Links 9/26/2023

Seahorse Love Works in Mysterious Ways Nautlius (Micael T)

How Tsarist Russia sought to make a tropics on the Black Sea aeon (Anthony L)

NASA space capsule carrying largest asteroid samples ever collected lands safely in Utah ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Country Music Doesn’t Deserve Its Conservative Reputation Jacobin (Micael T)

Lorna Finlayson, The Sycophant New Left Review (Anthony L)

The Lost History of Sextus Aurelius Victor Antigone (Anthony L)

China is facing an alarming mpox outbreak. Could this be next global health crisis? ZMEScience (Dr. Kevin)


Cardiologist and Covid vaccine critic Dr Aseem Malhotra wins 2023 Rusty Razor award The Skeptic (ma)

Covid antiviral drug linked to ‘transmissible’ mutations, research finds Financial Times

China lab suspected of Covid leak stripped of US funding for violating biosafety rules Telegraph (ma)


Lego abandons efforts to make bricks from recycled plastic bottles after finding it didn’t reduce CO2 emissions New York Post (Kevin W)

The threat of wildfires is rising. So are new artificial intelligence solutions to fight them Associated Press (Kevin W)


Macron Is Pushing Europe Into a $900 Billion Fight With China Bloomberg

Hostility Between the United States and China Looks Increasingly Inescapable National Interest (Chuck L)

Biden Hosts Pacific Islands, With a Rising China in Mind New York Times (Kevin W)

US Flouts International Law With Pacific Military Claims (Kevin W)

In the ostensibly dictatorial China, how are criticism and complaints handled?Very different from the tale you’ve been fed! Eastern Angle (Micael T)

The Philippines accuses China’s shadowy maritime militia of destroying coral reefs in South China Sea (furzy)

Seoul stages military parade and warns North of ‘overwhelming’ response Financial Times

Canada-India Spat

Nijjar affair poses an existential dilemma Indian Punchline (Chuck L)

Unpacking India-Canada tensions amid Trudeau’s bombshell allegations Aljazeera

CSIS’ questionable history with India and Sikh separatists Canada Files (Micael T)


Under French-backed military ruler Mahamat Deby, Chad is a “pressure cooker waiting to explode” People’s Dispatch (furnace)

Niger coup: Macron says France to withdraw troops and ambassador BBC (Kevin W)


Nagorno-Karabakh: Hundreds feared injured in fuel blast DW

Nagorno-Karabakh: Thousands flee as Armenia says ethnic cleansing under way BBC. Lead story

European Disunion

Italy’s prime minister stunned over Germany’s decision to fund migrant NGOs Anadolu Agency

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine SitRep: Battlefield Reports Show Lack Of Armor And Certain Munitions Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Analysis of Ukraine’s Escalating Crimean Strike Campaign Simplicius the Thinker

Ukraine-Russia war: Pope hits out at Poland over weapons withdrawal Telegraph. Kevin W: “What. The. Fuck. A Pontiff of the Catholic Church is complaining that not enough weapons are being sent to a war.”

This War Wasn’t Just Provoked — It Was Provoked Deliberately Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Trudeau calls praise for Nazi-linked veteran ‘deeply embarrassing’ BBC


Ukraine ‘Sucked the Oxygen’ Out of World Food Program Newsweek (Micael T)


Exclusive Interview With Ukraine’s Spy Boss From His D.C. Hotel Room The Drive (Kevin W)


Ben Gvir threatens to implode Israeli govt over concessions to Palestinians The Cradle (furnace)

Just Say No to Mideast Defense Pacts American Conservative

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

FBI Agents Are Using Face Recognition Without Proper Training Wired

Imperial Collapse Watch

Don’t Listen to the Hawkish Doomsayers Daniel Larison

Sewage, Squatters, Disease: U.S. Military Barracks Are Depressing Hellholes, Watchdog Finds Vice (guurst)

Can I have some of what he is smoking? I commented on our system being Mussolini-style corporatism back in 2010, but since when is any national leader going to cede power to the likes of Klaus Schwab, particularly as Western leaders are already threatened by the rise of the Global South? Put it another way, “How many divisions does the Vatican have?”


Trump Floats the Idea of Executing Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley Atlantic (David L)


Lawmakers warn that US is heading for shutdown as budget talks stall Financial Times

GOP Clown Car

Here’s who made the second Republican presidential debate Politico

Why Tuberville breakthrough isn’t ending military impasse The Hill

Democrats en déshabillé

Defiant Menendez refuses to resign after indictment The Hill

The Menendez Scandal Reflects The World That SCOTUS Built Lever News (Chuck L)


Facebook Can Be Sued Over Biased Ad Algorithm, Says Court The Verge

Principal Program Manager Nuclear Technology Microsoft (Paul R). See also: Microsoft hiring a nuclear power program manager, because AI needs lots of ‘leccy The Register

Americans Finally Start to Feel the Sting From the Fed’s Rate Hikes Wall Street Journal

Jamie Dimon Warns World May Not Be Prepared for Fed at 7% Bloomberg

The Bezzle

Costco now offering virtual medical care for $29 CBS. Paul R: “I don’t understand this but it sounds worrying.”

Class Warfare

“Go full force”: Autoworkers press for all-out strike, as Biden intervenes to facilitate UAW sellout WSWS

What happened to London’s post Covid return to the office? How capital’s three main commuter railways carry 22M fewer passengers a month than four years ago – as City banks, senior MPs and Sadiq Khan urge workers to get back to their desks Daily Mail

Why America Has a Long-Term Labor Crisis, in Six Charts Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour. Brian P: “I’d like to submit the attached picture of our dear departed Bonnie the cock-eared dog and Pumpkin my grandmother’s cat coming to an uneasy truce.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Sardonia

    So, AOC is unhappy with her Tesla, and wants to switch to a Ford EV. So she drives to a Tesla dealer in DC:
    AOC – “I want to sell this car.”
    Tesla dealer – “Problem with it?”
    AOC – “Yes, the Virtue Signal no longer works.”
    Tesla dealer (confused) – “You mean the turn signal?”
    AOC – “No, the Virtue Signal. This car no longer signals that I’m am morally superior.”
    Tesla dealer (as the light goes on in his head) – “Ah. Yes, now I understand. We’ve been getting a lot of complaints about that lately. But fortunately for you there’s an easy fix for that.”
    AOC – “What is it?”
    Tesla dealer – “Your signal just needs some blinker fluid.”
    AOC – “What’s that?”
    Tesla dealer – “Blinker fluid – we just add that to the signal and it works fine again.”
    AOC (confused, but considering it) – “Is it expensive to do have that done?”
    Tesla dealer – “No, we do it for free for all Tesla owners who need it.”
    AOC – “Oh. Well…I guess. How long would that take?”
    Tesla dealer – “Oh, five minutes. In and out in a jiffy.”
    AOC – “Well, I guess. Can you do it now?”
    Tesla dealer – “Well we don’t stock blinker fluid here. You’ll have to pick it up at our warehouse and bring it over.”
    AOC – “Where is your warehouse?”
    Tesla dealer – “It’s pretty hard to find if I try to give you directions. How about if I just enter it into your GPS for you?”
    AOC – “Okay, that would be nice of you.”
    Tesla dealer – “No problem at all. But since it’s hard to find, just be sure to follow the GPS directions exactly.”
    AOC – “Okay.”
    The Tesla dealer enters the GPS info.
    The next day, and article appears in the WAPO – “Tragedy struck yesterday afternoon when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drove her Tesla into the Potomac River. Witnesses reported that she inexplicably made a sudden turn off the road and straight into the water. Divers reported finding the deceased Congresswoman and her car at the bottom of the river.
    “Reached for comment, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “So now there are how many of them – three?”

    1. furnace

      lol, good one. I don’t really know if AOC was made by spooks in a vat to be controlled opposition, but if she wasn’t then damn, she’s doing their job for them.

    2. Oh

      Good one! I wonder if her car has the “Chameleon Finish”? It’s the one that changes color each time she enters the Capitol.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “We are gonna shut down the federal government …”
    But guess who we are going to still pay for …

    Not the full story of course. Not only is the US paying the salaries of the government officials as Biden mentions but also police, fire fighters, first responders, S & R dogs, pensions and also small businesses like a small knitwear company. No, I am not making that last bit up-

    1. CaliDan

      Thanks for the transcript indeed.

      My favorite actual quote comes toward the end: “The road ahead is long and difficult, but if we preserve –persevere and prevail, if we keep the faith in ourselves and show what’s possible.”

      Sums it all up quite neatly, I think.

    2. Alice X

      >Biden: “Remind me, who do I work for again?”

      It’s a deep fake. It could have been made more clear.

      Not that it wasn’t far from his mind, whatever is left of it.

  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘Moscow’s terrifying revenge: the Russians destroyed the NATO command post under the hotel in Odessa‼️
    The port of Odessa actually no longer exists, and the hotel “Odessa” no longer exists – said Natalia Gumenyuk,’

    So at the moment, NATO seems to stand for Need Another Twenty Officers.

  4. timbers

    I would like to officially announce my support of replacing all our Senators, Congressmen, and Executive Brach is AI bots. I have no doubt the we will see a dramatic improvement of governance. Of course, not AI regarding insider stock trading or hording gold and cash in your house we be allowed.

    1. Synoia

      What happens when various bots or AIs discover the reward of having flexible morals and the ability of being providing the answer wanted instead of the truth?

    2. Louis Fyne

      Sortition. government by representatives chosen by lottery, like a jury.

      I’d rather take my chances with 536 random people in DC running the Congress and WHite House

        1. Steven A

          I would go one further: have each Congress meet in a different location far from DC and and beyond the reach of the the PMC haunts. Find a high school gym or sports arena in Pittsfield MA, Waterloo IA, Midland TX, Tupelo MS or Pocatello ID and see how well the lobbyists can keep up.

          1. CarlH

            Lobbyists would be banned and thrown in prison in my utopia. Let them ponder if all those fancy cocktail parties and dinners bribing politicians were worth it after spending a few decades in a prison with the same conditions as the prison system they or their colleagues lobbied for. All current and former politicos get the same treatment, as well as CEO’s, their lackeys, and all the other criminals who have profited off of our misery and the destruction of our societies and planet.

    3. hunkerdown

      No, I don’t want Sam Altman or the Zuck having any input into the terms and conditions of social life, at all, not even indirectly.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        No, I don’t want Sam Altman or the Zuck having any input into the terms and conditions of social life, at all, not even indirectly.

        I’m afraid that horse left the barn long ago.

  5. zagonostra


    The demolition of western societies and economies is organized in a piecemeal fashion. They are being destroyed gradually, slice by slice, because doing it rapidly would spook the populations. Any farmer knows that spooked livestock can be dangerous, and our political elites understand this…

    So, what exactly is behind their incompetence? There are two main reasons. Firstly, it is their low self-awareness. People with low self-awareness cannot evaluate their own thought processes properly and they, therefore, cannot evaluate if they are doing a good job or not.

    This article has many contradictions, it doesn’t logically hold together. If what is happening is being done in a “piecemeal fashion” it is not “incompetence” that is the problem or it’s putative cause, lack of “self-awareness,” but rather malice, that is what is behind “what is wrong with the Western Political Class.”

    I think Ephesians 6:12 is more on point: it’s the “the rulers of the darkness of this world, [and] spiritual wickedness in high places” -that is what is wrong.

    1. GramSci

      The money quote for me:

      «An example of this could be CO2. The narcissist it made to believe it is a threat and that the Earth must be saved from it. This belief turns him into a crusader for good with special understanding that lesser people don’t have – which then receives reinforcement from other narcissists.»

      1. diptherio

        Yeah, it’s a real mixed bag with that one. I actually think the author may be onto something, but his obviously reactionary politics keeps him from seeing that his analysis works just as well for explaining right-of-center politics. Politicians of both parties work by pointing to actual problems and then offering inadequate, or totally off-base, solutions for them. We’re pumping too much CO2 into the atmosphere? Let’s spend a bunch of money on carbon sequestration tech! Family formation is down and divorce rates are up? Ban books from your kid’s school that mention the existence of gay people! It’s the same stupid sh*t no matter which side of the aisle you look at, which is the real problem.

        But this guy, he kinda half-way gets it…and he’s probably right that we have a lot of narcissists in positions of power, but when he ends his essay with “Their only competence is the ability to destroy our economies, our culture, our societies, our health, and our freedom.” I get the distinct impression that this guy’s ideas about freedom — or what in our culture is worth preserving — and mine are probably rather…uh…different.

    2. Random

      The “evil” of western leaders is highly exaggerated.
      Almost every leader of a sufficiently large country is to some degree morally bankrupt. Always been that way and it’s not likely to change.
      The only thing that changed is the degree of competence. And the reasons for why that happened aren’t obvious.
      Is it the lack of any international opposition for a whole generation? Is it because the private sector became much more appealing for people than the public one? And so on.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “And the reasons for why that happened aren’t obvious.”

        A big part of the answer has to be that the level of complexity exceeds their ability, perhaps anyone’s ability, to cope.

        And meanwhile, Bill Gates thinks he’s capable of redesigning the planet. Let him get his way and the whole thing will go blue screen.

        1. flora

          Heh. You reminded me the Microsoft operating system introduced a new, universally understood term to the world: The blue screen of death.

        2. GF

          “A big part of the answer has to be that the level of complexity exceeds their ability, perhaps anyone’s ability, to cope.”

          Ahh!! Finally a place to use AI.

        3. juno mas

          …let me remind everyone that Bill Gates is a college drop-out. However, he must have received some ‘home schooling’. His father was a corporate attorney and Microsoft was relentless in claiming software competitors were infringing on his copyrights. (Microsoft essentially purloined the basis of its operating system from IBM.)

          Bill Gates is nothing but a rich goof ball!

      2. digi_owl

        “The only thing that changed is the degree of competence. And the reasons for why that happened aren’t obvious.”

        Lack of hands on experience? Politics has become a full time profession. Many of them exist university and go straight into a full time political position. End result is that all they know is the political echo chamber and whatever lobbyists and the equally full time bureaucrats tell them.

      3. JBird4049

        >>>Almost every leader of a sufficiently large country is to some degree morally bankrupt. Always been that way and it’s not likely to change.

        Yes, but in the past, those morally bankrupt individuals had depth that I just do not see in today’s politicians. They were also concerned about greater good as they saw it. Look at George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Malcom X, MLK, RFK, and LBJ. Each and everyone of them had views and done things that most would find objectionable and outcasts in today’s oh so correct society (well, unless it involves invading other countries supposedly for “freedom and democracy.”)

        However, those same people were not two dimensional, moral and mental midgets, only concerned just with stealing as much wealth as they can, which seems to be most of the elites today. For whatever reason, there is a lack in today’s ruling class that was not there in the past. There was corruption, evil, stupidity, and every other vice back when as there is today. That has not changed, but unlike today, there was also so much more as well.

        It is like something has cored the mind and soul of most today’s ruling class leaving only the façade of a functional individual pretending to be adults with agency instead of children acting on shallow urges. When finally understand how this happened, we will be able to successfully change the system in a positive way and hopeful prevent it from happening again. At least for a while. If we do not, then I think that any changes or reforms will be shallow, transitory, and probably very destructive.

        1. flora

          We have much more information but much less knowledge. Politicians and leaders “process information” but they are somehow detached from the process and results. Everything is reduced to economics, neoliberal economics, spreadsheet economics. Our politicians and leaders are maximizing agents. What exactly is that? Is it mechanized thinking, or the attempt at mechanized thinking? Where is the person, the whole person in neoliberalism?

          Here’s a quote from Philiip Mirowski’s book Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste. This applies equally to todays leaders as it does to the fictional student, imo. What happens to the person in this mental fragmentation. What happens to the moral agency? Is it discarded as a non-maximizing liability?

          The fragmentation of the neoliberal self begins when the agent is brought face to face with the realization that she is not just an employee or student, but also simultaneously a product to be sold, a walking advertisement, a manager of her résumé, a biographer of her rationales, and an entrepreneur of her possibilities. She has to somehow manage to be simultaneously subject, object, and spectator. She is perforce not learning about who she really is, but rather, provisionally buying the person she must soon become. She is all at once the business, the raw material, the product, the clientele, and the customer of her own life.
          =Philip Mirowski

      4. Revenant

        There’s an important differences between immoral and amoral and between morally bankrupt and morally compromised. LBJ was compromised and immoral but not amoral or bankrupt.

        Frankly, the worst ones are the moral ones, look at Blair and his conviction he does god’s work. It is hard to argue that he is immoral or even amoral. He is morally deluded, perhaps.

    3. Sin Fronteras

      This is an uneven article, but it implies an important question:
      “Something happened right after the election of Joe Biden which seems to have switched the western diplomatic gene off, so to speak, and switched on the threat gene instead. Not that there was much diplomacy before, but things can always get worse – and they have.”

      “Something happened” in 2014 with the US-backed ultra-nationalist coup in the Ukraine. At the same time, the US had been in an unspoken alliance with al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. The Russians intervened, bombing ISIS in a way the US had NOT. Obama was not able to openly defend an alliance with ISIS and al Qaeda, so was compelled to acquiesce.

      The US does not take lightly to other countries disobeying, much less interfering with its attempt to overthrow a government. Is it a coincidence that Hillary started in with the Russia stuff during the 2016 campaign? IMHO that was a 2-fer: smear Trump, and whip up US public jingoism. The latter has been spectacularly successful, the liberal public is thoroughly infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      Trump’s presidency was a distraction from the project of going to war with Russia. The US oligarchy needed someone “qualified” and “reliable” to wage war, and neither Trump nor Bernie nor any of the other Democrat candidates except Biden fit the bill.

      Most of this is my own speculation, “connecting the dots”. It would be nice if some muck-raking journalist could establish hard evidence, even of the Sy Hersh “informed sources” type. But meanwhile I’m sticking with this, it is the best I can come up with which explains the OVERT shift to war with Biden’s election.

      I might call it “Vote Blue no Matter Who” and you might find yourself tiptoeing on the verge of a nuclear war.

      1. Mike

        Maybe, just maybe, the process started much earlier. Each new President elected since the end of World War II has garnered a CV that is increasingly bereft of consideration for the national good, but best for an interest cluster. There was hardly any diplomacy in what the US did in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, the Congo, El Salvador, Haiti, etc. etc. Yes, the “new world order” has changed the speed at which the “west” has punched before perusal, but the method was always behind the curtain. Now, it seems, the payoff to the world isn’t enough to stay loyal, and the punishment can be blunted if you have company in your opposition.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Hillary has said that the Russians stole her Presidency back in 2016 and gave it to Trump. And that means that she has denied the results of the 2016 Presidential elections. So does that mean that we can cancel her on the grounds of being an ‘election-denyer’?

    4. Mikel

      “…Borrel’s comment about Europe being the garden and the rest of the world a jungle is the pinnacle of this – because we all know what jungles are associated with…”

      They have their “garden” and the CIA has its “needle field.”

      CIA Builds Its Own Artificial Intelligence Tool in Rivalry With China – Bloomberg

      The CIA’s Open-Source Enterprise division plans to provide intelligence agencies with its AI tool soon.
      “We’ve gone from newspapers and radio, to newspapers and television, to newspapers and cable television, to basic internet, to big data, and it just keeps going,” Randy Nixon, director of the division, said in an interview. “We have to find the needles in the needle field.

    5. Feral Finster

      “I think Ephesians 6:12 is more on point: it’s the “the rulers of the darkness of this world, [and] spiritual wickedness in high places” -that is what is wrong.”

      We are ruled by persons whose behavior is indistinguishable from that of high-functioning sociopaths. This will happen eventually to any society, as power attracts sociopaths the way catnip attracts cats. The West had a good run but is rapidly reverting to the mean.

      Learn well The Iron Law Of Oligarchy.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Trudeau calls praise for Nazi-linked veteran ‘deeply embarrassing'”

    I was watching a Canadian video a short while ago that said that Trudeau actually met this Nazi and honoured him before they went to Parliament. He could have asked his Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council to do a quick background check on who this guy was but I guess that that was never done. So perhaps Chrystia Freeland pushed this guy forward as a great stage prop? I note that if this guy had spent even a week at a concentration camp, then they would have come after him like those other people about 100 years old. But the whole thing was blown up on the international stage.

    Spokesmen for the UN comdemned the whole thing as has The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center & The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Canada. You can bet that veteran groups are also unhappy about having their former enemy honoured. Russia is demanding answers as are countries like Poland who suggested that the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons – Anthony Rota – should step down. Belarus accused Canada of deliberate attempts to whitewash Nazism and rewrite history. Trudeau has only himself to blame as he has in the past labelled opponents to him as Nazis like Parliamentarians or those truck drivers for example. But he is a sign of a trend to whitewash Nazis. Recently Harry and Meghan were seen holding hands at the Invictus Games with Yulia ‘Taira’ Paevskaya – a long time member of the Azov Regiment. She surrendered in Mariupol by pretending to be the mother of 2 kids whose parents she had killed herself. ‘You are known by the company that you keep’-

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The obvious path is to fire a Trudeau functionary involved in the decision and vote out the Speaker, not allow him to resign, but because it combines basic moral decency and political expediency Western politicians will simply refuse to do this. Protecting their friends is far more important than the appearance of decency.

      2. MikeX

        This woman called him “His Excellency Zelensky”- LOL. I have to admit I don’t really follow politics, for my own sanity. Is it common practice to officially refer to Zelensky this way? Also, proposing to pretend this incident never happened is also worthy of a separate “LOL!”.

          1. MikeX

            Interesting- thank you. I’ve really only heard it used for middle-eastern sheiks and the like. Have never heard heads of state referred to that way, just struck me as awfully pretentious sounding.

    1. Louis Fyne

      sheesh, how about ask any casual WW2 nerd.

      13 y.o. me could’ve told Trudeau/his aides that a Ukrainian army vet from WW2 = double take of his credentials

    2. Louis Fyne

      talk about Establishment brain rot.

      if one can’t avoid giving a literal goosestepper a standing ovation in Parliament, makes you wonder about their competence re. more complex stuff

        1. hk

          Wikipedia entry on Pierre Trudeau. I guess Justin really is his father’s son …

          He wrote that in the early 1940s, when he was in his early twenties, he thought, “So there was a war? Tough. It wouldn’t stop me from concentrating on my studies so long as that was possible…[I]f you were a French Canadian in Montreal [at that time], you did not automatically believe that this was a just war. In Montreal in the early 1940s, we still knew nothing about the Holocaust and we tended to think of this war as a settling of scores among the superpowers.

      1. Zack Blabbath

        Trudeau is a cross between the worst trairs George W. Bush & Barack Obama.

        at least Ben Mulroney (son of Brian) has the decency to work in daytime television

    3. Boomheist

      Outrageous as this latest Nazi-adoration event may be, the truth and history within both the US and Canada is murky and much forgotten (in order to maintain whatever self serving heroic narrative we desire). There was a huge Nazi element in the US before WW2, witness the rally in Madison Square Garden in around 1940 attended by thousands. After the war a lot of Nazis came to the US – just as they did to Canada – and took prominent places within our society. Werner von Braun, anyone? The truth as I see it is this – the foundational “enemy” of the west was since the 1870s the Marxist, slavic, later communist state, and initially when Hitler rose the West supported him over Russia, and did so until he made that pact with Stalin. In the end the West aligned with Russia against Hitler but as soon as the war ended and the Soviets remained in place all through eastern Europe the enmity switched back to where it had been before Hitler rose, and has remained there ever since. In the late1960s I studied Russian in college and my teacher drove out every morning from New York to hold an 8am class in New Haven, six days a week (!!). He was, I now understand, a Cossack, a Ukrainian, very proud that he had ridden in the last cavalry charge in history, this after, as a Ukrainian, immediately joining the Wermacht to fight against the hated Russians. So my teacher was someone who had fought with the Nazis, like that old man applauded in Canada. In the 1960s nobody thought twice about this, he was someone who in the 1960s was anti-Russian and this was a perfect fit with the enormous disapora of anti_Russian eastern European immigrants who flooded to North America and whose visceral hatred of the Russians has endured to this day. I am not saying, for these people, that this hatred is not justified, I am sure it is, just as when I was a child in western Massachusetts all my Polish neighbors, refugees from WW1, were refugees from the Russian Revolution. So in this context, given that the REAL visceral dislike is directed at the Russian state, and has been for generations, maybe actually ever since the Mongols invaded ten centuries ago, it is not surprising that the anti-Nazi rhetoric is slightly performative, given that bad as the Nazis were and are, the general feeling seems to be that the Russians are worse. And these days, with the anti-Russian fervor as high as it has been in a half century, those terrible Nazis don’t look so bad, and this murky reality explains such disconnects as the West fervently supporting Ukraine and the Azov batalions (and Nazis) whenever it suits the broader anti-Russian narrative, just as it explains precisely how Trudeau and Canadian leadership have stumbled into this ridiculous circumstance they now face today.

    4. Feral Finster

      Trudeau’s use of the words “Russian disinformation” to describe the actual, confirmed and admitted fact of Trudeau and the entire Canadian Parliament cheering for a bona fide volunteer in the Waffen SS is most instructive.

      It’s like these words, “Russian disinformation” are a magic spell that can make logical contradictions and pesky facts just disappear. Or perhaps just “our support for self-confessed Nazis makes us look bad, so just don’t go there!”

      Look up the words “thought terminating cliche”. Dismissing anything one doesn’t like as “Russian disinformation” is a prime example.

    5. danpaco

      My Chrystia knew exactly who this veteran was. The look on her face during the entire exchange was truly appalling.

    6. wilroncanada

      There are 334 members in the Canadian House of Commons (the legislative branch). The applause was unanimous. We need in Canada to elect at least one member who has all his marbles, because–to steal a phrase from Thomas King–all 334 members have lost theirs.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    Gaius Baltar, climate denier–

    So as Gaius is taking us through his evidence-free fantasies about just how the WEF is taking over the world, he drops this:

    The belief systems used for our candidates are more limited although they share a common purpose. They contain a brainwashing element which makes the candidate feel special and enables him to show his virtue to others. They also contain specific instructions on how to react to the element, which is usually a made-up threat, and what to destroy to eliminate that threat.

    An example of this could be CO2. The narcissist it made to believe it is a threat and that the Earth must be saved from it. This belief turns him into a crusader for good with special understanding that lesser people don’t have – which then receives reinforcement from other narcissists. The programmed response is to shut down energy production and ban cars.

    What I’d like to know is where and how do they indoctrinate the idiots who are still denying the CO2 problem at this point. Just because the WEF’s solutions for problems are BS doesn’t mean the problems themselves aren’t real.

    1. Louis Fyne

      —-Just because the WEF’s solutions for problems are BS doesn’t mean the problems themselves aren’t real.—

      that is the proverbial $64,000 problem and the NYT op-ed won’t acknowledge….the WEF and their cohorts have poisoned the well re. CO2 that (in my opinion), the WEF and Greta made things worse!

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Oh, yes. When various parties out there demand that CO2 be addressed and then advocate solutions that are grossly inadequate, wildly impractical, or even flat out impossible, it’s difficult to take anything they say seriously.

        In addition to the WEF and Greta Thunberg poisoning the well, I can think of others. The Extinction Rebellion has infamously performed a number of highly disruptive stunts while making simultaneously vague and absurdly unrealistic (net zero by 2025!) demands. The latest version of the GND from Ed Markey and AOC repeatedly botches the units of measure while planning spending that is clearly inadequate. And Mark Jacobson’s infamous “100% WWS” plan would have shredded river ecosystems while requiring storage that would have taken centuries to deploy.

        Gaius Baltar’s lament about Western leaders lacking competence seems very much on target.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        They’re reverse conspiracies. With Covid, there was a conspiracy right out in the open. Paul Tudor Jones and Stephen Schwarzman were among the hedge funders who told Trump and Pence to call a halt to any policies impeding their returns on capital. The motivation is clear and consistent: nothing must interrupt the return on capital to the .01%. Then, no doubt with the inspiration coming from these same hedge funders and their hirelings, we get a conspiracy to take away our freedoms for exactly what benefit to the conspirators?

        With Overshoot, we’ve had decades of lies from Big Oil covering up the carbon problem so they can continue Business As Usual, but somehow, again, the reality of CO2’s effects is denied because it’s a conspiracy against our precious freedoms to drive giant pickups up and down creeks.

        I think the real problem is a well-implanted compulsion to continue with Happy Motoring. People believe what they want to believe, and there are always paid liars happy to help them feel confirmed and comfortable in those beliefs.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          It’s fascinating in a morbid way to see how the .01% operate. Let’s go back to March 2020, when it looked like the credit markets were about to implode. I distinctly recall being amazed at how quickly Congress puked up bills bailing out airlines, small businesses, and creditors in general.
          It was almost like watching a firehose being pointed in the direction of Wall St., except cash was blasting out of it instead of water.

          To your point, it was all about keeping the spice flowing, i.e. returns on capital. The Fed even backstopped junk bonds, IIRC.

          No doubt they’ll do it again, when clown world gets shaky again.

    2. cnchal

      You are missing the point of the article.

      Narcissists are attracted to politics like flies to shit, and the most venal of them are recruited by the psychopaths running the WEF.

      This is what political “””leadership””” is today. Narcissists get elected and once in office deal with people that have scrambled up the greasy pole of greed and power by kissing the right ass and stabbing the right back in the correct order, or shorter, psychopaths.

      This part of the article is complete horseshit, though.

      Because the narcissist’s self is based on a lie to begin with, any system of belief can be fed to him, as long as it feeds the lie. Any belief which will tell the narcissist that he is better and smarter than others will be accepted. All “current things” in western society, including climate change, social justice, affirmative action, LGBT rights, Ukraine, and clean energy, are carefully constructed belief systems developed to brainwash narcissists into doing certain things. These certain things always involve the destruction of something. Our hand-picked political elites are the targets of this brainwashing – along with the part of the population with sufficiently narcissistic models of self to be easily brainwashed – which could be as much as a third of western populations these days.

      That one line ruins the whole article.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s a good candidate, but I’ll stick with my paragraph about the climate catastrophe being a hoax. That makes the writer out to be an idiot or a shill in my book regardless of what he knows or doesn’t know about narcissism.

      2. Louis Fyne

        Not rushing to Baltar’s defense….but to be charitable, let’s say 2% of the population are literal pathological narcissists. (i think that we can all agree on that)

        I can be persuaded that 1/3 of western populations have become “learned narcissists” or “narcissist adjacent” (phrases randomly invented just now) due to social media or environmental factors.

        1. some guy

          Or maybe ” facultative narcissists” or “narcissoidal” or “narcissesque” . . . to offer 3 more invented terms.

      3. tawal

        Probably an underestimation in USA. In my book it’s 2/3, not 1/3: Anyone who identifies as Democrat or Republican.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Simon Ateba
    SHOCKING NEW DETAIL: U.S. Army Hospital in Germany Is Treating American Soldiers Hurt Fighting in Ukraine.

    NY Times writes, “The Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center has quietly started admitting Ukrainian Army soldiers who were wounded in combat, most of them American volunteers.”‘

    Somebody should be checking out the military hospitals in Cyprus as well. During the Iraq Occupation, the US military would ship wounded to there to keep those wounded off the official books. Another trick was to take a soldier that was basically brain dead but to keep his body going. Once he was in Germany or some other country, they would pull the plugs and then that soldier’s death was noted as occurring in Germany or where ever but definitely not in Iraq. I have no idea if that made a difference with what claims that soldier’s family could make.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      it ain’t like the Vietnam days when you would see rows of coffins on the tarmac and you could actually see the cost of the illegal war – of course back then there was thing called the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ that moderated TV news shows and was half-heartedly followed, unlike today when it is thrown out the window beaten and buried a bloody mess – and i don’t know if y’all feel the same way but the news and actions occurring around the world seem to be increasing and accelerating – but maybe that’s just me – i seemed to be increasingly uneasy – Pope Francis losing his mind and moral compass – can’t look at a pic of the Husk without bile rising – and Menendez being prosecuted a second time for corruption after a hung jury the first time and if it goes to SCOTUS waddyathink their gonna do when Thomas is more crooked than a dogs rear leg – thank Ruth BTW for her enormous ego refusing to quit and St Obama not insisting on a chance to have another Justice not to the far-right on the bench – as if it makes any difference any how – drink and drugs don’t do it for me anymore and cigarettes are slow motion suicide so i just got live with the madness – and i just read that on Oct 4 the US Government will take over all our phones for a test warning, whadafug – thank god for dogs –

  9. russell1200

    The Lego thing was strange. [It’s not carbon neutral because they would have to buy too much new equipment] ?

    Ok – but it would get rid of a lot plastic waste, and presumably what you are currently doing isn’t carbon neutral.

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      understand your concern about plastic waste but more technology ain’t the answer – the Lego idea was just as loopy as the link right after, “The threat of wildfires is rising. So are new artificial intelligence solutions to fight them” – we aren’t going to technologize our way out of this mess –

  10. Louis Fyne

    —-Self-driving cars cause a traffic jam in Austin, Texas.—

    LOL, robo-cars will clog Manhattan. As anyone who lives/visits Manhattan knows, people have mastered the art of jaywalking.

    Once jaywalkers realize that robo-cars will never hit you, any obvious robo-car will be stopped by an intrepid jaywalker….then everyone else queued up on the corner will follow.

    1. Benny Profane

      And then imagine an alcohol saturated Saturday night, when the bars empty and the game is, F with the robot taxis. Which, considering what a party town Austin is, may very well happened there.

    2. some guy

      And if the robo-cars don’t discredit themselves in Manhattan by creating their own traffic jam, some robo-car-jammers can help out by placing traffic cones on the hoods of strategically placed-and-selected robo-cars to make them stop in place.

      Or if there is a flock of robo-cabs and robo-ubercars infesting Manhattan, enough people could remote-hire enough robo-ubers and direct them all to the same address and then send them on their way without getting in them so as to generate a robo-trafficjam that way.

      Enough such robocar traffic jams and runamok mobs of enraged Manhattanites might hold some robo-car bonfires and burnathons. Enough such anti-robocar arson riots and maybe Manhattan will ban robo-cars.

      1. some guy

        Maybe Manhattanites could start referring to robo-ubercars as robo-uberoaches, to wire the detestation and disgust with them right into the local language. Then it would be easier to mount clever disruption campaigns against them without losing public support.

    3. Bill Malcolm

      The one thing the brilliant autonomous car masterminds of Silicon Valley forgot was that drivers must obey instructions of a police officer. Say a similar jam of cars with human drivers occurred. A couple of cops could quickly unjam the situation by ordering certain drivers to move their cars to certain spots, and work their way through the mess. I’ve seen such cases in action in the past.

      But the autonomous cars no more recognie a traffic cop on foot next to them any more than they recognize a dog. The autonomous cars may follow highway laws as written in legislation and regulations in a book, but the programmers forgot their cars are just as subject to police iinstruction as those driven by humans.

      Big fail.

      Plus they are not really autonomous — they have to have an internet operate.

      Whole lot of rethink has to happen before “autonomous” cars work properly.

  11. Wukchumni


    Freedom Caucus take this gavel off of he
    He can’t use it anymore
    It’s getting dark, too dark to see
    I feel they’re knockin’ on Kevin’s door

    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door
    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door
    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door
    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door

    The Red Scare ground him down
    Donald doesn’t need him anymore
    That not so long Speakership is comin’ down
    I feel they’re knockin’ on Kevin’s door

    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door
    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door
    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door
    Knock-knock-knockin’ on Kevin’s door

    Ooh, ooh-ooh

    Knocking on Heaven’s Door, by Bob Dylan

  12. .Tom

    Caitlin Johnstone’s daily has a nice line about the west “arguing with reality“. While a musician I am absolutely no song smith but I feel a good protest folk song could be spun from that in combination with “negotiating with themselves”.

    1. k

      along the lines of Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself”…?

      Arguing with myself (ah, oh, oh-oh)
      Arguing with myself (ah, oh, oh-oh)
      When there’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing to prove (ah, oh, oh-oh)
      Well, I’m arguing with myself, ah, oh, oh-oh….

  13. The Rev Kev


    Considering the fact that both NATO and the EU have their headquarters in Belgium, you would think that this would have been done a long time ago. Still, it might explain why the wives of so many officials in that country are walking around wearing diamond necklaces. The boys at The Duran brought up a good point and said that most diamond cutting took place in India anyway and not in Belgium. Just went to Google which tells me-

    ‘India has the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in the world. It accounts for 95% of the world’s processed diamonds.’

    So I guess that that diamond operation in Belgium is toast, not that they have been paying any taxes from what I have read. This has been compared to when Lloyds Insurance pulled documents from Russian ships – only to discover that the rest of the world took up the slack and cutting out a lot of Lloyd’s business for good. It will be the same for those Belgium diamond cutters.

  14. flora


    Great read. I recommend it. Also, look up the name Alfred Rosenberg, briefly mentioned in passing in the article.

    Further in the links is a twtr clip of Schwab speechifying and selling the idea the WEF should directly take control of countries govts. He’s such a clever word coinager. What leaders would agree to this? Maybe some of the current and recent idiot WEF member “leaders” like T in Canada and A in New Zealand and M in France would agree. They are good order followers with not much going on upstairs. (Wait, scratch A off the list; she’s currently comfortably ensconced at Harvard where she’s speaking out against free speech. Oh, the irony.)

  15. Louis Fyne

    —I will forever be grateful to the artist who put a tapeworm statue in front of Chase Bank in Beverly Hills. So fitting. —

    JPM Chase has almost $4 trillion in assets, more than 7x that of the number 10 American bank, more than 130% more than conspiracy-theorist-punching-bag-favorite Goldman Sachs.

    Pretty sure Jamie Dimon is having the last laugh.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      And it’s using that money to fund Carbon Sequestration and Solar down here in Louisiana which will do nothing to stem the advance of coastal erosion, drought, wild fires, and the wholesale erasure of Bayou Culture.

  16. Jason Boxman

    China is facing an alarming mpox outbreak. Could this be next global health crisis?

    There’s no specific treatment for the viral infection and most symptoms often resolve on their own without the need for treatment. BioNTech announced this week a partnership with a global coalition to support the development of mpox vaccine candidates. BioNTech would start a trial for the vaccine, based on mRNA technology. This is the same company that worked with Pfizer to produce an mRNA vaccine for the virus that causes COVID.

    Well, that’s a relief, given the adverse reactions to the SARS-COV-2 mRNA vaccines! Maybe the CDC can add this one to the growing list of vaccines on the childhood vaccination schedule as well!

    1. flora

      Is this a rerun of last spring’s Monkey Pox epidemic, supposedly about to ravage the US as predicted? / ;) (I am so skeptical these days.)

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Sewage, Squatters, Disease: U.S. Military Barracks Are Depressing Hellholes, Watchdog Finds”

    Wherever the $1.2 trillion dollars the Pentagon is spending each and every year, it is sure not on their people. The black mold, broken sewerage lines and broken fire systems not only effect those soldiers but their families as well. I wonder how this will play out?

    In the past, the kids of military vets would be encouraged by their parents to join the military but a trend has been seen where those vets are now steering their kids away from the military. Hmmpphh. Actions have consequences. Who knew?

    1. Wukchumni

      For many years the onslaught of lawyers on the telly or radio hoping you had mesothelioma, so they could piggyback off your misfortune was quite something, but move over meso, it’s all about Camp Lejeune now, and the dodgy water there over 3 decades, and how you can make bank on the USMC.

      Semper Finance

  18. Jason Boxman

    Why America Has a Long-Term Labor Crisis, in Six Charts

    Conveniently side steps COVID completely. The business press doesn’t acknowledge it. Nonetheless, the chart Labor force participation rate for people age 65+ with no disabilities shows a decrease of slightly more than 2%, and we know that a not insignificant number of these workers are dead. Dead from COVID.

    The Minneapolis Fed has some thoughts:

    Other factors these past few years have affected work rates among older Americans—sometimes in conflicting ways. Research by the Federal Reserve Board’s Joshua Montes, Christopher Smith, and Juliana Dajon shows many older people retired during the pandemic who probably wouldn’t have retired otherwise, especially college-educated workers over 65. Another study by Miguel Faria e Castro and Samuel Jordan-Wood of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank found that falling asset prices in 2022 might have driven nearly 400,000 older Americans into the workforce.

    But nothing about dead people.

  19. Jake

    “Self-driving cars cause a traffic jam in Austin, Texas.”
    It is my opinion that ever since the Casar-Adler regime took over years ago, Austin has had the absolute worst city council in the country. Remember that Flint was turned over to an emergency manager so it doesn’t count in the contest. They flooded the city with drug addicts that are also experiencing homelessness with no real plans to provide for those people beyond rounding them up and dumping them under the highways and then letting criminals sell them huge amounts of meth, instead of doing anything about the huge mess that created, they had out nearly a billion dollars to homeless non profits with zero accountability, the non profits make the problem worse because that gets them even more money, they let all the scooter companies dump so many scooters all over the city that it can be seen as nothing more than a huge safety hazard, people ride and dump those scooters on all the sidewalks so that anyone in a wheelchair can no longer use the sidewalk and people who walk have to worry about being injured, the people who ride them are often injured as well and now they are letting AI cars make the traffic a whole lot worse. Get ready for months or years of the city leaders claiming that the AI cars are actually helping people when everyone can see the exact opposite is true. Someone needs to check the water or the air at city hall. Something is wrong.

    1. flora

      “…they hand out nearly a billion dollars to homeless non profits with zero accountability, the non profits make the problem worse because that gets them even more money,…”

      Think of it as a make-work program for local bureaucrats. Think of all those no doubt high paying jobs created to ‘manage the problem.’

      My much smaller uni town now has a ridiculous city commission that’s letting the same problems start up here. They have no solutions, except to make the problem bigger because they…care. When the current people in charge are questioned they give a chicken-or-egg answer: We can’t fix X until we fix Y, and we can’t fix Y until we fix X. And, we need more money to fix both X and Y. Riiiight. (I know who I’m voting against in the next city election.)

    2. Chris Smith

      Indeed! I just got back home from a visit to Austin and those damn Lime scooters were lying around everywhere.

    3. Cristobal

      Not surprised. When I lived in the Austin area a long time ago (the 80s) I recall an episode in which a prominent City Councilman – and potential mayoral candidate at the time – was on some kind of offficial visit in one of the residential neighborhoods when he whipped out his pistol and put several bullets in the vicinity of a garden hose in the tall grass that he thought was a snake. Might be more than the water.

    4. Mikel

      The millions of drug addicts currently in homes all over the country should be sweating. Rising costs for essentials will bring about tough decisions.

  20. The Rev Kev

    World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab has urged governments to grant the WEF ‘full governmental control’ over their nations as part of the Great Reset agenda for humanity. During his speech, Schwab outlined his plans for the merging of state and corporate power. Speaking at the summit, Schwab ordered government leaders to cooperate with the WEF or face losing power and influence in the new globalist landscape. Schwab boasted that under his system, corporate elites will craft policies for sovereign countries to ensure that innovation becomes the “key competitive factor. He continued by claiming that, with the fusion of the WEF and state, we would see a shift from “the era of capitalism to the era of talentism’

    And once again ‘Bond Villain from Central Casting’ Klaus Schwab says the quiet bit out loud. Been thinking what his ideas remind me off when it struck me. There was a film made back in ’75 called “Rollerball” in which the world has evolved into a corporate dystopia. The nations are gone and it is the corporations that run things and nobody knows who makes the actual decisions. Sports is still an obsession but you have teams that play for corporations, not for nations. Rules are changed at a whim to get the results that corporate leaders want. Best part from this film is that the older villain in it kinda reminds me of Schwab himself- (3:18 mins)

      1. The Rev Kev

        A great film indeed. It was aso the first film ever where the stuntmen received credit for their work and whose names were listed with the rest of the cast & crew on the titles at the end of the film.

    1. flora

      “He continued by claiming that, with the fusion of the WEF and state, we would see a shift from “the era of capitalism to the era of talentism’.”

      ‘Talentism’? Is that what they’re calling the fusion of corporation and state now? There’s an older word that exactly defines what schwab is trying to re-define. Don’t call it what it is, name it with an ambiguous new name. What a prankster. / ;)

      1. Wukchumni

        Some things never change…

        In Biblical times, a talent was a unit of money, and a New Testament parable tells of a master punishing a servant for hiding, rather than investing, a bag of talents in the master’s absence.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          An early ancestor of CNBC host Jim Cramer?

          The master needed a giant “BUY!!” button, back in the day. How dare you hoard money, when you can invest it in Bed, Bath, and Beyond?

        2. Maxwell Johnston

          That would be the Parable of the Talents:

          I might agree with this in a general philosophical sense, but not within the context of today’s wildly distorted capital markets. Whoever wrote this epistle wasn’t familiar with the notions of fiat currency, central banking, MMT, and digital currencies. So I’ll cut him some slack.

          Another interesting New Testament view on free markets is the workers in the vineyard:

          My father and I disagreed on this one. Dad thought the workers had a genuine gripe, and he thought Jesus got this one wrong. Whereas I thought Jesus nailed it (though to give Dad a break, he never owned his own business and I’ve owned several). IMHO: we had a contract, and I honored my side of it. You got a problem?

          But the Bible is a big book, and one can pretty much find a pithy parable or sound bite to support almost any point of view. My goodness, even the current pope himself seems upset that Poland doesn’t want to support the ongoing carnage in UKR:

      2. hunkerdown

        “Talentism” is PMC hegemony, that’s all. The ideology or tendency matters little to those who are being intrusively dominated by legalist managerialism.

      3. digi_owl

        So will will political debates under talentism come with a panel of experts that will judge each politician’s performance?

  21. Jeff W

    Country Music Doesn’t Deserve Its Conservative Reputation Jacobin (Micael T)

    A somewhat deeper dive from 2020:

    Citations Needed “Episode 119: How the Right Shaped Pop Country Music” [transcript with link to audio here]

      1. Enter Laughing

        No, but you get your pickup truck back from the repossessor, your runaway dog comes home and your estranged wife begs you to take her back.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Othering. Neoliberals can’t just like what they like, they have to hate what they don’t like and hate the people who like what neoliberals don’t like. It’s not electoral politics, it’s how fascism digs in before canceling elections.

      Transcript cites popular country music. This is a Ted Gioia style error: popular music is a corporate take on culture, not actual culture. Roots country music is not the same as what people hear on major streaming platforms.

      Actual roots culture is mostly better but sometimes worse than the stuff the neolibz point to. Roots culture is definitely more real, and I think it’s the “realness” that most offends the people who live their lives staring at their phones while trying to figure out what to think next.

      1. digi_owl

        “Neoliberals can’t just like what they like, they have to hate what they don’t like and hate the people who like what neoliberals don’t like.”

        Is that not the behavior of shallow teens?

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Apparently the neoliberals who hate country music and try to claim it’s just for conservatives never listened to Johnny Cash.

        Preach it brother –

        Man in Black

        Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
        Why you never see bright colors on my back
        And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
        Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on
        I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
        Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town
        I wear it for the prisoner who is long paid for his crime
        But is there because he’s a victim of the times
        I wear the black for those who’ve never read
        Or listened to the words that Jesus said
        About the road to happiness through love and charity
        Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me
        Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose
        In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes
        But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back
        Up front there ought to be a man in black
        I wear it for the sick and lonely old
        For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
        I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been
        Each week we lose a hundred fine young men
        And I wear it for the thousands who have died
        Believin’ that the Lord was on their side
        I wear it for another hundred-thousand who have died
        Believin’ that we all were on their side
        Well, there’s things that never will be right, I know
        And things need changin’ everywhere you go
        But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right
        You’ll never see me wear a suit of white
        Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
        And tell the world that everything’s okay
        But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
        ‘Til things are brighter, I’m the man in black

  22. Bsn

    I just love headlines like this: The threat of wildfires is rising. So are new artificial intelligence solutions to fight them Associated Press.
    You’ll never see a headline that says: Using Less Fossil Fuels reduces the Threat of Wildfires. “What Me Worry?”

  23. Louis Fyne

    —Costco now offering virtual medical care for $29 —

    Loss leader, Costco’s version of $0.99 eggs.

    Costco already offers <$80 eye exams through the (presumably independent) eye doctors who rent? the eyecare space at Costco.

    The pharmacy counter is a big money market…..both as by itself and as a magnet that gets repeat shoppers into the door.

    1. Pat

      And it is a business opening that is the direct result of private equity ownership of healthcare and yes, Obamacare.
      Even if someone has insurance they may balk at a several hundred dollar visit to a doctor, that there insurance pays half or less for, only to get a prescription renewal. For many visits like that, the $29.00 video visit will suffice and take ten minutes tops. For a couple of others it will mean the $80 dollar one but with labs.
      Would I prefer real doctor visits. Of course. But if this keeps people functioning rather than just let their health deteriorate because they cannot afford to go to a doctor to deal with an issue they are completely familiar with, bring it.

      There is a better solution, but no political will to make it happen.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Assume a doctor charges $100 per visit — less than prices I have seen — and spends 5 – 10 minutes per visit and works a full 8 hour day. That works out to a gross of 7.5 x 100 => $750 per hour and at 8 hours per day => a gross of $6000 per day or $30,000 per 5-day work week and $1,440,000 per 48-week year. I have no idea how much overhead there is to running a doctor’s office, which leaves a lot of room for other players to take a bite out of the doctor’s take. That is not a bad gross — although even before reducing it to net, it seems a little piddly compared to the CEO pay for the brilliant ultra hard-working Elites managing our health care systems.

      Doing the same math and assuming a full workday at $29 per virtual visit the yearly gross is 7.5 x 29 => $217 per hour gross and at 8 hours per day => $1740 per day or $8700 per 5-day work week and $416,600 per 48-week year. I wonder whether Costco has found some way to out-source their telemed offering to take advantage of some kind of labor arbitrage. If out-sourcing telemed is not possible — without making some adjustments to the AMA’s control over medical practice in the u.s. — maybe a Doc-in-a-Box situation might be attractive to a recent graduate faced with paying the costs for medical school and lacking connections or glowing scholastic career adequate to join or start a private practice in a desirable locale.

      If Costco could integrate their Doc-in-a-Box with a medical lab and their existing Pharma services just imagine the potential!

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I guess I need to be more transparent about the intent and direction of my comments — sorry.

          My numbers are probably low for estimating the cash flow potential of a medical practice. Doctor’s visits cost rather more than $100 per visit, and I usually receive a bill after Medicare pays their portion up to the deductible on my Medicare supplement insurance. An individual Doctor neither works 8 hours per day nor works 5 days a week — but there is a medical practice I need to visit after lunch that has a staff of doctors working Mon-Fri 9 – 5. One area where I might go for medical care has been taken over by a private equity firm, or so I have been told by my sister. I looked in another nearby area that seems to be controlled by a large medical care corporation that has a reputation for providing much better medical care and less of the obnoxious billing typical of the private equity providers. I made a cursory look for doctors in the Corporate area that operated from their own independent practice — their own shingle. There may be some but many of the prospects I checked on ended up working at some medical practice, of unknown relationship to the Corporate provider in the area. I do not believe it is wrong to suggest my back of the envelope estimates of the cash flow potential of a medical practice are so off the mark AND the estimates say NOTHING about how much income an individual Doctor actually receives. As for medical care — I just called a nearby medical practice to try for an appointment — they are accepting new patients … with at a 1-year lead time.

          What about the costs the doctor’s fees must cover? The GP I had where I lived last had a staff of more like 8 – 10 medical billing assistants [to handle insurance claims] and 3 or 4 nurses. I think your “Financial Breakdown Of A Primary Care Clinic” circa December 2, 2019 underestimates the costs for wages and benefits for employees. The figure for rent definitely appears low. I suspect the costs for Malpractice insurance are higher too. The doctors I have seen all had considerable amounts of fancy, very expensive, and I assume very useful equipment and gadgets to support their practice — all of which come with large mark-ups. In general, General Practice doctors are relatively low paid compared with specialists but I can hope it may be a while before specialists dip into telemed practice.

          I never claimed that individual doctors were paid any of the amounts indicated in my calculations and I deliberately started with the obviously low $100 per visit to arrive at an extremely rough cut at the cash flow potential that was drawing Costco to telemed and of course also drawing private equity and Corporations into medicine, along with the long list of other lampreys attaching their bite to the costs of medical care. Overall, I greatly respect medical doctors as the last of the true professionals. They deserve to earn relatively more and they deserve less hazing in the process of their selection and overwork as apprentice Interns and journeymen Residents. I also believe medical school should be free to those who qualify and I believe the qualifications should include factors other than grades in O-Chem and Genetics lab et al. I also believe the Medical profession has over-reached in its constraints on pharmacists, nurses, and support technicians. I believe the AMA and the older, established members of the medical profession have sold the profession into the bonds of Corporate and private equity wealth extractors with little or no concern for medical care, or for the medical profession. I believe the days of the last true profession are numbered. The cash flows for medical services are much too tempting to Neoliberal exploitation AND the crapification of medical care in the u.s. and the downgrade and enthrallment of the medical profession.

          As for checking the actual average salaries for primary care doctors:
          First of all I made NOTHING up. I stated ASSUME, assuming that the word ‘assume’ conveyed a hypothetical intent. I should have been clearer in the intent behind my back of the envelope calculations. I focused on the cash flow potentials private equity firm or Corporation might see in medical practice. The imprimatur of medical practice — not the practice of any particular doctor — can pull in a lot cash and there are many costs that could be reduced by consolidation and the application of monopsony power to effect their reduction. As for individual doctors, I greatly mistrust averages after working at a couple of hospitals during my college years. I also saw many promising individuals including a roommate washed out of premed while other far less caring individuals progressed.

          I worked as graveyard switchboard operator at a small private hospital in Los Angeles during the 1970s. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the numbers here since they are what I heard in the wee small hours of the morning from the nurses working graveyard shift: One particular doctor had a private practice right next door to the hospital. He typically placed around 30+ patients in the hospital, filling a fair proportion of the beds. The nurse I talked with claimed he saw roughly 150 – 200 patients per day. Most of his patients were on Medi-Cal and he was pulling in around $2 million per year — gross net or wild ass guess I do not know. He was not popular among the nurses I spoke with. but he was very popular and honored by the hospital administration. And this NOT to say his hours, patient load, or anything else were typical — RATHER that there is a range.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Doctors do not work remotely a full billed 8 hours a day, and not five days a week either. They have lunch, have cancellations, have to speak to hospitals and other specialists, have to order and read tests and write medical notes for each appt.. And critically, I am told the average MD spends at least 1 full workday fighting with insurers to get paid, on top of the cost of having admin staff do as much of that as possible.

  24. Louis Fyne

    —“Go full force”: Autoworkers press for all-out strike, as Biden intervenes to facilitate UAW sellout —

    Same Biden who won’t let student loan borrowers have the same option as Old GM and Old Chrysler—-go bankrupt/reorg. their debts under the federal bankruptcy laws.

  25. Bsn

    OOOOpsie. The link of this: I can’t believe that Joe Biden actually said this. They need to seriously control his teleprompter better. Whoever control the teleprompter is the real President of the USA.…

    It is clearly a doctored video. Watch out for these as they will become more discreet – but this one is obvious.

  26. Mikel

    “I will forever be grateful to the artist who put a tapeworm statue in front of Chase Bank in Beverly Hills. So fitting. (And yes, this is a permanent installation.)”

    He wanted to do a vampire squid statue, but opted for more subtlety.

    1. digi_owl

      Thanks to some other reading i now have the ending to the original Watchmen story flash before my eyes when i read vampire squid.

    2. son of flubber

      This sculpture is by Franz West, a playful and subversive artist. I think of this as a big garish F-U to shiny predictable geometric sidewalk corporate art. There are even seats built into it, and he had swinging sofas and pillows in a museum exhibition.

  27. Ghost in the Machine

    Cardiologist and Covid vaccine critic Dr Aseem Malhotra wins 2023 Rusty Razor award The Skeptic (ma)

    This guy is one of the prominent critics of statins. Looking into it a bit there does seem to be things to be concerned about. Usual pharma shananigans. I am curious what others here think given that I know some commentators have voiced similar concerns.

    Regarding his vaccine stance: He talks about the side effects of the vaccines, but like many vaccine critics goes on to attribute all the excess deaths to the vaccine and none to Covid itself, which they imply is “‘just a cold.” yes the spike is bioactive and causing problems, but covid also has lots of spikes and is invading a variety of ace-2 positive cells and killing them! I think covid would be worse. These critics also never mention long covid.

    1. Daryl

      > I am curious what others here think given that I know some commentators have voiced similar concerns.

      As w/ other health issues, there is no nuance in how we deal with cholesterol and little attention given to non-pharmaceutical interventions. Number high, out of the range on the piece of paper? Bad, better bring it down with pills. It seems like there are a lot of factors that are important in determining whether high cholesterol is actually impactful; genetics, size of the lipoproteins, and so on. These things can be tested for but not via the typical metabolic panel that most people are given.

      But if you go to a doctor you’ll be tested and if it’s high they’ll want you to put on drugs with a serious side effect profile to make the number go down.

    2. GF

      “I think covid would be worse.”

      The good news is getting the vaccine(s), with possible injuries, doesn’t prevent you from getting Covid. A twofer to die for.

  28. Tom Stone

    I’ve been thinking about the vulnerability of the “Internet of Things” AKA the “Internet of Shit” and just how stupid it is.
    John Deere installs kill switches in their machines and when a bunch of Tractors in Ukraine show up in Russia Deere bricks them and boasts about it.
    Now everyone and their brother knows that the machines Big Ag needs to function can be bricked from anywhere in the World by any moderately competent hacker.
    Which is not considered a National Security issue…
    Many newer cars/suvs also have “Kill Switches” activated through the net, someone with a nasty mind could hack the various dealers within 100 miles of DC, steal the triggers for the kill switches and brick almost everynewer car in Metro DC, Arlington and Langley.
    Just for fun do it on a Friday before a 3 day weekend.

    1. Pat

      If there weren’t elderly living in Metro DC totally unconnected to Congress I would probably love this idea. But I don’t believe in protests that would block emergency vehicle access for most of a metropolitan area.
      I don’t suppose there are kill switches on private jets…

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Just sayin’ but I have seen huge (100GB+) JohnDeere tech manuals listed on bittorrent sites. Not hacker sites, just sites that share links to music, movies and books. I would imagine actual dark hat sites would have code for doing the actual hacks.

      Reliance on technology is not a business model, it’s a calculated risk. John Deere is gambling that their control issues won’t result in illegal repair shops but the Russian boycott is going to make that happen. Eventually the real expertise ends up being with the hacker/mechanics.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the u.s. is much more vulnerable to cyberattack than anyone cares to admit.

      You did not offer a link to an actual event of John Deere bricking tractors in Russia or the Ukraine, which suggests your concern is hypothetical, though in my opinion, not at all improbable. I believe physical access to a system leaves that system open to attack by anyone with the resources, perseverance, and time to reverse engineer the system. I doubt that the John Deere tractor’s computer systems are invulnerable to attack by a government agency, or even attack by a group of determined hackers. Imagine the problems some group might make for John Deere by reverse engineering their computer system and providing means to crack it or providing an alternate computer system or OS install that defeats John Deere’s efforts at monopolizing the repair and maintenance of their tractors. Such contraband systems could include their own backdoors and kill switches hidden away for later use.

  29. flora

    ESG is encountering headwinds.

    BlackRock Dissolves ESG Funds as Firm Steps Back From Label


    BlackRock, State Street Among Money Managers Closing ESG Funds

    More ESG funds in US closed in 2023 than in three prior years
    BlackRock said it continually evaluates its range of products

    You can lead a customer to ESG approved products but you can’t make him buy.

  30. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept:

    The walk to Jordan hot springs is oddly similar to hiking the Grand Canyon, you start at the Blackrock Mountain trailhead on high and drop about 3,000 feet to aqua caliente, and Jordan is a rare hot springs with a quite cold creek next to it, so you can go back and forth from say 50 to 104 degrees in a few fell swoops.

    There was 5 of us for a 3 day tour-a 3 day tour and only a few others camped there, we had it all to ourselves for a day, kind of a treat.

    Nearby are a number of buildings dating from around 1910 or thereabouts where there was once a resort you could stay and soak in the hot springs a few hundred feet away, back in the day. It probably hasn’t had a customer in 70 years, but once upon a time when everybody rode horses, it was a popular place.

    The buildings are in various states of falling apart and all kinds of interesting stuff laying around, such as half of a circa 1920’s 2 blade wood propeller for an airplane that must have crashed somewhere in the vicinity, antique stoves and lots of this and that in what seemed to me to presently be a breeding ground for Hantavirus.

  31. digi_owl

    “Country Music Doesn’t Deserve Its Conservative Reputation Jacobin (Micael T)”

    Once more demonstrating how painfully simplistic the left-right political language is.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I hear that Woody Guthrie is every year on the top of the list to be nominated to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but somehow that nomination just does not happen.

      That said, “Sixteen tons” was one of the first country songs I was exposed to, and that one certainly ain’t glorifying capitalism. My personal favourite is “Big Rock Candy Mountain” ever since I saw John Hartford’s version in “Down from the Mountain” documentary.

  32. Jabura Basaidai

    we live in a world where poverty has 500 channels and sex, property and the urge to control are the prime hang-ups – we live in a country watching Wall St fellate vulture capitalism in the costume of private equity, while a wayward spirit struggles trying to rouse itself from the deep trance these strange forces cast upon it – the simple act of dismissing delusions would make anyone wiser than ever trying to discover truth, which only wastes time in blind ignorance discussing the past when the present is filled with willful blindness – idiots call it human nature, but what kind of person has to be forced to be good and refrain from evil because of fear of punishment? – there is no real explanation for this sick fascination – the universe moves and knows, though some say it knows nothing – but it must know, how could it not? – where a single thread of history lost in memories of those distant brutal acts continue to this day – there are no coincidences – only patterns humans don’t see – and still the trees whisper in the wind stirring an emotion close to regret with a melancholy smile floating free from lips in a tender and remote way – understanding that ideologies have no heart of their own – abandon your support systems, they were only the over-familiarity of one’s own life – leaving one cut adrift from the real tide of life floating in dark waters with a body as a flawed shield for a fragile mind – be ready to immediately give up a nagging grace of incomprehension, there was no point to complain when only puzzled – some Russian poet said we are only shdows of our imagination and Rilke understood the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and our overwhelming anxiety – in the end it’s easier to fool people than ever convince them they’ve been fooled – in the empire of lies our country has become honesty is a crime and truth is traitorous – welcome to the carnival of hypocrisy –

    1. Wukchumni

      Once you embrace the absurdity of it all through this here looking glass, all you can do is laugh at what we’ve become-as the joke is on us.

  33. Wukchumni

    Biden Hosts Pacific Islands, With a Rising China in Mind New York Times (Kevin W)

    FDR: New Deal
    JRB: Niue Deal

  34. alfred venison

    Trudeau looks utterly deflated, like he’s been punched in the solar plexus, and overnight Ottawa has become the venue for an impromptu all-party Sargeant Schultz Impersonator’s Convention.

    i think this stuff up is a Game Changer. More than Leopards, Challengers, Abrams, more than M777s or Caesars, more than Patriots, HIMARS, ATACMS, more than Royal Navy maritime capers & NATO trained brigades, more than F15s. The Canadian parliament’s awesome blunder has shifted the ground and released constraints around permissible thought/ permissible language regarding this conflict.

    With, for instance, mainstream legacy media and their consumers suddenly talking squarely and directly about the once forbidden topic of Ukrainian Nazis, the once evergreen “Putin disinformation” dismissal is suddenly drained of its potency, is now effectively DOA upon use. Likewise, questions about the Freeland family once considered bad taste or “enemy disinformation” are now permissible, and in the mainstream, and will now bear on her ambitions to succeed Trudeau as Liberal party leader as never before, and I think Trudeau’s career is effectively over. imho this is a watershed moment.

    i think the ramifications of this blunder in terms of constraining & perpetuating the official narrative about the war, together with the notion of Ukraine’s virtue & innocence are just beginning to percolate into the noosphere.

    That the guy was SS to boot is particularly egregious in Canada and will resonate deeply in some core sectors of the national psyche. I leave reader’s with a link to the Wikipedia entry on the Normandy Massacres, a subject which everybody knew about when I was growing up in Canada 70 odd years ago, even if we didn’t talk openly about it we knew.

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