someone who doesn’t look at much art —
      yes, figure drawing was out of vogue at art schools in the 70s and 80s – the heyday of ‘theory’ –
      but it was never gone. And what about all the great illustrators and cartoonists, many of them master draughtsmen (and women)? Shallow (blinkered?) piece but nice the writer has discovered the joys of drawing (i.e. learning to see), a lifelong pleasure

      1. nycTerrierist

        I would add, in the ‘art world’ per se, figurative painting has never been totally dormant,
        though its practitioners go in and out of vogue. Happily figurative painting is back – for now!

  8. mrsyk

    A new accent in Antarctica? “the residents were pronouncing “ou” sounds – like those found in the words “flow” and “disco” – from the front of their mouth, as opposed to the back of their throats.” Could it be from developing a shallow breathing style due to the ice cold air these people are exposed to?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wondered about that myself but then remembered that they were looking at the 1,000 or so people wintering there in Antarctica. And what that means is that most of their time would be spent inside their bases rather than running around outside in winter-time conditions. In some ways, it is hard to call it an accent. As an example, the old-style Aussies would talk through nearly closed mouths which put recent arrivals off. This was a result of living in a hot climate where you have the climate & conditions forming that people’s accents. This is not the case here but is a special group and if the whole lot of them were totally replaced, that “accent” might develop differently as it is not dependent on local climatic conditions.

      1. Bart Hansen

        I always thought that talking through a nearly closed mouth was a sign of the speaker having lost one or more front teeth.

      2. polar donkey

        I did two summers at South Pole and a winter at Palmer station. During those seasons there were big construction projects. So the demographics were different. Small percentage were from the South. A little larger group from northeast. Lots from the mountain west and Pacific northwest. (Many of them did forest fire fighting during the summer in US and then winter in Antarctica) Along with a sizeable number of Alaskans. Research scientists had a big contingent from U Of Wisconsin Madison (If I remember correctly project Ice Cube was mostly UoW), with some Stanford/UC Berkley. If there isn’t construction or drilling project happening, its mostly science nerds.

        During new station construction, logistics and construction workers would work outside for 8-10 hours a day. We lived in leftover canvas/plywood quonsets huts from the korean war. Had to walk a quarter mile to the station for meals and about everything else. I was watching videos on youtube of the new station (not so new now). Man its easy living. May as well be in Denver.

        PS- there are no alien/extraterrestial stuff at South Pole. The original station got buried in ice and snow. You could occasionally go down an see it, but had to be careful of collapse. The famous dome station had to get replaced because it was getting buried too and you couldn’t keep driving bulldozers around it to dig it out. That got packed up and sent back to the US. The current station is on stilts. The power plants and storage is under the surface. The winter before I arrived, they grew some pot in the green house. Someone heard about it. They sent 2 FBI agents down to “investigate”. (WTF?) Most all the people that had wintered over left the first week of flights arriving at end of October/early November. FBI arrived after they all left. Nice trip for the FBI agents.

  9. Gavin

    2023 America : Billy McFarland began to sell Fyre Festival 2 tickets under 5 minutes after he finished serving his sentence for the fraud that was Fyre 1.

    1. mrsyk

      I hear he’s going to commission a special edition of Lord of the Flies to be used as the festival program/guide!

    2. Feral Finster

      Now THAT is good news.

      All these annoying narcissistic jetsetter humans stranded on some desert island, far away from us. And they even pay handsomely for the privilege! It’s like Gilligan’s Island come true….

    3. Mikel

      In a disclaimer, the website adds: “FFII date subject to change. Pre-events and pop-ups to be announced, but FYRE will host a minimum of 4 events prior to FFII.”

      Tickets for the presale range from $499 for the first 100 tickets sold to $7,999 for the final presale.

  10. Steve H.

    > Economic Warfare Is Cruel and Useless

    Recollected the classic article on Forced ARTificial Scarcity, which also rang bells for > The Bezzle, and > Internet of Shit. Noting:

    >> They may even work from home.

    For a more current example,

    In Ukraine, gas shortages further complicate daily life

    > Over the last 30 years, Ukraine — because of its dysfunctional energy market, including an awful lot of corruption in the energy space — has bankrupted all of the refineries except the one” in Kremenchuk, a city on the Dnieper River.

    More in depth:

    > Anti-Corruption Review of the Energy Sector in Ukraine

    >> Energy sector reform is essential for Ukraine’s economic and national security. A well-functioning energy
    sector, attractive to investors and enabler of economic activity, will only be possible if anticorruption reforms
    are implemented successfully.

    This last brought to you from The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2021).

    Again, from the WaPo article:

    >> Now, with the Sea of Azov effectively blockaded and Odessa’s port under Russian assault, Ukraine’s only options appear to be trucking in petroleum and building the necessary infrastructure along those routes to handle those shipments.

    Regarding shortages: Somewhere, somebody’s making money.

  11. mrsyk

    “New York and California each lost $ 1 TRILLION after major financial firms moved to Texas and Florida”. Oh the hyperbole. “Chatbox, write me a headline in the voice of Mini-Me.”
    Whatever has become of sobriety?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Notice that New York and California are both Democrat strongholds and that the States that they are fleeing to – Texas and Florida – are both Republican strongholds? I know that it means something but I am not sure what. I do remember reading however that some financial firms in San Francisco had to tell their people to work from home as the streets outside their HQs had become so unsafe.

      1. Mikel

        Off the top of my head, though there are other reasons depending on the company, neither TX or FL have state taxes. But that’s been the case for decades.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Exactly. And the low tax states have been benefiting for decades. Des Moines used to be the second largest insurance city in the US. Now that’s Houston and I’m not even sure Des Moines can claim third.

          Jobs started migrating long before NAFTA. Union jobs in the blue states got shipped to red states from where they were later shipped to Mexico then [long list of countries where you don’t have pay a buck an hour].

          If you’re only noticing now, it must mean your turn to get stabbed in the back finally came around. S’OK, you get used to sleeping on your side.

        2. skippy

          Yes lots of freebies in those two states w/a side of lower RE prices for workers, damn shame about the latter as that changes quite quickly = see Austin. Best bit is this is all passed onto the wage slaves via marginal taxation = spread the costs of high skirt corp allure to a broad base of consumers ….

          The distribution of that 1T would be going into a very small group of people and not the broader economy IMO … soooo neoclassical … ***big numbers*** and never-mind the social aspect …

  12. ilsm

    Colonel Douglas Macgregor started his military career at end of Vietnam involvement.

    In this interview, first/only one I have listened to, he compares today’s military ‘ethos’, lack thereof, to the depths of the post Vietnam US military.

    I was there then. If his observations are close our military needs a rapid and complete overhaul!

    His points about old hardware, and only experience being with small enemies is compelling. Is our military as good as the 1870 French army? Weapons, logistics and morale!

    I suggest listening.

    1. Wukchumni

      The wurst case scenario to me is Germany in 1918… defeated on the battlefield far away, the homeland barely touched by war.

      1. The Rev Kev

        What made that worse was that the German establishment convinced those soldiers that they were ‘stabbed in the back’ by certain people back home which had all sorts of knock-on effects in the twenty year after. You kinda get that these days in both the US and Oz where I have seen bits and pieces that indicate that the military have convinced themselves that the soldiers from the Vietnam war era might have won that war but were betrayed by the hippies and the like back home not supporting them.

        1. Wukchumni

          Putsch yourself in hair furor’s position when the chicken hawks come home to roost, a short jail term in Georgia only increases street cred in his struggle.

        2. ilsm

          I did not get out of the states, one guy I knew was aware of the corruption and unpopular regime in Saigon.

          Looking the other way on corruption and unpopularity was the “stab in the back”

  13. earthling

    re: hahaha we live in hell

    The idiocy of parking by app. I avoid cities so I avoid it most of the time. Was horrified at the ridiculous anxiety and waste of time to use apps to park in New Orleans, for lots which used to be free, or had a human keeping an eye on things. What do you GET for your hassle and money, sometimes a substantial amount of money? Nothing.

    Months later, the Times Picayune reported backlash is mounting from locals getting cars broken into. Tourists dutifully use these things, but putting a car in one of these lots is like putting up a sign saying “we’re leaving our car here for several hours, please rob it, the lot is unattended by a human being.”

    1. semper loquitur

      I was searching for a parking spot in the West Village one afternoon, an automotive corollary to the Hero’s Journey. I finally found a spot but discovered that the parking slip dispenser was kaput. Two traffic cops strolled by and I pointed out that I couldn’t get a slip. The officer recommended……the app. I drove away.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Not sure why everyone blames the app when the problem is the phone.

      Society is now set up to make it impossible to live without a phone.

      How does that benefit you other than to make financial transactions easier on the seller?

      Apps are a symptom of the real problem.

      1. digi_owl

        You can go further back and blame it on the boards chasing that eternal compound growth. This by saving on infrastructure and instead foisting the cost onto the user.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Park in the Canal Place Parking lot 6th floor or higher.

      They never boot above the 4th floor.

      Haven’t paid the app ever.


  14. Benny Profane

    Justice would be Biden clunked on the head and barbequed like Captain Cook was a few hundred years ago in Hawaii, but he’s probably too old and leathery to bother.

    At least he’s not bringing up Beau every chance he gets these days. Maybe he forgot.

    1. Wukchumni

      In the Hawaiians defense-they mistakenly thought Cook was Lono, whereas latter-day Hawaiians think of Joe as being loco.

  15. William Beyer

    About those artists, forgetting how to draw. I recall a joke that goes like this:
    Woman in gallery: “I’m a conceptual artist.”
    Art observer: “What does that mean?”
    Woman in gallery: “I can’t draw.”

    1. Benny Profane

      This was something that Robert Hughes used to mock a lot of contemporary artists he hated. He taught me to dismiss Basquiat for that reason.

  16. Mildred Montana

    Glenn Greenwald: “George Bush was mauled for merely flying over New Orleans as citizens drowned during Katrina.”

    As he should have been. Said tone-deaf Bush as he surveyed the destruction from his plane: “It’s devastating. It must be doubly devastating down there.”

    1. Pat

      But is Biden’s “no comment” or that false “recognition” meant to be about understanding the pain any less tone-deaf?
      Maybe I am misunderstanding your point but Greenwald doesn’t indicate that Bush was being mistreated, but that Biden is still getting a pass from much of the press for essentially the same sociopathic BS response that was so then appalling. That being “not Donald Trump” is a toxic teflon shield that allows him to act the same without the consequences.

      (For the record I am still appalled that not only has Biden already had an emergency lack of response event in East Palestine that should be mauling, but that no consequences for doing nothing also happened for his previous Boss, Obama in Flint.)

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Speaking of tone-deaf, anyone else see the George Takai Tweet stating anyone asking why we are sending billions to Ukraine that could be better used at home is amplifying Russian propaganda? I’m assuming this is going to be the talking point as it becomes harder to ignore the lack of response in Maui.

        Re: Biden and Obama, it’s pretty amazing how out front the double standards are. And remember Obama’s “Anyone have a glass of water?” stunt when he finally did make it to Flint? Ugh.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Takei is wound very tight, his handlers must secretly hate him to encourage him in this way. That or his handlers have flipped out and George is just channeling their angst. Given how thuggish Biden’s DNC has been, I suspect the latter.

          I think we really underestimate the time and money that is spent on GROOMING celebrities. It’s a logical spinoff from media handling. the rarely discussed art of recruiting/grooming/handling media personalities, something almost always done by cut-outs who ideally have no obvious connections to the manipulators who the manipulees only meet in passing at swanky cocktail parties. [Really, I cannot begin to tell you how offended I am by Clarence Thomas socializing with his manipulator. NOT how it’s done!]

          Your handler never receives any obvious benefits from sharing “their” thoughts with you. Just the opposite — they often help you out with hard to get tickets and favors. They’re someone you can rely on. Your handler knows what’s really going on and you’re lucky you know them!!

  17. Lexx

    ‘Artists Have Forgotten How To Draw’

    Not all artists, even very famous ones*, know how to draw or are skilled at it. Not all artists, even very famous ones, went to art school. Their talents lay in other areas. It is though a skill to be desired, or it was before cameras came along for capturing an image.

    Even before cameras there have been other tools to assist those who don’t freehand well. Some version of the Lucy Tool has been around for centuries. Weird that anyone would still consider drawing necessary, or think the skill lost when it may never have been found.

    *Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso were not known for their drawing skills.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Picasso new everything about drawing at the age of 11 (just go and see some of his drawings!) which is why the tradition really couldn’t offer him much when he was at his twenties.

      1. britzklieg

        Thank you. I’m tired of reading that he was a mediocre draughtsman. When I lived in Spain there was a small Picasso museum in Barcelona that had his studies of Velazquez’ “Las Meninas” done at an early age. If that’s what mediocre is I’d love to see excellence.

        Perhaps he was a dodgy fellow. He was a great artist in all sense of the term.

    2. Lexx

      ‘Slum photos were weaponised against the people they depict’

      Cameras are/were a tool. A dark comedy series on the subject of early large-format camera use was ‘Dead Still’, streaming on Acorn. Memorial photos, porn, and photographing crime scenes (gathering evidence), the shadow side of life and what humans get up to, consumed by whoever could afford the services, bridging class divisions even then.

      The residents in the slums may not have been asked to step back against the buildings, to appear marginalized in their own neighborhoods. There was also social shyness and superstition at work. Photography was regarded as ‘magical’ for decades until it was better understood and in the hands of the mass market. I think we’ve gotten over our reticence. There’s not a single ‘selfie’ on my phone and very few of Husband… usually under protest.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That article said that those photos were being used as weapons against those people but it wasn’t so simple. The Victorians of that era were determined to improve, well, everything. Poverty was high on their hit list as it led to crime, disease, mass prostitution, drunkenness, etc. and I have studied a famous map at the time of London by Charles Booth which shows the conditions of the buildings in every street so as to mark out the poverty stricken ones. Those places in those photos were miserable places in wintertime and people there ended up in the Work House typically-

        1. Robert L. Peters

          Robert Hughes was mentioned above regarding art. Your London note reminded me that he also wrote about social conditions of lower classes in London and elsewhere in England. Combine that with social history shows presenting glimpses of daily life to make one appreciate the recency and tenuous aspects of what seems like more stable living. That has slipped away from so many as Yves’ Jackpot looms.

        2. Lexx

          I have a ‘gray’ POV regarding photography, having spent most of my time in college behind a large format B/W camera, and in the darkroom making my own prints. Absolutes are difficult to achieve, difficult to proof (prove). ‘Weaponizing’ is a radical word for politically radical times; the word itself is used to charge and strengthen an argument. Ooooo, thems fightin’ words!’

          Is that what was happening? The deceased are propped up in the photo to tell a story for the living, whether they like it or not. They have no more agency than we give them now.

    3. Bsn

      I taught middle grades K-12 for 20+ years and have seen the devolution of handwriting as well, both cursive and printing. Children, then teens, playing on their phones instead of drawing, sketching and leaving love notes for each other has lead to med. schools forcing students to take classes in Lego construction to try and improve their hand coordination. Sad but true.
      Of course computers “commit” knee surgery now so what’s to worry about?

      1. semper loquitur

        My nieces in elementary school study penmanship but once or twice a week. Not to worry, though. They all have new iPads “donated” by Apple…

      2. Lexx

        So far podiatric and orthopedic intervention has lead me to worse outcomes than when I limped in. Yesterday I fell off the edge of a raised veggie bed where I was picking green beans, because I was suddenly under attack from wasps. I thought I’d accidentally put my hand down on ‘something angry and stingy’ and it was defending itself, so I stepped back up on the bed (when I got done squealing in alarm) and was immediately bitten again, but then I fell off the edge trying to escape, wrenching an already sore and increasingly unstable knee*. It was bad pain and me unable to take opioids in any form.

        The orthopedic worldview seems to be that medicine is a battlefield and the patient either survives the war or doesn’t. How much worse could a computer be? At least when I refer to the computer as ‘Numbnuts!’ my critique will be both ‘fair and accurate’.

        *Caused by the use of the latest orthotic… I’ll be heading back to ortho today, cuz we have a vacation coming up in three weeks and at this rate I won’t be able to do diddly-doo.

    4. Hastalavictoria

      Look at Picasso’s portrait of his father drawn at the age of 14 and I think you may change your opinion.

      1. Lexx

        I wrote Picasso wasn’t known for his drawing skills. When you consider those artists, drawing doesn’t come to mind first; it was not their strength… by way of saying that not all famous artists relied on their drawing skills and some had none at all, they used other tools.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Something strange is happening in the Pacific and we must find out why”

    I’ll just quote this bit from the article first-

    ‘This isn’t just an academic puzzle. Pedro DiNezio at the University of Colorado Boulder calls it “the most important unanswered question in climate science”. The trouble is that not knowing why this cooling is happening means we also don’t know when it will stop, or whether it will suddenly flip over into warming. This has global implications. The future of the cold tongue could determine whether California is gripped by permanent drought or Australia by ever-deadlier wildfires. It influences the intensity of monsoon season in India and the chances of famine in the Horn of Africa. It could even alter the extent of climate change globally by tweaking how sensitive Earth’s atmosphere is to rising greenhouse gas emissions.’

    Now this being the case, perhaps it would be wise not to try all those geoengineering experiments like trying to inject sulfur into the upper atmosphere and the like. Until we know exactly how our climate works such as this Pacific cold tongue, can we really predict what would happen with all those geoengineering experiments?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Humankind has launched a global experiment making a step change in the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. No one knows the full complexities of the Earth’s climate systems, although paleoclimate offers some scary though partial glimpses of their complexity and wide variances. Geoengineering in a our present state of ignorance is worse than foolhardy.

      One very important thing for the far future will be to collect as much data and document as well as possible the way that Earth systems respond as Humankind’s great global experiment progresses. If a new source of energy can be found when all the fossil fuels are too valuable for other uses than their waste as burnt offerings for energy, and if Humankind survives their experiment, knowledge from that experiment may prove crucial in future efforts to maintain a human habitable climate on the Earth. Before Humankind, the Earth’s climate has gone through many harsh ages and cataclysmic changes in the past. With more knowledge, geoengineering may prove necessary in the future as Sun and Earth age.

    2. semper loquitur

      I see a connection between the nit-wittery of transhumanism and geoengineering projects. It’s the belief that one is a god, that the world must inevitably fall before the “progress” of material science and technology. No problem is too big for the imaginations of these f00ls. Hubris is the word, I believe.

    1. Steve H.

      Just noticed a previous NC reference: “In Clover” [London Review of Books]. A history of management consulting. Take McKinsey–please! “Bogdanich and Forsythe’s​ book is a damning account of the way McKinsey has made workplaces unsafe, ditched consumer protections, disembowelled regulatory agencies, ravaged health and social care organisations, plundered public institutions, hugely reduced workforces and increased worker exploitation. It begins with an account of McKinsey-dr

  19. Kouros

    “If Kamala got into my head, I would need a lobotomy.”

    If Kamala got in anyone’s head would be the equivalent of having a lobotomy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was looking at her image in that article and I have to remind myself. We could all wake up tomorrow morning to find that Kamala Harris is now Madame President of the United States. It could happen so very easily.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s true, it’s true, the Senate has made it clear
        The climate in DC isn’t perfect all the year

        A law was made a distant moon ago here
        July and August can be too hot
        And there used to be a 6 year limit to the show here for Kamala

        Senate is forbidden after December
        And exits not having done a lot
        By order, Senate lingered through at least November for Kamala

        Kamala: Camelot?
        I know it sounds a bit bizarre
        But for Kamala: Camelot
        That’s how conditions are

        Her Senate reign fell after election
        By January 20th, when the possibility looms near
        In short, there’s simply not a more presumptive spot
        For happily ever after in than here for Kamala

        Kamala: Camelot
        I know it gives a person pause
        But in Camelot: Kamala?
        Those are the legal laws

        The show may never be thrust upon her spot
        But if Joe wavers, an answer must appear
        In short, there’s simply not a more easy entry slot
        For happily ever after here in the White House for Kamala

        Camelot, performed by Richard Burton

      2. Tom Stone

        Kamala Harris might very well be a substantial improvement over Biden.
        At the least HRC would have a stroke and there might be other unexpected benefits.

  20. t

    Picasso and Van Gogh aren’t know for realistic drawings, but that is certainly a skill they had and used as the basis for their work.

    1. JEHR

      It’s not the accuracy of a drawing which is inspirational: it’s the interpretation of the object that counts.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Tracking Orwellian Change: The Aristocratic Takeover of “Transparency”‘

    Of course when ‘Bond-villain-from-central-casting’ Klaus Schwab talks about privacy and transparency, he means people like him have privacy and everybody else is transparent so that they can be controlled. I was watching a video the other day that said that Klaus Schwab, when younger, was recruited by a Professor Henry Kissinger when at Harvard University as part of a CIA recruitment program. Now I do not know if that is entirely true or not but went to Schwab’s Wikipedia page and found it to be extremely light on detail on the first decades of his life. Strange that. It does mention Harvard University but only in a sidebar and it does mention Kissinger underneath that as an influence. So you do have to wonder-

    Yet another reason to dislike Henry Kissinger if true.

  22. JTMcPhee

    Re kleptocrats and power, as civil government sh!ts the bed, and what takes its place: one model is the drug cartels in Mexico and South and Central America, which seem to end up providing some of the structures and services of the civil governments they coerce, corrupt and displace.

    Another was nicely framed in the series of Naked Capitalism articles a couple of years ago, “Journey into a libertarian future,” Insurance companies as protection and extortion rackets. What is there in “human nature” to resist the end of decency and comity? Nothing I can see.

    I wonder whether “ethical warlords” and private military companies a la Wagner (and not Blackwater/Xe) will be the salvation of the mopes who otherwise would be serfs and slaves.

    Likely the path is already set, in an inescapably ugly and violent direction…

    1. Feral Finster

      The United States is well on the way to being a glorified Brasil, albeit a Brasil with worse weather and a more hyperbelligerent foreign policy.

  23. Mikel

    “India doesn’t want BRICS to dismantle the world order built by the West” Indian Punchline. Note Andrew Korybko has reported similar positions from other BRICS members, to much unwarranted hectoring by the commentariat

    In additon to the discussion around sanctions, the laser focus on BRICS and currencies is related to the full media assault by crypto mavens. Isn’t it one of their latest big sales pitches?

  24. Bsn

    Regarding “Tech’s Broken Promises”, it’s really quite simple. Just like a drug dealer in the day, pass out items for free, get them addicted, then charge and raise the price. Not complicated.
    Try this off/on for various sports:

    Right now I’m watching Middlesex vs. Yourkshire. Make sure you have your add blockers, script blockers and other tech defences up.

    1. digi_owl

      Kinda. More like the the supplier cuts off the dealers in order to keep the percentage for themselves, and start a turf war.

      Oh, and much of it is thanks to the fed cranking up the interest rate as so much of this was surviving on rolling over cheap debt and VC “investments”.

      Frankly the one big change from the 70s is the move to packet switched networking. This is what is allowing our expensive computers turned web terminals to connect to multiple services while back in the day they could only maintain one connection at a time.

    1. Alice X

      You beat me to it by 5 minutes. I generally don’t get very far with Hopkins and I disagree fundamentally on his take on masks, but this is too much.

    2. hk

      I am genuinely curious what US legal reaction to stuff like this is. So foreign countries can stifle freedom of speech anywhere in the world, including the US, because the 1st Amendment does not apply to them and internet is borderless? Khomeini must be dancing in his grave (of joy that the West has finally bowed to his wisdom).

  25. mrsyk

    Meanwhile in Kansas… I see the wheels are falling off police chief Cody’s narrative. The AP has an article out titled “The initial online search that spurred a raid on a Kansas paper was legal, a state agency says”. More, “The initial online search of a state website that led a central Kansas police chief to raid a local weekly newspaper was legal, a spokesperson for the agency that maintains the site said Monday, as newly released video showed the publisher’s 98-year-old mother protesting a search of their home.” Said agency is the department of revenue.

    The Marion County Record has published their own video of the raid.

    Joan Meyer’s death is attributed to a heart attack.

    The estate of Joan Meyer is considering litigation including a wrongful death lawsuit.

    An opinion piece in the Kansas City Star by Opinion Editor Dion Lefler argues “Meeting at Marion restaurant was illegal; police helped keep press away”. Apparently three members of the Marion County Commission were there making it an official open meeting and subject to the laws regulating open meetings. To distill, the press can’t be kicked out.

  26. ambrit

    Electronic Zeitgeist observation.
    Recently, on the right side bar of my Yahoo e-mail page I have been seeing ads for sometning called WelcomeUS. This iteration asks if you, the viewer, want to sponsor an Ukrainian family over here, in the US. The bottom of the organization’s home page says that it caters to Ukrainians, Cubans, Nicaraguans, and some other “aggrieved” ethnicities. All are from nations that the Neo-cons want to wipe off of the face of the earth.
    The propaganda is very thick on the “media” now.
    I’m beginning to feel that I should automatically think the opposite of whatever some ‘Internet Communication’ wants me to.
    Cynicism has become a ‘Survival Strategy.’

    1. mrsyk

      Every public comment so far has been begging for universal n95 use in health care facilities. The HICPAC panel people are looking rather uncomfortable.

  27. MT_Wild

    Reef Denziens – my guess would be a goby or blenny. And I think you may have mistaken a “tube worm” or “feather duster worm” for a sea urchin.

  28. some guy

    I am just an amateur science buff and can only offer amateur-quality thoughts.

    About the Pacific Cold Tongue . . . . I hope somebody is studying the possibility that this is a persistent upwelling or upsucking of legacy cold water from the deep or deepest levels of the Pacific Ocean, pulled up to the surface as surface-warmed water is pulled or pushed away.

    If that is what is happening, one way or another, then that means that while the Tongue itself is a persistent ocean feature, it is not the same water as it was 30 years ago. Maybe cold water comes up to form the tongue, it picks up some heat at the very surface of itself which then moves away creating a space for more cold water to well up into and reach the surface of. If so, that would just be a new way for yet more heat to enter the Pacific Ocean on a net-net basis. And this tongue process is a way for global warming’s heat to sink itself into warming the legacy deep cold water just as global warming’s heat is sinking itself into melting glaciers and ice caps and thawing out the permafrost.

    If so, we can’t truthfully say that global warming is cancelled, can we? If parts of the Land and Air surface are cooled off by dumping heat into the Cold Tongue, the Cold Tongue is reciprocally warming whatever legacy cold water moves through the Cold Tongue feature by picking up heat and then moving it along so that more legacy cold water can surface to sink yet more heat. Perhaps it is a thermal conveyor belt which will stop when the source of the legacy cold deep water has itself been warmed up enough that it can no longer be a source of sensible-temperature heat-sinkage.

    It’s just a thought . . . as Beau of the Fifth Column would say.

    1. digi_owl

      Sounds similar to the Atlantic current that allows Europe to be far more livable for its latitude.

  29. some guy

    . . . ” Moi: If Kamala got into my head, I would need a lobotomy. ” . . .

    If Kamala got into your heat, that would BE a lobotomy, would it not?

    Or would it be a stroke or brain cancer?

  30. Glen

    I noticed a couple of news stories on the ships with hard sails. I remember seeing bulk freighters with hard sails to reduce fuel burn at Port Angles over twenty years ago, maybe longer. I think these were carrying raw logs to Japan. I think the economic incentives for using these are, like many current “economic decisions”, not aligned with maximizing quarterly profits.

  31. Oguk

    At least in Massachusetts, from my experience 4-H has become an imperious organization lacking transparency, democracy, and any kind of sensitivity to its members, and I can never recommend it again. My son was a member of our local 4-H for at least 6 years, working his way through rabbits, chickens, and finally goats. This 4H club was award-winning, led by a terrific, inspiring 80-year old farmer who had led the club for 25 years. In early 2021, he and the volunteer staff were told “changes needed to be made”, which as I understand it the volunteer leadership agreed to, asking only for time (one year) to implement them. After less than 6 months, the club was suddenly shut down, its funds (which were mostly dues and contributions paid by the local members) seized, and the leader forced to “retire” (against his will). Some meetings between the membership and leadership were held, but no information about why the club needed to be shut down so imperiously was ever released. Despite some Mass. legislators trying to get involved, nothing was ever done. It was a shame that Mass 4H was never held accountable.

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