Links 8/23/2023

Where Did the Term Blue Moon Come From, and How Rare Is the ‘Super Blue Moon’ Later This Month? Smithsonian

Oklahoma Family Completes Epic Quest to Noodle Catfish in Every Legal State Field & Stream

Private equity firms hand over distressed companies to rivals FT


Burning Man 2023: Hilary Rains Cause Chaos on the Playa, Delays Build The San Francisco Standard

How a mix of natural and human-caused factors cooked up Tropical Storm Hilary’s soggy mess AP

* * *

Meteorologist Is Naming Heatwaves After Big Polluting Oil Companies Kottke

As the Gulf of Maine warms, where are the mussels? Boston Globe

Uncovering Death by Fire Wildfire Today


US reports another BA.2.86 COVID-19 sequence Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Why a highly mutated coronavirus variant has scientists on alert Nature. Fortunately, our sophisticated test-and-track system…. Oh, what’s the use…. 

Long Covid symptoms create a greater burden of disability than heart disease or cancer, new study shows CNN

6.5% Covid patients died within a year of hospital discharge: study Indian Express. That seems like rather a lot.


Xi Jinping hails ‘golden era’ in China-South Africa relations amid Brics summit South China Morning Post

Unpaid workers, silent sites: China’s property woes hit Country Garden Channel News Asia

US, Japan working to negotiate and finalize new deal to develop hypersonic missile interceptor Defense Scoop

The Koreas

Korean Wave (Hallyu): Arduous journey of K-pop idols Anadolu Agency


Historic First: Indian Navy Submarine Deploys To Australia Naval News


Costly Propositions New Left Review. Kenya.

As Senegal organizes troops to invade Niger, violence mars ‘constitutional order’ within its own borders Peoples Dispatch

European Disunion

French health minister urges mask wearing in case of small symptom of COVID-19 Anadolu Agency. The deck: “France records slight increase in COVID-19 cases recently, mandatory use of face mask is not yet in sight, says Aurelien Roussea.” The mandate, naturally, will only come too late.

Spain’s king nominates Popular Party candidate to form government Anadolu Agency

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia’s General Surovikin dismissed as head of aerospace forces: Reports Al Jazeera  and  Russia fires ‘General Armageddon’ in Wagner crackdown FT

Zelensky holds court with Ukraine’s most notorious neo-Nazi The Grayzone. Round up the usual fascists…. 

* * *

As Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Grinds On, Russia Seeks to Advance in the North WSJ

Western defense officials urge Ukraine to focus counteroffensive resources on southern push — even if it means heavy troop and equipment losses Insider

Russia’s Illegal Bridges Have Ukrainian Crosshairs on Them Foreign Policy

Ukrainian strikes reportedly hit bases in Russia housing supersonic warplanes CNN

US says it does not support Ukrainian strikes inside Russia Reuters. Yet somehow it keeps happening. ‘Tis a mystery!

* * *

STOLYPIN: The limits of Russian mobilisation BNE Intellinews

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s Article for South Africa’s Ubuntu Magazine, August 21, 2023 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Was the Collapse of US-Russia Relations Inevitable? The Nation

What are they saying about the war in Italy this August? Gilbert Doctorow

Digital Watch

If AI becomes conscious, how will we know? Science. I don’t know. Are we conscious?

Europe spent €600 million to recreate the human brain in a computer. How did it go? Nature. Evolution spent a lot more than that…

A study on “”honesty pledges”” became famous. Its data was fake The Big Think. I wonder how many AI training sets need to be corrected. And how many will be.

The Bezzle

Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried complains to court that vegan prison diet of ‘bread, water and peanut butter’ is ‘outrageous’ – and says he ‘can’t prepare for trial’ without access to computers and medication Daily Mail


New bacterial ‘dark matter’ offers hope for a drug-resistant world FT

A Systematic Background Check of TRICARE Provider Names (preprint) medRxiv. From the Abstract: “TRICARE’s provider directories are only 80% accurate. Although the DHA’s 9.6 million beneficiaries need expanded access to care, they also require protection from misleading information, medical fraud, patient abuse, and identity theft. Since 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General has excluded 17,706 physicians from federal health programs due to misconduct. Patients who receive care from excluded providers experience worse medical outcomes. To determine if any excluded provider names were found on TRICARE’s website, we performed background checks on TRICARE West’s healthcare provider directory between January 1 and March 2023. Out of 39,463 provider names sampled from 22 states, there were 2,398 matches (6.08%) with individuals and businesses found in the OIG List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (OIG-LEIE), the GSA-SAM, the HHS HIPAA Breach Report, the International Trade Administration’s Consolidated Screening List, the OIG-HHS Fugitive List, the FBI’s January 6th Capitol Violence List of Charged Defendants, State Medicaid Exclusion Lists, and FDA Debarment Lists.”

Our Famously Free Press

Dangerous threats to local press freedom Columbia Journalism Review

After Kansas newspaper raid, lawmaker proposes taking warrant power away from magistrates Kansas Reflector

The Conservatory

Hip Hop Is Saving Teen Lives in Minnesota The 74

Realignment and Legitimacy

US Careening Towards the Abyss of Fascistic Violence and Civil War as Election 2024 Approaches The Wire

Is America Headed Towards A Second Civil War? 1945

US businessman is wannabe ‘warlord’ of secretive far-right men’s network Guardian. Elevator pitch: “Airplane, but in warlord’s bunker.”

Survey: Prosperity Gospel Beliefs on the Rise Among Churchgoers The Roys Report. “Churchgoers,” as opposed to “Christians,” shows a  deft touch.

Ecology Councils: Grassroots Climate Strategies from Mesopotamia Grassroots Economic Organizing

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Navy Was Freaked Out: How A Submarine Sunk A Nuclear Aircraft Carrier ‘Undetected’ In A Drill 1945. Will Admiral Van Riper please pick up the white courtesy phone?

Class Warfar

Unionized UPS workers approve contract leaders agreed to in late July AP

Evening Wrap News from The States. Worker shortages.

Is Workplace Violence in Retail Establishments Covered by OSHA? Confined Space

Humanity is going to shrink (excerpt) Noah Smith, Noahpinion. Everything’s going according to plan.

Dead by 30: DNA reveals the hard life of a shepherding family 3,800 years ago El Pais. “Back to the land” has a downside.

Antidote du jour (via):

That was Manul. Here is Manu:

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. Stephen

    “US, Japan working to negotiate and finalize new deal to develop hypersonic missile interceptor”

    Maybe a sweepstake should be run on how long this will take to come to fruition (should the metric be years or decades), how much it will cost and whether hypersonic technology will have evolved enough by then to invalidate the solution.

    Interesting too that the article just automatically labels Russia and China as “adversaries”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      We’ve seen this movie before. Under Ronnie Reagan, he came out with the Strategic Defense Initiative which was nicknamed the “Star Wars program”. The idea behind it was to stop Soviet ballistic missiles from hitting America but it never worked as in never. The program lurched on decade after decade and became a rat-hole for untold tens of billions of dollars being thrown down it with at best dubious, rigged results. That Wikipedia article says it ended in 1993 but that is wrong as many years after I saw test results on TV that were obviously related to that basic concept. It eventually faded away but it looks like that Biden wants to bring it back again under a new guise with Japan aiding and abetting the future wasting of tens of billions of dollars-

      1. Roland

        Real-world performance of BMD systems is a closely-kept secret. No public report about a test of such systems, or their sub-systems, can be regarded as credible, whether it’s a tale of success, or of failure. Either way, it’s probably deliberate misinformation.

        e.g. even if a system works, they won’t report much success, because they won’t want someone else knowing where to focus their countermeasures.

        The reasons why the original SDI couldn’t work have now been largely overcome: lack of processing power, lack of communications bandwidth, lack of a comprehensive satellite surveillance network. Those were big obstacles during the 1980’s, but not any more.

        However, the most important thing about SDI remains true today: the systems can never be a sort of passive protection against a full-scale enemy first strike. Instead, they are meant to enable the USA to launch its own first strike, with the BMD systems dealing with the counter-strike of the remnant enemy forces.

        SDI was always meant as “sword and shield.” This sort of defense is meant to enable the attacker, to liberate nuclear offensive warfare from the consrtraints of deterrence. BMD is about aggression, not peace. It’s about hegemony, not stability.

        The real nature and strategic intention of BMD is another important reason why the state media organs in the West don’t like to talk about the stuff. They don’t want people thinking and talking about what it means.

        Therefore, I would not downplay BMD among the strategic considerations in today’s warfare.

        Are the systems good? Who knows, until the USA attempts a first strike? But forty years of development, hundreds of billions invested, all with comprehensive, unquestioning bipartisan support (never even the usual squabbling and teat-rivalry)? There’s more to this story than MIC corruption.

      2. ilsm

        i was a young person when ronald reagan pronounced star wars!

        so many good ‘job programs’ in long range, exotic x and s band radars, but japan won’t buy them for their “needs”. and all they might do is give a few moments more time to ‘duck and cover’.

        another set of jobs: mid course interceptor, so urgent and so important they are deployed in alaska and california, with an engagement vehicle that does not function, on top of a three stage rocket.

        thaad, army defenses for high altitude and somewhat longer range than problematic patriot. transportable x band radar! the one the us army runs in korea can see for far more than 2000 km to see launches in north korea 600 km away, and china is watched.

        star wars set the new military industry complex standard for building things while they are adding threats/requirements. constant technology insertion!!, constant upgrade, keep the engineers busy!

        gao 23-106047 reports f-35 is doing the same! they add new computing and radar capability that already generate a lot of heat, so the engine needs to run off thrust to cool and the overheats, that causes it to wear out faster than specified and will cost $40 billion in extra engine turn arounds. all because they gotta add capacity so the thing fails to maintain combat readiness bc old parts and poor reliability for 70 years!

        gao reports, that anyone can read, cause rants!

    2. Ranger Rick

      Likely related, but Lockheed Martin recently put out a press blurb about the Next Generation Interceptor waiting for development approval. Kev’s comment sparked a memory of an old SDI concept known as “Brilliant Pebbles” — while keeping these in orbit makes them vulnerable to anti-satellite weapons, launching them as an interceptor might still be workable.

  2. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Survey: Prosperity Gospel Beliefs…:

    Interesting that the survey was further limited to Protestant denominations. (n=1,002) They single out Methodists and restorationists (which includes Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, amongst many others) as being more aligned with prosperity gospel teachings.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The prosperity gospel is officially attacked in the RCC, even by North American bishops. A poll would be hard to construct. There are some other issues with church attendance behavior that reduces the likelihood of shopping around. A Catholic isn’t going to go across town to listen to a charismatic priest. The control the priests have over the topics. Last I was aware the RCC in North America was on a 3 year liturgical cycle. It’s not up to the local priests.

      The RCC tends to lean on “forgiveness” to get around the official views.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the CVBB (Central Visalia Bible Belt) church row is on Caldwell Ave and there’s a couple mega-MAGA-evang big box churches, one with the curious name of Visalia First, which if you didn’t know any better, sounds like a bank.

        The Catholics went into almed conflict by building what will be the largest parish church of their faith in the USA, across the road from one of the evang big box true believer houses of worship, in mission style.

        1. ambrit

          “… in mission style.” Do you mean that they ‘drafted’ braceros into corvee gangs to do the building? Next we’ll read about “Our Kevin” having an unpleasant ‘encounter’ with a sword wielding masked man.
          “When the campaign contributions come back to Capistrano!”

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s damned hard to find Native Americans to build missions these days, but luckily damn near every kid in Cali has some experience in that regard, really the only religious doctrine and/or architecture project most of us had, when we were say 10 years old.

            The key to building a California mission, is sugar cubes and penne pasta, its all about lode bearing walls & roof tiles.

      2. scott s.

        Well they certainly will travel across town to attend a traditional Latin Mass. And true there is a three-year cycle of readings (this year is Matthew) but that doesn’t necessarily constrain the homily preached. Though it’s true that the liturgical calendar does focus attention (current “ordinary time” perhaps allows more discretion, though of course Assumption of Mary is a departure from that).

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      I’m not a formally religious person, but there’s no way to see the prosperity gospel as anything other than blasphemous… and a carnival-esque spectacle.

      1. MaryLand

        It’s just infusing capitalism into “religion.” The poor you will always have with you, but tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and believe!

        1. Wukchumni

          He or she who dies without death taxes wins. While you can’t take it with you, there’s no reason for the inheritors to bear any burden.

      2. LawnDart

        Sadly, my father found a church that aligned with and reaffirmed his beliefs: the poor are poor because god wants them to be poor– they are suffering for their sins, and to help or assist them in any way is to go against the will of god.

        My sister hasn’t spoken with him in twenty-years, and I hadn’t either for several years, until I had a daughter (a grandaughter, whom he subsequently made little effort to see). He’s a very angry man; a drunk, a coward, and a bully. I strongly suspect he suffers from Asperger’s, which sadly went unrecognized in his youth, but this is no excuse for his behavior.

        3-weeks ago he was transfered from the hospital to a nursing home, so I’m up in the Northwoods trying to sort some of his stuff out. And when I have confirmation that he will not be able to return home, I’ll pay one last visit to the old man and move on with my life– any obligation that I had to the guy, paid-in-full.

        For those who would judge others who not visit their elderly parents, keep in mind that none of use are expected to subject ourselves to abuse and the venom of toxic relationships.

        1. semper loquitur

          “For those who would judge others who not visit their elderly parents, keep in mind that none of use are expected to subject ourselves to abuse and the venom of toxic relationships.”

          This should be carved on the face of the Moon in ten mile high letters…

        2. Bad son

          > For those who would judge others who not visit their elderly parents, keep in mind that none
          > of us are expected to subject ourselves to abuse and the venom of toxic relationships.

          I did not at all have a toxic relationship with my parents. We were quite amicable, from the time I reached adulthood until the time they died 40 years later. But I never really felt particularly close to either of them in the way that I saw with some of my friends and their folks. I once saw a comment online somewhere that kind of resonated with me, so I cut-and-pasted it into my ‘sayings’ file:

          >> My own aging parents live far away, but they’ve never grown into deep wisdom and take
          >> more emotional sustenance from my brothers and me than they have ever given back.

          As I said: no toxicity; no rancor; no unpleasantness. They just became two old people who made increasing demands on me … and (maledictu!) I wasn’t all that sad when they died.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Ukrainian counteroffensive–

    Since the Leopards and Bradleys haven’t done the trick, maybe the Ukrainians could locate some rams’ horns and blow them while marching in front of the Russian lines. They should check to see if Indy Jones knows where the Ark is.

    Mahalia Jackson explains.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “The Navy Was Freaked Out: How A Submarine Sunk A Nuclear Aircraft Carrier ‘Undetected’ In A Drill”

    This has happened a lot more often than that article lets on. Fortunately it is normally allied countries that manage to do this so the US Navy leans on them to say that it never happened. But those sailors all know. But then there was the time a Chinese submarine surfaced in the middle of a Navy task force to let the US Navy know that they have their number. Maybe instead of gigantic eggs-all-in-one-basket aircraft carriers, that it might be wiser to have smaller ones but more of them.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Aussie subs have done the same not only against US carriers but US subs as well using Collins-class submarines. It happens to other navies as well and the same was done to a British carrier back in 2013 by the US Navy. Soviet subs use to tail US carries way back in the First Cold war as well. If the balloon goes up, being on a carrier is not a good place to be.

      2. MT_Wild

        My dad was on 1st generation nuke subs in the mid 60’s. He told me that during the exercises against carrier groups they would have all kinds of rules against how the subs could operate to make the carriers look good.

        So after one exercise were the subs had been limited to both shallower depths and slower speeds than they were capable, they submerged and then surfaced undetected in front of the carrier group making way at top speed just to let them know the score.

        Subs turned surface ships from combatants to targets. Imagine what the submersible drones have done.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          As the sorely missed Pierre Sprey remarked shortly before he passed two years ago, “The Navy now has just two kinds of ships: “Submarines and targets.”

    1. John

      They freak out and then pull the covers over their heads until it is time to freak out again. The day of the carrier is over. Manned fighters are also if not on the way out, much less important than drones and sundry types of missiles. Smaller and simpler is not a profitable. Drones and missiles are not as profitable. Huge baskets, heaped with many varieties of eggs: very profitable.

      1. Will

        There has to be a way to include an expensive maintenance contract with sales of suicide drones. The DoD needs to commission a study by Rand or McKinsey. The threat to the American economy and way of life is too great to ignore.

      2. cfraenkel

        It’s more about not providing a sexy promotion path. The military is run by pilots, because that’s where the excitement & ‘glamor’ is, so they’re the ones who get promoted to general / admiral.

        I’m confident our talented group of defense contractors can layer obscene profits into drone production just as well as they do in fighters and aircraft carriers. After all, the unit production numbers will be way higher to spread the pork out thinner, and just think about all that software.

        1. Michaelmas

          cfraenkel: It’s more about not providing a sexy promotion path. The military is run by pilots, because that’s where the excitement & ‘glamor’ is, so they’re the ones who get promoted to general / admiral.

          Yup. It’s the prestige of the legacy big platform weapons system. It’s fascinating how the same story recurs through history and elites die rather than recognize change

          In WW1, after decades of the European powers slaughtering indigenous peoples all over the world with machine guns to build their empires, you’d think their military elites would have grasped what war between industrial states with modern machine guns and artillery would mean. However, the military commanders weren’t the smart people who went out to the colonies to make their fortunes — the Cecil Rhodes types who were in a way the equivalent of today’s Silicon Valley types — but the second and third sons of the aristocracy who didn’t inherit the family estate. These people were committed to the prestige and primacy of the cavalry — because horses! — and the initiative, bravery, and superiority of the individual (white) soldier.

          Likewise, the French knights at Agincourt in some cases weighed so much from the weight of their fancy armor that hoists were used to get them on their horses and they were convinced that day they were going to slaughter the English peasants with their pissy longbows. As it turned out, something like 47 percent of French male aristocrats died.

          So it goes.

          ZALA AERO’s New ‘Product 53, a Swarm Version of the deadly Lancet-3 Drones, Ready for Network-Centric Warfare:The “Lancet” munition has already been employed in fully autonomous mode during active combat, without any involvement from a human operator.

          1. LifelongLib

            It seems to go in cycles. There were times when the armored horseman, the tank, the battleship, were basically invulnerable. Others when a peasant with a bow, a shell, a torpedo could destroy them. We’re in the latter sort of time today.

          2. digi_owl

            As i understand it, the French knights were accustomed to being captured and ransomed rather than killed. No such luck against the English.

            1. LifelongLib

              Interesting point. Maybe because England saw itself in a long-term rivalry with France, so leaving French knights alive would be more trouble than it was worth, even for ransom?

              1. digi_owl

                My impression is that the common English soldier was not even aware of it being a practice in France, so they just killed the knights on the spot like any other enemy.

                1. LifelongLib

                  There was a (War of the Roses?) battle where the explicit order was given to “spare the commons, kill the gentles”. Just thinking that if the English higher-ups at Agincourt had wanted to spare the French knights they could have given orders to. Since they didn’t I figure they didn’t care, or thought they were better off with the French knights dead.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    If that order was actually given it would be understandable. The gentles were just extractors of wealth while the commons were vital for growing the food everybody needed and could not be done without. When it was harvesting time in England, it was literally all hands on deck so wasting hundreds of peasants would be seen as self-defeating.

                    1. Michaelmas

                      LifelongLib: Just thinking that if the English higher-ups at Agincourt had wanted to spare the French knights they could have given orders to.

                      People here are overlooking the practical mechanics — a yeoman with a longbow on foot who could put an arrow through a knight’s armor or into that knight’s horse had the advantage only while that knight was not in close-range with sword or lance or axe — inherent to the combat situation.

                      So the English yeomen were going to kill as many knights on horseback at a distance while they had the advantage as they could. Granted, they might also have had orders to slaughter any Frencn knights once those were brought down.

          3. Norge

            The English archers killed the French knights at a great distance. Individual knights could not have surrendered.

            1. Polar Socialist

              During the hundred years war there were more occasions where the French knights slaughtered the English archers than vice versa.

              And when the archers were triumphant, the fighting was on foot with the numbers on the archers side.

              1. hk

                If I remember right, there were also many occasions when English knights on horseback ran over Genoese crossbowmen (mercenaries fighting for France) on foot. With good tactics and luck, cavemen can beat astronauts, so to speak, and the difference between archers and knights aren’t that big.

        2. LawnDart

          The military is run by pilots, because that’s where the excitement & ‘glamor’ is, so they’re the ones who get promoted to general / admiral.

          Back in the day, I was a loadmaster on C-5s before moving to 130s. Yeah, this was on the operations-side of things where people actually try to kill you. Like, for real.

          I still owe a Special Ops crew a round of beers for removing a snipers head before he could remove mine on a jungle airstrip in Central America. People have used poison, bombs, missiles, guns, and knives in an effort to exterminate yours-truely, but… yeah, “Chair Force” my arse.

          I can’t say about fighter-jocks, ’cause I never mixed with them, but I will tell you from direct and personal experience, that those who flew with aircrew, especially enlisted aircrew, learned at least humility, or they didn’t last: they needed our help to keep their wings, and if they F’d with us, their next checkride guaranteed a wash.

          So to get back to your statement, pilots are by-and-large intelligent individuals. Pilots who have been part of aircrew have had any machiavellian-tendancies trained out of them. And there’s little glory to be had sitting on alert on a hot-pad for endless hours or shuttling Alpo and Hawaian Punch between continents for AFES during peacetime– although those multi-engine flight-hours are quite literally worth their weight in gold when you transition to big-money airlines.

          A pilot ain’t a bad choice for leadership positions.

          1. Michaelmas

            LawnDart: A pilot ain’t a bad choice for leadership positions.

            If pilots who reach leadership positions prioritize legacy big platform weapon systems like ‘Maverick-style’ fighter jets and aircraft carriers, thereby suppressing the switch to the new ways of warfighting, then they probably are a very bad choice for those positions.

            As with the WW1 generals, etc.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe “The only way to win is not to play the game”?

      Naw, too many rice bowls and admiral and General slots for cross-dressers and trans’s on their way to retirement spots as MICIMAC execs and lobbyists and “experts.”

      Gotta just accept it’s a death spiral/cult, bossed by people who think they are insulated by “preparations” and class impunity from the consequences of terminal idiocy, with a seasoning of Death Before Dishonor.

      Big issue in my nuclear family is debate over selling up in FL at age “late 70s” and Moving To Somewhere Better With Low Cost Of Living And Mild Climate And Stable And Decent Political Economy.

      Looking for reports from Yves on how her choice is working out… hope it was a good one.

      1. brooke

        I love how I can just be casually reading the otherwise thoughtful and sensible comments in NC and so frequently come across my demographic being used as some reason why something bad is happening. Trans people are clearly not the issue here, why bring them up this way? Is it just to vent your spleen? It reads to me as a strange pre-occupation. You’re gratuitously insulting your peers here.

        1. JTMcPhee

          No attribution of causation to woke, but judging by performance of the nominal mission, winning wars and effectuating power projection, there are a lot of things that are very, very wrong with the US military establishment. As with the functions of the imperial political economy as a whole, at least as far as us impotent mopes are concerned. The military can’t even fill out its enlistment goals, for “reasons.”

          As a Vietnam vet, I think a collapse of the imperial military and its industrial parasites and congressional appendage is a good thing. And given current trends, is inevitable.

          1. brooke

            I totally agree with this and think you make good points. And all without needlessly insulting other commenters here.

            I think it’s easy to get riled up about trans people as media spectacle menaces/angels, but in actuality, in real actual life, we’re just boring normal people beside you who don’t appreciate being rhetorical chew toys, regardless of one’s position.

          2. Troy

            “causation to woke”

            The US military —by the actual definition of woke in its original intended meaning— cannot be woke. No US government institution can be woke. Its very definition precludes it, which is simply: a person who understands institutional racism is deeply embedded within US government agencies.

    3. scott s.

      Sure, anyone who has been out there has seen the green flare or the picture taken through a scope. I don’t think it means much, other than ASW is hard and since the “war on terror” not a big priority. The key is using SSN in direct support and sufficient air assets like P-8A. You also have to consider there may be national assets not routinely made available for strike group exercises / deployments. From a surface navy standpoint, I don’t think a cruiser and three destroyers is sufficient without that other support.

      Carrier Air Wings getting rid of the S-3 without replacement might not have been the wisest move.

    4. Tim

      Navies have no future in hot wars with nuclear countries. Sending a semi-tactical nuke against a ship or carrier group in the middle of the ocean does not cross the M.A.D. red line to justify nuclear counter-strikes on population centers and everyone knows it.

      A few button pushes and the entire Navy not at port is gone.

      I will do everything in my power to keep my kids from joining the military, but if they still decide to join I will make darn sure they understand that joining the Navy is a fools errand.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Prosperity gospel–

    The interpreters of the survey would benefit from some knowledge of James Fowler’s Stages of Faith.

    From the article:

    Additionally, churchgoers are more likely today than in 2017 to believe God wants them to prosper financially (76% v. 69%) and that they have to do something for God in order to receive material blessings from Him (45% v. 26%).

    From a description of Fowler’s mythic-literal (Stage 2) belief system:

    The moral development that comes with this stage, according to Kohlberg in what he calls the “instrumental exchange” stage, is the notion of reciprocity. Understanding others may think or feel differently does not make the child altruistic. Rather, she understands that to pursue what she wants for herself she must be prepared to give something in return. Conversely, not doing what one should results in not getting what one wants, or in punishment. The moral world thus constructed is a concrete system of punishment and reward.

    What the survey is uncovering is not some shift in theological thinking but a failure of more and more people to mature in their worldview, what Fowler calls “faith.” We are a nation of mythic-literals with their quid-pro-quo god pitted against Stage 4 individuative-reflective atheists. Not much conversation can take place between these two groups, and that is exacerbated by the educational and geographical divides between the two.

    1. Carolinian

      she understands that to pursue what she wants for herself she must be prepared to give something in return. Conversely, not doing what one should results in not getting what one wants, or in punishment. The moral world thus constructed is a concrete system of punishment and reward.

      And? Isn’t that how the moral world really works rather than some alternative belief that self realization and “rules” should be the ultimate pursuit? I haven’t read your book–my tastes run more to history–but I do believe both sides are probably a lot more alike than they think and both pursue selfish ends and then think up excuses for doing so if someone else hasn’t already done it for them. Ultimately the culture war is just a proxy for the real war between winners and losers in the struggle for resources and power. You can’t really blame people for preferring to believe that God touched us with his finger rather than that some of our ancestors came down out of the trees. The problem is that technology, and the fact that there are now so many of us, are threatening both sides of this rapidly aging proxy argument. It could be time to get real.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think you’re missing the idea that worldview/faith has a maturation factor. This comes out of Piaget and Kohlberg.

        And no, as the original linked article points out, this quid-pro-quo idea of god is heresy as far as orthodox Christianity goes. Salvation is by grace alone under this theological viewpoint. “Salvation by works” is the opposite, and a heresy by Christian standards.

        I don’t happen to think that reductionist thinking is “getting real.” What’s happening in the culture wars is both important and complex. It’s important because it’s blocking us from moving forward on a number of fronts. That’s not to put the blame on one side or another. It’s complex because it’s about a lot more than self-interest. Self-interest, however it’s defined, is actually a very poor predictor of human behavior outside the homo economicus fantasies of neoclassical economists. Ignoring this complexity won’t make it go away. Fowler’s work, building on that of Piaget and Kohlberg, is one way of better understanding that complexity.

        1. Carolinian

          “One way” out of how many other ways? In my as always humble opinion intellectuals think that ideas run the world–history’s “inevitability” etc–when it is so much less than that. Take AGW for an example. Everybody talks about it but very little gets done because the idea of AGW isn’t enough to achieve the necessary radical changes in behavior.

          You could say the same about socialism. On paper it’s the ideal society but it’s so very hard to make it stick because something within us resists and that something is what we should be talking about. Evolutionary theories about social behavior are resisted because they drill down to the non idea level and leave the intellectual comfort zone.

          And in that sense religion isn’t mere superstition but a very practical response to the things we can’t explain. It says lets accept this explanation and get on with life and also here’s some ethics thrown in to also help society function. It’s that life that matters far more than ideas. This isn’t endorsing some stupid Ayn Rand elitist idea of selfishness but saying that self love of the right kind is the source of empathy if we understand that we are all, deep down, very much alike.

  6. timbers


    The government offers an insulting $700 as emergency aid to every affected household. U.S. aid to Ukraine has exceeded $3,000 for every Ukrainian and Biden is seeking another $27 billion to be send there.

    Later, while someone on the stage talked about how his home and the homes of his son and daughter had burned down, Biden seemed to fall asleep –

    Almost makes you want to vote Repu….never mind.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that I worked out why that specific sum of money of $700. It is based on the $600 that old Joe owes to all Americans but it has been adjusted for inflation and the like so has now been rounded up to a neat $700.

      I think that old Joe forgets that no matter how many billions of dollars that he sends to the Ukrainians, none of them can actually vote in next year’s Presidential elections. But Americans still can.

      1. timbers

        I hear MSM is rushing to debunk the video and providing “correct” video showing Biden was deep in thought, not sleeping.

        1. Wukchumni

          Kinda how a Bolshevik out of favor all of the sudden in the USSR, disappears from a group photo taken prior?

              1. The Rev Kev

                Ever notice that both Biden and Zelensky have a pretty bad habit each, both of which are centered around sniffing?

        2. The Rev Kev

          Alex Christoforou was talking about this on his latest video. He said that the mainstream media are claiming that the footage of Biden dozing (sourced via C-SPAN) was very grainy and did not present a proper picture of what was going on with Biden but that the fact checkers are saying different video is showing Biden in deep thought instead. And the Easter Bunny is real.

          1. Wukchumni

            The great thing about the Easter Bunny & Tooth Fairy, is you didn’t have to act like you believed in their existence, as opposed to Santa Claus.

            And why do we all know Santa Claus is utter bullshit by the time we are 10, but so many believe in Jesus Christ until the day they die?

            1. Eclair

              ” … so many believe in Jesus Christ until the day they die .. ”

              Jesus Christ was real, lived, and died horrifically. So, one can ‘believe’ in him as a teacher, philosopher, spiritual leader. When it comes to the ‘son of god’ stuff, ‘ascending into heaven and sitting at the right hand of God the Father’ and hobnobbing with the Holy Ghost, who supposedly impregnated his (JC’s) virgin mother, that one’s credulity becomes stretched. At least for me. But, I lost my ‘faith’ at age 8, when my mother carefully explained to me that, while winged fairies were imaginary, winged angels actually existed. We just couldn’t see them. I think that conversation produced my first eye-roll.

              1. Wukchumni

                Went to Hume Lake a few times early in the summer as it was about the only place you could get to in the Sierra, and its the very beating heart of evang idol worship-a heavy hitter Christian summer camp where the prosperity gospel reigns, and its all about the Jesus all the time, the amount of effort expressed being almost biblical in proportions.

                We were eating lunch outdoors and a 20’ish male asked if he could join us, and we said sure, and he almost at once launched into praise him worship, fairly brainwashed he was.

                Thought i’d break the ice and find some commonality and related I too went to a Christian summer camp back in the day, which excited him somewhat until he realized I was talking about the YMCA. He asked if I was a Christian and I told him no, i’m a pantheist and God was everywhere, not in the guise of a dude who died a couple thousand years ago.

                He got up and left, mid-burger.

                1. Henry Moon Pie

                  But Wuk, do you have any “scientific evidence” for your pantheism? Maybe it’s a feeling or intuition apprehended on a favorite trail or stream? Maybe it’s like it says in the Tao te Ching, to know without knowing.

                  Humans are impelled by this mind we have to speculate and ponder about things above our pay grade. This interesting conversation between Nate Hagens and the psychiatrist and philosopher Ian McGilchrist touches on this human tendency.

                  Now I happen to think that Christianity is not the religion we need now. When human hubris is our biggest problem (with greed coming in second), an anthropomorphic projection as god doesn’t fit well with those circumstances. And it does little to improve our relationship with the planet, and parts of it make it worse. But that guy who left his hamburger does have an old book and a tradition on his side. I’d accord that a little respect in a time when humanity has seemed to lose all grounding either with the place we inhabit or the tradition from which our culture derived. That book he carries around contains a mandate that he takes seriously. It’s not as crude as the Jehovah’s Witnesses with their 144,000, but it’s a “Go! Do!” from the one they consider savior and boss. At least his efforts have nothing to do with money for him, and that’s saying something for our society.

                  They understood it all at the “Car Wash.” (gospel delivered by no less than the Pointer Sisters)

                  1. semper loquitur

                    “Humans are impelled by this mind we have to speculate and ponder about things above our pay grade.”

                    Or you can experience them directly. Just sayin’…

                  2. Wukchumni


                    I’m more attuned to nature than most and it gives me solace being surrounded by the only world we’ll ever know, to be enveloped by this good Earth.

                    It all seems interconnected to me, the various deities in my midst, that river, a bulbous boulder, or alluvial fan, not to mention a Pika scampering in between rocks near a waterfall with hungry trout in a deep pool, all sacred and unlike most Gods, not the least bit judgmental.

                    1. Henry Moon Pie

                      It comes through when you write about it, Wuk, and it strikes me as a wonderful way to relate to the world. I’m just urging a little respect for someone who believes in something else.

              2. MaryLand

                Now we have true believers taking all that belief system and reinterpreting it in terms of aliens. “It all makes sense now!”

              3. Joe Renter

                Some children see fairies until they are told by adults not to believe in such nonsense. Some adults can see etheric manifestations that most can not. If you think that the physical is the only realm of existence, then you are mistaken IMO. All is energy vibrating at different rates. The solid is now known to be not really solid when observed at closer inspection. And further, we are here as reflection our true essence that resides on a higher plan of existence. Call it spirt or the monad if you care. Or call a myth. At some point in what we call time, you will embody wisdom that unlocks the mystery of life on this realm. Never ending wheels with wheels. Okay, I got that out of my system. I stopped drinking lately and feel inspired.

                1. semper loquitur

                  “If you think that the physical is the only realm of existence, then you are mistaken IMO.”

                  Profoundly mistaken, as consciousness is the only thing we can ever claim to know with absolute certainty. Experiences of the “physical” are by definition within the boundaries of consciousness. We have no evidence of a world outside it, nor can we.

            2. The Rev Kev

              I wonder what would happen if some archaeologist working in Jerusalem claimed that he found scrolls in an underground crypt that contained the Roman police records for Jerusalem for Pontius Pilate’s Governorship from 26/27 to 36/37 AD?

              1. Wukchumni

                I found it online…

                ‘Suspect Jesus H. Christ was forcibly removed from the temple after admitting to overturning the dove seller table, zip-tied and placed in a bullock cart for a ride to the XXIIIrd precinct where he was booked into a cell.’

                  1. Wukchumni

                    I tried to pull up his priors, but then as now you have to go through the FOIA, and I bet a bunch of it is redacted.

                    1. Polar Socialist

                      Nah, he just forgot that anything goes as long as the Big Guy gets his ten percent tithe.

            3. ambrit

              What we ignore at our peril is that “True Believers” of any and all stripes invariably accept the doctrine and adopt said doctrine that the use of violence to enforce conformity is ‘right and proper.’
              Lynch mobs are often equal opportunity affairs.

              1. Val

                Infernal climate blasphemy!

                Virgins of scientific literacy demand sacrificial blood!

                Come down from your cross, it’s about time for your next shot.

          2. semper loquitur

            I caught the video on a right-wing meme channel. He was out like a light for a good spell. No graininess to be seen.

        3. Randall Flagg

          Deep in thought?
          Probably wishing he had that bag of coke with him that was at the WH to keep himself awake …

        4. Dr. John Carpenter

          They can say whatever they want but anyone who has spent Thanksgiving with an elderly relative can recognize what was happening in that video.

    2. marym

      Like much of what it does, much of whatever the government says they’re doing for Maui is likely insufficient, tangled in bureaucracy, means-tested, loans instead of grants, guidance in instead of services, and not timely enough. This deserves its proper critique. However, the $700 in short term assistance isn’t comparable to a calculation of total aid to Ukraine divided by population.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Note it’s now the Biden-𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘴 administration. Seems FEMA has given Harris a promotion. She’s become Biden’s equal though she is only the VP, an office which constitutionally is that of a mere figure-head and and confers no power whatsoever.

        A harbinger for 2024? Are the Dems grooming her for bigger things? Or do they just want her to share Biden’s blame if the manure should hit the revolving blades?

        1. Judith

          Patrick Lawrence’s latest:

          I am moved to these thoughts, odd as it may seem, by a single photograph. It appeared atop a New York Times report headlined, “Kamala Harris Takes on a Forceful New Role in the 2024 Campaign.” The piece is bad enough, and I will get to that in a minute. It is the lead photograph that blew me away.

          Look at it. There is the Biden regime’s way-over-her-head No. 2, with not an achievement to her name, pictured in a field of solemn black, flags on either side giving the only color, with her head bowed forward in a pose of hard-won accomplishment. I drew several conclusions as I stared at this image, unable to take my eyes off it as its implications tumbled into my thoughts.

          One, we are now on notice that the Democratic leadership intends to address the problem of Joe Biden’s worsening-by-the-day mental incompetence by pushing Harris out front effectively to stand in for the president on the campaign trail. I had been wondering for some time how they would handle this knotty problem. Harris is now cast as “something of a one-woman rapid-response operation,” as The Times put it. She will do the public campaigning, in other words, while voters are invited to reelect a president they will rarely see but for more of those staged videos shot from the basement of his Wilmington mansion.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Don’t forget to grab some popcorn for her first State of the Union speech. I would not miss that one for the world.

            1. Wukchumni

              How does it work with croutons and Kamala pushing her usual pablum of tossed word salad, does the audience throw them at her when she goes off on a tangent nobody understands, followed by a girlsh giggle?

            2. semper loquitur

              That speech may trigger a Vonnegut Event Singularity in which all reality collapses into a clown emoji:


        2. marym

          I did notice that. Also, I’ve been thinking of some of the supposed roles she’s been given – border czar and the like. It’s not really typical of how vp’s are presented to the public. They’re trying to manufacture an accomplishment or two (or else discredit her entirely).

          1. Pat

            My humble opinion is that Harris was assigned high profile positions early in the Biden administration that were for show. They were largely intended to give an adults are now in charge gloss to issues which were 1. Contentious and 2. the administration had little or no clue how to solve for whatever reason. If just pretending interest worked…great. If it didn’t it fell back on Harris.
            It was a purely pragmatic solution and no loss if she failed as it was someone they hadn’t wanted and didn’t trust. Harris was royally screwed no matter what on the border crisis, but most of the other slots could have reasonably been played as she didn’t fail, the others did if she had any real political ability.

            1. Wukchumni

              Kamaligula would be interesting, initially all the hub-bub vis a vis presstidigitation will be about not only a woman being President, but one of color!

              Things will darken from there, but thankfully VP Buttigieg will be waiting in the wings.

              1. Joe Renter

                Jimmy Dore last week was saying the team blue is looking else where than sleepy Joe. The guy from Cali with the good hair, was their take on the man for 2024.

    3. PelhamKS

      Biden has spent something like an entire year on vacation as president. Trump, Obama and Eisenhower spent enormous quantities of time golfing. Reagan spent the better part of his day napping. JFK spent half the day whoring. I’m beginning to get the impression the presidency is a soft job. The last guy to really work hard at it was Harry Truman, bless his soul.

  7. ron paul rEVOLution

    >If a $100 million machine could sink a $6 billion machine, then the U.S. is not getting a very healthy return on its defense investment.

    Very droll.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Of course it should be pointed out that a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile only costs US$10 which is quite cheap. And it should be remembered too that each of those carriers has about 5,000 swabbies aboard. Hard to put a value on 5,000 lives.

    2. Paradan

      If you sink a carrier, the American public will scream for nuclear war, and the neocons will oblige them. Of course it’ll just be a punitive tactical nuke to teach them a lesson, and the rest of the opposing nuclear powers aren’t gonna retaliate for fear of starting a full blown escalation.

      I don’t think our leadership understands that if the rest of the world lets the US get away with using a nuke, then the US will start using them more and more, therefore, any use of a nuclear weapon by the US has to be answered in kind, even if it starts a full blown war. It is an existential threat for them, even if the target is a minor nation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The fun and games start when the US neocons get their desired war with China and efforts to pin the Chinese Navy against their coastline results in a carrier being hit. Then this is followed up by the Russian Federation saying that it stands with China.

        1. rudi from butte

          My guess is we’ll soon see some major Russian precision missile strikes launched from far, far away.

              1. ambrit

                Grasshopper: Master, I cannot understand the doctrine of MAD.
                Master: Simple Grasshopper. It takes Tao to Tango.
                Grasshopper: That is a circular argument.
                Master. True Grasshopper. Tango is the Dance of Maya.
                Grasshopper: Ah! Twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.
                Master: You are developing outwardly Grasshopper. Kodos to you.

            1. rudi from butte

              No…I’m saying that the Russians will kindly remind us one last time they are more than capable of taking out American/Anglo/Nato etc. targets/assets conventionally and hypersonic at will. They made this point from the Caspian with Syria (cruise) but it didn’t stick. Maybe it will this time.

              These are indeed scary times.

              1. Michaelmas

                rudi from butte: The Russians will kindly remind us one last time they are more than capable of taking out American/Anglo/Nato etc. targets/assets conventionally and hypersonic at will.

                And not just by those means. There’s Poseidon, also known as Kanyon, Ocean Multipurpose System, and Status-6:-


                ‘…Powered by a compact nuclear reactor … the Poseidon could travel at unprecedented speeds of 100 knots (185 kilometers per hour), have a range of approximately 10,000 kilometers, and operate at depths of up to 1,000 meters. Designed to evade detection by acoustic tracking devices …. the Poseidon has a diameter of approximately 1.6 to two meters. Particularly riveting is the torpedo’s devastating payload: a nuclear warhead with a likely yield of at least several megatons (with early reports suggesting it could yield up to 100 megatons). For comparison, Russia’s Tsar Bomba—the most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested—had an estimated blast yield of about 50 megatons.

                While some reports claim that Russia’s Poseidon may exist only as a propaganda scheme, experts generally agree that the system is “very real” and has received significant resources from the Russian armed forces … Intelligence reports have suggested that Poseidon has undergone many trials, evidenced by the fact that some submarines have been modified and some are being specially built to accommodate for the larger and heavier Poseidon.

    3. Economic Cannon Fodder

      No surprises here. As a former ASW officer on a CV (aircraft carrier) anti-submarine warfare (then Undersea warfare) was a hoop to jump through. The recipe for outrunning the torpedo at 30 kts depends on a “Blue Ocean” conflict e.g. WWII Pacific campaign. 30kts to escape? Better hope the ship is pointed in the right direction if you’re in the Adriatic.
      Coordinating ships and aircraft in an exercise is extremely difficult. Just because a helicopter is commanded to go to a certain place and do a sensor sweep (not to mention a ship) doesn’t mean the pilots will do it. IMHO we never got enough real practice to be merely competent at it.
      Plus the carrier is commanded and dominated by the “tactical air” officers; they HATE anything to do with ASW/USW. They are more about power projection (cool stuff) than the methodical defense screening required in dealing with submarines tailing the battlegroup (that’s for nerds).
      For what it’s worth.

      1. scott s.

        That’s why the embarked DESRON commodore was typically AX back in my day. I was a qualified LAMPS ATACO and we had our own Helo Det where the det pilots who weren’t flying also stood ATACO so there was commonality in tactical employment. Of course the CV was off on fox corpen doing a launch/recovery cycle while we hunted subs.

    4. ilsm

      usn gerry r ford class carriers (cvn-78?) are over $13 billion each not including all the iou’s to make things work!

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Ukraine Is Determined to Blow Up Illegal Bridges by one “expert” Oz Katerji.

    This follows Katerji’s article of a month ago on why Ukraine “needs” cluster bombs. Good thing that Katerji is listed as an expert on human rights. Funny about experts on human rights like Katerji (and Jake Sullivan) who just adore bombs.

    Such bottom feeders as Katerji exist in real life and in fiction. Katerji’s piece is a string of bilious assumptions, most of which are already proven wrong.

    And there’s this: ‘Russia’s perennially apoplectic Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, responded in her usual manner: “There can be no justification for such barbaric actions and they will not go unanswered,” she said.’

    Poor Katerji, so clueless about body language and wit. Maybe Maria Zakharova isn’t as cool as Natasha Fatal, or as funereally un-life-like as Jake Sullivan, but apoplectic? Come on.

    1. Judith

      Maybe he should collaborate with Amanda Marcotte (see yesterday’s WC). They would be perfect together.

      1. britzklieg

        Good point. Most don’t know that the “common” tear gas used by US police against US citizens for crowd “control” (think OWS and the even more egregious examples throughout US history) is “illegal” in war. A most unusual paradox…

    1. Carolinian

      Do they still have a paywall? I’ve been reading the FT links here lately with no problem. However my offline version of reading may not be the same as everyone.

  9. Wukchumni

    Burning Man 2023: Hilary Rains Cause Chaos on the Playa, Delays Build The San Francisco Standard
    My longtime backpacking partner is on the playa and reports that although there are still a few muddy patches, things are drying out nicely and the event should go off starting this Sunday.

    In a place where money wont buy you anything once you’re in the confines of Black Rock City, the one Baedeker being the going rate for $575 face value tickets before the really big show starts in earnest, and now they’re fetching $200 or even a bit less in the aftermarket, because markets.

    Is this the death knell or are rumors of its demise greatly exaggerated?

    Just have to find out now, won’t we…

    1. Carolinian

      Fear not. They’ll always have the Bohemian Grove. Think that thing was even going on in the 19th century.

      1. Wukchumni

        To an outsider, Burning Man must be this hedonistic elysium fields where you get laid all the time (my 75 year old neighbors gave me the nudge nudge wink wink say no more look when I told em’ yesterday I was going again this year, one asking how big is gross of condoms?) everybody is naked, and you run into tech moguls all the time, who if you read the Daily Mail, they practically own the place.

        Being a Bohemian’s Bohemian wont get me into the Bohemian Grove though, whereas if you can scratch up a few hundred bucks for the burn, you’re in.

        Best tale I ever heard from the Bohemian Grove was one of the attendees strode up to the stage wearing a Henry Kissinger rubber mask, and proceeded to tear up HK like you wouldn’t believe-just ripping into him!

        And then the player took off the rubber mask and it was Henry Kissinger.

  10. Wukchumni

    Uncovering Death by Fire Wildfire Today

    Great article, the header fooled me into thinking it was in regards to Lahaina, not the La Brea Tar Pits…

    Best song in regards to aforementioned tar pits, by the way.

    They get the tremors there
    Been given Babylon
    Plenty of companies
    Such lonely company
    I hear a symphony
    Of lonely timpanis
    In Dead Loss Angeles
    In Dead Loss Angeles

    The dedged up mastodon
    Has got his glasses on
    He’s never seen the shit
    From the La Brea pit

    Dead Loss Angeles, by the Stranglers (saw them @ the Wiltern theater back in the day)

  11. Mikel

    America eats its young:

    My Generation Was The Scapegoat For America’s Failures — And So Is Yours

    “If Gen X was the first generation, fueled by cynicism, to stare into the abyss, unblinking and unimpressed, then we wouldn’t (and couldn’t) be the last.”

    But what is missed in this article is that the abyss was made wide enough to also engulf a good number of boomers along the way.

    Me: looking sideways at PE

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that it is part of a Pentagon plan to have subs from the US, UK, France, India, Australia and other countries roaming around the Pacific to stretch the Chinese navy.

    2. Aurelien

      Long-range naval deployments like this are a recognised way of showing you are a serious Blue-Water Navy. The South Koreans sent a couple of destroyers to Australia a few years ago, and I remember the South Africans sent a frigate to Vietnam quite early in their own naval modernisation programme. It’s a useful index of the way in which naval power, especially in Asia, is becoming more and more distributed.

    1. vao

      Incredible story about swindlers and crooks. What I wonder is how at least two people trading gold professionally could be deceived into buying fake gold bars at “too good to be true” prices. Did they intend to bamboozle other buyers down the line?

      1. Wukchumni

        My favorite tale of owe was some swindlers in Florida 40 years ago, who sold all that glitters cheaper than anybody else, but there was a delay in getting your goods, and when raided by the Feds, the gold bars were 2×4’s spray-painted to er, look the part.

        We had a closed teletype system in the coin and bullion biz since the early 60’s, and it was only text, but really useful in connecting a good many coin dealers in the USA, and when this deal went down, wags on the teletype were doing Krylon spray painted 2×4 bull/sell spreads, ha!

        International Gold Bullion Exchange was a gold bullion dealer that committed major fraud during the early 1980s.

        International Gold Bullion Exchange was founded in 1979 by brothers William and James Alderdice. It grew to be reportedly the largest retail gold bullion dealer in the United States. It offered sale and storage of gold and silver bullion and coins. The company would sell gold bullion at a discount if the buyer agreed to postpone taking delivery. It was headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with offices in Los Angeles and Dallas and employed over 1000 people. The company advertised in national publications like the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s.

        The company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 1983 and then ceased operating. When the company’s offices were raided by law enforcement, it turned out that the gold bar stacks shown in their advertising were only wooden blocks painted a gold color. While it operated the company collected over $140 million. At the time it shut down, there were $75 million in claims by 23,000 people. The company spent over $44 million on personal spending, salaries, marketing and travel and had little in assets when it shut down.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Is America Headed Towards A Second Civil War?”

    ‘In 2024, there is every reason to believe that Donald Trump and his anti-democratic supporters will be better prepared to act on a more dangerous and effective timetable.’

    Poor guy still has Trump living in his mind rent-free after what, seven years now? There will be no civil war but I think that whichever side loses the elections next November will not trust or accept the results – democrat or Republican. If Trump is disbarred from running because he forgot to return a school library book as a kid or some such, then heaps of American will not trust the integrity of the 2024 Presidential elections – and not all of them will be Republican. That happening would be on the level of what Watergate did to America way back in the day and it was not pretty.

    1. Wukchumni

      Czechs are world class non believers in deities, an odd circumstance next to oh so heavily Catholic Poland, that’s kind of how we roll these days in these not so united states.

      Since the turn of the century, agnostic & atheist numbers have swelled substantially in the USA, so maybe in lieu of a Mason-Dixon Line, it’d be more of a Believer-Non Believer Line if things were to get uncivil.

  13. Milton

    Re: 6.5% of hospitalized patients dying…

    Of course there are no raw numbers and context is missing as well. I would guess that the median age of those that died are probably as high or higher than the country’s median life expectancy. And how comparable is 6.5% compared to other respiratory illnesses for which patients are hospitalized?

    1. Wukchumni

      My mom had hospice nurses 24/7 for a few weeks before she passed away, and talking to one of them, she really got her feet wet starting being a hospice nurse catering to assisted living places in early 2020, and told me that hundreds of older people died of Covid under her care, but how come I don’t know anybody, nor has there been really anybody of note in the public eye under 60 who died of Covid?

      1. Pat

        I know three. All were low to mid forties and had other health issues. One I didn’t know but knew of was a Broadway performer who became a social media icon
        Nick Cordero

        I’m pretty sure there are individuals known in other fields who died that were under 60, but unlike other diseases there has been an effort for no one to be mentioned.

        I am also enough of a conspiracy theorist to check cause of death for celebrities. It is amazing how many younger than 60 are now dying of heart disease and other possible long Covid health issues. It will probably take a revolution for any connection to Covid to be mentioned when there is one.

        1. JBird4049

          The newspaper obituaries back in the 1980s were showing a lot of people, using young men, but there plenty of others, dying “after a brief illness” for years. It was like a sick joke. All those people dying so quietly, suddenly after this brief illness. Reading them in the San Francisco Chronicle became more depressing after because awhile it was obvious that something (like AIDS) was doing its thing and nobody wanted to admit it, least of all the dying.

          It was only after some celebrities like Rock Hudson went before the cameras and said that they had AIDS that the stigma started to decrease. In his personal life, he was not the best, but I have to admire what he did. He could been just another person “dying after a brief illness,” protecting his reputation, but he did not do that.

          AIDS, can be a tricky disease much like Covid, which is even trickier, I think. It can be easy to hid that it is the thing doing the killing especially if they do not want it know. I forget how many years it was before even those dodgy obits were not enough, but I think that we are going to have a few more years with Covid, if the pattern holds.

    2. Enter Laughing

      Has anyone seen a link to the study? I’ve looked at 10 articles and on the Indian Council of Medical Research site itself and can’t find it anywhere. Weird.

  14. Mikel

    “Xi Jinping hails ‘golden era’ in China-South Africa relations amid Brics summit” South China Morning Post

    For different reasons, neither Xi or Putin showed up in person.

    1. Mikel

      For clarification: referring to the Tuesday business forum that Xi missed – which apparently was had some “fiery” speeches by some reports.

  15. Mildred Montana

    Re: the cat video

    It’s six minutes long which prompts me to ask: What’s up with the Japanese? Do they have a thing for long cat videos? Seems every one they make is too long for me even though I find the antics of cats cute. Didn’t watch this one and won’t watch any that are more than a minute. My self-imposed arbitrary limit.

    1. Randy

      Agreed. I gave up on the boring Japanese cat videos too.

      I don’t have the patience for most of these internet videos. I only watch a few short ones. I can’t be sitting around all day watching all that “stuff”. I have things to do, places to be, people to meet, the world to save. I have a busy schedule. cs. cs=chuckling softly

        1. JBird4049

          I remember Sesame Street from when it first came out, if I compare it to the modern version, it is snooze inducing. It wasn’t for those times, but everything media wise has been slowly sped up over the decades. Maybe I will need something like meth to keep up with it in a few years.

  16. antidlc

    Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH
    Yesterday I dropped into a training course with @CDCGov
    ’s 2nd year Epidemic Intelligence Service officers and Laboratory Leadership Service fellows – it was wonderful to speak with these future leaders about building trust with those we serve! Keep up the great work!

    Note the number of mask wearers in the audience:

    1. GC54

      Seemingly the entire audience, although many baggy blues unfortunately. But they know a vector when they see one.

  17. Wukchumni

    Mother told me, yes, she told me
    I’d meet politicians like you
    She also told me, “Stay away
    You’ll never know what you’ll catch”
    Just the other day I heard
    Of a President’s falling out
    Some Georgia Indictment junk
    That’s going ’round

    Donald’s alright
    2024 is alright
    Times just seem a little weird
    But don’t give yourself away
    Hey, hey

    Whatever happened to all this season’s
    Losers of the 2020 year?
    Every time I got to thinking
    Where’d they disappear?
    But when I woke up, black SUV’s
    Are rolling on bad decisions
    Rolling in numbers, rack & pinon
    Get those 19 meddlers turned in

    Donald’s alright
    2024 is alright
    Times just seem a little weird
    But don’t give yourself away
    Hey, hey

    Surrender, by Cheap Trick

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Good one! I’ll be heading to downtown Atlanta tonight so I will be on the lookout for those black SUVs, with tinted windows, blocking traffic as they carry their occupants to Fani’s mug-shot-a-palooza.

      PS – Prighozhin is apparently NOT alright.

  18. Jabura Basaidai

    Humanity is going to shrink –
    been seeing a few articles about shrinking sperm count – Axios did a good one –

    the Economist is worried too

    and PubMed has a lot of inquiries

    and the Bangkok Post –

    yep better living through chemistry

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That was basically the premise of A Handmaid’s Tale. We’ve had Octavia Butler’s world on fire all summer. We’re getting to the point that reality is catching up to the artists’ imaginations.

      To put it crudely, it’s basically a case of shi–in’ where you eat. We produce so much crap, there’s no getting away from it.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        between the PCB’s, PFOA’s, BPA and all the other crap from modern chemistry there really is no way of getting away from it unfortunately – never read Octavia or read/seen A Handmaid’s Tale – Corey Doctorow’s take is “Science Fiction is a Luddite Literature,” his essay about the historically unsupportable libel that turned “Luddite” into a slur – just finished Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man” which is just a compilation of his stories published in magazines in the 50’s – mostly morality tales but interestingly prescient – i think Doctorow’s take was a link here recently –

  19. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Was the Collapse of US-Russia Relations Inevitable?

    It’s subtitled “How US hubris and Russian paranoia undermined partnership.” Author goes on to mention the Russian paranoia again in the body of the article, but given US actions, I’d say that paranoia was extremely justified. I would subtitle that subtitle with “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

    1. digi_owl

      Funny thing is that USA is demonstrating just as much, if not higher, paranoia.

      Just observe the reaction to Russia simply quipping about asking Mexico about a stationing Russian soldiers there. Yet it is the situation Russia has faced for decades already.

      Effectively DC has known since the 60s that the post-WW2 boom was unsustainable, yet the can keeps getting kicked.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        just 40 pages into “JFK and the Unspeakable” and ‘the situation Russia has faced for decades already’ is graphically affirming your statement – over half a century, all thanks to the CIA and the Dulles brothers – the effective propaganda continues to project our “rules based order” – sadly people believe it –

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