Links 9/2/2023

Whatever happened to the runaway goats of San Francisco? NPR (Chuck L)

‘The Loch Ness monster’ was photographed for second time in less than week New York Post (furzy). Bigfoot is next!

Killing of rare bear in Italy sparks grief and outrage Telegraph (Kevin W)

Curious lion steals GoPro and takes it for a joyride YouTube (furzy)

Pentagon’s New UFO Website Lets You Explore Declassified Sightings Info CNET

The Rediscovery Of Circadian Rhythms NOMEA (Micael T)

Quiet Quitting: Franz Kafka’s work-life imbalance BookForun

A surprising explanation for the global decline of religion Big Think (Micael T)


Q&A: What to Know About the New BA 2.86 COVID Variant WebMD (furzy)


Treading Thin Air: Geoff Mann on Uncertainty and Climate Change London Review of Books (Anthony L)

The summer from hell was just a warning Politico

Burying Power Lines Prevents Wildfires. But There’s a Cost Wired (Kevin W)


As The U.S. Wages War On It China Reacts With Defiance Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Japan, S Korea, US closer but not close enough Asia Times (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

Scottish schools with crumbling concrete won’t be shut, says SNP minister Telegraph (Kevin W)


International law at will: Kosovo, Crimea, Turkey — now Niger Eastern Angle (Micael T)


Making sense of the coup in Gabon Ken Opalo (Userfriendly)

It’s Premature To Conclude That The Gabonese Coup Was Driven By Anti-Imperialist Sentiment Andrew Korybko (Micael T)

New Not-So-Cold War

EXCLUSIVE! Captured Ukrainian Soldiers Speak Out, Forced to Take Drugs To Fight Redacted News, YouTube. Impossible to verify but hardly implausible. I heard from friends with spooky contacts decades ago that our special forces carry meth as part of their kits so they can keep traveling or fighting for >48 hours if necessary.

Eliminating foreign mercenaries a top priority for Russia InfoBRICS

Even if true, remember Ukraine has launched two more mobilizations, one for the next couple months, the second one starting over the later fall/winter. But how long can barely trained men stem the tide?

New Russia-baiting provocations from Latvia Gilbert Doctorow (Anthony L)

Poland closes biggest refugee centre for Ukrainians Financial Times

Sarmat on Combat Alert: Russia Activates World’s Heaviest Nuclear ICBM Unit Military Watch

The Heritage Foundation Suggested We Form A Ukraine Strategy. The Neocons Lost Their Minds The Federalist. Splits in the right…

Intel RoundTable: Sustainable Peace in Ukraine Possible? Larry Johnson/Ray McGovern Judge Napolitano, YouTube


ISIS in Afghanistan exists, but the threat is overestimated Modern Diplomacy (Micael T)

US pro-Israel groups in bitter feud over Netanyahu’s far-right government Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

X, formerly known as Twitter, will collect user biometric data, job and education history The Hill (Kevin W). Is Musk out to destroy his business? He’s driven off liberals. This will enrage right wingers (and anyone sane). Another reason to tape over your camera, if you haven’t already.

NYPD To Deploy Drones To Monitor Backyard Parties This Holiday Weekend Techspot. I hope someone sues. If your backyard is enclosed, you have an expectation of privacy.

FBI Hoovering Up DNA at a Pace That Rivals China, Holds 21 Million Samples and Counting Intercept (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Supreme Stupidity of the “End of History” And Its Consequences Ian Welsh (Micael T)

The US Proxy Warriors Remove Their Masks Brad Pearce (Userfriendly)

What Do the BRICS Want? Co-Existence or Cooperation? Counterpunch

Falling Out of Love With America American Conservative

View from Turkey: In a New Order, China and Russia are the dominant poles International Affairs (Micael T)


Trump Is Top Choice for Nearly 60% of GOP Voters Wall Street Journal. Lead story


McCarthy says he won’t open impeachment inquiry without House vote The Hill. Wellie, the only counter-move I see here is the House GOP radicals who hate the war in Ukraine (among other things) and were already planning to force a shutdown to get their pet budget bête noires removed to add impeachment to their wish list.

GOP Clown Car

GOP senators weigh ‘special’ meeting on their leadership after McConnell’s freeze Politico

God Smashes Giant Tree Into FL Governor’s Mansion Joe. My. God. (Paul R

Democrats en déshabillé

Former LA city official gets 42 months in jail (and he’s just the latest Democrat to be busted) Law Enforcement Watch (Micael). Didn’t he get memo about waiting for the revolving door payoffs?

Like It or Not, the Left Can’t Get Away From the Democrats Jacobin

Maine lawmaker wants to strengthen laws to prosecute neo-Nazis YouTube (furzy). Good, but does he realize that will pick up some of our best buddy Ukrainians?

Police State Watch

Bodycam video shows Ohio police fatally shooting pregnant black woman BBC. Horrible as well as reflects terrible police training. They could have easily just shot out a tire.

L’affaire Jeffery Epstein

JPMorgan reported $1 BILLION of Jeffrey Epstein’s transactions as ‘suspicious’ to feds – but only AFTER the sex predator’s death, US Virgin Island claims in court Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Make the Wayback Machine the real internet Tom Scocca (Userfriendly). From July, still germane.


Mushroom pickers urged: Avoid Amazon foraging books, appear to be written by AI Guardian (Paul R). More Skynet plotting.

AI powered hate speech moderation for Call of Duty voice chat ars technica (Paul R)

MIT Economist Daron Acemoğlu Takes on Big Tech: “Our Future Will Be Very Dystopian” Der Speigal (furzy)

The Bezzle

Paris says au revoir to rental e-scooters BBC (Kevin W)

Robinhood Bought Back Sam Bankman-Fried’s Stake From US Government For $606 Million Cointelegraph

Private funds sue to stop ‘unlawful’ SEC disclosure rules Financial Times (Kevin W)

US jobs data raises hope of Goldilocks scenario as economy cools Financial Times. Do these writers realize what they are saying???? The last time I heard the Goldilocks landing meme was 2007.

Guillotine Watch

Surgeons Are Double and Triple Booking Procedures That Residents Must Perform Bloomberg (ma)

Tech billionaires behind $900M land grab launch website defending secrecy SFGate (Paul R)

Billionaires’ Secretive Plan to Build a New City Is Backfiring Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Law-Abiding Immigrants: The Incarceration Gap Between Immigrants and the U.S.-Born, 1850–2020 Ran Abramitzky, Stanford University. Userfriendly: “This paper is brilliant.”

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “This pretty Black Crowned Night Heron was hanging out at the Sunset Aquatic Marina where we used to walk our Lab mix, Merlyn.”

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Mbartv

    Decline of religion v. Robotics. Correlation is not causation. Robotics may be marker for reality based thinking.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Rather weak article, and it also can’t account for the fact that some of the most conservative religions are the fastest growing.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Any recent stats? My personal tracking suggests growth has stalled or gone into reverse, kids are leaving or if they stay churched it’s often with a new, less political nondenominational congregation of which there are growing numbers. I am not seeing any signs of a “political” religious revival and have been reading about mega churches growing through consolidation, not outreach or conversion.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      This was interesting:

      Their findings line up with the musings of other scholars, including Neil McArthur, the Director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba. Writing in The Conversation earlier this year, he predicted that some people may soon worship AI in lieu of gods.

      If you think McArthur is getting carried away, just listen to some of the Youtube takes of Elise Bohan, transhumanist in residence at Oxford. She’s already in thrall to AI.

      There’s an old story in Exodus about a golden calf that lines up pretty well with this. Worshiping what you’ve made is hardly reality-based thinking. It’s really just a way of worshiping yourself, a hubristic exercise that leads nowhere good.

      1. TomDority

        Thank you for that connection
        “There’s an old story in Exodus about a golden calf that lines up pretty well with this. Worshiping what you’ve made is hardly reality-based thinking. It’s really just a way of worshiping yourself, a hubristic exercise that leads nowhere good.”
        Sounds like AI and money share the same adulation.

      2. hunkerdown

        All religion, being man-made, is hubristic, then. Worshipping a more inclusive “ourselves” doesn’t make it any less so.

        I am hoping hard for the demystification of everything.

        1. hk

          All religions, at their core, is about building “communities.” They seem hubristic because, at the core of building communities, is the premise that “our community really does exist and it’s special, too.” Are these lies? Probably, but communities are artificial constructs and that doesn’t mean they don’t serve useful, even crucial roles–we see their importance and the problems caused by their loss. There is a real value to be created by building more inclusive communities, provides that you don’t destroy communities on the pretense of making them more inclusive–whoch, sadly, seems far too common. My humble opinion, at any rate.

          1. eg

            I think you are correct with respect to the adaptive value of religion in terms of evolutionary group fitness in an environment of competition between human settlements.

        2. The Rev Kev

          I wonder if it could be defined what the difference is between religion and spirituality. Maybe it is that the former is more group orientated while the later is on an individual level.

        3. Henry Moon Pie

          hunkerdown, I’d agree with you wholeheartedly if we’re limiting religion to those with transcendent, anthropomorphic gods, but can you point out to me the hubristic elements in the Tao te Ching? Are you saying that the very act of asking questions about our origins and humans’ relationship to the rest of the cosmos is hubris?

    3. The Rev Kev

      I’m not buying their argument as the loss to religions dates well before robotics and AI. And AI only dates back a few years in any case. In the same way that you can track rising obesity in a country with the introduction of fast food joints like MacDonalds, you can track the decline of religion with the atomization of the individual so that people do not feel to be part of groups or communities anymore. And that atomization comes as part and parcel with neoliberalism which really ramped up from the early 1970s. And I think that government policy has been to encourage this development unless it is politically useful to them – like those religious movements were in the US from the 70s on.

      1. john

        Agree. And there is some circularity in the argument. People who are more engaged in using AI and technology may be more likely to have higher levels of education/technical backgrounds and so forth. Traditional religious institutions are not likely to serve their needs.

    4. EMC

      Correlation is not causation, but I’ll propose another correlative theory: The widespread use of psychotropic medications, dulling the range of normal emotions, suppresses commonly experienced liminal states.

    5. Eric Anderson

      Simply substitute “consumerism” for “automation” and the equation works.
      We increasingly worship Mammon.

    6. flora

      re: reality based thinking.
      I’ve spent my career in IT and rationalist thinking. Formal logic, etc. I regard reason and rationalist thinking very highly. However, reason alone by itself is only a good servant but a bad master. / my 2 cents.

      Per Will Shakespeare:

      Horatio: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

      Hamlet: And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
      There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
      Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

      1. flora

        shorter: good servant = good tool. Reason is an excellent tool. Who uses the tool, and how the tool is used, is another area altogether. / ;)

        1. flora

          And going on much much Much to long…. Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ poemic epic tale.

          High on a throne of royal state, which far
          Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
          Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
          Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
          Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
          To that bad eminence; and, from despair
          Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
          Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
          Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
          His proud imaginations thus displayed:—

          OK, I’ll stop now. / ;)

  2. flora

    re: Tech Billionaires secretive plan to build new city is backfiring.

    I think for homeowners in Solano County who don’t want to sell their properties it would be a good idea to have very good fire/flood/wind insurance on their properties. You never know what California weather can bring. / ;)

    1. IM Doc

      As I get older, I realize how absolutely prophetic many of the sci fi writers of the 50s and 60s were.

      When I first heard this billionaire/new city story, I had the memory of a short story I had read years earlier but could not quite place.

      Then, Matt Taibbi & Walter Kirn in this AM’s podcast brought it all back to me.

      There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury.

      Haunting. What if one of these houses/cities survives…..and is just left to its own devices after we have made an exit?

      It is haunting in another way, too. It was yet another reminder of my youth when we took the consequences of nuclear war very seriously. Not like the unfortunate sideshow so many of our leaders think it will be today.

    2. juno mas

      The land for the new city is actually agricultural land (no homes) that is adjacent to Travis Air Force Base. The facility has a history of using PFAS-based fire retardent/suppressors. Hopefully, an environmental assessment has been performed to asses for these pollutants prior to purchasing the land.

      If the developers are planning a new “city” then I hope they are in discussions with both the County commissioners and the adjacent, existing city of Fairfield, because they have veto power in California over whom gets to be a “planned development”, or a functioning, incorporated City.

      (Warning to residents of this new city: Travis’ F-35 jets are a known risk to life.)

      1. Acacia

        Yep, any well water for the new city may be contaminated with PFAS, but that’s nothing a few payoffs to the right people won’t settle.

        “Forget it, Jake. It’s California.”

  3. mrsyk

    “Senate Democrats are blocking disaster aid from the US Government for American citizens in dire need unless it also includes the billions more for the war in Ukraine” How do you sleep at night Sen Duckworth?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Here is the link to Greenwald’s Rumble show on this issue from last night.

      Apparently senator rick scott, who is a corrupt crook in his own right btw, has been trying for months to get a vote on replenishing a severely depleted FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. In view of the current crop of disasters, and in order to get the funds appropriated quickly, he plans to call for a vote by “unanimous consent.”

      It is this vote duckworth is threatening to veto.

      According to karine jean pierre, the “president” supports conditioning disaster relief for americans on the appropriation of tens of billions of more dollars for the black hole that is ukraine. zelensky must have some powerful shit on biden to get him to stick his neck out like this.

      In other “news,” democrat automaton and terminal TDS sufferer, Hawaii senator mazie hirono, has yet to weigh in on the controversy. In a “rational” world, she would challenge duckworth to a girl fight on the senate floor to settle the issue and call it sacred democracy.

      1. ambrit

        Sort of like Representative Brooks (D-SC), caning Senator Sumner (LR-MA), in the Senate chamber, back in 1856.
        Call it a Sacral Rite, available on C-Span Pay Per View for $29.95.
        “Are you ready to riot!?”

    2. Mo

      How much more do we need to see until we realize that the correct response to “but Cornel West is going to hurt the Democrat party” is “Good, I hope so”

      1. some guy

        If West and his supporters have a years-long vision of how to hurt the Democratic Party enough that they can either take it over and purge their opponents all the way out of it . . . or destroy it and burn it down so they can grow their own powerful party on the space thereby vacated, they may well decide to endure the risks and the pain involved along the way in the meantime.

        What would one of the risks of getting the Democrats weakened enough to end up with a default Republican victory? One of those risks is described in an article in Tony Wikrent’s Weekly Wrap-Up feature which is co-run by Ian Welsh on Ian Welsh’s blog as well as being run by Wikrent on Wikrent’s own blog.

        Here is the name of the article. “The Shocking GOP Plan to Dismantle the American Government Revealed.”
        And here is the link.
        . . . Now, this article was printed on Daily Kos, which is rejected by many. But since the same Tony Wikrent who put it in his Weekly Wrap-Up is the same Tony Wikrent who also posts numerous articles from Naked Capitalism itself in his Weekly Wrap-Up, I think Wikrent may be trusted to have properly included this article.

        If the article itself is false and the Republicans have no such plans upon regaining the Presidency, then let fellow commenters successfully debunk the article. If the article itself is true and the Republicans do have such plans upon regaining the Presidency, people voting against the Democrats because they have been such a let-down and a betrayal . . . . as well as people voting for Trump or whatever other Republican ends up running in order to give the Democrats an enema, should accept this outcome among other outcomes as part of the near term and mid term pain they are willing to endure in order to achieve their longer-term goal of a Legitimate Party to vote for and work through.

        If they don’t believe that electing a Republican President will have this and other pain-bringing outcomes, then they will be surprised to find that it will. And they won’t have any plans to survive the pain-in-the-meantime on the way to starting and growing a Better Political Party for a better future.

    3. ambrit

      Someone in the ‘Halls of Power’ should promise to bring up the issues to a vote separately. The Hawaii Aid bill first of course. It’s been done before. (Hold on for a minute until I can stop laughing.)

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Jimmy Buffet has died at 76. He had canceled a concert tour in the past year and been hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.

    Jimmy was no radical, but I loved his music from “Changes in Latitudes” on.

    Three of my favorites:

    We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About

    I was supposed to have been a Jesuit priest or a Naval Academy grad.
    That was the way my parents perceived me.
    Those were the plans that they had.
    But I didn’t fit the part.
    Too dumb or too smart.
    Ain’t it funny how it all turned out.

    Having lived on PVs and Exide deep cycles for a while, I always liked “Twelve Volt Man:”

    I know this Joe down in Mexico
    He went there to work on his tan
    For years, he’s been plugged into blenders and songs
    They call him the Twelve Volt Man
    He don’t need no charge card
    Just give him a Die Hard
    And he’ll make sparks fly ’round your head

    And “Changes in Latitudes” of course:

    If we weren’t all crazy, we would go insane.

    I never saw him in concert sadly. Just never in the right place at the right time.

    1. CanCyn

      My sister has a friend in Toronto who is a member of the city’s Parrot Head fan club. They would see him pretty much every time he held concerts in Toronto. Aside from the fan aspects, they do some community volunteer work – annual park and beach cleanups for example.
      I always liked the song Margaritaville such a good happy/sad song. I used to frequent a pub called the Parrothead that played Buffet music only. Fun place.
      On a larger trend note, it seems to me that more and more celebrities are not disclosing illnesses like cancer – Bowie, Norm MacDonald come to mind immediately. We only knew they were sick when they died. We don’t yet know Buffet’s cause of death but he did cancel tour plans earlier in the year due to illness – so not totally undisclosed but we don’t know the disease.

    2. Wukchumni

      So sad to hear the news, maybe we went to 7 or 8 of his concerts, and the pre-concert party in the parking lot was arguably better than the actual concert itself.

    3. MT_Wild

      I would have to go with “Come Monday” or “Trying to reason with hurricane season”.

      My favorite all time Buffet show moment was in the late 90s Camden, NJ where he buzzed the parking lot several times in the Hemisphere Dancer waving out the window and then landed on the Deleware River. That was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

      His songs were 4 minute moments of respite from the sh**show no matter where you were.

      RIP Jimmy Buffett

    4. skylark

      After my divorce when I was ridiculously poor, my 3 kids and I would celebrate having an occasional treat for dinner by putting Cheeseburgers in Paradise on and dancing and singing around the kitchen.

    5. LaRuse

      I have deeply fond memories of throwing games of cricket in a friend’s basement with every Buffet cd available his top-of-the-line cd changer (this was before the iPod shuffle, obviously). Throwing darts, listening to JB and drinking really cheap beer is a foundational memory of my early 20s. Today? I’ll let Jimmy speak for me now:
      Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
      The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder
      I’m an over-forty victim of fate
      Arriving too late, arriving too late
      Thank you, Jimmy.

    6. Netwyrm

      The thing about Jimmy Buffett is there are so *many* great songs… from the absolute despair expressed in “He Went to Paris” to the quietly leaving-it-all-behind “Somewhere Over China”, from the raucous to the sublime and everything, everywhere in between.

      His books of short stories were pretty good, too.

      His albums are and I hope will remain chronicles of the good things in life.

      Definitely be raising one, if not several, in his memory today!

  5. ddt

    Random note and perhaps should write this in the watercooler comments instead. Living in Greece and spent the summer on a small island, “Poros”. Back in Athens now as kids’ school starts this week.

    The seagulls disappeared. There used to be seagulls all over the island and the Saronic gulf, even following passenger ships leaving or coming into the port of Piraeus. With this backdrop, also noticing that there’s no birdsong in the morning here in Athens. Don’t see sparrows on trees or flying about and swallows are gone too. Trying to figure out why this is happening. Perhaps the heatwaves and fires affected them and they’re off to greener pastures? Anyone else noticing anything similar?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      14 or so years ago, massive bird deaths were being reported across the southeast US (thousands found dead on a short stretch of highway, for example). With no news outlets reporting why, one of my interns started charting the deaths thinking there was some atmospheric explanation for the mass dieoffs. Alas, he found no obvious link. Two years later, the USDA very quietly fessed up to poisoning them.

      1. Michaelmas

        ddt: The seagulls disappeared …Trying to figure out why this is happening.

        I’m on Ithaca (Ithiki) currently. I didn’t come in through Athens, but things here seem as they usually have at this time in years past. It’s a small island that’s never had much in the way of seagulls, with the swallows and such migrating through during fall.

        If anything, Ithaca’s less polluted than it has been. There’s a tiny human population during the off-season — slightly over 3,000 — and they’ve closed down the fish farm across the bay from the home of the family member with whom I’m visiting. So once the tourists clear out, there’s not much here but goats wandering the wind-blown hills and mountainsides.

    2. Bosko

      Here in coastal Maine, seagull populations took a big hit from the avian flu last year. It was not widely reported. Seals too. I wouldn’t be surprised if heat/fires impacted their numbers. Do you put out feeders?

      1. ambrit

        We put out feeders for the hummingbirds this spring as usual. No sightings of hummingbirds this year, none.
        Are we experiencing the long anticipated “Silent Spring?”

        1. Wukchumni

          In 2 kayak trips on the Colorado River in the past year, we saw a marked decrease in waterfowl, maybe 100 birds each trip, whereas it was a thousand or more in previous trips over a couple decades and many dozen trips down the river

          1. John

            it’s uneven but the declines are obvious. Birds, insects … and we cannot say we didn’t know what we were doing.

        2. neutrino23

          San Francisco Bay Area. We still see lots of hummingbirds. Always one guarding the feeder. Lots of crows and wrens. Not many other birds. A few woodpeckers, doves. I can hear owls at night. Hawks and vultures are plentiful up by Crystal Springs. Usual birds out by the coast.

          There used to be a much larger variety of birds here in the city. Not nearly so many crows.

      2. Ranger Rick

        The avian flu outbreak was huge out west too. In addition to mass chicken culling and quarantines at the big farms, the local zoo in Denver even took the extraordinary step of sequestering their animals in an attempt to avoid transmission. The CDC’s tracking this one, but they depend entirely on local Animal Control offices getting dead bird reports. Often when dead birds are found, there’s not much left to test.

    3. Don

      In Tequisquipan, high dessert Central Mexico, the birds are mostly gone. Up until last year, the property was full of birdsong and the flashing of jewel-toned wings; every morning the peacocks down by the river at the back of the lot woke us up early. Now it is almost silent and we sleep in.

      I searched avian flu to see if there was a connection, but pretty much all that that Wikipedia has to say is that the US poultry industry is incurring massive losses, and that the supermarket price of dozen eggs has soared.

      It’s the same on the river in Vancouver; but there it is hummingbirds, jays, waterfowl, raptors and woodpeckers that are notably missing.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “What Do the BRICS Want? Co-Existence or Cooperation?’

    In a way it does not matter what the BRICS want as more and more western politician see them only as a threat. Just the other day Marjorie Taylor Greene was saying that BRICS countries are making serious trade agreements ‘where they are saying: we’ll buy from you, you’ll buy from us, we don’t care about US sanctions and we’ll sell to one another, buy and sell in our own currency, not the US dollar…This is one of the most devastating things that can happen to all of us.’ And other politicians from the west have sounded off about the threat of BRICS as well.

    There may be a side effect to BRICS and that is the demise of the G-20. The past few meeting of the G-20 have had western countries try to hijack them so that they come out with an anti-Russia & pro-Ukrainian statements in the final communique and the upcoming G-20 meeting is no different. This is in spite of the fact that the G-20 is supposed to be all about economic and financial matters. Well the boys at the Duran said that not only will Russia’s Putin not be attending the G-20 Summit but China’s Xi Jinping won’t be going either. So what we may see is the G-20 be degraded and the BRICS meetings – with other countries invited – become more important as without western countries, they can get things done there. And the G-7? That remains what it is – a country club for rich nations.

    1. Random

      Despite her… interesting ideas she’s absolutely right on This is one of the most devastating things that can happen to all of us.
      Locking the US out of transactions that don’t involve it would be devastating for the US economy.
      You can’t base your economy on selling financial services and dollars to the rest of the world if the rest of the world doesn’t use them.

      1. Lex

        Indeed. That she would be the one to point out the real issue is weird, as my babushka used to say, “she couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.”

        BRICS, Russia and China aren’t trying to “destroy” the US or the dollar. They’re simply setting up parallel institutions so that the US can be ignored. In the current context it ends up being the same thing, but that’s the fault of US leadership. It could have maintained its overall financial dominance by giving a little. It appears to be incapable of that and so the cost will be far higher than it could have been.

        1. Polar Socialist

          So the tldr; version is: ignoring USA is the most devastating thing that can happen to it?

          I think she means that being able to ignore Wall Street is the most devastating thing that can happen to Wall Street.

  7. timbers

    “Even if true, remember Ukraine has launched two more mobilizations…”

    Dima can be like a weather vain and often it’s just him blowing off steam and emotion, never the less, his Summary yesterday used the phrase “Ukraine doesn’t have reserves” more than once to various lines under pressure from Russia.

    It’s clear Russia is holding back at the moment while Ukraine appears to have loudly lied about “taking” Robotine which Dima suggests has turned into an opportunity for Russia to pick off AUF forces like ducks in a roll because Ukraine “made the mistake” (didn’t have reserves/equipment?) of not securing it’s eastern flank. Ukraine spinning Robotine as as victory has produced a lot of cheery MSM headlines that Russia’s first line of defense has been broken thought Robotine is not the first line.

    And Ukraine needs victories to keep Western money flowing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Would you believe that on the news a few hours ago here in Oz that they were saying that not only had the Ukrainians taken Robotyne but that they had also pierced Russia’s first defence line? They even showed those rows of dragon’s teeth from a drone but alas, no Ukrainians sappers were seen among them fixing charges to blast them away. I do not know if they are reporting the same in countries like the US and the UK but how can they feed us a line of bs like that? That report does not even have a nodding relationship with what is happening on the ground and I can only assume that our ‘news’ come straight from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.

      1. ambrit

        And who does the Ukrainian Ministry of ‘Defense’ take it’s marching orders from? (Rhetorical question of course.)
        When I mention on the bus that Russia is winning the War in the East, I am met with incredulity and scorn. The Propaganda is strong in America. It will only work out like it did in a certain European country in 1945. (If we are ‘lucky,’ it might work out like it did in the same country in 1918.)
        The entire situation reminds me of a very late WW-2 American propaganda film; “Hotel Berlin.”
        “Are we the baddies?” See:

          1. Kouros

            I am sure he’s talking about Germany.

            Romania after WWI almost doubled its area and signifficantly increased its population and was among the victors.

            And after WWII, because it turned against Germany in August 44, it got almost a year of fight against the axis, and lost 250,000 soldiers, managing thus to not be labelled an “enemy”. And kept Transylvania…

      2. Ed S.

        PBS NewsHour (aka the daily brief on what and how to think for the PMC) had the same story last night (September 1)

        “In certain places, Ukrainian soldiers have now breached the first line of defenses and are confronting the second line, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Ukrainian TV today”

        Later in the report was a retired US general who said the same:

        Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute (RET.), Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO: “Well, Nick, I think it’s significant, because they have actually beaten the Russians on this first line of defense”

        PMC-central news is the same as what you saw in Oz.

    2. The Inimitable NEET

      “an opportunity for Russia to pick off AUF forces like ducks in a roll because Ukraine “made the mistake” (didn’t have reserves/equipment?) of not securing it’s eastern flank”

      Ukraine can’t secure the eastern flank leading to Verbove because of the contours of geography. There are hills south and southeast of Rabotino the Russians are using to exert fire control, and this means any transfer of troops towards Verbove forces them into constant enfilade. Furthermore, Verbove itself is located on heightened elevation so any assault on it will recreate the same disadvantageous conditions as Rabotino. Hence why the Russians only established trench networks in the southern portion of the latter; from the start, it was intended to function as a fire trap.

    3. begob

      Dima is a bit odd. He sometimes headlines videos with a promise of Russia crushing it, and then ignores all that in favour of an over optimistic account of Ukrainian progress; often anticipates sweeping moves that never come off – Ukraine pushing past Robotyne, the Black Sea fleet being lured to its doom. Yet he never fails to itemize Russia’s assessments of Ukrainian casualties, which jibe with Mercouris in their particulars and MacGregor in general.

      I believe the video you refer to had a claim that Russia was about to release a figure for Ukrainian killed in action during August alone – he reckoned the figure would be shocking: 40k. Has he followed up?

    1. La Quinta

      “Tropical Storm Hilary moved into California after making landfall in northern Mexico, becoming the first named storm to strike the state in 26 years.”

      BFD!, it rained a couple inches, helping reduce fire danger and the normal desert pavement places at the bottom of canyons, one with a road unwisely built along it, washed out. Hilary was the most overblown event in news cycle history in California. Not one death attributed to it by even the most shrill alarmists.

      1. John

        24-hour news cycle baby. Something has to be ‘breaking. at any given moment. And if you are wrong about. storm, hey, weather is unpredictable. MOve on. Nothing to see here.

        1. ambrit

          I think that Obie Wan said it best; “The Burning Man Playa. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    I listened to one of Nate Hagens’s best podcasts yesterday. It reminded me of the discussion we had a few days ago about climate’s effect on forest fires and the price of electric cars. It’s a roundtable discussion with Hagens, petroleum engineer Art Berman, renewable energy installation designer Pedro Prieto from Spain, and Keen buddy, mining engineer Simon Michaux, an Aussie working for the Finnish government in planning a renewable energy switchover.

    They cover the impracticality of a switch to electric cars in the U. S. and EU. They discuss the psychological attachment that residents of the affluent West have toward their cars. And they ponder whether a Western collapse must precede any deep change in worldview required to deal with our situation in a realistic way. Finally, they debate whether our elites’ failure to respond to this crisis is due to a a failure to understand systems, general idiocy or bad intent.

    1. Thistlebreath

      Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” and” Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” point to failure rather sooner than later. I’m not a huge fan of The Nation but in the spirit of the late Billy Carter, “…even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while,” they’ve noticed things aren’t going according to, uh, plan.

      We live amid a climax coastal live oak grove surrounded by a growing stock of McMansions. Our avian count has grown, I suspect because we’ve become a ‘last good place.’ But they and we may be gathering on the aft deck of the Titanic after it struck an iceberg.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>They cover the impracticality of a switch to electric cars in the U. S. and EU. They discuss the psychological attachment that residents of the affluent West have toward their cars.

      Twenty percent of Americans live in rural areas. Much of the rest live in areas without a functionally useful public transit system if there is one. It is annoying to see our elites blather on about electric vehicles with their limited ranges and others who tisk tisk over the use of cars when vast areas of the country does not have dependable rechargers and over half the population does not have access to public transportation that they can use.

      Honestly, while the need of many Americans to have ginormous pickups and SUVs is stupid, the need to have at least one vehicle, preferably one with a gasoline engine or is a hybrid, is obvious.

      If the serious goal was to allow someone in the Great Basin in the middle of winter and in Santa Fe in summer to travel and refuel like they can with a gasoline vehicle, I would pay attention. Otherwise, it looks like feel-goodism that wants to make it impossible to have an affordable, dependable car and is likely to make it difficult for people to move to and from different parts of the country especially in extreme heat or cold weather.

      1. Henry Moon Piee

        One of the many points made by those four in the roundtable discussion is that transportation amounts to 8% of the problem. Manufacturing and Ag are much bigger portions, but little effort is being made to find areas where we can cut carbon emissions in those areas.

        Another point they make is that you can’t cut just gasoline usage. Refineries will always produce some portion of gasoline when they refine crude. It’s the nature of the process, which can be tweaked, but you can’t eliminate gasoline entirely. So if you still need ammonia for fertilizer, plastic to build the electric cars, asphalt for the roads, you’re still going to be refining crude oil. What will you do with the gasoline? (We’re going to need a lot more huffers.) In some ways, we’ve built our society around the oil molecule. We’ve gone from using cotton and wool for clothes to nylon so we could use up some of the plastic “by-product” from refining gasoline, but now we depend on that by-product. Shall we go back to cobblestone roads? While ammonia fertilizer is a soil destroyer, if we quit using it tomorrow, tens or hundreds of millions would soon starve.

        With all these conundrums, our elites persist in their stubborn demand that Business As Usual continue but be electrified. A more or less consensus answer among these four is that we’re going to have to make a bunch of hydrogen-powered buses. Why hydrogen? Electric transports and medium range buses won’t work because all you’ll end up carrying around are the batteries. So hydrogen is the one technology available that can have the range without the carbon. But hydrogen is hellishly expensive to separate out energy-wise, and very difficult to contain because it’s such a small molecule.

        A lot of what we’ve become accustomed to isn’t going to work anymore. And the limits are imposed not just by carbon but by the rapidly declining Energy Return on Investment of available fossil fuel. There are no more new fields like the Permian was 70 years ago when you got 100 barrels for each barrel invested. There’s still oil available, but it’s costing more and more to get it out whether it’s deep sea drilling, fracking, tertiary recovery. The big bonus we’ve been enjoying for a century is now over.

        To the extent that our elites have any plan, it’s that the percentage of people who have personal cars will be dropping precipitously. This will be done by “price rationing.” Prieto talks about how young people in Spain buy ICE beaters with 300,000 km on them. You won’t be able to buy an electric vehicle with that kind of mileage because the battery will be long gone, and the battery comprises 50% of the vehicle’s cost. In other words, the resale of an electric vehicle past 5 years is crap. So usable vehicles under $2,000 will not exist in an all electric world. And the “plan” for those in rural areas without much money is YOYO. “Move,” they will say.

        The plane has one dead engine and other is smoking. There are people like these four, Raworth, Hickel and others looking for a flat place where we might land it and still survive, but the elites are not interested. Their Plan B is some bunker or Mars, and we’re not invited.

        1. Ranger Rick

          This reminds me of the much-lauded “green industrial policy” Biden announced on the campaign trail. Two trillion in spending… where is it?

      1. Tracie

        Ahh! My favorite bird site! Too bad I didn’t use it. So, the Green Heron is so much prettier. He’d be feeling quite insulted if he knew I’d miss-identified him!

    1. Tracie Hall

      Ohhh! Thank you! I think I’d better start putting question marks beside my ID’s. I often guess wrong!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Poland closes biggest refugee centre for Ukrainians”

    I wondered about this headline. A coupla days ago a bunch of Ukrainians beat up a bunch of Poles for not saying ‘Slava Ukraini’ though the Warsaw police said that they were actually all Georgians. Whatever. Doesn’t really matter as you read of fights between young Ukrainians and Poles from time to time in the news. Point is that the Polish government has to go to the polls not far down the track so perhaps closing this centre was a dog-whistle to the government’s supporters that this was in retaliation. Just a possibility mind this idea. And this is coming at the same time that the Ukrainians are threatening to take Poland to court because of their ban on Ukrainian grain.

    1. Polar Socialist

      According to the news I saw, there were only about 300 Ukrainians in that centre for 10,000. It just made no sense to keep it operating.

      That said, I’ve indeed also seen news about cars with Ukrainian plates being vandalized in Poland, and many other signs of Poles getting tired of their “guests”.

  10. Lex

    Even if we assume MediaZona’s count of Russian casualties is a little low, its tracking definitely shows the trends. Of course almost no one has bothered to apply the same methodology to Ukrainian losses so there’s no decent benchmark. But it is clear and obvious that the last three months have been particularly brutal. We know that at least from the fact that almost all the brigades slated for the southern offensive have already fought, and they’ve only gained a tiny amount of ground.

    The number of 45,000 killed on the Ukrainian side since June is widely distributed. Even if that’s somewhat high, the ration of the two sides is literally unsustainable. It also suggests that Russia would be foolish to change its tactics that so many pro-Russia members of the alt-media community complain about.

    More mobilization in Ukraine doesn’t solve the problem but it does create a host of other problems. There is a point where the only source of men for the front is from critical industries and state functions. The current trend in the conflict is starting to push towards Ukrainian collapse sooner rather than later. And a collapse of the rear may well precede one at the front.

    1. Polar Socialist

      There was a comment in TG allegedly by an Ukrainian saying that there’s already a huge shortage of labor in Ukraine. Not only because hundreds of thousands have already been mobilized and millions have left the country, but also because when hiring the employer has to get a clearance from the recruitment office for the employee – so for young to middle-aged men the hiring process is more likely to end at bootcamp than getting hired.

      1. hk

        Speaking of labor shortage, I am curious if there is any serious movement of Russophones from near abroad (and beyond) back to Russia. There are plenty of Russian speakers who have been increasingly deprived of civil rights in the Baltics, a lot of Russophones who migrated to Germany in 1990s and do on who might be looking for better opportunities. Doctorow had a post about the old aristocrats, whose ancestors fled the Revolution a century ago, moving back, but I’m thinking of actual potential workers.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I’m not sure, but I think there are something like 10 million migrant workers in Russia from the CIS countries at any given year. Maybe more, since only those bothering to get a work permit are counted officially. The segment of the commentariat living in Russia probably has more accurate understanding.

          About a month ago Tver region announced a plan to offer homesteads for 3000 Boer families from South Africa. Around 30 settlements of 100, as a pilot project. Apparently it’s a thing among the Africaners to convert to orthodoxy and migrate to Russia nowadays. The segment of the commentariat living in South Africa probably has more accurate understanding.

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Ukrainian soldiers forced to take drugs.

    Sounds plausible to me too. It is what Nazis do after all. The whole Third Reich was jacked on meth.

    There was a book called Blitzed that came out a few years ago that I can’t seem to link to about the rampant drug use in the German military during WWII.

    1. digi_owl

      I’m tempted to claim that most of humanity was low level buzzed well into the industrial revolution.

      And various potent recreational drugs were initially prescribed as anything from painkillers to sleep aids.

      The single convention on drugs didn’t happen until 1961 after all, and remains controversial as it leans in favor of nations with expansive pharma industries.

    2. The Rev Kev

      “Blitzed” was by German writer Norman Ohler and here is an Wikipedia article on drugs in the Turd Reich-

      At least our leaders nowadays are well beyond using meths anymore. Going by that bag found in the White House and other world leaders habits, cocaine is now the drug of choice among our leaders. I would not be surprised if they are jacking up those Ukrainian soldiers on drugs as the same was done for those Jihadists in Syria with Captagon which made them go nuts. But taking drugs is a two edge sword. There was that time a US pilot killed a bunch of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and it came out that the US Air Force was forcing those pilots to take amphetamines or lose their flying status but whose use made them more aggressive-

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        That reminds me, what ever became of that baggie found in the White House? I’m sure someone was held responsible and punished accordingly, right?

    3. Daniil Adamov

      I was reminded of this old War Nerd article: This is Your War on Drugs. Back when he was more into the whole “outrageous” War Nerd persona, which may not be to everyone’s tastes. Informative, though, and clear on the point that while the German military did love drugs, they were hardly alone. So yes, it makes sense.

      1. hemeantwell

        the German military did love drugs

        They had every reason to. From what I’ve read they knocked out the French by maintaining their Ardennes offensive drive to the sea by pushing through the night. When feeling a little peaked, Rommel did just fine pulling over to the side of the road and taking a ten minute cat nap. Ukrainian usage is likely much more tilted to morale boosting. Morale-wise the Germans were on a natural high.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        For what it’s worth, Elvis picked up his legendary pill habit over in Germany during his army stint. Story goes, a senior officer introduced Private Presley to amphetamines and it was off to the races.

    4. ambrit

      The ‘DIY’ amphetamine cooking system is know in the Underground as the Nazi Method. It originated in Germany during the Second World War.

    1. flora

      This makes it impossible for elected pols to know what’s really going on, too. Assume pols or their staff use search engines to get information about questions they have; the engine returns the same results to them as to everyone. Assume pols use social media to gauge public sentiment about some political topic; same results. And we know intel agency heads lie to Congress, so that’s not an avenue to find out about public sentiment. I think this goes a lot deeper than simply fooling Joe and Jane Public. / my 2 cents.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Control of the information others use for decision making gives new legs to the idea of shadow government.

  12. digi_owl

    I have heard about Air forces using “go pills” for when pilots need to fly long missions, often involving in air refueling to get to the target and back.

    But i think most nations issue caffeine pills, only USA has been rumored to be issuing meth or similar.

    That said, this makes me think of the claim that child soldiers were given drugs in some African civil war or other. Never looked into specifics though.

  13. pjay

    Re ‘Imperial Collapse Watch’

    I read all five articles in this section one after the other. Absorbed in this way, they have quite an effect. Not the “end of history,” but, ironically, the end of our own era of US hegemony with “history” moving on. Much deserved emphasis on our insufferable hubris, but also, as the Hitchens essay conveys, the decay of certain positive attributes and unfulfilled potentialities as well. Anger, frustration, sadness, melancholy… an effective combination of articles in this section today,

    1. anahuna

      Not sure that those positive attributes were widely distributed. That piece reads to me like a lament for a previously very comfortable existence that has become less comfortable. Harbinger of more decrease to come?

  14. The Rev Kev


    I see that they are playing it smart there and have been paying attention to what happens overseas-

    ‘The military leaders in Niger who seized power in a July coup have barred United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other international agencies from working in its military “operation zones,” the Interior Ministry announced on Thursday.

    The directive comes in response to “the current security situation and the ongoing operational engagement of the Nigerien Armed Forces,” the ministry said in a statement aired on national television and reported by local media.

    All “activities and or movements [of the organizations] in the zones of operations are temporarily suspended,” the statement said, without specifying the affected regions.’

    So in one fell swoop, they have stopped any foreign agents that are embedded in UN agencies, NGOs and other international agencies from going down to the border to scout out troop dispositions and the like. Damn man, that is sharp work that.

    1. digi_owl

      Gets me thinking of how Doctors Without Borders pulled out of Afghanistan because the locals were targeting them thinking they were US agents.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Some of the UN troops in southern Lebanon are certainly spying for Israel and have been since 2008 while the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine before the war were spying on the Donbass militias and were feeding the Ukrainians targeting information. And who can forget how the CIA organized a fake vaccination program in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding to ID him which led to hostility to all public health vaccination programs in Pakistan for years after? Short term you get results. Long term, you undercut all trust in international organizations.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Falling Out of Love With America”

    Man, that was really sad reading that. More so if you lived there to see all the changes. In passing, the author is Peter Hitchens – brother to the late Christopher Hitchens.

  16. Wukchumni

    We are looking at a real mess at best, a disaster potentially at Burning Man.

    It rained about half an inch yesterday and more is coming today and tomorrow.

    Typically about 1/4 of the 60,000 attendees leave this weekend (exodus) but nobody is going nowhere until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.

    The port a potties which are emptied every day will not be able to be serviced for maybe 5 days, and will be full up well before then.

    Alkali dust turns into gooey sticky slippery clay where you sink in 6 to 8 inches with every step, so everybody has to shelter in place, no vehicles can drive.

    Water and food could be an issue as well.

    Frankly I’d rather be in Trona right now…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like they may have to have the National Guard chopper in food and water before long. But how to distribute it all?

      1. Wukchumni

        Cars and trucks get stuck real easy in the muck, my buddy was here for the storm before the burn, and related that he had to pull a truck out with a tow strap.

        There was nobody here to speak of a week ago, and all it would take is a bunch of vehicles to get stuck and nobody could get anywhere until maybe next weekend at the earliest.

      2. Verifyfirst

        No stinkin National Guard for these elite libertarians! I’m sure they can helicopter themselves out, albeit they will have to be winched up one at a time. Would be fun to watch them decide who goes first…..

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      So will the Burning Man community handle this adversity as well as the “hippies” at Woodstock?

    3. Steve H.

      > The Supreme Stupidity of the “End of History” And Its Consequences Ian Welsh (Micael T)

      >> He sold a fairy tale to an elite desperate to believe they had won forever

      Burning Man is about as ‘Radically Self-Reliant’ as Disneyworld. The class system is RV’s vs tents, and the hemorrigick fever rumors should clarify that consomme.

      Climate change meets Pandemia in a desert lifeboat scenario. There being Names of Note, we can expect this to be known as ‘THE Jackpot Event’, colonizing the definitive article, yet again.

    4. wilroncanada

      So, you now are experiencing “Slogging Man”. Youngest son-in-law has a good friend there now who has been attending for many years, travelling from Toronto.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “New Russia-baiting provocations from Latvia”

    As far as I can see, Latvia is just displaying some of those European values that the EU keeps on talking about. And after all, the EU was good enough to look the other way at the annual Nazi parade in Latvia before Latvia became a member of the EU itself. Actual Europeans may have different values to those of the European elites but as they said in Game of Thrones – ‘They don’t get to choose.’

  18. Ignacio

    Falling Out of Love With America American Conservative

    Hitchen’s article made me recall my very first journey to the US when I was 14 (1979) which I still remember very much like Hitchen recalls his. I was literally overwhelmed, pleasantly surprised, by the US and felt extraordinarily lucky for the opportunity. I was the lucky one chosen at home out of seven and IBM (my father worked to his retirement for The Company) presented this opportunity for worker’s children. Another soft spot that has made me read Hitchen’s piece with devotion, pleasure and some sweet bitterness.

    I give thanks twice for this link.

    1. Hepativore

      As I was born in 1984, my generation has never known anything different in the US other than the slow and inevitable decline caused by neoliberalism and the criminal malfeasance of W. Bush, the smug recalcitrance of Obama, Trump’s odiousness, and Biden’s dementia-addled obliviousness.

      Neoliberalism is a global phenomenon that has blighted most of Europe through the EU and will likely be the dominant global paradigm for decades to come, and likely for the rest of my lifetime in the US as both parties have gone all in on it. It does not matter to our elites if massive cracks in our political system are showing, as they just pretend they are not there and our media exists to parrot elite opinions to the public.

      Pretty soon, there will be nobody left who remembers when the US was not a post-empire kleptostate as the silent and boomer generations die out.

  19. some guy

    . . . ” Is Musk out to destroy his business? ” . . .

    Hasn’t the theory been offered here in these threads starting at least weeks ago that yes, indeed, Musk did buy Twitter in order to burn it down and salt the earth it stood on? That as a new convert to hard alt-right wing-trollery, he wants to deprive various non-right non-wingers of a platform on which they might share any kind of information, including information about their own mutual awareness of eachothers’ mutual existence?

    So yes, of course he wants to destroy Twitter from existence and wipe it off the face of the earth. In my opinion. As a two hundred billion-dollar billionaire, 44 billion is not a prohibitive amount of money for him to spend on destroying something he wants to see destroyed and abolished. Just as the deep pocketed funders who keep funding Uber will keep right on funding it until they have reached their longer-range goal of exterminating every possible mode of mass and semi-mass transit from existence.

    Some men just want to watch the world burn.

    Now more than ever, I hope some refugee former-employees from Twitter are working on a legally defendable reverse-engineered Twitter Emulator perhaps to be called Cricket, with its “tweets” to be called Chirps.

      1. flora

        In fruit/veg produce labeling stickers a leading “4” would mean conventional non-organic. So, non-organic non-organic? / ;)

  20. Bsn

    The recent quote by Birx is a bit telling, in a Freudian way. “We wanted to make it like flu because that was easier, but it’s never going to be like flu,”….. Hmmmm, “We wanted to make it”???

  21. Tom Stone

    if anyone wondering about why McConnell and DiFi don’t resign, it’s their staffs.,
    BIG, deep rice bowls and a huge amount of “Social Capital” that will evaporate once these two resign or die in office.
    DiFi’s and McConnels CoS get better tickets to events, good seats in restaurants and are on much nicer Xmas lists than AOC’s CoS…
    It’s all about power and ego and for the staffers those warm fuzzies depend entirely on the power of their patrons.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Because of DiFi, liberal Democrats don’t even have any standing to call upon McConnell to resign, though he certainly should! Indeed, both of them should. But these people have no affinity for statesmanship whatsoever, as power is simply theirs by right, so why would one resign from such a position, even in one’s death throes?

  22. Jason Boxman

    Ha. If the Republican party actually cared about human beings, they’d run on the dropping life expectancy under Biden. I wonder if you could fit that onto a t-shirt somehow? While some of that drop belongs to Trump, Biden certainly put the stake through the heart of public health.

    I watched First Knight last night — ha, I know, forgive me there’s a Pandemic — and the motto through service to others we are free is most definitely NOT in any way related to America’s motto: Because Markets, go die.

  23. magpie

    “Treading Thin Air: Geoff Mann on Uncertainty and Climate Change” @ LRB

    The concluding paragraph:

    “…we are in desperate need of a politics that looks catastrophic uncertainty square in the face. That would mean taking much bigger and more transformative steps […] prioritising democratic institutions over markets.”

    Over the past three years, we have all had a demonstration of our Democratic Institutions’ capacity to respond to a catastrophic situation. In my country, their response included suspending the Constitution, seizing the bank accounts of nonviolent political dissidents, failing to deliver vaccines in a timely fashion, and failing to stem the spread of the virus, while dodging a variety of corruption scandals without accountability.

    In the EU, these Democratic Institutions have already dispensed with “markets” through de-industrialization of their own economies. Buy sweaters and line up for the dole, people. “Looking catastrophic uncertainty square in the face,” these Democratic Institutions vehemently support a war that may go nuclear at any time because, as Jacques Attali says, ‘It is worth any risk’ to defeat Russia.

    These Institutions are led by people like Annalina “I don’t care what my voters think” Baerbock and Josep “It’s better to go hungry” Borrell, who are not fringe figures. Biden and Blinken are not fringe figures. Truss and Van der Leyen are not fringe figures.

    And that bit about markets? Perhaps Geoff Mann means to reject capitalist imperatives, but the concept of a market suggests autonomous choice. That includes political choice. That includes personal choice.

    Our Democratic Institutions need humility, reform and transparency. They do not deserve any more power than they have, because they are demonstrably not fit to wield it. See above.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The link well covers uncertainty as a factor in the mirage of precision in the outputs of climate models used in the political-economic project of the economic optimization of the continued burning of fossil fuels. But I think there are stronger reasons for questioning the sanity of that project than the use of probability in climate models as a means for estimating model parameters. For one thing, I am not convinced that the current models capture all the variables that will interplay in the changing climate. I suspect the models are incomplete — certain important variables remain among the ‘unknown unknowns’.

      Concern about the models, their variables and parameters, begs the question whether economic optimization makes sense as an approach for addressing climate change and the ongoing depletion of fossil fuels. Suppose the models were exact and well-known, what does a change of ‘X’ degrees Centigrade in global temperatures mean in terms of Humankind’s experience of climate change? The uncertainties in climate models pale by comparison with those in economic models of costs and utilities. The link does approach this issue at its tail when it characterizes the economic optimization of climate change as an effort to “perch the gargantuan machine of contemporary capitalism as close as possible to the precipice without tipping us all over the edge.” The link’s use of C.S. Peirce’s thought experiment about selecting a black card, shows the nonsense of the political-economic project.

      I am troubled by the brief mention of “climate sensitivity (the way global temperature will respond to the doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations).” That definition of climate sensitivity is imprecise. The abstract of Hansen et al. “Global warming in the pipeline” states: “that fast-feedback equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is 1.2 ± 0.3°C (2σ) per W/m2, which is 4.8°C ±1.2°C for doubled CO2. … Equilibrium global warming including slow feedbacks for today’s human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) climate forcing (4.1 W/m2) is 10°C, reduced to 8°C by today’s aerosols.” There is quite a difference between the fast equilibrium value of 4.8°C and the slow equilibrium value of 10°C. The climate sensitivity bandied about in political-economic discussions focuses attention on the fast-feedback equilibrium value for this parameter. Consider the notion of an equilibrium value. As I read most discussions of climate change the way the equilibrium value is approached tends to suggest that the approach is linear and over-damped — minimizing overshoot and ringing. The complexity of the climate systems leaves me wondering what evidence there is that the systems response to CO2 doubling is over-damped. Adapting to a slow but steady increase in global temperature is a lot different than adapting to temperature change that over-shoots and rings as it approaches its equilibrium value.

      I think climate scientists made a serious mistake when they reduced climate change to Charney’s CO2 sensitivity constant for fast-feedback equilibrium to support crafting political-economic policy. Their modeling efforts play into the efforts of politicians and economists to claim precision in their efforts to protect the interests of the fossil fuel Corporate Cartels.

  24. Cat Burglar

    The Jacobin article amounts to deploying TDS to get the left to accept TINA. It read like an old Irving Howe article out of the 50s, so I guess you can give it high marks for reviving the style.

    For an ostensibly socialist article, insurgent movements don’t get much mention. Socialist entry into the Democratic Farmer Labor Party gets onto the record, but not the Minneapolis General Strike. EPIC gets no billing in this very selective history, probably because the Dem leadership in California closed ranks to support a spoiler against the socialist Democrat candidate.

    For an article purporting to define the limits on socialist political action — but suggests the Dems are flexible and penetrable, under the influence of disorderly political actors — how can you get away from any consideration of the large-donor victory over Sanders? Nothing in sight here. The real limitations on the left are starkly obvious. This guy wants the left to put all its energy into a party whose leader just shut down the rail strike — there’s a real pro-labor writer for you.

    1. pjay

      Yes. I was in DSA as a grad student in the 80s and remember some of that story. This article almost sounds like it could have been written back then, given how much subsequent history is left out. One missing element: the class dynamics of the PMC (‘professional-managerial class) that would become so important in the de-evolution of the “left”. The Ehrenreich’s started writing about this in the 1970s; Barbara was an important part of this history (is she mentioned in the article?). The power of capital over both parties and the mechanisms through which this is exercised is also understated for a “socialist” writer. The reason *right-wing* “populist” movements have been successful in the Republican party is because (1) big-money benefits from a “libertarian” anti-government agenda, so they are funded and *allowed* to succeed; and (2) the Democrats turned their backs on the working class so there is no where else for them to go. The article *kind of* deals with the second issue, but again, the discussion is so unsophisticated that it sounds like something from my grad student days. Can today’s “left” really move today’s corporate/CIA Democrats from within? (I mean on actual *class*-based issues; not the divide-and-rule social issues that reproduce elite power).

      1. Cat Burglar

        To take a stab at it: the historic role of the left is to be a conveyor belt bringing support into the Democrats and their network in return for occasional goodies tactically dispensed, but is never to be allowed to handle the power to set strategy or policy. The article wholeheartedly volunteers for that position, and makes up a history to justify it. Sanders and his supporters, whatever their shortcomings (and I was one of them), at least tried to take control (as did EPIC and Sinclair in 1934) and were put down. The power of the donors and their servants to do that is the real limitation that has to be overcome.

        And there was no mention of the largest left-wing organization of the 20th century in the US — the SDS! Some history! Whether by design or by custom, it was a fitting silence, because the SDS started and grew precisely by rejecting exactly what the writer advocates. Amazing that such a large and militant organization, most of whose former members are still alive, is not publicly discussed and reflected on. (The only really good book on it is the out-of-print SDS by Kirkpatrick Sale.)

        No surprise that the Ehrenreichs were former SDS members. Their long-ago article in Radical America was in part a try at understanding why students were so radical in the 1970s, and what the limitations of a movement advanced by professionals and managers might be. They weren’t the first ones to bring it up, but they did a good job. Ever since the 1960s, student radicalization with an elision into morally appropriate liberalism has become a cliche of upper-middle class life — this website, as you know, anatomizes all the pathologies that have followed.

        I figure, sure, go ahead and enter the Dem structure for whatever leverage you can get– so I don’t see the article as totally wrong. But confining action to just that is a recipe for another batch of status quo — I am not doing it. Likely, this article is just to shy people away from voting or working for Williamson or West, using the bogeyman to scare them.

  25. Jay Ess

    That WebMD article has a bad typo:

    It is unique in that it has more than three mutations on the spike protein

    More than thirty is what they meant.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’m still lost on while we’re still targeting this given how rapidly it mutates. It’s almost like no one cares about repeat infections indefinitely. Surely the virus has other parts to target?

  26. Val

    The global decline of religion. The whole thing is a persistent series of category errors in the service of a much desired ideological derangement. Ex., “a day-long seminar on AI led business executives (n = 76) to believe that automation allows humans to “break” laws of nature, gives humans “superhuman” abilities”. Yeah, decline of religion. sure.

    And to perseverate while waiting for the waves to build here:

    Institutional and personal scientism not a religion?… must I page Dr Fauci? Aggressive enforcement of pseudo-objective narrative overlay., zero-tolerance for genuine open inquiry and hypothesis generation, funding likewise directed by ideologically processed corporate bureau data-allergic scientoid performa-bishops in their bullshit bowties and nascar labcoats ? Right-answerism and head-patting run amok. Outgroup/Denier psychoses strongly encouraged.

    All the behavioral lesions associated with religion, but bereft of any potential spiritual and psychological benefits. Decline of religion? Structurally not-religion because AI and automation?
    Give me a family-blogging break.

    Scientism may be ascendant but is very much a religion in any social, historical or personal context, exhibiting homologous to patterns of mind that have been directing the western cannons through the ages.

    Time to surf!
    Deus lo volt!
    It’s full-spectrum sacrament out there.

  27. mrsyk

    I see that Russia, Iran and Belarus are no longer invited to attend the annual Nobel awards in Stockholm. “After an uproar”. Not going to link because I’m weary of searching for some even-handed coverage. Do we ever get to graduate from middle school?

  28. Katniss Everdeen

    Here is a link to a study of the covid “mRNA” “vaccine,” published August 17, 2023. All you need to do is read the abstract to know that all of this research should have been done well before the mass vaccination campaign in response to the “pandemic.”

    A synopsis:

    Researchers noted the following key problem areas:

    –Spike protein toxicity (spikeopathy) from both the virus and when produced by gene codes in people vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines.
    –Inflammatory properties in specific lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) used to transport mRNA.
    –Long-lasting action caused by N1-methyl pseudouridine in the synthetic mRNA—also referred to as modRNA.
    –Widespread distribution of mRNA and DNA codes via the LNP and viral vector carrier matrices, respectively.
    –Human cells produce a foreign protein that can cause autoimmunity.

    I have no doubt the results of this study will be vigorously suppressed. It is a damning indictment of pretty much every morsel of “safety and efficacy” “information” provided by “public health” officials during the covid “emergency” and continuing to this day.

    Here is a link to an Epoch Times ( summary of what the study has found. It’s important. Read it and weep.

    1. Ignacio

      Interesting this “counter narrative analysis” I have been reading it carefully (not the whole thing yet) and many of their claims make sense whereas some others look the product of excessive outrage. It is now extremely difficult to find unbiased analysis of vaccine efficiency as it has become highly politicized and even irrational in lots of cases.

      Anyway i wholeheartedly agree that cold, unbiased scientific analyses of risk/benefits of Covid vaccines (all those vaccines that have been deployed) are lacking and indeed necessary. Unfortunately, current political/social environments still don’t allow for this. In particular no institution seems to be ready to throw good money in such vaccine “audit”.

  29. maipenrai

    was a research assistant for Halberg and his Circadian rhythm work. to this day I swear we were his subjects and not the mice we were experimenting on. Often we went almost without sleep for 72 hours.

  30. juno mas

    RE: God split 100 yr. old Oak Tree

    The tree may have been big, but it wasn’t that old (middle-aged, at best).

    God is not to be blamed here. Whoever planted that tree is.

    Look closely and you’ll see that the trunk at its base was bifurcated. Since trees do not push themselves up out of the ground, that flawed-trunked sapling would be a warning to any certified government gardener. It should not have been planted, at all. The bifurcation creates a weakness in the trunk that is replicated in the clean line of the split of the trunk during the windstorm. For those arborists with a keen eye, the trunk interior of that tree was also degenerating (rotting).

    Don’t blame bad choices on deities. :)

  31. Willow

    > Intel RoundTable: Sustainable Peace in Ukraine Possible? Larry Johnson/Ray McGovern

    Stagnation headwinds are returning. Oil is back to highs (with SPR still to be refilled) and core inflation is starting to build pressure (climate risks coming home to roost). DEMs are going to be in a real spot of bother with a weakening economy & trying to justify continued funding for Ukraine. Becoming inevitable Biden/State is going to ask Pentagon for those top shelf tactical nukes.

  32. Jason Boxman

    All That Empty Office Space Belongs to Someone

    About a year and a half after Mayor Eric Adams chided workers — “You can’t stay home in your pajamas all day!” — New York’s offices in late August were under 41 percent of their prepandemic occupancy. Just 9 percent of the city’s office workers were going in five days a week at the start of the year, according to the Partnership for New York City, a business group. Remote-work levels crisscrossing the country are more mixed, with just under one-third of America’s workdays now done from home.

    The CRE train wreck is gonna be a slow unfolding crisis, I think. Not a word above improving ventilation so that these places are safer. A survey to see what percentage of people avoiding RTO are actually avoiding COVID infection would be a treat, so naturally I’ve not heard of one so far.

  33. IMOR

    AP headline Sat 09/02:
    “Russia earns less from oil and spends more on war. So far, sanctions are working like a slow poison.”
    Yes. Very slow poison. Yes.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Oh, there are several indicators saying that EU will need intensive care shortly. The sanctions are working like a poison, but the patient is so far refusing any treatment and is considering taking more poison.

  34. Tracie

    Ahh! My favorite bird site! Too bad I didn’t use it. So, the Green Heron is so much prettier. He’d be feeling quite insulted if he knew I’d miss-identified him!

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