Links 8/25/2023

Mesmerizing Metal Sculptures of Figures Coming Undone Right Before the Viewer’s Eyes My Modern Met (David L)

“Burned House” Mystery: Why Did This Ancient Culture Torch Its Own Homes Every 60 Years? JSTOR. Micael T: “Ancient wisdom. If the houses in the Hamptons are mostly wood, let’s try this there?”

An Old Conjecture Falls, Making Spheres a Lot More Complicated Quanta Magazine (Kevin W)

Why the empty atom picture misunderstands quantum theory aeon (Anthony L)

Biden’s alcohol czar warns Americans could soon be told to limit themselves to just two beers per WEEK under strict new booze guidelines Daily Mail. Hard to take this seriously when added sugars are are 13% of the average Americans’ diet and the health police refuse to address beyond an occasional throat-clearing.

The human Y chromosome has been fully sequenced for the first time New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

The Last Lyme Shot Failed. Can a New One Succeed? Bloomberg (David L)


Mask mandates reemerge amid upturn in COVID-19 cases The Hill

Lockdowns and face masks ‘unequivocally’ cut spread of Covid, report finds Guardian. However, the article shows a surgical mask, which was pretty effective under wild type but no longer.


The tropics could get so hot that all leaves on rainforest trees die New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Agrivoltaics Is Making Friends Across Partisan Lines, Thanks To Farmers CleanTechnica (Chuck L)

Changes to Pacific Ocean weather patterns will likely cause multi-year El Niño and La Niña periods, researchers find ABC Australia (Kevin W)


Why China’s economy won’t be fixed Economist (furzy)

Crisis-hit China is right to avoid Japan’s failed example Asia Times (Kevin W)

China debt: Beijing warned opportunity costs are rising as it seeks comprehensive solution to local government crisis South China Morning Post

World’s Largest Miner Expresses Concern About Chinese Growth OilPrice

Has Xi Jinping bankrupted China? Edward Luttwak, Unherd. Do consider the source.

Huawei reportedly building ‘secret’ semiconductor fabs The Register

Maps, Geopolitics and Pop Culture: Understanding the controversy in Vietnam involving Blackpink and Barbie Modern Diplomacy (Micael T)

New Not-So-Cold War

The Real History of the War in Ukraine Jeffrey Sachs YouTube

Diplomacy Watch: Washington’s ‘wishful thinking’ on Ukraine Responsible Statecraft

Sunk Cost Fallacy In Ukraine Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

* * *

Note Ukraine was pushing very hard to take Robotyne, a small village in the grey zone in Zaporzhizhia, but August 24 and failed. Russia made an unexpected pushback even though most experts believed Russia would have to cede the settlement. Note the New York Times (as re-reported by Alexander Mercouris below) stated that the US has basically ordered Ukraine to make a full-bore push to break the Russian land bridge in Crimea before the fall rainy season hits, in four to six weeks.

Russia-Ukraine war live: Moscow says drone attacks on Crimea repelled Aljazeera

* * *

Watch: Putin Breaks Silence, Offers Condolences After Death of Prigozhin Wall Street Journal. Not paywalled. Edited but the longest clip I have seen in English so far.

Wagner’s lucrative African operations thrown into post-Prigozhin limbo Financial Times

Prigozhin. Is He Dead? Was He Assassinated? Cui Bono? Who Did It? Where to Wagner Now? Mark Sleboda

Death of Prigozhin: Causes & Suspects; No Ind Day Victory; US Tells Ukr Give Up Bakhmut; BRICS Grows Alexander Mercouris, YouTube

I hate to have to discuss Prigozhin but I must point out:

Based on known facts, there is no strong reason for Putin to have had Prigozhin killed, particularly as Alexanader Mercouris points out, during the BRICS summit, and in Russia as opposed to Africa, where his death could be ‘splained away. The last thing he would want to do is risk turning Prighzhin into a martyr. And Putin had the means, and was probably on the way to building a case for the mother of all corruption trials Aside from the time in Syria when Prigozhin was freelancing and then the Russian government refused to cover for his rogue action and his men got whacked, I recall rumors of him running blood diamonds and Russian investigators being killed.

That would have enabled the state to strip Prigozhin of most if not all of his remaining wealth, and of Wagner, and most important, discredit him.

Now there could be dark matter, that in some way Prighozihin posed an imminent threat and the Kremlin concluded they could not contain him soon enough any other way. But that could not be leaking positions even if he had that intel. The US and Ukraine can see that with ISR. Weapons schematics? Weapons samples?

But they could presumably just arrest him on corruption now even if the charges were not perfected.

* * *

U.S. says it will train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s in Arizona Washington Post. Kevin Wc:”All 8 of them?”

Neocon dark money front launches desperate ad blitz as support for Ukraine forever war craters Grayzone (Kevin W)


Getting Israeli-Saudi Rapprochement Right Foreign Affairs (Kevin C)

Liberal Zionists hit rock bottom on faith that Israel will redeem itself Mondoweiss (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DHS Has Spent Millions On an AI Surveillance Tool That Scans For ‘Sentiment and Emotion’ 404media

YouTube may face billions in fines if FTC confirms child privacy violations ars technica (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US will not abandon the Middle East: Top general Anadolu Agency

How Brics is looking to challenge the western order in the Middle East Middle East Eye

Setser is the man on this topic. Since before the crisis, he has been meticulously tracking dollar holdings and flows:


This tweet has been up 6 hours and as of just after 4 AM EDT had nearly 80 million views:

Jim Jordan launches probe into Georgia Trump prosecution The Hill

Trump arrest full recap: Mugshot, surrender, what’s next in Georgia election case CNBC

As of when I posted this, the video had 250 million views. There is no way the Fox debate was anywhere close to that. Note there are 170 million registered voters in the US (forgive me for featuring it after Lambert posted it yesterday in Water Cooler).

Having said that, Trump seemed, depending on your point of view, very relaxed or low energy. Headlines like Trump lashes out at Fox News, Bill Barr, Chris Christie in Tucker Carlson interview The Hill are an extreme mischaracterization, even before getting to the fact that Trump’s biggest target was, predictably, Biden. Maybe Trump thinks he’s a horse in a long distance race keeping a comfortable pace in the back stretch.

How Trump Won the Debate He Shunned Time


Give the People What They Want Joe Costello

GOP Clown Car

SUICIDE LOSER PARADE gets mowed down one by one – “Mr. Rogers” next on deck Jacob Dreizin. Dreizin hates Trump but is very good at channeling Trump voters. Trust me and click through.

Republican presidential debate—the ugly face of American fascism WSWS

Our No Longer Free Press

Government Stupidity Is By Design Matt Stoller. Companies and their lawyers howl over having to make more pre-merger disclosures. Individually they do not sound hard, which means the issue is not the alleged burden but having to provide more information.

CVS launches biosimilar manufacturing subsidiary Becker Hospital News

The Bezzle

Mastercard, Binance To End Crypto Card Partnership Reuters

Tesla Wins Permit Approval For Diner and Drive-In Movie Supercharger In LA Teslarati

Class Warfare

Why we must replace the American nuclear family with a “postgenerational” society. Big Think. Micael T: “Yeah, this is great if you want an atomized neoliberal hell where only the rich procreate.”

The clear and present danger of the transactional gift Financial Times (Dr. Kevin). Obfuscatory headline. About gifts for elite college admission.

Antidote du jour (Chet G):

And a bonus (Dr. Kevin):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. griffen

    Alcohol Czar would either restrict or attempt at cutting us off, much like the Overlook Hotel was cut off at the close of the summer season. Didn’t go too well for Jack Torrance, generally speaking*. Here’s a satirical notion, that the American government could hand out excess cases of Bud Light. Corporate marketing attempts to “go woke”, and alas, the product becomes a government supplied staple, ala wheels of cheese. Democracy, cheese and beer for all!

    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

      1. digi_owl

        The pythons had a glorious take on that, but i’m unsure if NC allows that sort of language.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Pythons? Pythons? Well there was that old Aussie expression of guys saying that they had to go siphon the python after a few beers but I suspect that this was not your reference.

          1. John Beech

            I think that’s drain the python, TRK, and *not* siphon, which has an altogether different connotation.

            1. The Rev Kev

              To quote one Barry McKenzie:

              ‘Now listen mate, I need to splash the boots. You know, strain the potatoes. Water the horses. You know, go where the big knobs hang out. Shake hands with the wife’s best friend? Drain the dragon? Siphon the python? Ring the rattlesnake? You know, unbutton the mutton? Like, point Percy at the porcelain?’

              ‘I think he wants to go to the loo.’

      2. griffen

        It can’t be much after all. Since I’m an American on the east coast I have a choice of watered down beer brands (from “Corporate Beer Megacorp” or “International Beers of Midwest America”, lol). Michelob Ultra sports a 4.2% by volume on a 12 oz. can, appears likewise that Miller Lite sports 4.2% by volume on a 12 oz. bottle. Beer choices are listed in their current pecking order.

        I make up for the lightness of the above beers, naturally. Funny I did see a case of Keystone Light last evening, and thought…nope. Never again.

        1. Steven A

          I recall some advice during my stay in Germnay as a guest of the US Air Force in the 1970s: The best way to keep your feet clean — wash them every day with American beer.

    1. Wukchumni

      This is what happens when a teetotalitarian leader grabs hold of power and projects from his bully pulpit on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wait until Mike Pence becomes President and then guys can only go out to dinner with women who are their wives. Don’t know how that will work out with dating but Pence always was a bit of a buzz kill.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Is there a historical marker there? You know. One of those signs that says ‘On this spot on June 24th 1975 Mike Pence once had fun.’

            1. Wukchumni

              The whole ‘I can’t be alone with women other than my wife’ gambit almost leads you to believe Mike is quite the stud, and can’t trust himself to more amour.

              You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but the 1 fellow I knew along those lines didn’t look the part either, and had sex with 3 to 10 women a week that he had just met, week in-week out for years in the 1980’s.

              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                idk…ever since Pence entered the national consciousness…wife and i agreed he looked like a walking erection. dude just exudes sexual frustration/blueballs…right through the tv screen.

                as for the “strict” alcohol recommendations,lol…yeah. good luck with all that.
                want to fix the substance abuse problem? learn more about the frelling New Deal…universal material benefits, sans mean testing(not a typo)…cessation of all the myriad divisionary narratives…promote slowing down and smelling the roses, then enable it!

                …and the problem with drink and drugs will solve itself.
                this shouldnt be hard to understand.
                more repression and puritanism is absolutely not the answer…just look at the last 40 years, or so.
                (a perennial peeve: if we’re gonna run these giant experiments(trickle down, etc) why do we never consider the results?)

                1. Wukchumni

                  Sure, to the casual observer, it looks as if somebody jammed a corncob deep into his nether regions and rammed it home using a croquet mallet, but entertain the thought that he is a stud muffin’s stud muffin.

    2. Benny Profane

      You would think that these people would remember the damage Bloomberg did to himself on a national level with the big soda ban, but, nope. But, soda is one thing. Beer? Burning cars and riots.

    3. Matthew G. Saroff

      What the Alcohol Czar is pretty limited. The US government can tax alcohol, and enforce the collections of taxes, but the regulation of alcohol is left to the states in the 21st Amendment repealing prohibition.

    4. redleg

      I’d be fine with that amount but only if the reasons for imbibing were also limited. Systemic stress and precarity don’t have a license but they still drive me to drink.

    1. The Rev Kev

      German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has got to be hands down the worse foreign minister that that country ever had. The only other foreign minister that was just as bad as her was the UK’s Liz Truss who was just as incompetent. Thing is, Liz Truss not long after got the top job as Prime Minister so you wonder what would happen if it was decided to have Annalena Baerbock take over from Olaf Schulz. In these idiot times you know that it could happen. As it is, Olaf Schulf and Robert Habeck can’t give a speech in public anymore without being jeered and heckled.

        1. hk

          Ribbentrop was competent enough to get Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and Anglo-German Naval Agreement worked out, in addition to being wise enough to have been reluctant to support Barbarossa (the account by Soviet Ambassador to Germany at the time has Ribbentrop saying “Please tell Moscow I was against the war” apologetically after making the “official” statement to him the day Barbarossa began). I think Ribbentrop was practically a sage statesman compared to the clowns that inhabit current Western foreign ministries

    2. Benny Profane

      Just imagine her as PM, and doing a joint press conference with Kamala after Biden kicks. SNL material.

    3. Paradan

      Well its not like they did a surprise switch to Autocracy when the sanctions hit. They had all the think tanks in NATO planning this thing for years, perhaps they should run some computer models and figured out the logic of Autocracies before hand?

      I think we have a new definition of democracy available to us now.

      Democracy: A country that will capitulate under threat of sanctions.

      1. digi_owl

        I think it was one of Michael Hudson’s articles or talks about the historical handling of debt etc that go me thinking about the changing meaning of terms like tyrant and democracy.

        And i have come to suspect those were deliberately altered/misused by early English/British capitalist authors to defend capitalists against the aristocrats.

        And it was clear from the outset that the NATO expectations were that sanctions would put the squeeze on the “oligarchs” in Russia, that in turn would make them either put the squeeze on Putin or remove him completely.

        Because the seem completely convinced that Russia is just another Iraq or Libya, with Putin ruling by decree. And that all the elections and opinion polls are faked, even as NGOs keep clearing them (supposedly the Russian election system is straight forward to observe, while the US is such a mess they do not even bother sending anyone).

        All in all, the intel sources used for NATO decision making seem to be historical hearsay from Nuland etc and whatever comes over the net from western leaning tech bros and like. In other words, biased to the point of wishful thinking.

      2. Ignacio

        Looking for some logic on what is pure propaganda doesn’t make sense. The Goebblesian foreign affairs minister of Germany got the wrong job. Speaks volumes on how Germany thinks of International relationships. If i had any doubt the EU will go to hell, now i haven’t.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Burned House” Mystery: Why Did This Ancient Culture Torch Its Own Homes Every 60 Years?”

    I could think of one or two reasons to explain this. Over time those roofs would be riddled with all sorts of wildlife and insect life so burning would get rid of them in one fell swoop. To rebuild a roof would be probably a matter of hours provided that the materials were waiting nearby. But that 60 to 80 year gap seems kinda long here. So perhaps it was a generational cultural event signifying a rebirth and renewal. I cannot recall which culture it was – and I think that it was a South American one – but they had some sort of calendar that started when the last person alive at a particular festival would pass away. They would then have another festival and it would be noted who was present, including the babies, and thus would begin the next countdown. This could be the same here as you would expect that 60 to 80 years to be about the lifespan of people alive at the time.

    1. rob

      my guess as to why they burned their houses after a time would be that lumber and natural materials, in that region would be prone to eventual failure because of decay and insects. Whether it was the whole house or just the roof; after a while , things fall down. It makes sense to me that conventional wisdom on how to get rid of used material, was to just burn it in place.
      Termites and rot…. the real reason to burn your house down every once in a while. IMO

      In the US, old houses are burned down all the time. Houses less than 100 years old, wood framed. There really isn’t anything worth saving ,most of the time. people let the fire dept burn it down for practice.
      I have worked on old houses(@ 400 years old, the oldest), and When people say “they used to build things better back then”, I usually think people think that because only “the good ones” are left. The vast majority have probably been demolished by now, or just rotted away.

      Build with stone.

      1. Mangelwurtzel

        Old houses were incontestably built with better materials – known as old growth lumber. Due to the relative density of the annual growth rings, the wood is heavier, stronger, and more decay resistant. Second and third growth forests do not provide the same quality as our original forests. My Dad’s 1752 house has magnificent beams and boards you will never see the like of sawn in a mill these days.

        1. rob

          I agree with that. Some friends of mine had donated a house that was built by their family in 1721 on long island to a local historical society. But I still say, most people don’t have the means in real time to build the best house you can build, and Not all houses are “the best of them” that survived. Most regular people build modest homes. And things happen.
          time is the test of quality

          And now living in the south…. bugs and rot…. are the real deal.

      2. Adam1

        Agreed. I do wonder about their measurement of needed wood for the fires. After 60 or 80 years most of the wood in the structure if well maintained should be ready to burn quite the inferno. I recall when I was in my 20’s I left home to drive into town for something. On the way I just happened to notice the fire department at the local golf course. There had been a very old and BIG barn there which was probably 100 years old. I just happened to catch that they had a small fire in the ground level floor where the doors opened out to the road and it was small – just started. I said BIG, this barn was probably 100-120 feet long and 40-50 feet wide and 40 or so feet high. By the time I made my return pass 15 or 20 minutes later the whole building was down on the ground!

    2. Benny Profane

      “This could be the same here as you would expect that 60 to 80 years to be about the lifespan of people alive at the time.”

      I would think more 45-55 max.

      Think of present day homes. 60 years usually requires a lot of renovation. And we dont have thatched roofs. Burn it to the ground!

    3. EMC

      I have long thought that ancient people, being people, did what they did for proximal reasons, the immediacy of life, short term gain, problem solving. Just like us. In other words, “ritual” is archeologist-speak for “we don’t have a clue”. My first thought? Insects.

      1. Revenant

        My guess is funerary rites. The old woman is dead. Burn her house.

        It is depressing even if it is jest to hear Americans speak of their short expectations of a building’s life. We have a mud and wooden wall and thatched farmhouse dating from the 1400’s. Poverty and basic maintenance have kept it alive for 600 years and American wealth would see it as an insanitary inconvenience….

    4. nippersdad

      What surprised me was the amount of fuel brought in to help burn them down. One might think that a timber roof with thatch on it would burn all by itself quite nicely without having to log out the local forests. That seems like an awful lot of labor and materiel that could have just as easily been used to replace your rotten joists and thatch.

      Those roofs must have been awfully wet.

      1. juno mas

        As the article suggests, fumigation and hardening of ‘plastered’ side-walls may have been a goal, as well. I imagine setting the roof on fire resolved a decrepit roof structure and vermin in the thatch, but the side-walls might require some heat from a floor/ground set heat source: a log fire inside.

        In any case, the resultant burnt wood ash is a viable source of soil nutrients and the pyromania may have had an agricultural intent, too. Waste not Want not!

        1. playon

          If you wanted to harden the walls, why on earth wouldn’t you do that before putting the roof on? Waiting for 60 years seems ridiculous. It would have to be some other cultural reason.

          1. juno mas

            The heat from the fire is likely serving multiple purposes: fumigation and creating a more polished surface (see: pottery) that would be easier to keep clean and resist impacts. Just a thought, don’t really know, neither do the archeologists.

  3. Wukchumni

    Goooooooooood Moooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The Unit had repeatedly been called out to skirmishes, flanking maneuvers and assorted military strategies including extermination, exhaustion, annihilation, intimidation, and subversion, in the ongoing War On Cash.

    We had to react to the changing scene on the battlefield so as to keep up with things, and the platoon would flash mob a merchant, by everybody thrusting dead presidents at the cashier en masse to pay for purchases, as if to taunt them with more cash than they’d seen in a world of Sundays, and capitulation came quickly, the last time a checker ran up the white flag hastily constructed out of register paper clumsily taped together.

  4. Roger Blakely

    armadillo lepers

    The cases of leprosy in Florida have turned attention to armadillos. It turns out that some armadillos are naturally infected with the bacteria that causes leprosy.

    The doctor will ask you, “Have you been playing with armadillos?”

  5. Lexx

    ‘Biden’s alcohol czar warns Americans could soon be told to limit themselves to just two beers per WEEK under strict new booze guidelines’

    ‘Dr Koob told that there were ‘no benefits’ to drinking alcohol in terms of physical health.

    ‘He said: ‘Most of the benefits people attribute to alcohol, we feel they really have more to do with what someone’s eating rather than what they’re drinking.

    ‘So it really has to do with the Mediterranean diet, socio-economic status, that makes you able to afford that kind of diet and make your own fresh food and so forth.

    ‘With this in mind, most of the benefits kind of disappear on the health side.’

    But he did give ground to social benefits, describing alcohol as a ‘social lubricant.’

    Specifically, there are ‘tribal’ benefits to social drinking, but otherwise Koob is correct, there are no personal health benefits to drinking alcohol… as far as our liver and kidneys are concerned it’s poison.* It’s a poison our bodies can handle up to a point, and that point varies per individual and whatever physical shape they’re in. The older we get, best to leave it alone.

    Also in the news of late are the number of diseases linked to ill-defined and diagnosed ‘gut problems’, for which practiced ‘healthcare’ has no answers and alcohol will hardly improve… although it will numb you to the pain and consequences and there will be lots of folks to commiserate with at your local pub.

    *Often referred to as ‘vital’ for good reasons. You don’t want to chronically insult your filtering systems, unless you’re in a hurry.

    1. Wukchumni

      The parallels of the Bizarro World collapses of the USSR & USA are always kicking around in my mind, Nothing the Alcohol Czar mentioned had anything to do with curtailing merchants from selling their wares, and we’ve been at a drinking age of 21 since 1988, nationwide.

      Gorbachev introduced these ‘dry laws’ in 1985, they don’t seem all that draconian, but was one of the things that led to collapse.

      Liquor stores were not allowed to sell vodka or wine before 2pm on business days, restaurants were no longer permitted to sell hard liquor, and the official drinking age rose from 18 to 21. Sales near factories, educational institutions, hospitals, and airports were prohibited.

    2. ETO

      Parasites. Parasites aren’t a big problem in first world countries but they used to be. And alcohol is good at hurting them. Another use for alcohol, cheap pain management. Perhaps in the civilized world with less physical jobs and modern water and waste management alcohol isn’t necessary but it is a part of humanity’s history.

          1. jsn

            Alcohol is a very effective way to store raw calories.

            It’ll get you through the winter and in the form of beer is said to account for the construction of an assortment of pyramids and other ritual structures.

            In the modern world the ability to store calories is assumed, in the ancient world the quality of calories was on important occasions less important than the ability to have them at all without risk of disease or poisoning.

      1. Lexx

        One of the conversations we’re kicking around the house is the degree to which our microbiome may be shaping us via its preferred environment, rather than the other way ’round. Who’s zoomin’ who? Ya gotta wonder.

      2. britzklieg

        Yes it is part of humanity’s history and I won’t argue with the points you’ve made, but I detest alcohol in any form, except for cooking.

        It took one very exuberant, socially lubricated yet stumbling drunken evening in my teens followed by days of payback to put me off drinking. I don’t believe I’ve consumed more that 10 beers and a dozen glasses of wine in my entire adult life (my drug of choice was cannabis) and I’m 67 years old. Yeah, it’s fun while it lasts but I’ve rarely seen any socially lubricated event result in genuinely positive outcomes – perhaps some marriages which manage to withstand the reality of partnership over the course of two lives, or business deals (which, as an anti-capitalist, I reject fundamentally as positive). My personal observation is that it encourages people to do really stupid things. IMHO it is indeed poison and I’ve seen far too many mistakes made and lives destroyed by it to make me change my mind. It might ease the pain of living, but only for as long as the inebriation and its effects last. And as an artist I will not try to deny its place in the history of human creativity, which is the weakest aspect of my argument against.

        Yet because of its ability to enhance our complicated, and in recent decades deteriorated lives, I fully understand why prohibition and directives aimed at abstinence are opposed. I too oppose any restrictions on personal choice and freedom. So go for it boozers, poison yourselves if you so choose. And despite my strongly stated antipathy I will support you in your choices. I’ll even “lift a glass” to them… but I won’t drink from it.

        1. Ignacio

          I used to drink more alcohol in the past. I like It in many forms: wine, beer, whisky… But now i leave It mostly for the occasions. This makes me more sensitive to it’s effects and in a couple of such events i returned home making big S-letters with the bicicle to the despair of my friends.

        2. Ken Murphy

          Agreed. Those who choose to drink are free to choose to drink, and their choices are not mine to make.

          I found that alcohol gives me nasty hangovers and a sour stomach, often has a sickly sweet taste in my mouth, and over time I learned that I tend to be a melancholy drunk, and no one likes that.

          Cannabis, on the other hand, is fun for the brain, with no hangovers. I’ve tried many of the man-made brain candies, but don’t like any of them because of some weird effect or another. I like to say that Mama Nature knows what she is doing, so I trust her stuff, like cannabis or psilocybin, over any man-made crap.

          Don’t get me wrong – I will enjoy a shot of Jameson’s every now and again, and I do like mead on occasion. I also developed a taste for tokay Pinot gris wines while in Strasbourg, but those can be tough to find locally. But in the end, my monthly alcohol consumption could barely be measured in centiliters.

          Skol, Slainte, Salud, Sante;
          Each in their own chosen way.

    3. mrsyk

      I have no intention whatsoever of navigating this absurd timeline without booze. Just sayin’.

      “Barley wine pink gin,
      He’ll drink anything,
      Port, Pernod or tequila,
      Rum, scotch, vodka on the rocks,
      As long as all his troubles disappeared.” Ray Davies

      musical interlude

      1. witters

        I worked in a pub in Oxford in the 80’s. Local brewery was Morrells. I was told many times (as a foreigner) that Morrells motto was: If you think the bottom is dropping out of your world, drink Morrells and the world will drop out of your bottom!

    4. The Rev Kev

      Come to think of it, maybe they should back off going after beer. Historically for nearly all of human history, people drank beer because the ingredients killed off the bacteria that would normally be present in water. So it was much safer to drink beer and wine rather then just water which could kill you. Considering that Neoliberalism in the present world makes everything more crappy and degrades all services, it is only a matter of time where you will have to always boil the water that comes out of your tap – or drink beer.

      1. jrkrideau

        Also it was a handy source of calories back in Babylon or Ancient Egyptian Times or so I have read.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Up until modern times, bread was actually a food because of all the nutrients packed into it. But that was then and this is now.

    5. Discouraged in WI

      They must think that Wisconsin is politically expendable. I understand that one of the most influential and well-funded political lobbying groups in the state is the tavern owners.

    6. Jorge

      My understanding was that the notion of various regional diets promoting longevity were debunked, as those regions all had cheap widely-available healthcare.

  6. Paradan

    So after dodging it for almost three years, I finally got Covid. Bit of a sore throat on Monday, then fever head ache, super runny nose, etc. Finally feeling better today, but my original sore throat kinda went away, and it has now returned, upon checking it in the mirror, there’s a large white patch, is this a Covid thing, or did I somehow manage to get Strep at the same time?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      If you do have strep, best to find out ASAP. If you are in the US, rapid strep tests are available over-the-counter at many pharmacies (CVS, for example).

    2. Lee

      Thrush, a fungal infection, might also be a possibility. If so, medication for strep will not work. An antifungal is required. I know of this from experience when a doctor wrongly assumed I had strep and in error prescribed antibiotics. Thrush was subsequently diagnosed and treated successfully by gargling an antifungal.

  7. Randall Flagg

    About that Trump mugshot, can’t link it at the moment but I believe it’s now on a t-shirt that can be yours for $47.(?) bucks. Way to go Dems, keep the money rolling in for Trump…

    1. Wukchumni

      And yet here in the reddest bastion of Cali, I saw not 1 mention of Trump in Godzone on Hwy 99 (formerly the ‘Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial Highway’ which I never got-why would you need to memorialize the living survivors?) in both directions from Bakersfield to Visalia, about 75 miles of possibility and not lacking in roadside Trumpanalia in the long run-up to the 2020 election in particular.

      …how’s the action in more traditional red states out east?

      1. mrsyk

        Here in farming country northern New England Trump seems as popular as ever. It would seem prudent to consider that it’s not yet lawn placard season.

        1. Wukchumni

          Newsom on the other hand is oft seen on Hwy 99, draining out our python of a river system to the ocean, if you’d believe the same message repeated over and over again every few miles, so it must be true.

          The signs were erected a few years ago in the height of the drought and now irony of ironies, we can’t get rid of the water emanating from the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, its all pretty much flowing into Tulare Lake, where it will eventually evaporate off.

            1. Wukchumni

              A lot of half rotten, this that and whatever.

              No way-no how did Big Ag want a couple inches of rain in August…

              Local farmers say last weekend’s rain walloped Kern County’s table grape and tomato crops, while almonds appear to have sustained damage that may or may not be manageable.

              While it’s still too early to know how extensive the rain damage may be, two local growers called the situation devastating, especially for grape producers.


      2. Eclair

        Warren County, PA, borders our Chautauqua County, NY town. TRUMP 2024 signs have been a feature there since 2020. Big signs and banners, not the chintzy little yard signs espoused by Biden bros. Painted on sides of barns, hung on front porches, billboard-sized hand painted leaning against rusting tractors. There are also a goodly number of F*** Biden signs. Also large.

        Background: Warren County PA, made its money from extraction: timber, cut from the steep hills of the northern reaches of the Appalachians, and rafted down the Allegheny River to Pittsburgh. Then, oil, discovered and exploited during the Civil War Period. A major refinery still lurks on the borders of the county seat, Warren. Once prosperous, it now ranks about 35th out of 67 counties, in income. Forest County, the poorest in Pennsylvania, borders Warren County to the south.

          1. Lexx

            You win… but really, what does she need a driver’s license for? She has “people” for that too and a passport, I imagine.

              1. Joe Renter

                They moved it back yet again. It was suppose to go in effect this last May. I went through maze this year getting my “real ID”. I went by my middle name and that caused a real PIA. Get a passport is my recommendation.

        1. neutrino23

          Could be one more felony. When he reported his weight didn’t he have to sign that under penalty of perjury?

        2. marym

          Here’s another link that doesn’t seem to be paywalled. Includes examples of other co-defendants and speculation about the process.

          “Where did the height and weight on Trump’s booking record come from?

          But based on the booking records for his co-defendants that have already emerged this week, the numbers may not be reliable — and it’s unclear where they came from.

          The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment on the source of the numbers. Bill Hallsworth, the director of jail and court services for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, said each county processes defendants differently and he is not familiar with Fulton’s practices. Some counties take the information from driver’s licenses, which can be outdated, he said.”

      1. Eclair

        Good question, Yves! My husband showed me the Trump mugshot on his phone last night. My immediate reaction: he looks like a comic book super villain! The lowered head with the narrowed eyes glaring out and up, from under the cap of highlighted blond hair. The compressed mouth, just short of a snarl. It’s a work of art!
        I told my husband: thanks for that, Trump’s image is now living rent-free in my brain!! My brain and millions of others.

          1. Carolinian

            I’d say it’s more like Bruce Willis with a combover putting on his mock serious look.

            We moviegoers are connoisseurs of eye acting.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I’d imagine the fulton county sheriff’s dept. / d.a.’s office shit their collective pants when they saw that mugshot.

      Not only was their attempt at “humiliation” an epic fail, they saved the Trump campaign a load of advertising dough. As Elon Musk tweeted in nceresponse to Trump’s “Never Surrender” reemergence on “X,” it was “Next-level.”

      “fawni” willis has got to be wondering if she’s thought this whole thing through as well as she should have.

    3. flora

      I always believed B won the election fair and square. But… with this hysterical Dem lawfare to prevent T from running again I am starting to wonder. If he lost once he’ll lose twice, right? Unless…. Good job Dem estab. I can’t be the only person wondering about this. / ;)

        1. Joe Renter

          Jimmy Dore had the same take. It got me thinking. Which I am trying not to do too much of these days (important to find ways to keep a level of sanity).

      1. Pat

        I had no idea who won in the last election, I only knew the American people had lost. But that was a given no matter who got elected.
        And let me say that the shenanigans of last two presidential primaries by the Democrats in charge meant I never take them at their word, the Republican BS was largely in the actual elections.

        But I think you can attribute the panic to the realization that They knew they had a razor thin advantage and nothing to offer voters except not Trump, and Biden (along with the economy) has lost some or most of that advantage and Trump is still gaining despite the on going offensive against him seemingly planned by the same strategists behind the proxy war in Ukraine. Their brilliant plan to take over the world election has failed.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        It’s not just you.

        They can claim this is all about the “rule of law” but c’mon, Jack. They’ve been working harder to get him disqualified now than they worked to get him the nomination the first time around. Why is that? It would be irresponsible not to speculate…

        Also, I’m really curious to see what the next move is if this doesn’t work. I’m really not sure where they go from here if this moves busts.

      3. Screwball

        At this point, after everything we have witnessed in the last 7 years, nothing would surprise me. Nothing.

      4. Feral Finster

        I would say that Biden won, fair and square, in the sense that he secured a majority of the Electoral College. Of course, that required the Alphabet Agencies, Big Tech and the MSM all with their fingers more or less openly on the scales to help, not to mention a couple of weeks of recounts and “too close to call”, for Evil Grandpa to wheeze over the line.

        And that after a summer of riots and COVID.

      5. digi_owl

        My recollection is that while it was fair, at least as fair as the US election system can be, it was down to a technical win. Had that one state tipped the other way it would have been Trump. And that was even after he had not managed to deliver much at all in four year, and really blundered the COVID response.

        With how narrow that was last time, and how much Biden has deteriorated since, it may well tilt the other way next time.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Moscow says drone attacks on Crimea repelled”

    It wasn’t just drone attacks. The Ukrainians actually landed a boat-load of soldiers at a Crimean beach who then hung a Ukrainian flag against a wall before they pulled out when locals detected their presence, including this guy in his underwear carrying an assault rifle. It is unclear if they made it back to the Ukraine or the Russians caught them at sea but Jeezuz. Having a coupla dozen men risk their lives for a stupid stunt like this? Seriously?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s for the regime change karens. If they go wobbly so do politicians along with funding. The Karens won’t need much as they thought the combined arms counteroffensive without combined arms would crush Putin.

    2. Gregorio

      The media will report it as a great Ukrainian victory over the “illegal invaders,” so it wasn’t all in vain.
      The positive press should be good for securing a few billion dollars more worth of second hand weapons.

  9. ambrit

    So, Dreizin has explicitly opted for the Neo-liberal definition of ‘Commentator.’ For him, the class of person ‘Commentator,’ is defined by possession of and disbursement of money, (the $5 USD donation to the site.)
    Now we know where his “heart” is.
    Most of the rest of the critique of “commentators” in general sounds rational.
    As for ‘channeling’ the MAGA population; well, that population, from the discussions I have read lately, compromises a half of the total population of the United States. Any politically oriented Pundit ignores a half of the general population of any nation at his or her peril. Otherwise, said Pundit is knowingly operating within a Silo. In general, there are good names for political organizations that only consider the aims and agendas of narrow swaths of the public. “Populist” is not one such.
    Stay safe.

    1. nippersdad

      He has been using that line for over a year now, but it has never ceased to amuse me.

      I hope Nuland will have some cookies with her on the destroyer in Odessa harbor when they sign the unconditional surrender. She will need to keep her blood sugar up.

      1. ambrit

        Hey now. This is the East Front. The tradition here is to sign Documents of Surrender on islands in the middle of rivers. Somewhere up near Dnipro perhaps.

  10. mrsyk

    Meanwhile in Kansas… So, the sheriff’s department, being a sheriff’s department, seems to be engaging in the type of behavior one expects of them these days. Apparently they copied 17 gigabytes of data off the Record’s confiscated computers which is the subject of today’s coverage. From two local sources.
    Kansas City Star
    Kansas Reflector

    1. The Rev Kev

      What is the bet that that includes their subscription list. And that the intent at the time was to hassle those subscribers with minor traffic offenses and the like later. It has happened. In the State where I live, they had a Premier (like a Governor) decades ago and when he took office, recruited the most corrupt cop that he could find – from this outback town where he had been banished to – to head up the State’s police force. Under his Premiership they harassed everyone who opposed him. So you might have a public meeting of regular people opposing him. The police would go quietly into the car park and note every minor infraction of every car there. Then, when the meeting broke up, the police would follow those cars and book them for these infractions. The police here got a very bad rep in the rest of Oz because of stuff like this.

      1. mrsyk

        A possible scenario for sure, but I don’t think the residents of Marion County are going to stand for it. Police chief Cody is done. I expect he will have resigned/been fired before the year is out. And, sheriffs are elected. This is flyover country, where, simply put there is less tolerance of BS and low moral behavior than the Acela corridor or Silicon Vally.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I can’t believe that Joh Bjelke-Petersen thought that he could make a run for the Prime Ministership. In the rest of the country he was a standing joke.

      1. flora

        adding, from the Reflector report:

        “[Marion Record attorney] Rhodes said the police department has “zero forensic capabilities.” Because the sheriff’s office has limited capabilities, it acts as IT support for the police department, Rhodes said.”

        True. The KBI does have excellent digital forensics capabilities. Considering everything I’ve read so far, I hope the KBI examines the police dept drive the Record’s data was copied to before the police drive is erased to make sure is wasn’t copied to another police drive before the erasure. So many ways to game things. / my 2 cents.

    2. scott s.

      So the sheriffs office needs to keep the USB thumb drive because it was used in other investigations. So, we are to assume the can’t afford to buy some 32gb USB flash sticks?

  11. Carolinian

    Re Trump’s increasing popularity with each indictment–seems I must quote one of my favorite songs from The Fantasticks

    Why did the kids put beans in their ears?
    They did it ’cause we said no.

    Contrarian America raises a middle digit to Daddy knows best America. Maybe this is healthy, given the daddy?…….

    1. IM Doc

      I will say it again.

      This Dem from a long line of FDR Dems will not be voting for Biden or any of the other “Dems” in DC today. It would be far more tragic for my children’s future for any of them to win again. I just sat on the sidelines the last time. This time I will put plugs in my nose and vote for Trump.

      I could never vote for a current Dem at this point. It would be an affront to everything my New Deal Dem family stood for. The current Dem party is literally EVERYTHING they warned me about when the totalitarians come. I cannot believe they are bringing us this close to Civil War. Both parties in general do not stand for the best that this country can be. But the Dem Party is now officially crossed over into dangerous territory.

      When the enema is complete and they are representing the common man again, I will listen. Until then I will VOTE AGAINST them, certainly not FOR the GOP. It is truly the lesser of two evils.

        1. IM Doc

          I will vote and support RFK in an absolute heartbeat. However, he will not be allowed to run. The only hope is if he is somehow an independent. I would vote for him in a second. And it would be an affirmative vote. Not the lesser of two evils. I cannot think of a single national Dem that I feel is less evil than Trump, not one. The COVID and Ukraine fiascos have disabused me of that notion probably for the rest of my life. From here on out, it is going to be my job to support those who are more likely to cause my children the less harm in their lives. Interestingly, I have an acquaintance here who is a former national level Dem politician, very elderly, representing the best of what the Dem party should be, and trust me, he feels exactly the same as I do.

          I heard an interesting analogy the other day. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a fascinating short story in the immediate time right before the Civil War. “The Grey Champion”. The basic idea and I hate spoilers, but that in multiple crises in the past of this country, even before it was a country, a ghost or spirit shows up to guide the way out of a political disaster or mess. The ghost inhabits an older individual from the patrician class each time. The person talking to me was thinking that RFK may be that person. Besides getting the creeps, it has made me think a lot about our current situation.

          I read a lot of history. I have advanced degrees in history. In the younger parts of my life, I felt an uneasy awe regarding how the average Joe acted during the time of dying Republics multiple times in human history. I remember marvelling to myself – “How can anyone behave that way????” — Let me put it this way – I no longer wonder. It is clear to anyone with an open mind when they look around. What has been absolutely stunning to me is the group of people most involved in the cult-like behavior are the same people my whole life I thought would be those who would save us from our own destruction. It is indeed a bewildering time to be alive.

          1. mrsyk

            Perhaps RFKjr will be Trump’s running mate. I hope so just to watch the talking/shrieking heads explode live on tv.
            I’m long popcorn.

          2. Pat

            I have seen a couple of things that I would call miracles in my life. I do not expect RFK Jr to succeed. But in times like these there is no telling what little voice will get through and change the hearts and minds of so many the world changes. I do not expect but I still hope for the affirmative.

          3. S.D., M.D.

            Potential recent candidates for “Grey Champion”(Paul, Sanders) were easily supressed by entrenched party establishments in cooperation with MSM. Only difference with RFK. Jr. is that there will be no fooling around and he will simply end up dead if he so much as polls close to Brandon in a single state.
            It may also be that this time around it was an “orange champion” who was quite effectively prevented from governing and then overthrown by the deep state.
            I fear that the hour of the “Grey Champion” has passed and that this “turning” will end in disaster, not triumph.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        will readily admit tempted to follow your lead IMD, and vote for the orange monster – just throw gasoline and on the fire – the only way to make it better is make it worse – not being sarcastic to any degree in agreement – if there is a dem primary will vote for RFK Jr but in the general will vote for Cornel West – that’s if i vote at all – much like my view of the environmental mess, with politics it is too far gone to hope to change for the better – and i believe that is an optimistic view that allows me to get back to tending my orchard and not fret excessively – being plagued by TMI obscures an ability to find the beauty and peace in life – by luck of birth i’m not living in a hovel begging on the streets or next to some environmental disaster in 3rd world country – seen some horrible stuff to understand what greed and power have brought us – as Gore Vidal said, “Think of the earth as a living organism being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies or the virus dies, or both die.” – we are watching the slow-motion wreck humans have wrought upon themselves – accepting fate keeps my glass half full –

      2. Jabura Basaidai

        oh yeah, i think the orange monster will win because the dems are so f-ing horrible – exemplified by Wasserman Schultz or Madeline Albright in a clip in another NC link saying the death of 500,000 dead Iraqi children was “a very hard choice, but the price-we think the price is worth it” – or the brain-dead in the Senate – obuma and clintons cackling in the shadows – a lot of critically thinking, honorable dem-folks like yourself IMD are fed up and figure correctly ‘what the hell’ – can’t vote for the Husk might as well bring it on and vote for the orange man – can’t say i blame your predilection – Lahaina burns and the Husk and the dems throw money at the corrupt proxy war and crumbs to the Hawaiians, whom we stole that land from in a final colonial grab in the first place – good luck Doc –

      3. Mildred Montana

        >”This time I will put plugs in my nose and vote for Trump.”

        A better way to signal one’s distaste for the candidates on offer: a clothes-peg on one’s nose. Imagine if millions of voters showed up on voting day wearing these as a statement. Non-violent protest, the point obvious to all, and would make a great meme.

      4. Pat

        I will still be looking deeply at the third party candidates in the next election. I have voted third party in the last three. I wrote in for my last congressional and expect to do that going forward for both Congress and Senate. But I might have to bite the bullet and vote Trump and Republican if I think NY state is on the precipice of being in play, because our incumbents need to be excised from the government.

        IOW, I feel both your pain and your anger, IM Doc.

        1. Rudolf

          When you vote for the “lesser” of two evils, you are still voting for evil.Time for a reset.

  12. Carolinian

    Turley even has a column on the mug shot.

    In that way, the mugshot will be the rallying cry at both extremes in our political system.

    For that reason, I believe the mugshot was a mistake, an inflammatory moment wisely avoided in New York by another Democratic prosecutor. It is entirely unnecessary for the most recognized face in the United States.

    The fact, however, is that many on both sides relish the rage. I have previously said that the most unnerving fact of what I have called “the age of rage” is that people secretly enjoy it. Rage is addictive. It allows people to say and do things that they would ordinarily avoid in public. It is a license to hate blindly and excuse all means to achieve an end.

    The media love Trump because he is a reality show professional and Trump loves being that not to mention the attention. Why not make a farce out of the whole thing when someone like Biden is the preferred establishment president?

    1. Screwball

      Like some of the comments in this article, I take a pause with this part;

      Of course, in an age of rage, reason is the first to die. We cannot allow that to happen; we cannot allow rage addicts to drive our political or legal processes. We have the greatest legal system in the world. We will sort out these issues from the criminalization of political speech to the claim that Trump can be barred from the ballot even without a charge or conviction.

      Bold mine. Really Jonathan? The greatest legal system in the world? Maybe you have to say that, but from my view – the greatest legal system in the world – is nothing but a mirage. To me, it looks more like kangaroo courts ran by partisan hacks with an agenda.

      For disclosure; no Trump fan here

  13. bwilli123

    Lots of chart comparisons.
    Making Sense Of The China Meltdown Story

    “…This brings me to what should be the big story of the summer: the meltdown in US treasuries. Here is the biggest market in the world, the bedrock of the global financial system, falling by close to double digits in a month. And perhaps most amazing, this meltdown is occurring on limited news. There have been no Federal Reserve policy changes, no hawkish speeches from Jerome Powell. Basically, long-dated US treasuries just fell -9% on no news.

    This should be the news. Instead, the news is all about China’s financial meltdown….”

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Ahhh, Gavekal. I had almost forgotten about these fellows, so thank you for the link. I used to read them regularly back in the 2000s (especially just before and after the events of 2008, even have several of their books in my library). They are always worth reading: invariably well-written and outside-of-the box analysis. Don’t always agree with them, but they make me think. The article you linked is well worth a read. “If it’s in the press, it’s in the price”: all too true. David Goldman (aka “Spengler”) over at Asia Times has a similar take on China’s current situation (it’s paywalled, but if you poke around a bit on the internet you can find the full version):

  14. The Rev Kev

    “How Trump Won the Debate He Shunned”

    Simple. He didn’t walk into the trap they had set there for him. Others have said the same like the Boys at The Duran but you can bet that that was a hand-picked audience and if Trump was there, there would have been a concerted effort to trash him by the moderators, the other candidates as well as that audience. If he had gone there, it would have been all risk and virtually no gain. By being interviewed by Tucker Carlson instead at the same time, he completely side-stepped that trap and got more viewers than the clown car of Republican candidates. I still despise the guy but I have to admire his tactical skills sometimes.

    1. JohnA

      The only clip I saw was of Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley trying to scream over the heads of each other and about their fealty to Israel. Was there no moderator? Looked ridiculous.

  15. Wukchumni

    The Last Lyme Shot Failed. Can a New One Succeed? Bloomberg (David L)
    I get a tick embedded in me every 3 years or so, and immediately go on antibiotics, and so far-so good. One of the cabin owners in our community has had Lyme disease for 25 years and it tortures her. She asked if I knew what lingering malady had the highest suicide rate, I had no idea, and she related it was Lyme.

    A few years ago we were on a backpack and friend got a tick in him, and another friend pulls out a q-tip swabbed with a little rubbing alcohol and by merely rubbing the skin in a circular motion around the tick, did it come out of it’s own volition a few minutes later.

    Removing a deer tick using a q-tip and alcohol

    1. Joe Renter

      Good info. I meet a guy mountain biking the other day and his wife has Lyme disease. They have spent 150K treating it. Terrible

    2. Grateful Dude

      “The only options on the market are for dogs …” I beg to differ.

      I lived in SE Pa until about 7 years ago, at the time the darkest red spot on the Lyme heat map. My first infection was in ’99; I had antibiotics but not until about 2 weeks after the bite. Then I got it again in about ’09, this time antibiotics with more alacrity. A couple of years later I suffered chronic fatigue and some odd aches and pains, so I saw a homeopath who had a local reputation, indeed a practice, treating Lyme and had successfully treated my wife in that time for Lyme. He diagnosed chronic Lyme and treated me for a few months with several remedies until I was clear – his determination based on a resonance apparatus. Ok, but, no “scientific” corroboration, in fact he had been approached by the FDA who could only shake him down for making claims.

      Following that, I was infected another 6+ times over about 5 years, once by a tick embedded in the mainline vein in my elbow where blood gets drawn for testing. I saw the Doc within 2 days, he said it had already reached my liver and treated me accordingly. All of those other times the infection ‘cleared’ in a couple of months without antibiotics, with no lingering symptoms even to date, some 10 years later, and I’m pushing 80. Most of his patients we knew reported the same. Apocryphal, yes, but I’m here, healthy to tell the tale, healthy and very happy about it. So, maybe the vaccine works; there is an alternative.

    3. Jorge

      The problem is that if you just break the tick off, it’s head stays in the flesh. You have to make it uncomfortable.

      When I was a kid (1960s, pre-Lyme) our system was thick ointment and a match. You paint the tick with ointment so it can’t breathe well, then light the match, blow it out, and touch the hot tip to the tick. It would wriggle right out.

      The ointment was Vick Vap-o-Rub, and I’m sure the camphor added to the tick’s distress.

      TL;dr: we waterboarded ticks.

  16. IMOR

    re: ‘context’ in X item abt BRICS nations’ control of oil.
    Could be as simple as one or the other contributor confusing production with proven reserves or estimated reserves; or one conflating oil and natual gas production and the other not.
    More meaningful with regard to this week’s news would have been how large an additional share the new additiond bring to BRICS. This part of the BRICS saga is about directiob, momentum more than magnitude.

  17. Benny Profane

    That screed by Luttwak is really something. Now that Ukraine is being thrown over the side, the violent anti China rhetoric from the smart people is ramping up. Yeah, we know that China has hit it’s Minsky moment. Jim Chanos has been talking about it for years. But, cmon, man. Calm down. I almost stopped reading when I saw this: “In the US, the cure for the 2007-2009 debt crisis that stalled Europe’s economy as well, was the 2008 bankruptcy of literally high-flying Lehman Brothers (its 20-somethings in different offices in the same Manhattan building sent notes to each other by Federal Express via Memphis, Tennessee)”. What? Where did he get that from? I think email and texting existed in ’07. Besides, does he actually think all FedEx messages go through Memphis? What the hell?
    And then he says “As for the millions of US homeowners with unpayable mortgages, they just walked out, becoming instantly homeless but also debt-free. Yet very few remained homeless because the US economy picked up very quickly once it was drastically purged of non-repayable loans.” What kind of bubble does this man live in? Was it that easy for millions? This sounds like the old argument of blaming the homebuyers at the time of taking on liar loan debt for causing the crisis, but, he takes it further and seems to claim that millions just “walked” away, and in a few years, they were cool. No pain. No credit damage. No lost jobs. That continues to this day. I live in a market that, if someone didnt just “walk away”, they are just now above water on first and second loans. His wiki tells me he lives in Maryland, no doubt close to DC, a market that just sailed through the housing bust, a fact that I wish Trump had pointed out more than once.
    And then he repeatedly tells us that, instead of infrastructure, all of that money could have been used to reduce poverty. How? What are his solutions? Just the austerity curse.,

    These are the smart people our dumb politicians go to for advice. Lord help us.

  18. Bazarov

    Per Prigozhin’s death, after listening to and reading several commentators, I’m still of the opinion that the Russian state had him killed. There’s just no getting around the fact that Wagner’s responsible for the murders of Russian servicemen (killed in shot down helicopters) during the mutiny and that there must’ve been, behind the scenes, real demands for blood. There’s also the strange fact that the plane crash/bombing occurred on the 23rd, the two-month anniversary of the mutiny, and on the heels of Surovikin’s dismissal. It’s rather portentous.

    I don’t think offing Prigozhin in some deniable way in Africa would suffice, considering that it’s not only Prigozhin who was at fault for the mutiny but likely the whole Wagner command (Utkin et al.), which would have to go. He’s also admired greatly in Africa and might therefore have the protection of the Malian state (as in: he’d be harder to get to than we assume). I’ve listened patiently to commentators arguing that the Russian state wouldn’t do this during the BRICS summit. Many, like for example the two Alexanders, frame it in terms of humiliation: that for the plane to be bombed out of the sky to during the summit “humiliates” Russian/Putin (though the two Alexanders harp constantly about how the West is driven by PR and Russian isn’t, note that they frequently raise PR when trying to rationalize Russian actions).

    However, I read it the opposite way. In the halls of power the world over, the Wagner mutiny had to have given the big players pause. “Perhaps,” they whispered to one another, “Putin doesn’t have the hold we thought he did. Perhaps he’s just a bit weaker than he seems.” Certainly, at the very least, there were “concerns,” and no doubt Russia’s enemies were playing those up.

    By eliminating the entire Wagner command over Russia territory during the BRICS summit, Putin’s government demonstrates to everyone in Russian and outside that it is indeed in control and that any domestic players who attempt to destabilize the nation will be totally annihilated.

    Though I remain sympathetic to the direct Russia-state-responsibility theory, the next most likely theory, in my view, is that another domestic player did it, perhaps with the connivance of foreign intelligence organizations. I’m sure, however, that Russian intelligence had Prigozhin under close observation and that any attempt on his life in so obvious a way–sabotaging or blowing his plane is an obvious threat–would likely have been detected by those who keep watch on him.

    So, if it was a non-State domestic actor who ultimately carried out this assassination, it’s not unreasonable to think that Russian intelligence did not warn Prigozhin and let the operation proceed to its grim fruition.

    1. Es s Cetera

      What are your thoughts on whether Prigozhin staged his own death in order to escape a reckoning?

      As in, the passengers and crew donned parachutes, jumped, let the plane follow its route for a while, perhaps on autopilot, then setup for the plane to just fall from the sky.

      I’m leaning towards this by virtue of its the simplest explanation to fit the known facts of: a) the plane fell apart as it fell, b) no missile trails, c) no marks or evidence of explosion or explosive impact. The motive is also quite obvious, self-preservation, there is form, and this being Wagner, so is the means and the know-how.

      1. Bsn

        Well, I’ve seen the film of the falling of the plane – no parachutes visible. They’d be hard to hide against a clear blue sky.

        1. Es s Cetera

          If they dropped from the plane at some point before the plane was scheduled/configured to fall from the sky, parachutes wouldn’t be visible.

      2. Bazarov

        Hollywood stuff.

        Plus, Prigozhin is a fat old man. He’s no paratrooper. If he was going to fake his death, he’d never have been on that plane to begin with.

        1. GC54

          And if the cabin door is opened to exit, the asymmetric slipstream would cause the plane to go unstable and crash immediately, and likely the escapee would smack into the wing or tail at 200+ mph.

          1. Es s Cetera

            Paratroopers jump from jets all the time, although usually from the rear. Doors have accidentally or not so accidentally been opened mid-flight on jets and the plane surivived. The Embraer Legacy door is far forward, near the flight deck. The door is one of those which opens out and downward to form steps to the tarmac. The stall speed of the Embraer Legacy 600 is 109kn, airspeed for jumping needs to be below 400kn. The only question is if a jumper can successfully clear the jet turbines which are far back on the tail, also the tail fin. If a jumper can climb out onto the steps and leap then it seems plausible. Not that I’m an expert. :)

            The only thing is that someone captured the flight data, possibly using FlightRadar24 or similar, and the plane went from cruise speed to zero in an instant. I’m not sure what might account for that.

            1. digi_owl

              FR24 data is self reported via the ADSB broadcasts, either from flight instruments or GPS calculations.

              Thus it going to zero instantly could just be an artifact of the transmissions cutting off.

      3. Maxwell Johnston

        If he is really dead (and I think he is), then there will be a funeral very soon. And a Russian oligarch funeral is a major social event with extensive media coverage. So that particular fact (alive vs dead) will be confirmed very shortly.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Interesting comment. But I don’t think Putin did this.

      Downing the jet in broad daylight over a populated area was sloppy (and also killed 3 innocent crewmembers), which makes me doubt that it was done by Russian special services on Putin’s order. Those guys are pros and would have tried to avoid collateral damage (let alone eyewitnesses filming the whole thing). I think it far more likely that it was arranged by one of Prigozhin’s many enemies (perhaps with Putin’s tacit approval, he could not let The Prigozhin Stunt go totally unpunished, so assuming his security services knew of the plot he might have told them to monitor the situation but otherwise let it go forward). There was a rumor that someone brought a crate of expensive wine (as a gift!) to the aircraft just before departure (reminiscent of the cafe bombing in St Pete a few months ago), so maybe that’s how a bomb was placed on board. The authorities released the passenger manifest with blinding speed, very strange that. Also strange that this happened on Ukraine’s independence day holiday, exactly two months post-stunt.

      It will be interesting to see what happens at Prigozhin’s funeral (he is married with 3 children), and if anyone from the Kremlin attends.

      Sometimes in life what actually happens is less important than what people believe to have happened (for example: the alleged resurrection of a certain Palestinian about 2000 years ago). Everyone seems to believe that Putin did it and that nobody in Russia will ever dare to cross him again. So even if Putin had nothing do to with it, he still emerges stronger. I sometimes wonder if Putin keeps a copy of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” on his bedside table.

      1. Es s Cetera

        I think it’s more likely either the MI6/CIA or Putin would be keen to fake his death. So unless his body is actually found and verified, I’m going with he parachuted from the plane some distance from where it fell from the sky. CIA because I think the CIA planned his whole treason/revolt episode, it just didn’t work out cuz the plan hinged on Ukraine succeeding in its offensive but how were they to communicate to Prigozhin to abort? Putin because it’s likely Prigozhin was loyal all along, had shared everything, which would explain why he’s not dead. In both cases, a tidy exit and Prigozhin with a dacha somewhere, retired, having served his master(s) well.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Keep an eye on the funeral. An ordinary Russian funeral is an unforgettable event (based on my direct experience when my father-in-law died quite unexpectedly): ritual, emotions, speeches, vodka. An oligarch funeral takes this to an even higher level. If the man is truly dead, that will be impossible to conceal: the funeral will be completely off the charts. This cannot be faked: there will be too many moving parts and independent actors. I love a good conspiracy theory, but when too many people become involved, Occam’s Razor kicks in.

          I think he’s dead. And I don’t think Putin organized it. Let’s see what happens.

      2. Susan the other

        When Putin described Prigozhin as “a man of complex destiny” I was amazed by what a profound understatement it was. Not wanting to call him a talented opportunist, maybe. I’m wondering if Putin’s phrase was lifted from one of Russia’s great novelists. Also in the spirit of amazing was Mercouris’ effusive apology to The National Interest for his own misreporting their editing of a report on the US’ callous attitude toward Ukraine. Mercouris saying he was wrong several times. Almost funny. Wrong like a fox. But no doubt The National Interest would have sued.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          “A man/person of complex destiny” (человек сложной судьбы) is actually a common Russian idiom. It is what we say to imply that while someone may seem bad, that someone is not entirely to blame for it. “He had a difficult/complicated life” may be another way to translate it. It is true in the literal sense at least – very complicated. I did think that phrase was remarkably soft when you consider the typical usage, but simply condemning him as a traitor would have looked bad under the circumstances.

          1. Susan the other

            Thank you for this info. I love the phrase because it stops you in mid-thought. And it is very benign.

      3. Daniil Adamov

        Putin “letting it happen” rather than “making it happen” always struck me as a likelier explanation for many of assassinations attributed to him. (Nemtsov springs to mind.) In other cases it may as well have been neither. Oligarchs, politicians and journalists all tend to make many enemies who are more nearly their own size, and while the 90s are over, some of that time’s customs are obviously still with us.

    3. Carolinian

      Maybe it was like the christening scene in the Godfather. While Putin is off conducting a ceremony Moe Green gets it in the eye.

      A lot of people are saying there’s no evidence of missile shrapnel so some kind of inside sabotage more likely.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Alexander Mercouris gave the single most compelling reason why no way did Putin do it.

      This was during the BRICS summit.

      The last thing Putin would do is want to remind BRICS leaders of a threat to his leadership.

      And (to add to Mercouris) killing him looks weak, as if Progozhin, were a threat, when his best shot bombed and public opinion in Russia has turned on him.

      1. MichaelC

        I do think there’s a Niger angle given the coup timing and Prog’s/Wagner activities in Niger.
        Eliminating him and his control of mineral activities there could affect coup negotiations w Russia/France/US/Niger
        I doubt any of those parties are sad to see the back of him.

        It’s just a hunch, but Niger looks like another front in the wests war w Russia, so Russia would surely see him as a liability to them on that front.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Why we must replace the American nuclear family with a “postgenerational” society”

    So I took a look at who wrote this and it said-

    ‘Mauro F. Guillén is Professor of Management and Vice Dean for the MBA for Executives Program at the Wharton School.’

    Uhuhh, sounds about right. So his bright idea is to forget families and have ‘governments, companies, educational institutions, and other types of organizations to think about citizens, students, and workers as “perennials,” to be creative, to think outside the box, to become engines of change, to dissolve problems rather than simply solving them.’ It should be noted that these are the same exact organizations that are turning modern society into a dystopian trainwreck. Their ideas would be something along the lines of ‘You will own nothing, and be happy – and do you want a side-order of bug fries with that?’

    Let me lay it out. In every army in the world the basic building block is the squad and this goes way back before the Romans had the Contubernium squad. Everything after that from platoons, companies, battalions, brigades, etc. is built on that basic block. It is the same with society except the basic building block is the family. You can have traditional families, nuclear families, multi-generational families, ones based on polygamy or polyandry or whatever – the basic unit remains the family. And the purpose of the family is for the raising of children that have them to both nurture and educate them. If you have a society that does not prioritize the development of it’s children or sees them as sexual playthings, then that society is sick and ill-fated. Maybe even doomed. Families are the glue that hold society together. So when you have people like Guillén talking about redesigning society to how he would like it, I would seriously like to know where children fit into his ideas of society.

    1. chris

      That article made very little sense to me. He discussed how the sequential progression of life should be reconsidered. How? Is he proposing that young people give up moving away or trying to forget their own identity from their parents? Is he suggesting that young people should no longer consider parenthood? The arrow of time points in one direction. How does he think it would work for a society to decouple what have been urgent needs from social norms? I can see multigenerational households becoming much more common. Whatever this perennial concept is I don’t think it has a life beyond hucksters and TED talks.

      1. Paradan

        Maybe what he means is the child-like mentality of the PMC, and that we shouldn’t see it as a flaw but rather progress.

        1. digi_owl

          It is funny how i keep hearing about how higher education is ennobling or some such, yet more and more the stories of “campus life” seem like a kindergarten for “adults”.

    2. digi_owl

      Why is it that “we” seem hell bent on implementing everything that multiple books and movies from the 70s onwards warned us about?

      It is like we are all teenagers that has to go get blind drunk because our parents tells us is bad for us.

    3. Milton

      I like the idea of dissolving problems. When can we start on the elite class and their hangers on, the PMC?

  20. mrsyk

    I see that Covid is closing schools already.

    “Kentucky school districts cancel classes less than 2 weeks into school year due to Covid-19, viruses and strep outbreaks” CNN “Two school districts in eastern Kentucky have canceled in-person classes this week after a rise in illnesses including Covid-19, respiratory viruses and strep among its students and staff, according to local officials.

    “Texas school district closes for week following staff COVID-19 infections” Dallas Morning News “Runge ISD said about 20% of its staff, 10 people, had active cases of COVID-19 this week.”

    1. Lee

      Too bad for the Republicans who like the Dems are Covid minimizers. They could really beat Biden over the head with this: AP FACT CHECK: Biden goes too far in assurances on vaccines, from July, 2021. As it is, both major parties and elites of other nations are abandoning the gen pop to the shape shifting virus. Maybe local governing entities will step up as in the examples you cited. Ever the giddy optimist, me.

      I went for my Medical annual wellness visit a few weeks ago. My doctor wore no mask. I had on my P-100 Elipse. “That’s quite a mask you’ve got there”, he said flashing a toothsome grin. I smiled too, at the thought of smacking the fool up side the head.

      1. Tim

        It’s become quite clear both Democrats and Republicans hate masks equally, and would rather live in denial to avoid masking.

        1. mrsyk

          Once again reminding me of the Netflix apocalyptic dark comedy “Don’t Look Up”. The title refers to the meteor (climate metaphor) deniers’ slogan.

    2. Paradan

      Hey WTF? I’m 51, have no kids or contact with any, and I just got Covid on Monday and now that I’m feelin better, I get a new sore throat that looks like Strep(havent got the quick test yet). I’ve been completely isolated all week. Wonder if a new strain of covid is allowing opportunistic infections of normal carried strep.

      1. kareninca

        Best wishes for a quick recovery and no long term effects.

        From what I am seeing on reddit/positive, this is a pretty unpleasant strain.

    3. chris

      It’s not that hard to do depending on the rules for the jurisdiction. Around here, 10% of the total student body being absent means you can’t count the day as an official school day. So in cases where religious events or other matters would create that issue, they cancel school for the day or call it a teacher professional day or a holiday. If a combination of students absences and teacher illness were to appear, given that no district has many options for substitute teachers anymore, it makes sense that they’d shut down the school and try to make a go of it virtually for some time.

  21. Tim

    Fox bragged their GoP debate had 17 million views, the highest for a single cable show this year, and higher than 70% of debates in 2016 and 2020.

    So an order of magnitude higher than that for Trump.

  22. Tim

    Watching the secret service entourage guarding a former president while being booked was surreal.

    If he actually goes to prison are they going to staff the jail with secret service employees? He’d have to be cordoned off from the general population, otherwise you’ve got the entire population of prison criminals potentially being solicited with offers of extremely large rewards to them or their loved ones to assassinate the former president, making it a near inevitability, especially with an 80 year old.

    1. Es s Cetera

      You know what, on further thought I think a prison population would tend to be onside with Trump, wouldn’t take him out for any amount, and it just occurred to me that now he may build credibility and loyalty with a rather large segment of the population in a country with the largest prison population in the world, largest population with criminal records, it’s an in to some largely disaffected demographics which largely can’t vote cuz America revokes the voting rights of felons.

      I think this is worth watching. The dems may not have thought this one through…

  23. flora

    Daily Mail:

    Maui fire investigation: Maui’s top emergency officials were on a different island for a disaster training as flames flared and did not join response call until five hours after the deadly wildfires begun

    “Those attending the conference included Herman Andaya, the then-director of Maui County Emergency Management Agency, who defended the decision not to activate emergency warnings.

    “Andaya resigned on August 17, nine days after the wildfires, citing his health.

    “It had emerged he had no background in disaster response: Local news site Maui Now reported in 2017 that he was hired over 40 other qualified applicants. “

  24. Enter Laughing

    RE: Lockdowns and face masks ‘unequivocally’ cut spread of Covid, report finds Guardian.

    Let’s see how information evolves from an original systematic review to the front page of the Guardian.

    This is what the original study concluded about masking (BF mine):

    This rapid systematic review of evidence asks whether (i) wearing a face mask, (ii) one type of mask over another and (iii) mandatory mask policies can reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection, either in community-based or healthcare settings. Most of the studies included in this rapid systematic review were observational rather than experimental. Study designs commonly suffered from a critical ROB*. The effects measured in each study were variable in magnitude and generally of low precision. Nevertheless, taking together the evidence from all studies, we conclude that wearing masks, wearing higher quality masks (respirators), and mask mandates generally reduced the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    This is what the Royal Society report said about the original study:

    The weight of evidence from all studies suggests that wearing masks, particularly higher quality masks (respirators), supported by mask mandates, generally reduced the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Studies consistently, though not universally, reported that mask wearing and mask mandates were an effective approach to reduce infection. There is also evidence, mainly from studies in healthcare settings, that higher-quality ‘respirator’ masks (such as N95 masks) were more effective than surgical-type masks. The evidence suggested that masks with greater barrier function were more effective than those with lower barrier function; and mask wearing in the context of a mandate to wear masks was more effective than mask wearing in the context of voluntary behaviour.

    This is what the Guardian said about the Royal Society Report:

    Lockdowns and face masks ‘unequivocally’ cut spread of Covid, report finds

    … When looking at the use of face masks and mask mandates, studies consistently reported the measures were an effective approach to reduce infection. The evidence further indicates higher-quality respirator masks – such as N95 masks – were more effective than surgical-type masks.

    This is how the Guardian link is presented here:

    Lockdowns and face masks ‘unequivocally’ cut spread of Covid, report finds Guardian. However, the article shows a surgical mask, which was pretty effective under wild type but no longer.

    *Ninety-five per cent of studies included were conducted before highly transmissible Omicron variants emerged. Ninety-one per cent of observational studies were at ‘critical’ risk of bias (ROB) in at least one domain, often failing to separate the effects of masks from concurrent interventions.

    What a long, strange trip!

  25. Lee

    I’m wondering what your use of the hardworking modifiers “just” and “only” are meant to convey.

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