Links 8/5/2023

Dear patient readers,

Links are a little light at launch today due to the need to say at least a little about the blockbuster RKF, Jr. suit against Google for YouTube censorship. See the accompanying post. We should add more goodies by 8 AM EDT at the latest.

Korat Candle Procession 66 event upstaged by scene-stealing cat Thaiger (furzy)

‘Cuddling’ is just what the doctor ordered for a 200-pound walrus calf rescued this week in Alaska Associated Press

Fritz the hippo is on a watermelon sugar high (Video) New York Post (furzy)

Welcome to Slowjamastan! The desert micronation with no Crocs and no taxes Guardian (furzy)

The sad death of the Australian backyard MacroBusiness


Not up to the minute, but makes the point clearly:


Scientists Relocate Coral to Cooler Water as Ocean Warms YouTube (furzy)

MIT Boffins Build Battery Alternative Out of Cement, Carbon Black, and Water The Register

After Government Cyanide Bomb Poisons Boy, Family Pushes Ban Intercept (furzy)


BlackRock, MSCI probed for investments in China Asia Times (Kevin W)

China wants to limit minors to no more than two hours a day on their phones CNN (Kevin W). !!!!


Niger is Fourth Country in Sahel to Experience Anti-Western Coup Defend Democracy

European Disunion

Now English is becoming a threat to democracy Aftonbladet (Micael T). Machine translation, original here.

Berlin’s global woke offensive conceals Germany’s self-inflicted decline. — The German political elite no longer wants to conquer the world with battle tanks, but with venomous moralism. Eastern Angle (Micael T). This does make the behavior of Annelina Baerbock seem a tad less ridiculous.

Austrian Leader Proposes Enshrining the Use of Cash In His Country’s Constitution Associated Press

Old Blighty

Kent councillor suspended from Labour after watching Jeremy Corbyn film MR Online. Anthony L: “It’s the rage in Real Democracies!”

Let private and third sectors cut NHS waiting lists, says Steve Barclay Guardian (Kevin W)

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia says tanker hit in Ukrainian attack near Crimea BBC (Kevin W)


Three Polls On Support For The War In Ukraine Moon of Alabama

EU state will order Russians to leave RT (Kevin W). Note ethnic Russians are >24% of the population of Latvia, so this move is likely to incite harassment of Russian-descent Latvian citizens. Also note some Russian citizens own property in Latvia…..

‘Fighting two enemies’: Ukraine’s female soldiers decry harassment Guardian (Dr. Kevin). I do not mean to seem to be defending Ukraine here, but my impression is that this problem is endemic when women soldiers are working side-by-side with, and more important, housed in near proximity, to male soldiers.


With Marines on Persian Gulf vessels, is Biden risking war with Iran? Responsible Statecraft

Saudi Arabia extends oil production cut even as US gas prices hit nine-month highs CNN. While Saudi Arabia generally wants higher oil prices, MbS does not like Biden, so if oil prices are high in the runup to the election, IMHO the impact on the Biden campaign would be a welcome side effect.

Israeli extremists attempt to storm Catholic church and monastery Catholic News Agency (Anthony L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US lawmakers, governor wish Coast Guard happy birthday using images of Turkish ships Anadolu Agency

Technical Visit to the United States and Guantánamo Detention Facility by the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism UN Human Rights Special Procedures (guurst)

U.S. quest for minerals leads to a remote nation surrounded by adversaries Politico (Kevin W). Mongolia. Insanity.


The Electric Kool-Aid Trump Indictment Matt Taibbi

Prosecutors ask judge to issue protective order after Trump post appearing to promise revenge Associated Press (furzy)

DeSantis Dismisses Trump’s 2020 Election Theories as False New York Times (furzy). Quelle surprise!



Exclusive: DeSantis’ biggest donor says he won’t give more money unless changes are made Reuters (furzy)

Obama biographer who revealed ex-president’s ‘gay fantasies’ and ‘cheating’ behind Michelle’s back brands him ‘as insecure as TRUMP ‘ and warns ‘lazy’ ex-leader would be ‘terrible’ on SCOTUS Daily Mail

Dianne Feinstein has surrendered decision-making on legal matters to her daughter, but the 90-year-old is still one of the most powerful lawmakers in the country Business Insider (Kevin W)

Mexican cartels exploit US government’s CBP One app Washington Examiner (guurst)

Twitch streamer’s ‘huge giveaway’ sparks police response at Union Square in NYC CNN (furzy)

Our No Longer Free Press

Wikipedia Co-Founder Condemns It: “Most Biased Encyclopedia” in History SYSTEM UPDATE (BC)

Woke Watch

Doing the Work:The Protestant ethic and the spirit of wokeness Ian Buruma, Harpers (Anthony L)


What Can You Do When A.I. Lies About You? New York Times. BC:

People need to grow up and learn the limits of this type of technology. It is impossible to prevent incorrect information coming out of a tech that is essentially only (a very good) auto-complete engine. AI does not remove the responsibility of human’s in the loop, and if there is no human in the loop, then who cares what some AI said?

If your neighbor asks a Magic Eightball if you stole their Amazon package, and then decides to act relying solely on that information, then you should be able to sue your neighbor if they defame or damage you erroneously. However, suing the manufacturer of the Magic Eightball is ridiculous. It’s also like suing your weather app when your event is ruined because there was a storm on a day that it said would be clear.

How bonds ate the entire financial system Financial Times (Kevin W). Ahem, private equity is far and away the biggest source of fees not only to major financial firms but also the most prestigious and influential law firms in the US and UK, and the big international consulting firms too.

The Bezzle

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura Plans To Launch His Own Marijuana Brand As State’s Legalization Law Takes Effect Marijuana Moment (Mark G).

It’s not just Disney losing customers—nearly 2 million people stopped subscribing to Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming service Yahoo! (Kevin W)

Amazon Clinic now offers video doctor visits in all 50 states The Verge. Kevin W: “Your health in Amazon’s hands. What could possibly go wrong?”

On ethics and economics Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Remote work is killing productivity, the experts and CEOs say—except it just surged the most in nearly 3 years Fortune (Kevin W). ZOMG, this is what yours truly predicted with work from home, once the bugs were ironed out. A lot of office time is devoted to meetings which are largely time sinks but serve for management to assert authority. Another in-office time sink is gossip and politicking. The second time-waster does not go away with work from home but is reduced.

Google Offers Employees On-Campus Hotel ‘Special’ To Lure Workers Back To the Office CNBC

Global Graduate Outlook Survey 2023 CFA Institute. Micael T: “….”finance has replaced healthcare and medicine as the top-ranked profession in terms of career prospects.’ Killing the host, killing the host.”

$30: The Entrance Fee to America’s Museums Keeps Rising New York Times. This is far from the most important injustice suffered by the poor and even the middle class, but it is a disgrace that museums are not free. Look at the messages: Poor people do not deserve free access to beautiful things and spaces. Poor people are not capable of appreciating high culture.

Antidote du jour (Robert H). It is way too easy to anthropomorphize cats, but that facial expression looking at a big heap of what no self respecting cat would regard as food…

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. griffen

    Oil prices, Mbs and Bidenonimcs. It’s a match made somewhere other than heaven, as I’ve observed the average price per gallon for good old ’87 octane has ratcheted since shortly after the week of July 4th holiday. Best recall, is about $3.10 to about $3.60 mid week Wednesday evening. Regionally this is specific to the southeastern US.

    Some economic shill on the CNBC channel Friday morning was proclaiming a “Goldilocks” type of economy in the US. I’ll click my heels a few times to see if I land somewhere new. Economic shills come in both brands, Red and Blue !!

    1. Louis Fyne

      we live in a bizzaro world of distortions right now….

      the US is at full employment but gasoline is *relatively* cheap and US spot natural gas is at bargain levels (presumably part of all this is due to the EU de-industrializing, keeping a lid on demand; and work from home affecting commuting fuel demand)

      all the while supposedly the US fracking jig is up in the near future.

      During the next recession (whenever that is), we may see energy prices stay high even with slack demand….which would go counter to traditional recessions.

      1. digi_owl

        Hasn’t Biden been dipping into the petroleum reserve at an unprecedented (heh) rate in order to keep pump prices low?

        USA, modern Rome. And the grain dole equivalent is about to run out…

      2. GramSci

        “gasoline is *relatively* cheap”

        On a multi-state road trip a week ago, the mean gasoline price was $3.60, approaching a 21st century high. (Albeit unadjusted for inflation).

        1. some guy

          It has been higher at points in the past. And if we did an honest adjustment for inflation, it has been even more-higher at certain times in the past.

          However, it is still not high enough. It is not high enough until it is high enough to destroy significant demand. It needs to be high enough to torture car-drivers into hypermiling and other methods of using their cars more efficiently.

          1. digi_owl

            Good luck with that. Haven’t worked in Norway for the last 30+ years.

            And yeah, i see the irony in an oil nation trying to drive down petroleum usage.

            Even with pr liter prices that will send an American into shock, we still have adopted a near copy of US car obsessed suburbia.

            1. Some Guy

              Wikipedia puts traffic deaths per 100k residents in Norway at 2, and in the US, at 13, so you’ve still got some work to do to catch up, I am afraid.

              1. digi_owl

                Used to be far worse, but there are mandatory driving lessens for night and icy roads as well as harsh fines for traffic violations.

                Road quality is also being steadily improved. But national government is deathly afraid of triggering runaway inflation by overspending, while regional tiers are borderline broke.

                Biggest dangers right now are young, overconfident, drivers, and foreign trucks.

                The first only experience can do anything with, sadly.

                and the second is being dealt with by random traffic stops checking everything from rest periods to the state of the vehicle.

                And boy have there been some horror stories in the media. Like back axles being held in place by cargo straps.

                Sadly our export oriented salmon farms in particular contract deliveries to the lowest bidder.

        2. Tom Stone

          Those gas prices look mighty good to someone from California, it’s$5 and change here in Sonoma County, an hour’s drive from the refinery.

        3. kareninca

          I live in Silicon Valley, and regular gas is $5.19 per gallon at the station on the nearest corner. It is possible to find cheaper gas if you want to drive around to find it, but it isn’t all that much cheaper, and the one time that I drove an extra mile for the cheaper gas, I was approached at the pump by a young woman with a gas can who was hoping I would fill it for her (I gave her a few bucks instead). I haven’t been back there since I am used to grocery store panhandling but not actual gasoline requests.

      3. griffen

        Someone beat me to the punch. But, my analogy above about gasoline is inherently flawed, for you see inflation circa February 2021 was still moderating after the apparent, or supposed, ending of the national emergency (pandemic sorta but not, pick your less evil). However with the inflation of most household items, daily staples such as milk, dairy, eggs and produce let alone meat staples as well I suggest my $3.50 purchasing power was greater 28 to 32 months ago than it is today.

        Then there’s the whole angle of this administration and being a bit feckless on the when, or whether, do they, when it comes to actually putting reserves back into the SPR. Per the below, recent data from the US Energy dept.

  2. Jen

    Amazon recently took over the primary care practice I’ve been going to. The new patient registration process required me to read through something like 12 different liability waivers and arbitration agreements (which I could then opt out of by notifying them in writing that I wished to do so). They could have made the whole process easier by simply stating “we take no responsibility for any of the care we provide.”

    Needless to say, I have not completed the registration and am in search of a new PCP.

    They also don’t have any physicians on staff at the moment. The two who were working there bailed right before the Amazon takeover was announced.

    1. Reply

      Subscription model?
      Just-in-time delivery?
      Adverts custom-tailored to your Amazon order history?
      Who knows what marvels await! /s

          1. chris

            Seattle exploding due to a dragon emerging really would be the icing on the cake for 2023. The GOP would no doubt nominate it to run for president…

            Although, I really would like to see what all the so called “Masters of the Universe” would do if something like the Ghost Dance worked as in the stories. Can you imagine hundreds of people dancing behind a shaman in the street, and they’ve become bullet proof and the weapons used against them fail, and all the people are glowing? I half expect the first several of those outbursts would be vanished by the media. But if it kept happening…anyway. It’s just a story.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘They also don’t have any physicians on staff at the moment. The two who were working there bailed right before the Amazon takeover was announced.’

      Now that is a really bad sign that of what sort of doctors that Amazon will be able to employ. Good luck getting onto a new PCP. Maybe it might be worth asking where those two doctors went to and if it is near where you live.

      1. Jen

        For about 35 seconds between the time that One Medical bought out Iora Health and Amazon bought One Medical.

    3. Carly

      After I got a new medical provider, I called my credit card company which autopays the $100 per year that One Medical charged before being bought by the Bezoar.

      “This is a fraudulent charge…”
      Get me a refund from them.

      It worked. Haven’t heard from them. If and when I do, will tell One Medical to “Go to my payment portal.”

  3. Wæsfjord

    Re Chomsky Interview on Propaganda, Ukraine

    The power of western propaganda is immense. As an example, my brother has actually read Manufacturing Consent but is still heavily in thrall to media like The Guardian. The programming is deep, insidious and all-encompassing. It is like alcoholism or cultism but more totalitarian. This is modern totalitarianism. Not obvious like 1984 but no less total.

    1. The Rev Kev

      But that can’t be right. We in Oceania have always been at war with Eurasia, haven’t we?

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      the Blue-Anon kool-aid is notoriously addictive – almost all my left-leaning friends have drank deeply – to be against the Ukraine proxy war is unpatriotic and lacks pragmatism according to them – the refrain from Nick Lowe’s song “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” echoes on a loop in my mind – still brings me to tears –
      regarding the Guardian, the piece in links yesterday from Caitlin Johnstone explains it quite succinctly – true not obvious today like 1984 but definitely a Brave New World flavor – friendly fascism is the new totalitarianism – as chilling as the old one –
      here’s the Caitlin link if you missed it –

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          saw that one RK and the patriotic ‘roo on warships – have grown to like Caitlin’s take on things – down under stopped asking about Assange too – perfect for a vassal state – yep, the Brave New World is upon us – Huxley gave an interesting talk at UC Berkley in ’62 you may find interesting –

        1. Kurtismayfield

          That video is 12 years old. People were talking about the Corporate surveillance state in the 0’s a lot, and we still gave it all away.

    3. JohnA

      The ridiculous pro Ukraine propaganda is not simply confined to the news and comment pages in the Guardian either. Book reviews, theatre reviews, sports pages, travel, culture and style all frequently feature anti-Russia/pro Ukraine puff pieces. That also goes for most western media.
      i also saw a clip from Swedish TV this morning where a high ranking Swedish military officer was asked if Ukraine could recapture Crimea. His answer was ‘not this year’ in his opinion, but there was not a hint of ‘never’. Nor is there ever any discussion of what the population of Crimea want, which is clearly overwhelmingly to stay with Russia.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Ukrainians had their own plans for Crimea with this offensive. Former Zelensky advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said that the idea was to get to the sea to cut off any access to Crimea and to destroy the Kersh bridge. Then, with 2 million people trapped with no way to get out and no food or water, the Ukrainians could then use them as a negotiating bargaining chip.

      1. Kouros

        Mate, are you not getting that it is the fellowship at NC that creates the big wake that pulls you in ultimately?

        1. ambrit

          My take is that NC and ‘adjacent’ sites are a group of lifeboats rescuing stragglers from the massive undertow coming from the sinking of the Ship of State.
          “Row mates row! The stern is lifting!”

    1. griffen

      I’m catching up on the news after Wednesday, but part 1 is just remarkable. Get to the roughly 7 minute mark of the interview, and then the conversation turns to dialing up father while conducting a business meeting. yeah something seems a little bit skewed in that respect.

      Joe just loves his son, we all know. Very little of this passes the smell test.

      1. ambrit

        Yes possibly, but this doesn’t even rise to the level of “Honest Graft.” The Tammany Hall ward bosses would be aghast at the utterly destructive, to the Public, policies in general use today.

        1. Pat

          I haven’t gotten that deep in my reading yet, but so far it certainly appears as bad as Tammany Hall was there was a wider spread of the population sharing in the spoils that kept the political bosses in power.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      what a world where Tucker becomes a go to for news – keep it to myself, the Blu-Anon crowd acts like they swallowed bug if i mention him – but a while back when he was still with Fox i started checking him out – started when he interviewed Tulsi Gabbard about Assad – ya know her, Hellery called her a Russian asset of course – and Greenwald too – being free of Fox has been a good thing for him –

      1. Shane Mage

        ” Greenwald too – being free of Fox has been a good thing for him”–for “Fox” read “Salon”

  4. The Rev Kev

    “After Government Cyanide Bomb Poisons Boy, Family Pushes Ban”

    This is a must read article and a bit of a shocker. So the US Wildlife Service – aka the “hired gun of the livestock industry” – is going around the country planting what are in essence land mines. That is literally what they are. Actually it may be worse than that. If in wartime a country used a land mine that shot out a cloud of sodium cyanide, then that country could be accused of using chemical warfare as a weapon and may attract the interest of The Hague. But here, in order to protect the financial interests of the livestock industry, they are planting these M-44 land mines around the country without even so much as a warning sign. What is the US Wildlife Service going to do next for the livestock industry? Start spraying cluster munitions next to places that have herds?

    1. hemeantwell

      ‘without even so much as a warning sign.’
      Agog here as well. Do they think that coyotes will become wary if they see any sign of humans? Couldn’t that be addressed by placing signs at a greater distance from the mine? It’s hard not to get into a Bundyite mindset and imagine, as in Fight Club, that someone is calculating the likelihood of ‘unexpected human contact with munitions’ and cost-benefiting that against livestock preservation.

      1. Doc

        Being American I already know the value of human life. I’d like to think that we live in a “society” that vaules any human live over that of livestock. However, this country values property of the wealthy over human life. Sad.

      2. Jabura Basaidai

        and don’t forget those gruesome snap traps that break a leg or crush a snout – been aware and against for a long time – boy, would i like to go hunting too……hehehehe – not for wolves –

    2. semper loquitur

      Years ago, I read an article in Harper’s about those motherless b@stards and their cyanide bombs. One unit, in Montana if memory serves, would test them out by going to local animal shelters and taking stray dogs into the woods to gas them. One service member quit in a rage after watching the same dog get gassed over and over to the amusement of the crew looking on. That service selects for animal torturers.

    3. MT_Wild

      Clarification: U.S. Dept of Agri ulture-Wildlife Services, not Dept of Interior-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

      Two very different agencies.

      1. juno mas

        Yes. And you would likely know the difference: Leader of the DI-USFW Service is a former Montana state wildlife official (and a wildlife scientist).

        1. MT_Wild

          Actually a lawyer by training I believe. Not sure about her undergrad. There has been complaints that she is unqualified for her position because of her educational background.

          I’ve met her several times, I don’t have any issues with her either way.

    4. Val

      I encourage all Americans to learn everything they can about the deranged nightmare that is USDA Wildlife Services.

  5. Stephen

    Niger is Fourth Country in Sahel to Experience Anti-Western Coup

    I am no expert on that region of Africa: my own experience of that continent has mainly been confined to South Africa. But, instinctively I suspect that any coup of this type would possibly be rationalised as anti colonial or anti western or anti imperialist. Just as in the west, regime “approved” demonstrations are typically anti racist or anti hate. Am sure that internal political issues are enough to foment such coups in the Sahel, even if there were conversations with various outsiders as well. The two events are not mutually exclusive.

    Having said that, I do wonder if it will provoke a geopolitical spark point anyway. After all, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was driven by indigenous terrorists who wanted Austria-Hungary out of Bosnia. No one has shown that Russia was involved, and it does not seem that the Serbian government played a role officially, even if some individual officers did. The evidence is very unclear from what I have read. But, it led to World War 1. Things even looked calm for a couple of weeks until the crisis for war broke out. Not saying that will happen here but hard to predict where these things will go once the various powers perceive something as a theatre for conflict and become worried about loss of prestige

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Tiniwaren rock.
        i play them at the Wilderness Bar quite often…and they’ve found their way, thereby, into numerous young adult playlists.

  6. SocalJimObjects

    Additional Tech news for the weekend.

    Asian MIT grad asks AI to make her photo more ‘professional,’ gets turned into white woman,

    Now this one I really enjoyed, I might be biased because I can be a Japanophile, but IMO, the Japanese has this knack of using technology to make their work more efficient, while not removing humans from the loop as it should be. If you look at the attached video, it’s clear that the transparent screen is intended for a two way communication, so the person working at the Information counter will not need to fear for his job. Another example: the on time percentage of the Japanese train system is very high and I believe this is the result of having humans direct passenger traffic during peak times.

  7. JohnnyGL

    I enjoyed the ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ explanation regarding labor productivity in fortune.

    If productivity falls…it’s those lazy remote workers.

    If productivity rises…it’s because management worked smarter, not harder with tech, etc…

    1. Mikel

      Much of that alleged “productivity” was about cheap money. It hid a multitude of sins and misspent budgets.
      So many companies just throwing out buzzwords (“creativity” “innovation” “productivity”) while all they are really doing is hoping they can cut costs and hold on to any locked in low interest rate cash long enough not to have to refinance or get loans at higher rates.

  8. GlassHammer

    On a personal level paying attention to COVID is starting to feel like checking the weather forecast. “Honey is the plague severity high or low today?”

    On a professionallevel COVID is starting to feel like recurring absenteeism. “Who is out again this week, we need to find someone else to do the work or we have to tell the customer there will be another delay.”

    1. semper loquitur

      “On a personal level paying attention to COVID is starting to feel like checking the weather forecast. “Honey is the plague severity high or low today?””

      At least people recognize that the weather is still a real and important factor in their lives. A beloved younger friend, a real firecracker of a lady, has recently “recovered” from her second bout of COVID. She informed me she’s “covered” for the next six months now due to natural immunity. It’s not as if she was masking or using sprays or anything anyway.

      I informed her that she could still transmit COVID and that natural immunity wasn’t really a thing. I didn’t have the heart to mention long COVID. This sucks.

      1. JBird4049

        Has anyone brought up “Typhoid” Mary Mallon?

        Her experience had the racism against the Irish of the times, the just newly discovered, not widely understood, knowledge of infectious but not sick carriers, the extremely rude health inspector who first found her, the yellow press, which ginned up the situation, and her comparatively well paying, respected job being threatened by her condition. It has much of the same elements of today, just rearranged.

        When I read up on it, it became much more than just a single woman who was a spreader of a deadly disease. Newly acquired medical knowledge, government regulations, race and class bigotry, arrogance, the yellow press of the times, and poverty, which all figures in the Covid Pandemic. And I now remember an old, but good, term for sensationalist, often salacious, usually poor source, and misinformative journalism of then and can be used today. They both use similar methods, although I would call the current press much more malign and damaging, even if the 1890s press did help to create the Spanish-American War, which led to the American Empire.

  9. Huang

    “China wants to limit minors to no more than two hours a day on their phones”
    To make an inappropriate analogy, phone control are similar to gun control
    Only legal guns can be restricted by the regulations, only a small part of ‘good kids’ would be restriced by the regulations. And they are generally not the target of the regulations.

    I don’t think the proposal is a smart one, but I guess that it might relate to the pressure from fertility rate.
    Most families in China are dual-income, and it is usually difficult for parents to spend too much time with their children. Phone limitations may be an attempt to reduce stress on parents to look after more than one kids(so that they may try to have new babies xd).
    It is obvious that most of the content in this proposal is to give parents the authority to manage their children.

    “Mobile internet service providers should also actively create content that “disseminates core socialist values” and “forges a sense of community of the Chinese nation,” the draft says.”
    Forget those empty words, every report will have something like that.

    More important thing(from proposal):
    “Under the minor mode, mobile Internet information service providers should provide age-based content services for minors and create an exclusive content pool.”

  10. The Rev Kev

    “US lawmakers, governor wish Coast Guard happy birthday using images of Turkish ships”

    This keeps on happening where Congress people keep on using images of Russian ships and aircraft to celebrate the US armed forces. But here? Well it a is a perfectly reasonable mistake that. I mean, it is kinda hard these days to find US Coast Guard ships tasked to defend, well, the US coast so that their photos can be taken. Just a coupla days ago I read that the US Coast Guard now gets to patrol the coastline of Papua New Guinea. Bonus points if you know where Papua New Guinea even is-

    1. Louis Fyne

      exhibit #363 on why 25 year olds should not run institutional social media accounts.

      either that or military and non-military PR departments have lots of competence rot

      1. The Rev Kev

        I find it hard to understand this. I just typed in ‘US Coast Guard ship’ into Google Images and a whole stack came back. Maybe those 25 years-olds did it on their mobiles and because the screens are so small, they missed the bit where they were actually Turkish ships.

        Either that or they had Covid brain fog.

      2. digi_owl

        Likely subcontractors multiple layers deep, that pulled some random military vessels from a stock photos service.

    2. chuck roast

      Never dis the coasties. For near shore and off-shore sailers and fishermen they are the only lifeline, and in my experience they take their job seriously. Try to get in the USCG. Good luck. You will need at least a couple of years of uni and exceptional test scores. This ain’t the fat-boy, knucklehead army. They are diligent about lifting, cleaning, repairing and painting channel marker buoys. In many years of sailing I found only one buoy missing from where it was supposed to be on the chart. If you see them in a bar, buy them a beer. If you see them in a coffee shop buy them a coffee. Trust me…they have yet to crapified.

  11. Doug

    It’s always instructive to read the range of perspectives available at NakedCap. Today, for example, the NYT points out with regard to AI lies:

    “If your neighbor asks a Magic Eightball if you stole their Amazon package, and then decides to act relying solely on that information, then you should be able to sue your neighbor if they defame or damage you erroneously”

    Meanwhile, Matt Taibbi shares that Jack Smith is a lunatic because the indictment cannot possibly prove Trump deliberately ignored ‘the truth’

    So, yes, you should be able to sue your neighbor for damaging you for acting on the Magic Eightball answer and, in doing so, not have to prove that your neighbor ‘knowingly ignored the truth’ and/or “had a first amendment right to believe the Magic Eightball’s answer”.

    However, only a lunatic would indict Trump for disrupting an administrative procedure of government because Trump has a 1st Amendment right to do anything he wants so long as he believed he was right — and that includes even if the beliefs came from asking questions a Magic Eightball whether the election was stolen.

    Speaking on behalf of Magic Eightball-believing neighbors who seek retrieval of stolen property by any means necessary that they know their neighbors stole and also have an iron-clad 1st Amendment right to do anything they wish based on that belief with impunity, I’d say the ‘fake justice system’ needs to wake up. Love the neighbor? Are you kidding me?

    1. ChrisPacific

      None of this would be a problem if the OpenAI/Microsoft/Google of the world weren’t promoting the Magic Eight Ball as being able to answer all your questions accurately and solve all your problems. Granted they have fine print disclaimers that point out the accuracy issue, but if people properly understood it then the whole sales pitch would come crashing down.

      1. David in Friday Harbor

        If you design and sell a Magic 8-Ball with one panel that comes up “Your Neighbor is a Thief” and my neighbor attacks me after consulting your 8-Ball when his ScAmazon package goes missing, I’m going to sue the crap out of you.

        This is the core problem with AI: it is designed to answer questions in a way that confirms the questioner’s bias.

        AI is reckless by design and the people who put it out there deserve to be held accountable for the consequences of their recklessness.

        1. hunkerdown

          Predictive policing tools are already legalized. You’re saying you only want the police to have them, in effect.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Cleveland was the 19th century Gilded Age version of Silicon Valley.

      It is even more interesting how Pittsburgh, which had similar wealth,doesn’t have the same institutions as Cleveland.

      The Mellon family (Pittsburgh) must not have been fond of classical arts

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      if from the tri county area entrance to the Detroit Institute of Art is free – out of area – $8

  12. pjay

    Max and Aaron responded to RFK Jr. on Israel yesterday on the Grayzone webcast. As I’ve said before, Kennedy’s views on this subject sadden me greatly, since he provides such an important counter to mainstream narratives on other issues. But on Israel… wow.

    1. jefemt

      Wait, RFK, Jr WAS allowed on youtube? Or is it just more punditry sniping where RFK, Jr. is not given an opportunity to speak?

      Israel is a tar baby– no matter what opinion held, you are gonna get sticky-dirty and reviled by someone…

      What was the line by Michael Franks…every night we fuss and fight like Arabs and like Jews….

      1. pjay

        This is absolutely not an ambush of RFK Jr. Just the opposite. They use Kennedy’s own words. And Kennedy’s comments are not just the usual cautious ambiguity for political expediency. The are outlandish talking points that sound like the extreme right-wing of AIPAC or Likud. His comments on Iran are similarly unhinged. Given his views on many other issues, these comments are shocking to me – as they are to the Grayzone guys.

        Kennedy did not just have a bad day on Jimmy Dore. I have seen similar commentary from him many times now. It does show how ridiculous the Democrats were in trying to brand him as antisemitic I suppose.

        1. GF

          I thought the Jimmy Dore segment at the Yuma border wall was very enlightening. We live in Arizona and hear nothing like what he presented, especially regarding the cartels. Thanks to the NC commenter for the short clip.

    2. nippersdad

      BJG also had a great fact checking segment on RFK’s statements with an actual Palestinian activist on her Bad Faith podcast.

      Yeah, RFK is not coming off well on this issue. I have heard it said that he used to be a lot more nuanced, so the real question appears to be what does Rabbi Schmuley have on him?

    3. britzklieg

      I left a similar comment to the same link which, like all my comments, is being “moderated” so I’m pleased your’s got through.

      And I’ll add that as the segment on Bobby Jr is segueing into the next subject, Trumps indictment (with Michael Tracey), Aaron makes an astute comment which some might miss. He reminds that the same people (beltway Democrats and their self-described “liberal” concubines) who are screaming “coup” about Jan. 6 were the first people on their feet and cheering Trump when he proclaimed Juan Guaido president of Venezuela in an actual attempted coup against the Maduro government.

        1. britzklieg

          decidedly no way out and never in a million years would I vote for either

          we’re ^*%#ed

  13. digi_owl

    Chomsky and Kissinger, Kissinger and Chomsky.

    USA really can’t let go of the 60s, can it?

    1. greenfire

      Kissinger, the war criminal at 100 years old, displays infinitely more diplomatic acumen than the entire Biden State Dept. team of Obama/Clinton warmongering retreads.

      1. Cassandra

        And three years ago, the once-brilliant Chomsky assured us that it was absolutely essential that we vote for Biden. Bah.

      2. Michaelmas

        greenfire: Kissinger, the war criminal at 100 years old, displays infinitely more diplomatic acumen than the entire Biden State Dept. team of Obama/Clinton warmongering retreads.

        During the Nixon presidency, Kissinger advised Nixon to do two very astute things that nevertheless aren’t part of his war criminal legend and so have been kept off the record (not least by Kissinger himself in his own books.)

        [1] In 1971-71, the Soviets started basing nuclear bombers and subs in Cienfuegos Bay in Cuba again. Kissinger rightly advised Nixon that there was absolutely no point in having a Cuba Crisis II over it, and to just ignore it.

        [2] In 1970, the USSR was having border altercations with China and put out feelers to the Nixon administration asking how the US would view the Soviets using nuclear weapons on the Chinese in those altercations. Kissinger made clear to the Soviets that the US would regard such a thing with extreme prejudice

        1. Daniil Adamov

          This, along with Kissinger’s rapprochement with China, strikes me as something any basically sane individual in his place would have pushed for. No special competence let alone morality necessary. On the other hand, perhaps I shouldn’t take “basic sanity” in international affairs for granted.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli extremists attempt to storm Catholic church and monastery”

    Well of course they are. They want that Catholic church and monastery for themselves because they are entitled to them. It is just not Muslims that are constantly being attacked by settlers and their ilk but Christians as well because they want them out of Jerusalem too. Often those extremists will spit on Christian monks just walking down the street though there was this one time that one monk happened to be a former American gridiron player who, forgetting his vows, raised the guy off the ground to point out the errors of his way. Do not be surprised to read more stories in the coming years of more attacks on Christian cemeteries, churches, monasteries, etc. by these fanatics. And of course the Israeli army and police will not only look the other way but will actually help these fanatics. You get much more religious freedom in Iran-

    Erdogan once said that democracy was like a train and when you got where you wanted, you got off. I think that the same is true of these extremists and now they are trying to cement their power in the government. Not a good time to be a secularist in Israel right now.

    1. digi_owl

      > You get much more religious freedom in Iran-

      Was there not Jews and Christians in high positions inside the Ottoman empire?

      I what i have been told is true, then say Iraq was a largely secular nation under the Ottoman empire. It was only after WW1, and confused meddling by the new British governors, that it turned into a religious mess.

      Frankly the middle east is a massive blend of blowbacks and cobra effects thanks to westerners meddling in affairs they do not comprehend.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I wouldn’t call the Ottoman Empire, with its Caliphate, religious law and powerful Muslim clergy, “secular”, and I really doubt Iraq was very different from the rest of it. What the Ottomans did have, moreso in the early centuries, was relative tolerance and peaceful coexistence between different religious communities. And yes, Christians and Jews did receive important posts, albeit (IIRC) mainly those dealing with their own communities. In practical terms the society might look “secular” if one compares it to the expectations of a hardcore rigid theocracy.

        By the way, Israel’s religious system is at least partly derived from that of the Ottomans.

      2. flora

        I think after WWI the US and UK knew exactly what they were doing to keep the old Ottoman empire broken into pieces that would be too weak to ever resist the West. / my 2 cents

        1. undercurrent

          Some people like to stop and smell the roses, while others, like the Brits and the Americans, like to stop and smell the oil.

    2. Kirkus

      Maybe someday they can overtake the Catholic church and become the world’s second largest land’owner’.

  15. Martin Oline

    Re: With Marines on Persian Gulf vessels, is Biden risking war with Iran? Reagan used to scare me with his talk of ‘many people think we are living in the end days’ but Brandon is a whole new creature. I think Robert Barnes is quite correct when he says Biden is not a Mafioso but only a street level thug. This has always been obvious in his glee at bullying people around him. Now he is looking for another nation to beat up before the election. Ukraine has failed miserably and China is a project that the Pentagon won’t touch with good reason. What’s left for him to mess with? North Korea could be as bad as China even with a nice beach head in South Korea. The North adjoins both China and Russia. I know, let”s bomb Iran before the elections! What could go wrong?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Even Trump knew enough to not bomb Iran. There are more than a few bases near Iran to threaten it but conversely, that means that they are also within range of Iranian missiles. You think that those Patriot batteries would protect them? And if Biden bombed Iran, there would be no warnings this time for any missile strikes like there was last time.

      One thing that I wondered. When the Iranians take a ship, it is usually in response to the west taking one of their ships. And that means that sooner or later the Iranians will release those ships. So if you were a ship owner, would you want US military forces aboard your ship which might end up in a firefight with Iranian forces that could lead to the loss of your ship? Does your insurance sky-rocket if you take aboard US military forces?

    2. Louis Fyne

      It is interesting that classical history (influenced by German writers) makes great hay out of the Roman defeat at the Teutenbourg Forest but doesn’t give equal respect for of the Parthian victory at Carrhae, a defeat for Rome (arguably) even worse that what the Germans did.

      If the US = Rome, we are full of enough hubris that we can whip those “unworthy” Iranians (Parthians).

      Will American hawks meet the karmic fate as Crassus? (..without getting innocent people and American 22 year olds killed)

      1. vao

        Rome and Persia were at war for many, many centuries — a state punctuated by numerous truces (the 50 years peace treaty, the eternal peace treaty, etc).

        Despite ephemeral successes, the Romans never managed to submit the Persians, losing numerous armies (and three emperors, beside the triumvir Crassus) in large pitched battles in the course of numerous campaigns. The battles of Barbalissos and Edessa, in particular, were Roman defeats even larger than Carrhae.

        Basically, the Persians — whether Parthians or Sassanids — had as big an empire as Rome, fielded as large and well-equipped armies as Rome, led by generals as capable and experienced as the Romans. It is indeed surprising that the campaigns in the East get unnoticed, despite being so strategically important, requiring so many resources, and capturing so much the attention of the Roman leadership for so long.

        Teutoburg resulted in Rome writing off the conquest of German lands. Conversely, it became almost a must for any new Roman emperor to launch a campaign against the Persians in the hope of avenging past defeats, becoming the new Alexander — and finally controlling the last leg of the ancient Silk Road, which made the fortune of Persia…

        1. Daniil Adamov

          I’d say they gave roughly as good as they got. Even conquered most of Mesopotamia once or twice. But they never achieved this grand objective of repeating Alexander’s success, right. On the other hand, the Roman Empire survived all those failures and was done in by entirely different problems. Defeats were costly and humiliating but far from fatal. I suspect America can afford many such defeats as well.

          1. vao

            More important than Mesopotamia was Armenia; controlling that kingdom was the core objective for both empires — mainly because of the trade routes. Plenty of back and forth, with uneasy pacts of the kind “Armenian king to be selected by Persia but to be approved by Rome”.

            But then, it still odd that those very long and eventful forays by Rome against Persia are not as well-known or present in popular culture as the very long and eventful forays of the crusaders in the Near East.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The look on that cat was priceless. Saw a cartoon this week saying that if cats ruled the world, there would be only two types of restaurants – wet or dry. And you couldn’t have a restaurant serving both types as cats aren’t into that hoity-toity fusion cuisine.

  16. hemeantwell

    Re Burusma on wokeness and evangelical Protestantism, I found his contrast with Catholicism interesting, he teased out elements of Weber I wasn’t aware of.

    But his passing reference to Maoism overlooked similarities with Maoist thought reform practices, as described by Robert Lifton and others. The similarity lies most strongly in the goal, which is for the individual to show that they’ve gotten their minds right by denouncing themselves (and I guess we should draw in the Stalinist purge trials here) and promising rectitude. I wonder how similar the strength of the grinding down preliminary is, since thought reform sessions tended to be relentlessly, frighteningly confrontive, while the Protestant format is more a matter of stern reproval, backed up by a shaming community. In any case I guess this underlines how much Catholicism wanted to keep remonstrative power under the control of church officials, community involvement isn’t so important, while Protestants and Maoists use penance imposition to mobilize community power in the service of the cause.

  17. Carolinian

    From the NYT museums article.

    “Museums are really struggling” in part because the internet has taught younger generations that culture should be cheap, if not free, Philbrick said. “If you are used to getting music basically for free on your phone, why pay for art?” he said. “The museum format is antithetical to how some people are used to getting culture.”

    The Met in NY–to their credit–has a good website with excellent jpegs of most of their artworks. I used to love going there but these days a visit to NYC to see the museums would probably make the $30 admission the least of my expenses. And if you live in the city you can still get in on the “you must pay something” basis.

    The article makes a convincing case that art museums are facing financial problems. Since they are tourism magnets maybe governments, local and federal, should be doing more to support them. Beats sending money to Zelensky.

    1. JBird4049

      There is the admission price of $39.95 to the California Academy of Science and the $50 to the San Francisco Museum of Modern. I guess I could get a membership if I get back to going to those museums. At least the Asian and the de Young museums are $10-15 as I recall.

      The prices do not cover the special exhibits which they always have. Nice.

      The only reason I can think of why the big differences in prices is that the natural science and modern art museums are more fashionable with the PMC and tech workers. I would think that the Asian museum would have a higher price as that is the nicest museum although it is in one of the older buildings in the city. Excellent art, layout, lighting, everything.

      Thinking on it, it would cost me a hundred dollars for an exhibit once parking or bus fare, the regular admission, and the exhibit surcharge were added up. That is crazy. I least I don’t like painting after 1950 or so, aside from Picasso.

    2. bayoustjohndavid

      Government money? Paging Ron DeSantis, and I’d partly agree with all of the conservative pols who made a big deal over funding DEI programs.
      The article mentioned the Art Institute, but left out the recent decision to terminate volunteer docent program. It’s great to create more paid positions, but funding that with increased admission for everybody*, is equivalent to regressive taxation. Also, the training program will probably add one or more executive positions. In the fiscal year ending June 2022 (the latest I found on a quick search) the Art Institute had 20 “key” employees making 190K-890K.** That’s top executives, I don’t know how many curators there are making how much. For personal reasons, I started looking at how top heavy government staffs after post-Katrina layoffs, but soon started looking at nonprofits. Museums around the country seem to have a lot more curators (and other titled positions) than they did at the start of the century.
      The reporter also mentioned unionized staff at the Guggenheim, yeah well, I saw an interesting “Art Newspaper” article about the Guggenheim.***
      Also, it mentioned the increased costs of transporting art works. Well, here in New Orleans, NOMA and the Ogden both have free days (thanks to a foundation not affiliated with the museums) for Louisiana residents. Because my job is better on vacation time than the pay I’d need to travel much, I take off a few days a year to walk around downtown and stop in the Ogden or walk around City Park and go to NOMA. The vast sections that are almost always closed while new exhibits are being prepared make me think I’d feel ripped off if I had paid full admission. It would mean less work for MFAs, but less constant changing of displays and exhibitions could probably keep costs, and therefore admissions fees, down considerably. Nothing against MFAs but there does seem to be some job stuffing (see the Gaius Baltar piece linked above.) at museums.
      If I wanted to write a lengthy blog post, I would examine the NYT piece from the perspective of the Gaius Baltar piece.

      *Don’t know if the art institute is one of them, but some museums offset their increased admission fees, with free of greatly reduced admission for ebt cardholders. That’s another example of why the precariat resent the poor, admittedly a minor example.
      Didn’t seem to be displaying properly when I tried inserting as links

  18. britzklieg

    In last night’s Gray Zone, Aaron Mate makes the astute observation that the same people who are ranting about Trump’s so-called January 6 “coup” (beltway Democrats and their self-described “liberal” concubines) were the first to stand up and cheer when Trump proclaimed Juan Guaido President of Venezuela in the failed attempt to “coup” Maduro’s government. This is followed by 20 minutes from Michael Tracey taking apart Jack Smith and is worth a listen.

    The first hour is Max and Aaron eviscerating Bobby Jr’s unhinged (and I mean bat-guano crazy unhinged) lies in support of Israel’s murderous, blood-soaked apartheid state.

    Thank the god-I-don’t-believe-in for Dr. Cornel West because the Democrats are offering less than nothing for 2024… and I do not believe for a moment that replacing scumbag Biden with another DNC apparatchik will make an iota of difference.

  19. Henry Moon Pie

    Protestant ethic and wokism–

    This essay criticizes those most of us criticize. It mentions favorably those we like like Adolph Reed. But, I’m sorry, the piece is based on the theological concept of “Elect,” and the author’s understanding of it and the history of theology in general is scattered and confused.

    The closest I can come to finding Buruma’s definition of “Elect” is here:

    This is why John McWhorter, the author of Woke Racism, decided to drop woke as a descriptor of antiracism evangelists and instead call them “the Elect.” This has the right religious and class connotations. The Elect, he writes, are people who “see themselves as having been chosen . . . as understanding something most do not.”

    So Buruma relies on McWhorter, a linguist not a theologian, for his definition of “Elect” which comes out as “people who see themselves as having been chosen.” Chosen for what? Starting shortstop on the company softball team?

    Here’s what “Elect” is about. From its beginnings, Christians and Christian theologians have asked themselves and “searched the Scriptures” for a single answer to, “Why are some saved and some damned?” Prior to the Reformation, in the West, the answer was rather simple: if you were baptized and in good standing in the Church, you were saved. There might be some time in Purgatory, but Hell was not in your future. That’s why excommunication, which severed the transgressor from the Church and its sacraments, was such a devastating penalty among believers. Restoration was available, but required at the least a public confession of sin and a commitment to repentance, but also sometimes necessitated the penitent to stand outside the church door, begging those who were allowed to enter to pray for the penitent’s soul.

    So I’m sorry, Mr. Buruma, this statement:

    The ritual of public avowals began in Europe with the Reformation.

    is just wrong.

    The question of why are some saved and others damned was revisited by the Reformers. Most of the Anabaptists and later the Methodists adopted Pelagius’s answer: some are saved because they have faith/choose Christ and others are damned because the don’t have faith or reject Christ. Lutherans said it was a mistake to combine the questions. Same are saved because God “elects” them to salvation since humans are incapable of coming to faith on their own. Others are damned because they reject Christ.

    Calvin’s answer to the combined question was because God elects them either to salvation or damnation. That answer was great for Calvin’s central principle of the sovereignty of God, but it left even regular churchgoers with a lot of uncertainty about their own fate. Calvinist theologians and lay people began to look for external signs that they were among “the Elect,” and in the bustling mercantile centers of Geneva and Amsterdam, blessings of material affluence came to be accepted as a sign that the wealthy were headed to Heaven despite the Gospels talking about camels and needles. Theological development had trumped even the biblical writings upon which they supposedly relied.

    With that straightened out, Buruma’s conflations of sects that differed on this question of election is obvious:

    Whereas Jews and Catholics are ceremonially initiated into their religious communities as young children, many Protestants, such as the Anabaptists, declare their faith before their brethren as adults, sometimes in so-called conversion narratives. The idea of public attestation was especially important to Pietism, a seventeenth-century offshoot of Lutheranism. Pietism, in turn, had a great influence on many Christian sects, including the New England Puritans. Puritan churches, as the historian Edmund S. Morgan put it, ensured “the presence of faith in their members by a screening process that included narratives of religious experiences.

    What a mess that paragraph is. He got it right about Anabaptists; the term means “baptized again” because those sects did not accept child baptism, but they were the only Protestants who didn’t. Pietist Lutherans continued to practice child baptism along with the rest of the Lutherans, but they differed when it came to the Lutheran doctrine of simul justus et peccator–saint and sinner at the same time. They met in small conventicles to encourage each other in personal piety. They refrained from alcohol, in contrast to Luther and the “orthodox” who enjoyed their beer. Financial success was not a sign of salvation as among the Calvinists, but a temptation to be avoided.

    One final example of Buruma’s confusion:

    Catholic commentator Joseph Bottum, who argued in his 2014 book An Anxious Age that the moral fervor of contemporary progressivism should be understood as a secularized inheritance of the Protestant Social Gospel

    The Social Gospel has nothing to do with election or the Elect. The 19th century Social Gospel movement grows out of the eschatological doctrine known as Postmillennialism. Postmillennialists interpreted the “1,000 years” Revelation 20 as an earthly reign of Christ that would take place after the Church had succeeded in converting the world to Christianity and establishing a Christian utopia on Earth. That view is in contrast to the majority view held by Roman Catholics (following Augustine) and Lutherans that the 1,000 years refers to the time of the Church on Earth as it awaits Christ. The Premillennialists, the latecomer Darbyites, see Christ coming at humanity’s low point and establishing a 1,000 year reign on this Earth before the new Heaven and Earth appear.

    If Buruma had his concept of “the Elect” better grounded in the actual history of theology, this could have been a much stronger piece.

    1. Darthbobber

      He does conflate different things. The fairly standard dramatic confession of sin, forgiveness, redemption common among Pentecostals and others has nothing to do with being of the elect.

      And I think it’s the ritualistic aspect, not the theological dogma that interests him.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Methodists will bristle at that assertion. After all, Pelagianism is designated as a heresy. I’m relying on my Lutheran training there.

    2. John

      I shall not challenge your theological explanation in any respect because it is accurate as far as my knowledge goes. The author’s theology may well be scattered and confused, but I took McWhorter’s and Buruma’s use of “The Elect” to highlight self-selection, sincere or performative, and as a usage without the baggage that has accumulated around ‘woke.’ My thought as to public confessions, voluntary or forced, defers first to struggle sessions as practiced in Mao’s China especially in the 1950s and then during the Cultural Revolution, but such are also akin to witnessing, sincere or performative, in sundry Christian sects, albeit without physical coercion.

      I am also reminded of similar flocking behavior when McCarthy was riding high my knowledge of that is first hand not derived from books or films.

  20. Eclair

    Here is a small ray of light amid all the dark posts of the past few days.

    My Amish friend, L, and I went to the Chautauqua (NY) Produce Auction yesterday. L brought 250 of the garlic bulbs she and I had dug a few weeks ago. We arrived shortly after 9 AM, at the warehouse-sized auction shed, in Clymer, NY. Pickup trucks and vans were pulled up to the 12 loading bays along the side, and with another half dozen trucks on the other side of the building.

    Amish farmers, wearing dark blue/black work clothes and their distinctive flat straw boater hats, were unloading crates and boxes of produce, picked the day before, or at dawn that morning. Young Amish women, in starched white lawn caps and pastel dresses (the Clymer Amish community are not ‘old order,’ so females wear shorter dresses, in lighter colors) assigned batch numbers to each lot, attaching descriptive tags and the seller’s number.

    Hundreds of produce boxes packed with yellow summer squashes, green zucchini, cucumbers, peaches, blueberries, eggplant, the first ripe tomatoes, corn, and baskets of early apples, yellow banana and green hot peppers, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, early red potatoes, soon covered the concrete floor (the size of a football field?). The baskets of green and yellow string beans, carefully arranged in alternating rows, were works of art.

    L and I got the garlic tagged and went to the back room, where more Amish women handed out breakfast sandwiches (egg, cheese and sausage on a roll) and big cups of fresh doughnut holes. And gallons of coffee. We sat at a picnic table with two of L’s nephews, young Amish farmers, their full beards indicating they were married men, each with a young son in tow, and the burly ‘English’ driver who owned the truck that brought her nephews’ produce up from Pennsylvania, and dug into the food.

    At 10 AM promptly, the auction began. The auctioneer and his coterie, a male assistant who held up a piece of the produce and announced the type and amount (e.g., 12 pecks of candies, an enormous sweet white onion, a local favorite for canning) and two young women with notebooks, who marked down the results of the bidding, moved quickly from batch to batch. A couple of newcomers to the auction were caught out, not realizing that the bid was per peck or box, or, in the case of the garlic, per bulb, not for the entire lot. An apocryphal story features the city school teacher a couple of years ago who unknowingly bought 30 bushels of very ripe tomatoes. After a half hour, I had just begun to understand the fast paced auction chant of the young Amish auctioneer.

    But not enough to bid on the two boxes of carrots and the flat of red raspberries. But L, an old hand, (her assigned number is a low one, indicating she is a auction veteran), inquired of another nephew what the going prices were on carrots and raspberries, got my ‘limit’ and proceeded to put in winning bids for both. The raspberries are in the freezer; the carrots? Well, I shared with L, used a dozen to pickle with some insanely hot jalapeño peppers, and the rest are tucked away in the cool cellar. We will be eating a lot of carrots. And, so will our neighbors!

    By noon, every box, basket, flat of produce had been sold and moved out of the shed into another set of pickups and trucks headed off to farm stands and public markets and local restaurants and kitchens. Who bought the 25 boxes of yellow summer squash, stacked up on two pallets? I stopped the older man who was hauling out the six boxes of gorgeous shiny purple aubergines: what are you going to do with them? My wife slices them, breads them, fries them, freezes them, and we have eggplant parmesan all winter long! Well, what more does one want out of life!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sounds great that. What you might have participated in is the future as once more things start to break down, stuff like food supply becomes more local and dare I say it – communal.

      1. Milton

        Sounds great that.
        I’ve been noticing more usage of placing the word “that” at the end of a sentence when it’s usual placement would normally be in front. Seems rather Teutonic too me. Is this some sort of textual meme to emphasize a point? I’m genuinely curious.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          its an Australian thing….and i find it endearing.
          i dig it when people include such regional quirks…my own slow east texas drawl is proving difficult to get across, short of using Phonics.(“Hog” has five syllables, fer instance)
          English is a multifoliate rose(Eliot)

          1. Milton

            Australian? I would have never guessed. I agree, I like hearing or coming across unique (to me) usages of language… … until it becomes cliche’.
            Thanks for the heads-up.

            1. Alex Cox

              Not just Australian. Also north of England. In Liverpool we still say ‘youse’ which is the Elizabethan equivalent of y’all.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              i make attempts quite often…but it slows me down, and i end up backspacing it away because it looks like hebrew or something.
              for male pig.
              warsh for wash…”i warshed thuh dishuz”
              i notice it in myself when im talking to educated folks…like my banker friend….he gets this quizzical look in his eye,lol.
              and i “hear” myself.
              push fifty cent and buck fifty words through the drawl and it can get pretty ridiculous.
              remarkably, i reckon i’m easier to understand in this format…at least until youre used to me.

              1. MaryLand

                Thanks for that!!! Love it!
                I grew up in the St. Louis area (definitely some Southern influence there) and we always said “warsh” for “wash.”
                We said Warshington D.C. too. Now that I think about it that seems to fit somehow!

                I live in the Northeast now and had to get used to some new pronunciations here too!

              2. Screwball

                Warsh for wash. I thought that was only an Ohio thing. Some think it’s a town thing. Our main street is Washington, but most town folk pronounce it Warshington.

                Who would have thunk?

                I hated English in school, hated it. I think it all started when I asked how to spell a word and they told me to look it up. How in the hell can I look it up when I can’t spell it? Then there is the their, there, they’re type of stuff. Too many ways to spell the same word, too confusing. Then they made us diagram sentences. I would have rather ate a pound of poo than do that – hated it. Nobody can butcher the English language like I can, but I made it through life, now retired (and teach school – ain’t that a hoot?) and really don’t give one good hoot, so it’s all good.

                Good thing I liked and was good with numbers/geometry. :-)

                1. Amfortas the Hippie

                  Warsh may indeed be a midwest thing…maternal grandmother’s bunch was from ohio, indiana, illinoise.
                  quakers, no less.
                  however, my step-great grandma…who practically raised the young me…was from Diboll, Texas pineywoods(literal tarpaper shack)…and she said warsh, too.
                  i get a lot of my accent from her…sho nuff, etc.
                  i love that kind of thing…i can tell when folks are from notheast texas…palestine to marshall to longview to texarkana.
                  and i can spot beaumont readily.
                  here, its the more generic west texas accent….not near as exotic.
                  i intuit that this is due to the german freethinker influence…the Latin Colonies are just down the road.
                  so the little one room schoolhouses that dot the landscape hereabouts had very educated teachers in them from the start.

                  1. Steven A

                    Grew up in NW Iowa saying “warsh.” While living in San Antonio during the 80s the locals would sometimes correct my pronunciation of “roof,” which for me had the same “oo” sound as “look” or “good.”

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      As Winston Churchill said of America and England, the United States is divided by a common language.

              3. Darthbobber

                English pronunciation is wondrously variable. Squirrels, for example, are anything from squalls to skwiddles depending on where you are.

    2. wol

      Thank you for this beautifully written account, Eclair. Made my morning. Could be filed under Look for the Helpers that.

    3. MaryLand

      I enjoyed reading about the farmers’ market. Beautiful produce is a joy to behold. And an organized well functioning auction is to be admired. My mom was a child of the Great Depression and her dad was a “truck farmer” who brought their produce to the St. Louis farmers’ market on Saturdays during growing season. His only farm machinery was a plow pulled by their horse. He had a weak heart and the strain of the work contributed to him dying at age 45. My 16 year-old mom and her 11 year-old brother (already built like a horse) had worked on the farm for years already and carried on the work of the farm as best they could for a while. Mom developed impressive muscles that she kept into her 90s. She told how they picked tomatoes all day every day for weeks in the hot St. Louis area sun. She would lie down between the rows to rest her back from time to time. She had zero good memories of it. She was a gifted business student in high school and was very thankful she did not have to continue farming. She believed in education and was proud that she and my dad could send their 3 kids to college. We all became teachers. Farming is not easy work as many know. If we learn to grow some of our own food it’s a plus of course, but not a walk in the park to grow a lot.

  21. Lexx

    ‘Remote work is killing productivity, the experts and CEOs say—except it just surged the most in nearly 3 years Fortune (Kevin W). ZOMG, this is what yours truly predicted with work from home, once the bugs were ironed out. A lot of office time is devoted to meetings which are largely time sinks but serve for management to assert authority. Another in-office time sink is gossip and politicking. The second time-waster does not go away with work from home but is reduced.’

    A lot of remote work is devoted to meetings as well, keeps the managers content. Husband is happy to be well out of the gossip and politicking. Once or twice a year they fly him into Charlotte, NC and he’s reminded again his work/home balance is priceless to him beyond measure… but if forced to choose, he’d quit. Lots of work out there for someone in cybersecurity, local too.

    Two years+ to retirement…. tick-tock.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes but remote meetings like phone meeting v. live conferences, wind up being about 1/3 shorter, at least in my experience. Plus easier to call impromptu meetings on premises or worse, have boss drag you into his office.

    2. Mikel

      Tick-tock on commercial real estate is what the panic is really about – those loans the banks are holding.
      The “studies” on WFH get more unhinged as the commercial real estate carnage picks up steam.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “The sad death of the Australian backyard”

    Sadly this is all true and I have seen these two story mini-mansions built right to the edges of a block of land. In a lot of developments you can have a front yard or a back yard but not both. And by yard I mean a narrow strip of grass. No real place for kids to play so I guess that they sit inside playing on their Nintendos or whatever. We moved up here from Sydney and got a 5-acre block so the kids would have lots of back and front yard to play in that we cut off from that block. Funny thing though. A new housing estate was built on farmland about three minutes drive from us and they were all packed in tight with tiny yards like in a new suburb. And yet for what they paid, they could have gone out a few minutes further and gotten themselves bigger blocks to themselves.

    Saw another strange thing. Sometimes I go onto Google StreetView to see the old family house that my father – a builder – built back in the early 50s so because of the hot Aussie summers, it had a tile roof, double brick walls and large windows. But in the past decade or more as I look down that street, I see more and more houses that have been knocked down and replaced by double story mini-mansions. And our house? It has been updated. Among other changes ,the bricks have been cement-rendered and painted and the tile roof painted grey. But what I really noticed was that the windows had been replaced with narrow, tiny ones. The only way to keep a house like that cool in the summer with windows like that is with AC so good luck with that down the track. That is failure by design.

    1. Kouros

      Read some time ago about the carrying capacity of Australia as no more than 7 million. Now they are just under 30 and plan to double by 2060s, when the warming will be in full swing. I do hope to still be alive to have my popcorn and beer to watch live disaster porn from my somewhat more sheltered backwater.

      1. The Rev Kev

        A coupla years ago some mob came out with the statement that Australia should have 100 million people living here and that went down as well as that mob in America that said that the country could support 1 billion Americans living there.

  23. deedee

    Why is the West So Weak?
    “The primary purpose of the education system is no longer education. The entire education system of the West has been reconfigured to carry out a “filtration” process. The purpose of this process is to identify, instruct and elevate the ideologically pure while suppressing the dangerous 1.5/8 group.”

    Um … no. The primary purpose of the education system is to ensure that the PMC’s kids get to inherit the same lifestyle they and their parents have enjoyed beneath the veil of meritocracy.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      We have totally slipped into the same mistakes Europe did.. creating a quasi aristocratic class based upon education and zip code instead of titles. And they do everything in their nepotistic powers to pull up the ladder behind them.

      1. digi_owl

        Frankly it has been going on since soon after the revolution.

        I ran into a documentary once, that i have since struggled to find again, that talked about how the gilded age industrialists would spend summers on the French riviera trying to get their daughters married to European nobility.

        This in order to give their names a air of class their money could not.

        It helped that said daughters would come with a sizable dowry, and that said nobility were bleeding money…

        1. Kurtismayfield

          And it took the Great Depression and the threats of leftist revolutions for the ruling class to make appearances that they would change it. And ever since Powell it’s been clawed back.

        2. The Rev Kev

          They also went to England as there were a lot of nobility that had titles but very little money. It led to matches that combined English titles with American wealth and Sir Winston Churchill was the product of this trend as he had an American mother.

    2. hunkerdown

      The PMC’s grand function in the order is the reproduction of capitalist ideology. Same thing, different perspectives.

  24. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Dianne Feinstein has surrendered decision-making on legal matters to her daughter, but the 90-year-old is still one of the most powerful lawmakers in the country Business Insider (Kevin W)

    feinstein’s daughter is 66 years old.

    Glenn Greenwald commented on this “situation” last night saying (paraphrased), “Such is our ruling gerontocracy, that their children are now pushing 70.”

    Airline pilots are forced to retire at 65, ostensibly because they are too old to be “trusted” to fly a planeload of a few hundred people to their destination “safely.” (Can you imagine the pandemonium if feinstein croaked out “This is your Captain speaking” on your flight to Hawaii?)

    Quite the “plane” just-say-aye dianne is still flying in the name of a fresh, new senate dynasty for shifty schiff with the googly eyes.

    1. Carolinian

      Ah but airline pilots don’t get to make their own retirement rules. Congress is such a sweet setup why would anyone want to give it up?

      Diane’s a mere youngster compared to our Strom Thurmond who carried on another ten years past 90 but then he fathered children well into his 70s. May have been as demented though.

  25. Well...

    Regarding the Twitter post on China “celebrating cultures” of its bordering nations:

    It’s funny how the author of the post portrays China as “celebrating” bordering “cultures” in relation to Europe. What China is doing is nothing else than essentialising a stereotypical view of “culture” in the bordering country: looking at Russia through a selection of arbitrary cultural markers such as the Kremlin… It’s a similar dynamic as in orientalism and just as frought with myopia… “cultures” are nothing permanent nor separate from each other, it’s always the observer who imagines them as separate. A border between France and Germany is actually an excellent example of a transcultural migration of people, knowledge, beliefs, and practices, where a lot of sharing and transmission have happened throughout the centuries (as well as war of course). Instead of celebrating some “essential” stereotype of “culture,” it might be more more useful to celebrate such processes of interaction, where difference and similarity between people and their imaginations of the world is always negotiated anew… imagined borders of a nation-state are in any case less than a hundred years old even if they weren’t permeable.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      re: borders as contingent and amorphous limnal spaces…absolutely.
      the Texas “Border” we hear so much yelling about is not a line, at all…let alone a river.
      it is, instead, a zone, hundreds of miles across, reaching all the way to San Antonio, and…to a lesser extent…all the way out here, 130 miles beyond San Antonio.
      one of Wife’s greatest achievements: as an ESL/Spanish Teacher…at first, many of the usual suspects pooh-poohed teaching “messkins” to speak english…(presumably so they could then yell about how they didnt speak english)…as well as how silly it was for Americans to learn spanish.
      Tam, in her time there…and mostly via the kids…but also via parent teacher conferences…changed that narrative utterly.
      mainly by pointing to objective reality: who will build your fence, clear your land, install your patio, be your plumber, add on that room, and on and on and on?
      answer: not white folks,lol…and not high school kids.
      its Mexicans and Mexican Americans…and wouldn’t it be prudent to know…at the very least…what they’re saying about you?
      chip away at the walls, little by little.
      Tam was proud of this, unexpected as it was.

      unsaid to those folks: the Reconquista of Aztlan continues apace….although no one, to our knowledge, has any awareness of it.

      1. ambrit

        What is funny, sad here is that, working from ‘on the ground’ observations, Aztlan includes the Gulf Coast. I think that the French, handled the ‘problem’ best by legitimizing and including Creoles into the general culture. It ‘worked’ too well in Haiti, but still lingers on, underground if you will, in Louisiana.
        Check out the different ‘meanings’ of the word “creole” in the different colonial zones of the New World.

        1. digi_owl

          Ages ago i ran into some article talking about the difference between “French” and “German” nationalism.

          Primarily the distinction was, according to the article, that French was cultural while German was blood.

          1. ambrit

            Basically, if both will go to war over some dispute, then everybody is playing “blood” sports. I wonder if we’d be better off dead as a species.

      2. Well...

        Well, in one recent French novel, Atahualpa conquered Spain, introducing some quite nice socialist meassures sorely missing from the Papal states of Europe…
        the premise is, that it was the vikings back in the 8th century to have brought germs, horses, and steel to the Americas, centuries before the Spaniards…
        Perhaps if the Incas made it to Spain, also Aztlan would have an alternate futurity and wouldn’t just help decolonise the minds, used to freshly cut grass…
        Even so, much of that celebrated “enlightenment” thought of “freedom” and “equality” came from the contact with native americans, whose societies were often much more appealing to the savagery of the whites…

  26. chuck roast

    Re: Wikipedia

    I watched Peaky Blinders again and wanted to remind myself about “Sir” Oswald Mosley the English fascist pre-war leader who figures in the TV series. Wikipedia has an interesting take on him. Interesting inasmuch as a large piece of puffery can be interesting…a glittering, two-dimensional presentation of a generally well meaning fellow who was terribly misunderstood and abused both during and after the war.

    There are a number of quotes from “Lady” Diana Mosley’s autobiography painting him as a paragon of human virtue and enlightenment. And here are Mosley’s admiring followers in the series giving the fascist salute and all shouting, “Perish Judah.” This phenomenon either escaped the key-holders of Mosley’s Wiki page or is yet another entirely made-up factoid by the descendants of Pinewood Studios to continue the smear of a great humanitarian. Maybe it’s just art imitating life, and we can view Wiki as being all about the dates…the rest is sponge cake. Or maybe Mosley was just a genuinely loathsome individual nicely cleaned up by our new editorial class.

    1. JN

      Glenn Greenwald’s wiki bio really has gone weird. It now has all the usual Wikipedia dog whistles – a long, gleefully detailed paragraph on failed teenage political ambitions, mentions of early white supremacist and neo-nazi associations, and a whole section on “Appearances on conservative media” with a special mention of Tucker Carlson.

  27. antidlc
    Scoop: Biden pushes to end remote work era for feds

    President Biden is calling for his Cabinet to “aggressively execute” plans for federal employees to work more in their offices this fall after years of working remotely, according to an email sent Friday to every Cabinet member and obtained by Axios.

    Why it matters: It’s Biden’s most overt push yet to get federal employees to return to their offices — a dynamic many businesses also have struggled with as Americans continue to embrace remote work despite the pandemic waning.

    Driving the news: In an email to the Cabinet on Friday, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients wrote: “We are returning to in-person work because it is critical to the well-being of our teams and will enable us to deliver better results for the American people.”

    Totally expected from Zients.

    1. chris

      Woo boy! That will cause a ruckus in the DC commuter communities this fall. I know a lot of well to do people who assume WFH is their right as a federal employee now. I can think of five people in my neighborhood who would resign from their government positions tomorrow if they lost their current WFH schedule. This will be interesting to watch regardless of whether they back off or double down on it.

      1. antidlc

        Here is what Zients had to say back in 2021:
        Statement from White House COVID-⁠19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients on First Case of the Omicron COVID-⁠19 Variant in the United States

        The President will have more to say about our strategy for fighting COVID this winter tomorrow, but for now, we know that: This new variant is cause for continued vigilance, not panic. We know what it takes to limit the spread of COVID: Get vaccinated, get boosted, and take public health measures like masking and distancing.

        (caps mine)

  28. chuck roast

    Poor Lars P. Syll…perhaps we should call him The David Brooks of Economists. Is it our fault? NO it’s not our fault! But we can be a tiny bit shortsighted. And we are really, really hemmed in…is it Pareto optimal, is it efficient, is it normative, is it value laden, is it subjective, is it envy-free, is it re-distributive…so many hard questions…and it is economic science after all. How does one sleep at night?!

    Lars, baby-cakes, I got news for you…you are a high-priest in the Capitalist religion of Market Worship. You made your choice pally. You gotta keep doling out those bogus communion wafers to the young-uns, or you’ll be exiled to UMass Amherst or some other no-account woodsy place doing Political Economy.

    Remember, you asked the “value laden” question when you were an undergrad and decided against the “labor theory of value” and all that other dead-end nonsense. Do you need a sympathetic word?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I heard Kevin Anderson say that economics was astrology with calculus.

      Here’s a real example of big-brained idiocy. In 2018, the fake Nobel for Economics was awarded to Paul Romer (Larry Summers ran over his wife in the Obama Admin) and William Nordhaus. Nordhaus was hailed for his ” integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis,”

      After receiving his “Nobel,” Nordhaus came up with this gem:

      One of Professor Nordhaus’s most recent papers indicates that the latest version of the DICE model includes an equation for calculating the damage from climate change impacts that “assumes that damages are 2.1% of global income at 3°C warming and 8.5% of income at 6 °C warming”.

      At that point in the presentation, members of the audience sprang to their feet, rushed the stage, and after several minutes of tussling, Nordhaus emerged revealing his true lizard nature. “We like it hot. The hotter the better,” he hissed defiantly.

      (What’s even more amazing is that the article containing this story thinks Nordhaus is a great genius. 6 degrees C. )

  29. spud

    have not finished the excellent article, but he answers his own question quickly.

    bill clinton, tony blair and other quacks de-industrialized the west, and striped the deplorable of their contributions to human knowledge and GDP.

    the people who came to power in 1993 were pure ideological charletans, quacks, and other assorted hucksters, and were passed off as intelligent.

    who quickly set up purges of anyone or anything that was for sovereignty and a civil society,
    and here we are.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      Im reading it now.
      “High-level competence cannot be promoted because it is a threat. It cannot therefore be rewarded.”

      as the weirdo genius kid with antiauthoritarian tendencies, i’ve encountered this my whole frelling life.
      from teachers to the redneck bullies to cops(!) to myriad bosses…
      fear of competence has been a thing for a long time.
      its just ossified, now…and therefore much worse.
      one quibble is that…at least until recently…i dont think it can be chalked up to ideology, alone.
      its just human nature…projecting feelings of inadequacy upon the competent person.
      in my cooking days, id get hired because i could essentially run the kitchen, leaving the boss to glad hand and bask in the glory out front.
      and i never wanted to take over the place,lol…i was always happiest in the back of the house.
      but i’d streamline and innovate in order to make happen what bosses said they wanted to happen…and they’d get all weird,lol…took me a long while to figure out what was happening, there.
      Wife clued me in…”lording it over” she called it.
      never my intention, of course…and i still allege that that was on whomever felt that way, rather than on me.
      why should i wear a bushel basket on my head because someone feels inadequate?

      i’m very glad that i dont hafta be out there in the world any more.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        oh…and an indicator of the antiquity of the fear of tall weeds:
        “”When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.””-Jonathan Swift.

      2. cnchal

        I’m no genius, just a stupid person that makes stuff, or used to. The stuff I made were weapons of mass production, but to get there I allowed myself to be exploited and I exploited them right back.

        Today that is no longer possible as the jawb changes I did, yearly for the first several years after my appreticeship was to build different types of tooling, eg, blow molds, injection molds, metal stamping dies all types of industrial fixtures and tools using all types of machines from jig borers to wire EDM machines. After a while I knew way moar than my bosses. The tactic of jawb hopping to gain experience would be a giant black flag today. I met too many guys that spent a decade or moar wrenching the same set of dies and that was a dead end for me.

        It was a fight to gain experience and knowledge as the “industry” even decades ago was pigoen holing exploitees to be lathe operators or milling machine operators so that you were competent on that machine type, but useless elsewhere.

        Toolmaking is a very interesting trade. It is at the nexus between design, engineering and production and what is being created are the means of production, the real precious metal. I try to explian that to gold bugs and they just do not understand the concept.

        The point of all this was not to spend my life using my “”skill”” to make other people’s means of production, but to make my own means of production, which is what happened. So I feel like a lucky person in that I am able to erect a middle finger towards this corrupt system and be able to live my life without being exploited and not exploiting others. Two things I hate equally.

        Employer – employee hides the true nature of the reationship. Exploiter – exploitee get’s to the truth.

        1. Eclair

          Thank you, cnchal, for your explanation of the undervalued ‘nexus between design, engineering and production,’ the invisible tool and die makers. You are the ‘nail’ in the old saying, ‘for want of a nail …..’

          I notice, in driving about in the dying towns of north-western Pennsylvania, extraction-central in the early days of coal mining and oil drilling, that there are always a few still-functioning, tool and die shops, some no bigger than a good-sized garage, tucked away on the outskirts.

          What happens when these craftsmen die? We won’t even be able to repair, much less make new, machinery. Even ‘chips’ don’t magically appear out of thin air!

    2. JEHR

      Whenever I see the phrase “human capital” I know that what follows will concentrate on promoting “capital” rather than “human.” Couldn’t read the article, therefore, because to emphasize the thing that makes the profit (i.e., “The accumulated knowledge and skills that make a workforce productive”) is already a deadend which we have already encountered and which has defeated us. How can the so-called West learn anything “new” when the old is “dead” and the new cannot be “born”?

      1. John

        The term human capital is dehumanizing as is human resources. … And I believe deliberately so.

    3. c_heale

      I think the article wasn’t very good.

      The parts about IQ were unconvincing to say the least. IQ is not a measure of intelligence, particularly since there is no standard definition of intelligence, and IQ is part of the nonsense that is used to justify eugenics.

      I don’t think it is education that has failed society (the criticisms of project work are bizarre considering the focus of the article) but the greedy, warloving, natural world hating elite of our society.

  30. chris

    Really thinking about this recent episode of citizen “justice”. I think the tweet was shown in links recently.

    I agree with sites like The American Conservative and FOX that this is what will happen more often when the state fails to enforce rules. But I think their implied optimism about store owners acting in this way will be short lived. They mention that the state would be the best arbiter of this kind of violence but conveniently ignore all the problems with police being involved in these encounters in the past. I’m not seeing much discussion of the event on more liberal sites like the Guardian or Slate or NYT. I’m not sure opinionists who have advocated for “defund the police” are eager to step into that kind of perfect storm. I have no idea how much of an outlier this kind of brazen theft is these days but I know from friends who are cops in the DC/MD/VA region that they’re seeing people walk into stores like Target with garbage bags that they intend to fill with stolen products.

    We have so many guns in the US that the obvious response from the criminals stealing the product is to come in larger organized groups and be better armed than the store owners. Which will no doubt encourage the store owners to become better armed, and so on, until we have suburban war zones. I worry about all the people who will be caught in the crossfire from these kinds of encounters. I also worry we’ll see more pressure for poor people to attempt these kinds of thefts due to increasing costs for everything. Increasing fuel prices are just the start of a vicious cycle in this regard.

  31. Mikel

    “How bonds ate the entire financial system” Financial Times

    For the unsuscribed:
    This article is about the emergence of shadow banking and a long history of what it emerged from. An excerpt:

    “…Shadow banking” is what some academics call the part of the financial system that resembles, but falls outside traditional banking. Policymakers prefer the less malevolent-sounding — but almost comically obtuse — term “non-bank financial institutions”. At $240tn, this system is now far bigger than its conventional counterpart. The bond market is its main component, taking money from investors who can mostly yank it away at short notice and funnel it into long-term investments.

    The question of how to tame shadow banking is one of the thorniest topics in finance today. For the financial system as a whole, it is arguably better that the risks bonds inevitably entail are spread across a vast, decentralised web of international investors, rather than concentrated in a narrow clutch of banks. But in finance, risk is like energy. It cannot be destroyed, only shifted from one place to another. As it gets shunted around, its consequences can morph in little understood, even dangerous ways. We saw a perfect example of this in March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic acted as a gigantic stress test for the financial system that revealed fresh cracks in its foundation. But to properly understand the role of the bond market today, you have to go back almost a thousand years to 12th-century Italy…”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowsers, this is lame. I posted it because a reader suggested it and because I was behind the gun, did not give it a quick read.

      Just one example: the problem with the shadow banking system in the runup to the GFC was not bonds, it was structured credits and derivatives.

      And now that I started to read, a claim early on that would make most finance savvy people wince:

      While the bond market has become larger and more powerful, the importance of banks — historically the workhorses of the capitalist system — is subtly fading.

      This started in the 1970s with the creation of money market funds, FFS. If you look at the % of bank assets of total financial assets in the US, it’s a downard slope since 1980 with bank assets IIRC representing ~15% right before the GFC. When I joined Goldman in 1983 and it had only 2,500 people, it was the 5th largest bank in the US based on the size of his commercial paper outstandings.

      1. Mikel

        I was thinking the headline was misleading.
        In general, I wasn’t sure what to make of all of it. It’s kind of a cluster…
        I set it aside to read more in-depth later. Glad to have your notes in mind.

  32. Mildred Montana

    >Korat Candle Procession 66 event upstaged by scene-stealing cat Thaiger (furzy)

    How about a scene-stealing dog? At a small amateur outdoor concert many years ago, a female singer was attempting a rendition of “Hey Big Spender”: 𝘏𝘦𝘺 𝘣𝘪𝘨 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳, 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘮𝘦.

    In the middle of her song a dog jumped up on the low stage. Some wise-guy in the crowd then yelled out, “Come here, Spender!” Of course the hundreds of spectators all roared in unison and the performance was halted briefly until everyone settled down and “Spender” left the stage.

  33. Mikel

    Global Graduate Outlook Survey 2023 CFA Institute. Micael T: “….”finance has replaced healthcare and medicine as the top-ranked profession in terms of career prospects.’

    Even if the industry the grads go into isn’t by standard definition “finance,” it’s financialized.

    Working at Walmart? Walmart getting into banking
    Working at Apple? Apple getting into banking.
    Working for a auto company? Remember the finance divisions got the big bailouts.
    PE is invading everthing from healthcare to plumbing.
    And on and on….

    Over and over again it’s the same thing being discussed: A lot of the biggest companies are leaning on their finance activities to show growth in balance sheets.

    1. chris

      I was talking about this with some peers who work for competing engineering firms the other day. PE is coming for everyone. ESOPs seem to be holding it at bay. But sooner or later the employees who own the company are going to get a deal they can’t refuse and that will be that.

  34. Jason Boxman

    On Bonds, for anyone into board gaming, Imperial is a eurogame that actually revolves arounds European nations, bonds, industrial improvements, payouts, and wars. Power Grid was another popular eurogame.

    From wikipedia:

    Imperial is a German-style board game designed by Mac Gerdts in which the object is to accumulate wealth in the form of bond holdings in successful countries and cash. Players take on the role of international financiers who purchase government bonds in the six pre-World War I empires of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia.

  35. JustTheFacts

    In a sane world, the EU would kick Latvia out for human rights violations. A large percentage of the 6000 are probably too old/sick/retarded/poor to learn a new language.

    1. c_heale

      Around 2000 I knew some Latvian Russians. They told me there was a lot of overt discrimination against them in Latvia.

      For example the husband had only ever had illegal jobs, because he could not speak Latvian.

      I suspect things are worse now.

    2. Darthbobber

      There was an actual EU investigation of Latvian practices before the Russo-Ukraine war brought all that to a shrieking halt.

      The “Russian residents” in question, and many more besides, are people already resident in Latvia at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, and who were supposed to have Latvian citizenship.

  36. kevbot9000

    The Gaius Baltus piece on Western weakness might have been interesting but when the first concrete example of a competent leader is Elon Musk, it makes me view the author as incapable of assessing competence. The man directed and took great pride in designing a car door handle that failed in Midwest winters. Everything since has just confirmed the man is a dilettante with too much money.

    1. pjay

      “… a dilettante with too much money.”

      I’m afraid this condition has reached epidemic proportions these days in too many areas.

  37. kareninca

    Marc Johnson is the guy who does wastewater and cryptic lineages. I check his tweets once in a while. I just opened up nitter and found that on Aug. 3rd he posted:

    “Only time will tell whether the patients with persistent SARS-Cov-2 will have similar outcomes to what we see in cats with FCoV.”

    That doesn’t sound reassuring. That is up there with Anthony Leonardi posting in his Aug. 4th Easychair:

    “There is a further, more disturbing issue of what was normal in 2019 versus what is normal today. A recent study found little difference in chronic T cell activation between Long Covid patients and controls who recovered from covid. However, it found a difference in chronic T cell activation between people who had samples taken before SARS Cov 2 infected humans in 2019 and after 2020. Meaning our controls post pandemic are not only dwindling, but that infected are being subjected to chronic T cell activation issues on a population level. Meaning basically, all people living after 2020 are subject to chronic activation, whether you have “long covid” or not.” (

  38. flora

    A history of the US Dept of Agriculture’s “Food Pyramid.” utube, ~20 minutes. (with a sponsors ad in the the middle).

    “The food pyramid is literally a scam.” (unless you turn it upside down)

    It’s not a FOX production, it opens with many networks’ news clips.

  39. Jason Boxman

    There’s little talk of IVM these days, but there’s an abundance of evidence it works. They point out, as I’ve noted before, that trials that consider early intervention when it’s actually very much not early, do not produce favorable results, by design:

    As above, the probability that an ineffective treatment generated results as positive as the 99 studies to date is estimated to be 1 in 456 billion. This result benefits from the fact that ivermectin shows some degree of efficacy for COVID-19 in a wide variety of cases. It also likely benefits from the fact that, prior to gaining the attention of very high conflict of interest organizations, relatively few ivermectin trials were designed in a way that favors poor results. However, trials with a design favoring null results have become common, and are likely to dominate future trials. For example, the Together Trial tested ivermectin in locations known to have a high degree of self-medication, up to 7 days from onset (while claiming to be an early treatment trial), and using low doses compared to clinical recommendations for the dominant variant. The ACTIV-6 trial had a median treatment delay of 6 days and very low risk patients.

    (bold mine)

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