Links 9/9/2023

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A Three-Legged Bear Walks Into a Bar New York Times (furzy)

I Create Minimal Illustrations Featuring Cats Blended Into Landscapes And Other Scenes Bored Panda

Amazing Discovery Claims Elephants Have Specific ‘Names’ For Each Other ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

Golden Orb Found at The Bottom of The Ocean Mystifies Scientists ScienceAlert Chuck L)

Man Tried to Travel the Atlantic in a Hamster Wheel, U.S. Says. Again. New York Times (furzy). He’s proving to have a better survival record than Mr. Titanic Submersible.

“QBism”: The most radical interpretation of quantum mechanics ever Big Think (David L)

MOXIE, an oxygen generator on Mars Perseverance Rover produced oxygen USA Today (furzy)

Remembering Doug Lenat (1950–2023) and His Quest to Capture the World with Logic Stephan Wolfram (David L)

Company pulls spicy chip challenge with teen’s death under investigation The Hill

Smuggler or Rescuer? London Review of Books (guurst)


The Subtlety of J.R.R. Tolkien New York Times (David L). Forgive all the NYT links, but they just had a good run of lighter fare.

Stalin’s Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930–1936 The Postil. Anthony L: “For the history buffs and for a better understanding of today.”

The 3 myths of mindfulness Big Think (Micael T)


Heat pumps show how hard decarbonisation will be Economist (David L)

How manure blew up the Netherlands Mongabay (guurst)


It’s no longer a given that China will become the world’s largest economy Financial Times

In Western scaremongering, the alleged Chinese social credit system or social credit score is played up, but does it even exist? Eastern Angle (Micael T)


The Indonesian presidential election produces an unexpected twist Modern Diplomacy (Micael T)


Dollar Rally Raises Alarm as Japan, China Step Up Defenses Bloomberg (furzy). From earlier in the week, still germane.

South of the Border

Brazil’s Supreme Court Invalidates all evidence from Odebrecht Leniency Agreements De-Linking Brazil (guurst)

US judge says Argentina owes about $16 billion after YPF payout trial Reuters (Kevin W)

European Disunion

Climate regulation is driving support for populism, says EU parliament chief Financial Times

Free voters are getting stronger in polls after the “flyer affair”. Anti-Spiegel (Micael T, via machine translation)

New Not-So-Cold War

Hawks want Biden to take the fight with Russia global Responsible Statecraft

Elon Musk Refused to Enable Ukraine Drone Attack on Russian Fleet New York Times (furzy)

Dire New Western Reports Call to Ditch NATO Tactics Simplicius the Thinker

Ice cracking sounds on frozen lake of US-Russia relations Indian Punchline (Kevin W)

Tightened conscription in Ukraine targets mainly Russian speakers — a ploy of the Banderite regime to have “subhumans” killed by “subhumans”? Eastern Angle (Micael T)

PRIGOZHIN’S THREE STRIKES – KHODORKOVSKY BUSINESS, BEREZOVSKY POLITICS, THE LAST AFRICA TRIP John Helmer. Helmer very much disagrees with Seymour Hersh and has offered additional reasons privately, such as:

Who in their right professional mind can think that if the Agency had a serious and genuine Russian source on the inside, it would risk it for this? And if it has no such source, what is this CIA propaganda guesswork Hersh is repeating as “knowledgeable”?

Ukrainian Phone Scammers Have Switched From Swindling To Orchestrating Terrorist Attacks Andrew Korybko

NATO Chief Openly Admits Russia Invaded Ukraine Because Of NATO Expansion Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)


The End of Widady JewishCurrents (guurst)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

If You’ve Got a New Car, It’s a Data Privacy Nightmare Gizmodo (guurst). Confirming your suspicions…

Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop or Else! Nautilus. Micael T: “No public policy, like training or social education for dog owners, instead a neoliberal surveillance-tech market solution.”

Apple issues emergency patch after Pegasus spyware breach Financial Times (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Western sanctions failing: EU imports more Russian gas, China beats US tech war Geopolitical Economy

Why Swiss Neutrality is essential for American national security Scott Ritter (Micael T)

The unshakeable Putin-Erdogan nexus The Cradle


Audio: Michigan fake elector outlines Jan. 6 plan to present Mike Pence with “dueling electors” Salon (furzy)

Fani Willis accuses Rep. Jim Jordan of ‘partisan misrepresentations’ over inquiry of election case Associated Press. Normally one would think Jordan is merely trouble-making and Congress indeed has no business trying to interfere with a state prosecution. But by Republican standards, Jordan is pretty careful and I read his demands as formulated to be able to get some traction, that he was highly aware of the irregularity of what he was doing and was trying to find a viable path (and the possibility of DoJ coordination/support for a nominally independent case may amount to that, that is over my pay grade). I confess to not having read the dueling letters. I have no doubt some of Willis’ retorts have merit but I also wonder if she has also straw manned some of Jordan’s queries.

British Writer Pens The Best Description Of Trump I’ve Read London Daily (furzy). Amazing how many brains Trump inhabits rent free. As I have said repeatedly, I am not a fan but I continue to be astonished by the intensity of reactions.


Migrant crisis will ‘destroy’ New York City, mayor says The Hill (furzy)

To see the long-form version:

Watchdog Finds Trump Border Wall Harmed Environment, Indigenous Sites, and Wildlife Common Dreams

Our No Longer Free Press

Biden administration coerced social media giants into possible free speech violations: court USA Today. Taibbi should take a victory lap.


As more abortion bans occur, many patients must travel hundreds of miles for care — or be stranded Salon (furzy). Abortion was why the Dems did better than expected in the midterms. Will it rescue them in 2024?

The Harms of Denying a Woman a Wanted Abortion Findings from the Turnaway Study ANSIRH (furzy)

On cue: Republicans try to find new term for pro-life to stave off more electoral losses NBC (furzy)


New Mexico governor issues order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque (furzy) Associated Press. Note a 30 day ban on a public health basis.

Could someone explain to me this show of unseriousness about the gun ban? If you are going to test the Constitution, don’t do it in a half assed manner:

American Values

Another Christian influencer arrested for child abuse: Why conservatives keep falling for these cons Salon (furzy)



Guillotine Watch

As if the iPhone 15 wasn’t expected to be expensive enough! Designers create a $564,000 version of Apple’s upcoming smartphone with 570 diamonds encrusted in the back Daily Mail (BC). I hope someone makes LOTS of rhinestone imitations “

Class Warfare

Who and What Was a Knocker-Upper? JSTOR (Micael T)

The IRS plans to crack down on 1,600 millionaires to collect millions of dollars in back taxes Associated Press. Kevin W: “But not billionaires. Never billionaires.”

Antidote du jour (Tracie H). One fundraiser donor was concerned we were deviating from our cat affinity by having a rash of cute puppy images. So:

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Why Swiss Neutrality is essential for American national security”

    That is what is remarkable about this war. The Swiss basically junked about four centuries of neutrality to come out against Russia. Same with Austria. Sweden and Finland too. It’s like a variation of the ‘either you are with us or against us’ Bush doctrine. All these countries will or are suffering blowback from this and Switzerland is already experiencing an outflow of funds. But as this article points out, when it comes time to negotiate a peace which country can they do so in? Certainly none of the countries that I have mentioned. China? Never happen as Washington would have a fit. None of the Global majority counties as they did not back the Ukraine. Pretty soon the only choices left will be Antarctica or the International Space Station.

    1. digi_owl

      I wonder if there is some back room “we saved you from X, so now you have to do Y” horse trading happening.

      That said, It may well be that the long con of getting “globalists” into offices are bearing fruit. Just look at the former prime minister of Finland that is joining the Blair Foundation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw that today and bookmarked that article. People like that are always taken care of for their “services”-

        Well, not always. Kaja Kallas of Estonia was all gung-ho on her ‘I hate Russia’ media campaign. But a few weeks ago it came out that her husband – Arvo Hallik – has a financial interest in a company doing trade with Russia. Oops. She has said that it has nothing to do with her but only her husband though there are now calls for her to resign. Maybe she will end up at the Blair institute too.

        1. digi_owl

          Ah yes, what is it with spouses of politicians and the stock market.

          Norway is right now dealing with some very embarrassing insider trading in that regard.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I suspect it was more simple expectation Russia would collapse and wanting to be part of the winning team. But with future EU jobs at stake, the fortunes of Switzerland are less important than serving short term imperial interests.

        Since the whole scheme was Russia would collapse like Mordor because these people can’t grasp the point of Lord of the Rings, they can’t come down as their original position was just irrational.

        1. Feral Finster

          I suspect that the United States does not see Swiss neutrality as central to US security and is quite happy to twist arms to ensure Swiss compliance.

          The United States cares not a fig for Swiss security concerns.

          1. Brunches with Cats

            > happy to twist arms to ensure Swiss compliance.

            And indeed may have been doing so in the case of Igor Kolomoisky. Switzerland has an extradition treaty with the U.S. From what I understand (others may know better than I), they can and do refuse, under certain provisions in their own law, but Kolomoisky was wearing out his welcome. He’d been living there for many years on a residency permit, when his international financial dealings got to be too much even for the Swiss, who started delaying his permit renewal applications He didn’t wait to find out whether they’d turn him over to the U.S., but went to Israel, which normally doesn’t extradite nationals. Evidently, that didn’t go so well for him, either…

      3. Revenant

        Hmm. Perhaps the merger of UBS and CS is going to be blessed in the US and EU (maybe even demands for compensation are going to be obstructed) and dollar and Euro swap lines kept open in return for Swiss partiality? Perhaps there was more to the shotgun marriage of the two than met the eye? Especially bow Switzerland is a unibank country. Nice bank there, shame if anything happened to it….

    2. GramSci

      IMO, “Swiss neutrality” was never anything but a fig leaf over its money-laundering banking sector.

      1. Refugee

        Stereotypes about the Swiss are legion among their neighbors.
        Long memories recall the Nazi coziness and stonewalling.
        Those cold bastards.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not a fan of the Swiss myself but in WW2 they were totally surrounded by hostile powers and were forced to play the hand that they were dealt. What were they suppose to do? Fight both the Wehrmacht as well as the Italian army? To what point? They saw what happened to Poland as a starter.

          1. dave

            Everyone knows that the Swiss are officially neutral. Unofficially however, they’re filthy sons of bitches!
            –Norm Macdonald

          2. bdy

            Neutrality = FAFO if you want to bomb your own bank.

            If there are Alien Overlords they operate through Switzerland, Tibet and the Basque pseudo-state. The Musks of the world rent ark space in New Zealand and Alaska ‘cause the real safety zones don’t cotton to new neighbors.

          3. cosmiccretin

            The question that’s always begged about a neutral country is “but who are they neutral *against*?”

            A dear Finnish friend now deceased used to recall the time when, as a conscript assigned to an artillery regiment, he had an instructor (a regular of course) who was in the habit of declaiming – deadpan – to his pupils “Finland must be ready to repel an attack from whatever direction it may come:- the East, the Northeast or the Southeast”.

            (Finland having of course been ostensibly neutral ever since WW II – until it wasn’t. No prizes for guessing who it was neutral against).

            Another example would be Spain in WW II.

      2. R.S.

        I second that. IMO they were {sic} neutral in the sense of being “Western-neutral”. Say, when it was about Germany vs France, or something like that.

    3. Carolinian

      Sweden used to be neutral too while not minding selling iron ore to Hitler. Apparently America’s cultural conquest of Europe is complete and whatever we are against they are too.

      Now if we can just figure out what we are for. As an American I don’t get our interest in Ukraine at all. We’d be better off ditching NATO and joining BRICS. Asia seems to be the future rather than Europe with its ancient animosities.

      1. digi_owl

        It may well be traced back to Burisma, as it seems that far more political offspring than Hunter Biden may have been on the board there.

        And frankly nothing was going on in Europe until Nuland went “fuck the EU”…

        1. Brunches with Cats

          > far more political offspring than Hunter Biden
          You might be thinking of Christopher Heinz, stepson of John Kerry (son of Kerry’s second wife, Teresa Heinz, widow of the Heinz ketchup heir). Heinz was never on the board of Burisma, but a business partner of theirs, Devon Archer, was. Heinz, Archer, and Hunter B. were at Yale together — Archer was Heinz’s roommate — and the three of them went on to form Rosemont Seneca Partners, a PE firm that has been in the middle of more controversies than I can keep track of. Among them might have been other business in Ukraine (iron filings to a magnet), but Heinz had no direct involvement with Burisma.

      2. Feral Finster

        The United States is “for” empire.

        Pat Buchanan, of all people, correctly pointed out that one can be a republic government by laws, or an empire. Because an empire cannot allow itself to be restrained by any law or morality other than expediency and power, or surely it will fall.

      3. Vandemonian

        “As an American I don’t get our interest in Ukraine at all.”

        Depends a bit on how you define “our”, and how closely those running your Washington administration reflect the will and interests of the country as a whole.

        1. LifelongLib

          It’s about the U.S. “right” to make any agreement it wants with anybody it wants, without third party(s) having any say. Something only an absolute hegemon can do.

      4. hk

        Sweden has, to be fair, has had a long history of hostility to Russia–Poltava, not far from where the fighting is nowadays, is where Peter I defeated the Swedish invaders, after all. They wanted to join Napoleon to fight Russia, only to have the French marshal who became their regent (and later king) turn out to love Sweden and hate Russia less than the Swedes who invited him. Then the Swedes came back to Ukraine, now as part of the SS Wiking Division during World War 2. Pretty sordid history vis a vis the East these Swedes had.

        1. Polar Socialist

          From 16th to 19th century Sweden was willing to fight Russia to the last Finn, as the saying goes. Which is why by 1807 the Finnish elite was ready switch sides, having become rather frustrated in being used, generation after generation, as a buffer zone against much more powerful Russia.

          Oddly enough, during the 100 years before being annexed by Russia, Finland fought in four wars. Then during the 100 years after the annexation, practically none (there a the British excursion during Crimean war, though). After gaining her independence, Finland was involved in 4 wars within half a century.

          It’s almost as if the was some moral to the story, I just can’t quite put my finger on it…

      5. Richard

        “…I don’t get our interest in Ukraine…:
        It’s about the U.S. world empire, the uni-polar world, the rules based order (We make the rules, you take orders). If the U.S. loses in Ukraine, it’s over (though the denouement would be years away). Russia would have proved itself unbreakable. China would keep powerful support. Taiwan would not say, “Um, Ukraine, I want some of that.”

        That’s why Biden and the Neo-Cons won’t quit until they have to. It’s not about Ukraine. It’s about losing their hoped-for world domination.

      6. cosmiccretin

        I hold no brief for Sweden but was selling iron-ore (or ball-bearings) to the Third Reich a breach of her neutrality?

    4. jsn

      Read the Mint Press link on the NED in Indonesia. NED was birthed with the EU and has been doing there what’s its setting up now in Indonesia for 30 years.

      If personnel is policy, various spook state sponsored NGOs fully own the EU leadership cadre. In that context, when the ECB took bailout dollars from the Fed in 08, any illusions of an independent Europe came to an end, Switzerland included, the Swiss Central Bank took the money too.

      This build out of the Capitalist utopia we now inhabit, which is actively burning the world, has been in the makings since FDR let Wallace be replaced with Truman. Not to blame FDR, but that’s when the initial breach of New Deal decency happened.

      1. JBird4049

        If anyone has come across the term “the Jakarta Method” in connection to in various “democracies” in Central and Southern America, and I assume elsewhere especially in the 1970s and 80s, this is what they are talking about. Coups, wars, and genocides have been a standard of American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. A country per a year at least.

        Creating the Russo-Ukrainian War is routine for the United States. Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Operation Condor, and so much more. One of the reasons, perhaps the reason, why the Republic of the Congo has never stopped being a hellpit since its dubious independence from Belgium is because of the United States with some help from the Europeans. Aside from the Congolese, nobody wants Congo to be a successful state as that would make it harder to loot. This is, I assume, why Indonesia has been targeted as it took is a resource rich, strategic country whose success without neoliberalism would be a problem for the neoliberal overlords and their lackeys.

        The average person who is at all educated and lived through the Cold War would know something of all this. If you went to college, or just was at all interested in the world, living under a rock during that time would have been needed to remain ignorant. It makes all the screaming over the latest Western atrocity that is the Russo-Ukrainian War most interesting. It is like a vast number of people especially older ones just dumped their memories along with their minds and education into the garbage.

        1. samm

          Good point. Wasn’t that “method” described (though not named) here on NC just yesterday? It was the Rob Urie cross-post:

          That the Americans are willing to slaughter a few million innocents abroad to control oil supplies begs the question of how many Americans they would be willing to kill to do so.

          Control of the oil supply is just one aspect of maintaining control, and the technique isn’t new as The Jakarta Method proves. A million dead is somebody else’s problem (even if it were to happen to us, as Urie hints), and was in Indonesia almost 60 years ago.

          1. bonks

            My parents witnessed the Jakarta Method firsthand when they were children in the Chinese enclave of Pontianak. My father’s parents were once modest grain merchants but after the genocide, they lived in such squalor that for many years they could only afford an egg between him and his nine siblings to go with some rice and soy sauce. To fund his high school education my father peddled herbal medicine on the streets and had to hide from the police whenever they were nearby.

            To this day my parents refused to talk about the violence perpetrated in their town. To them
            it didn’t exist, only the before and aftermath do.

            None of this was acknowledged in our history books when I was in primary school (and we started history/geography classes at the age of 8 in those days), which was only to be expected when the general who perpetrated the genocide with the help of CIA still ruled the country.

    5. communistmole

      As I’ve said already, II don’t think Switzerland has much choice politically. With its too big to be rescued UBS, it is at the mercy of the Fed’s goodwill and can hardly afford to pursue a foreign policy independent of the US.

      p.s. Ritter confuses a popular initiative with a referendum, and his comments on the constitutional procedure seem to me to be rather confused. In addition, I may perhaps note that the SVP is by far the most reactionary party in Switzerland (as with the AfD, its position on the Ukraine war does not change anything in this regard) and his comments on direct democracy are pretty naive.

    6. John k

      India or turkey (Ben tho the latter is in nato, which might be a plus.)
      Swiss can easily be replaced, so I didn’t buy Scott’s premise.

  2. digi_owl

    > Company pulls spicy chip challenge with teen’s death under investigation The Hill

    Feels like USA in a nutshell to this foreigner. Unless it is directly verboten, it is a free for all no matter how dangerous.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Feels like USA in a nutshell…

      As an american, I’d have to agree with you.

      The product, which sells for about $10, is a single foil-wrapped chip in a casket-shaped box….


      1. Mark Gisleson

        It’s a gross macho-fied version of eating hot peppers. The chemical hotness can be ramped up forever, it’s a chump’s challenge.

        I’m sure there are people with no taste buds who eat super peppers on a dare but it’s silly. The point of a super pepper is that one chili pepper can heat up a big batch of chili. Super peppers aren’t just about heat, they have incredible flavor.

        Using chemicals to fry your tongue is capitalism’s version of eating hot peppers to improve your diet. Same principle as buying a Lamborghini to go to the grocery store or installing a wall sized screen to listen to podcasts.

    2. griffen

      Libertarian rules in the airways for consumers, libertarian rules on the railroads for the workers…yeah it’s getting out of hand. I had seen a brief headline about the chip and the company involved a few days ago, and just had a weird thought of “well that’s a bit strange…”

      On the other hand, each passing week there are markers for the cynical minded. Candidates for the Darwin award are plentiful, sad to report.

      1. Gregorio

        The Darwin Awards may be the ideal way to control population growth.
        After all, the contestants are all voluntary participants,
        and the best thing is that it costs nothing, we just need to promote more viral videos of risky stunts.

        1. Screwball

          I have a candidate – From a Toledo, Ohio TV news station (happened last night);

          Tiffin man suffers serious injuries in explosion while adding fuel to a fire pit, police say.


          Officers say they believe the injured man used a gas can containing high-octane fuel in an attempt to ignite a fire. Following a preliminary investigation, officials believe the man had a lit cigarette in his mouth while attempting to pour the fuel onto the stack of wood and an explosion occurred.

          What’s the old saying? Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

          I live about 3 blocks from where this happened, but didn’t hear the boom. They haven’t released the name of the person, but I know a guy who lives close to there who is stupid enough to have done this. This was around 4am in the morning so I’m guessing they were quite “toasted” at that time.

          1. witters

            At the end of the article there is this:

            See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.

            Training the algorithms?

  3. digi_owl

    > Smuggler or Rescuer? London Review of Books (guurst)

    Interesting how this pendulum swings with the times.

  4. digi_owl

    > NATO Chief Openly Admits Russia Invaded Ukraine Because Of NATO Expansion Caitlin Johnstone (furzy)

    Do wonder if he is looking for an out, as he was already planning to “retire” when the SMO kicked off.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe he is at odds just what to do. Can you imagine what will be on his resume when he goes for his next job? I can-

      ‘2014 – 2023

      As NATO Secretary General, oversaw it demilitarization.’

      1. digi_owl

        Well he was about to take over as head of the Norwegian central bank until NATO begged him to stay on for longer.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Pretty sure that I read that if that had happened, he would as a consequence also be in charge of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund (Statens Pensjonsfond) where Norway’s oil and gas revenues goes into. I can only imagine what his plans for that money pot would have been but it would not have been good for Norway’s pensioners.

          1. digi_owl

            True, though the fund is a red herring anways.

            The majority of it is lock up in the “foreign” portion, that is doing all the big investing outside of Norway. As a rule of thumb, the government can only use a few percentage of what remains in the budget each year to avoid harming the NOK.

            Not that much of this affects pensioners anyways, as the services they make are provided come from the local municipalities. That do not see much if anything from that budget. Instead they make do with income tax, property tax, whatever local industries they hold shares in (power companies in particular), and general largesse from its wealthier locals.

  5. The Rev Kev


    I suppose they could always do Reddit next. After that, 4Chan? There was an article a year ago which said that Activision had banned 500,000 accounts but that they were rubbing fans the wrong way. But having Activision spying on every single account and using an AI to ban players is crossing a line I feel. Look, so called toxic players will always be there and to a large extent is people letting off steam. But Activision’s heavy-handed approach will make things worse – for Activision. Perhaps it would have been wiser to split Call of Duty into two sets of servers. One where toxicity is allowed and if you play on there, you know what you are letting yourself in for. The other half is for people that just want to play the game without all the d***heads shouting stuff. That half Activision would thoroughly police and immediately ban players if they go all toxic. That way everybody’s happy. But it seems that Activision wants to create a Disney version of Call of Duty. So how is that working out for Disney?

    1. Craig H.

      Look, so called toxic players will always be there and to a large extent is people letting off steam.

      Do you know anybody who plays Call of Duty?

      It maybe seems the point of such games is to be a raging a$$ hole. If anybody knows of a sober analysis to explain the popularity I would be curious to read it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ve watched a few videos of Call of Duty but got quickly bored. Not my thing. Some people like toxic players like Dr. Disrespect. Again, not my thing. But I am not going to force my views on them but that is what Activision is doing with an AI watching and policing every word. Why are they doing this? I don’t know. To make them look good in front of their shareholders? Because of corporate values? No idea. But the whole thing reeks of those old indecent language laws. More to the point, if stupid games like this allow people to blow off steam online, then shunt them as I suggested to servers where it is allowed.

        1. digi_owl

          Game streams have become its own thing. The game is largely incidental, the idea is rather to comically overdo reactions to audience antics. Usually related to how much money said audience throws at the show. Think of it as improvised slapstick.

          Some of it reminds me of the kind of LAN parties i helped set up in decades past, only with the streaming services acting as intermediaries and rentiers.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Had no clue you could give money to Call of Duty players. Sounding more and more like OnlyFans. In a world of virtual prostitutes, I guess it only makes sense we’d have virtual warriors. Afterwards do they have a virtual cigarette?

            1. digi_owl

              Pretty much. Twitch, the oldest such service, has had an ongoing battle with “soft core” antics.

              Their biggest section is “just chat”, that do not have a particular game in mind. And some years back often you would find young ladies in bikinis splashing around in inflatable pools. And a quick poke shows several ladies, and anime style avatars, with very deep cleavage on display.

          2. R.S.

            > Some of it reminds me of the kind of LAN parties

            I’ve never thought of game streaming in this way, but it’s a good point. Bringing in PCs, 10base2, and some (well…) beer. It was never about rankings, tournaments or anything like that.

            1. digi_owl

              Yeah, as i wrote that i found myself pondering how it was perhaps yet another capitalist atomization and rent insertion in social life.

      2. Chris Smith

        I play. For me it’s a 6 to 12 minutes of fast paced action that often has hilarious moments. (I usually play on the Shipment map for maximal nonsense.) I can play a match or two, get my video game fix, and then move on to something else. It’s fun and doesn’t take long to do – that’s my attraction.

        The main problem I have is lately some of the players decide to blast their favorite music really loudly into their mic which makes it hard to catch the audio cues in game.

        1. digi_owl

          If they play on console they are perhaps not even aware of what they are doing. The latest from both Sony and MS have a microphone built right into the controller, and is turned on by default.

    2. digi_owl

      Basically introducing company controlled ranking systems into everything meant any sense of community went out the door, and things turned into dog eat dog.

      There were always griefers in online games, people that will either refuse to do what is expected of them or deliberately do things that are detrimental to the team.

      But back in the day servers were privately run, and bans were swift and effective. Or the server host would slap some access requirement on so only someone that knew someone would get in.

      Now it is just a blob of “matchmaking” across “ranks”, and the way to climb those ranks is to play the game like a second job.

      Never mind that the term “toxic” is yet another of those social media things that have lost all meaning.

      1. Chris Smith

        Exactly! I play CoD to unwind and have some fun. Ranked play is like a second job – so I avoid it. I just want to slide around corners and take out the floor huggers.

      2. Ignacio

        “take any sense of community out of the door”

        Export that from gamers to all activities and social relationships. That is all we need to know about the Neoliberal (dis)order.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      It’s not limited to Call of Duty. I was thinking of snitching to the players’ union about the terrible things my sons were calling their players while playing Madden. Of course, I wasn’t saying anything too nice about the real Kedarius Toney on Thursday night.

  6. The Rev Kev


    I suppose they could always do Reddit next. After that, 4Chan? There was an article a year ago which said that Activision had banned 500,000 accounts but that they were rubbing fans the wrong way. But having Activision spying on every single account and using an AI to ban players is crossing a line I feel. Look, so called toxic players will always be there and to a large extent is people letting off steam. But Activision’s heavy-handed approach will make things worse – for Activision. Perhaps it would have been wiser to split Call of Duty into two sets of servers. One where toxicity is allowed and if you play on there, you know what you are letting yourself in for. The other half is for people that just want to play the game without all the d***heads shouting stuff. That half Activision would thoroughly police and immediately ban players if they go all toxic. That way everybody’s happy. But it seems that Activision wants to create a Disney version of Call of Duty. So how is that working out for Disney?

  7. Lexx

    ‘Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop or Else!

    I was trying to recall what life was like before most of us agreed to take on the responsibility of picking up our dog’s poop. Was there poop everywhere? Were we hopscotching up the sidewalk to avoid stepping in a fresh pile? Was there the constant stink of poop in the air on a hot day? Eventually (when?) it got to be too much and now we’re buying biodegradable poop bags from Amazon by the case. But I have no memory of that transition… I also don’t remember seeing this many dogs on walkies every day. They became very visible status symbols.

    This is an HOA neighborhood and picking up poop is written into the covenant. You won’t find much poop in anyone’s yard but apparently several dog owners consider the Commons fair game and their dogs agree. You know who these owners are since there isn’t the appearance of a plastic bag anywhere on their person. Confront them and the first words out of their mouths is ‘I don’t have a bag with me’. The HOA’s and city have countered by putting bags and disposable bins at stations along the paths. Husband will hand them one out of his pocket. The human’s response is petulance every time as they bend over to pick up the turds and walk away. It’s like dealing with middle-aged children, the dog is the mature one and the only one entirely innocent.

    1. Craig H.

      I used to live about four miles from a beautiful park which had horseback riding trails and sections of it were rented out for cow pasture. There is something bizarre about a dog walker handling poop and fifty feet away there is a horse pile.

      Dogs outnumber horses by an order of magnitude or two but horse piles outsize dog piles by at least half an order of magnitude. Are there any parks that mandate packing out horse poop?

      1. griffen

        Last Sunday went on a 5 to 6 mile hike at Hanging Rock state park in North Carolina. Parts of the trail were clearly marked as both for hiking and for horses. Some really big piles about on the trail, quite a few had been dusted with hay I suppose but did not closely investigate. It makes it difficult to look up and about when your steps need to be minded.

        Picking up dog poop is a topic for apartment dwellers. No matter the free bags available or the designated areas for the dogs to do their thing. Almost a monthly reminder is sent out reminding pet owners they do have a responsible need to collect after their pet.

        1. Carolinian

          In Charleston the tourist carriage horses have to wear diapers. Presumably the driver then pulls out a really big blue bag…..

          Here in Upstate our local state park caters to horse owners more than the rest of us and while I used to gripe about the poop many of the trails tend to be walkers (and bikers) only.

          As in many states SC parks have become increasingly fee oriented and horse owners are not poor. In the old days our parks were free admission and even had swimming pools where the underclass could enjoy themselves. Republicans like Nikki Haley put an end to all that rampant socialism. The pool at ours was filled in and the horse facilities enhanced.

      2. Chas

        In many Cuban cities public transportation is provided by horse-drawn wagons fitted out to seat passengers. A bag hangs behind the pulling horse to catch the poop. At the end of the run, the bag is emptied into a wheel barrow and transported to the compost pile at the nearest public vegetable garden. In Cuba, very little of anything is wasted.

    2. Nordberg

      Lexx, I had the same thought. My memory from growing up is only three or four people in my neighborhood had pooches. Now it is every other house. I think the Urban/suburban dog population expanded to the point where yes, if one did not clean up, then poop would be everywhere.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, not at all true in walkable cities like NYC and the denser parts of other cities. In fact, a recent video about a young German Shepherd who rescued a woman who’d been in a car accident by dragging her to the highway, was then put up for adoption by his humans because they deemed him to be too much trouble and getting and then nosing around a car accident was too much for them. The video stressed that the dog would be difficult to place due to his size, confirming that most people want little or mid-sized companion dogs, not guard dogs.

          Things work out for the dog in the end:

          1. Lexx

            The size of the dog is fairly even here. We prefer the affection and comedy of terriers, but to each his own. Every dog’s a good dog, it’s the owner’s we find questionable.

            What’s changed in the last 5-8 years is that purebreeds are out*, cross-breeds are in in combinations that end with ‘-poo’. Given the subject of the article, kinda ironic.

            *Too many expensive health problems due to irresponsible backyard breeders… those same breeders have neither the skills, dedication or patience to eliminate those problems from the genetic lines, it’s just about the cash per puppy.

            I’ve been watching the latest version of ‘Justified’ where the showrunners have gone all in on their villain – a malignant psychopathic homicidal narcissistic ex-con (and rounding the bases for a homerun and checking every box as a particularly lower lifeform… they really want a guaranteed audience for a second season) from Oklahoma! But I can think of a lower one…

            1. ambrit

              I can think of a pair of extremely low lifeforms not necessarily from, but ‘famous’ in relation to Arkansas that the program could focus on.
              The male member of the dips–t duo reminds me of the Duke of Rochester, but minus the talent.

          2. Jeff W

            While the Incredible Stories video is recent, the story itself is actually from 2007. This video (from 2010 and about one-third the length of the Incredible Stories video—and it doesn’t mention the difficulty of placing larger dogs) tells the story via an interview of the woman herself, Shannon Lorio, and gives a bit more of a followup to what happened to the dog following the accident.

        2. Socal Rhino

          A better explanation can be found in the sociologist study of human interactions in public settings like parks. People with dogs had multiples of human interactions of people without. Dogs offer companionship obviously, but also act as social ambassadors.

            1. ambrit

              Or, turning this on it’s head; “D–k magnets.”
              A young woman across the street goes to the local State University, and keeps a standard bred poodle. She walks the critter usually early in the morning wearing speedos and tank tops. Outside of the University Zone, such feminine attire is considered as an invitation to the exploration of the parameters of a ‘more intimate’ relationship. {Never underestimate the power of adequately displayed primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Terran human nature and all that.}
              There are very good reasons why advertising classes teach that the two primary ‘drivers’ of Terran human attention are sex and death.

              1. Lexx

                LOL. I left out of my description of the villain that he is usually to be found lording around an Albanian’s loft (they’re hiding out from the law and the Albanian’s relatives), wearing an open long kimono with a pair of packed high-waisted tighty whities. And he’s blonde…. the audience is just given a buffet of reasons to fear and loath him, or find out something about themselves they may or may not want to know. ‘I think he’s kinda hot!’ ???

                It worked for ‘True Blood’ for seven seasons.

          1. GramSci

            Well, I should have offered that in the US dogs are often a substitute for gun ownership. I still think that’s true, although not a reason many dog owners will acknowledge.

            Probably another important reason for the observed increase in dog ownership is the desire to bestow love upon another living creature, given that the practice of loving one’s fellow human being is frowned upon in mainstream U.S. culture, except of course, on Sundays.

            1. ambrit

              We must distinguish here between “Agape” and “Eros.”
              I would suggest that ‘moderne’ American “culture” is heavily biased towards “Eros.”

              1. GramSci

                I think, as Gore Vidal might have once said, in the U.S. the proper spelling of “Eros” is “iRos”.

          2. Jen

            I used to have two golden retrievers, and I walked them up and down my street every day. They were great social ambassadors, introducing my to every neighbor on the street as well as a lot of people driving by who would stop to say hi when I was out walking them.

            I lost them both last winter within 6 weeks of eachother. They were 13 and a half, and had been such a fixture in the neighborhood pretty much everyone stopped me to offer their condolences when they saw me out walking my boy alone, including people I only just waved to as they drove by.

            I now have a 9 month old golden and she’s been entertaining the neighborhood as she learns the ropes.

      1. barefoot charley

        There were plenty of dogs when I was growing up on the South Side of Chicago 50 years ago, including strays and packs like you never see anymore. I remember one residential stretch started annual volunteer Dog Sh*t Parties when the poop blossomed through the snow in the spring. Back when we had snow but no poop bags . . .

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        People think Manhattan is a Lenape word meaning “Island of Hills,” but in truth it’s closer to “Island Of Expensive Little Dogs.”

    3. Carolinian

      Then there are the dog owners who pick up the poop and then throw the bag in your yard or maybe on a pile of leaves. At least the poop will deteriorate into the soil.

      Fortunately we don’t have too many of those and the really huge increase in sidewalk traffic means malefactors of poop may be under surveillance.

    4. anahuna

      Speaking of NYC in the 80s, yes, there was dog poop everywhere, and it took considerable dodging to avoid getting it on your shoes. The memory of standing on one leg while trying to scrape it off the sole of another, while inhaling the unavoidable stench, remains clear.

      The ordinance requiring bags was a true quality of life innovation.

      I do recall, though, the story of a clueless mugger who broke an elderly woman’s arm in order to snatch the bag hanging on it. Just desserts, she said.

    5. Bsn

      Shoulda been in Paris in the 90s. They had the “Chiracmobile”, a motorcycle with a poop sucking attachment that would hover up the dog droppings and leave a nice clean spot with soap. Here’s an intro to them:
      I swear this is a true story. In Neuilly sur Seine (a very well to do Paris suburb) I was walking. Across the street a well dressed woman was walking a huge, long haired, long legged dog. It did the dog thing on the sidewalk. The woman got into her handbag and pulled out what I thought was to be a small bag. Au contraire. It was cleenex and she wiped the dogs tail side and continued on her walk. One of my favorite stories of all time. Hyper Choutte!

    6. Jabura Basaidai

      i compost my organic kitchen refuse in a tumbler – if the process slows down a bit i throw in some horse manure – since i’ve always had a pooch i wondered about using their poop – after minimal research it was easily apparent that was a no-no for some very sound as well as logical reasons – all poop ain’t equal – since i have a pooch i always have poop bags handy and usually one in my pocket, will immediately provide to some moron that decides it’s ok to leave it – nobody has given me any crap about it – yeah, pun intended –

      1. Lexx

        Husband may have an extra bag available; I carry dog biscuits in my pockets and dog noses know, often from afar. Biscuits are canine magnets; they don’t care about your sex appeal.

    7. Verifyfirst

      I grew up in the urban center of Chicago in the 1960’s and 70’s, and yes, there were a lot of dogs, and there were immense quantities of poop. The most gross was in spring, when the snow melted–the grassy area was entirely covered, and at depth, with dog poop. The reek was intense.

      I have always wondered what caused the cultural change to (most) people in urban areas picking up the poop–I saw a sociological study once, but have never been able to find it again. Whatever the cause was, might be useful to inform efforts to force other changes…..

      1. Alex Cox

        Because most people are fundamentally nice and cooperative, rather than horrible, and there are many more dogs!

    8. ChrisPacific

      I’m old enough to remember what it was like. In a medium sized town, most lawns and especially grass verges were liberally dotted with poop. If you wanted to play (which as kids we usually did) you did a scan, picked up any you could find first, and disposed of them. Occasionally you missed one and got an unpleasant surprise.

      Folk remedies like the soda bottle half filled with water abounded – you’d see those dotted across lawns as well. Some people would swear by them and others would insist they didn’t work and they’d seen them surrounded with poop.

      All in all I prefer the current state, but I’ll say that the old system did produce less plastic waste.

  8. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Abortions and Team Blue fortunes.

    Team Blue certainly expects it to carry them, but like guns, it’s an issue where most women aren’t simply having abortions in the recent past or near future. Discussing abortion and miscarriages isn’t dinner conversation. It’s the economy stupid is largely trun because it’s always with us.

    Youngkin in Virginia had a reasonable turnout statewide, that wasn’t localized, I think because his ads focused on tax relief on groceries (it sounds good to a person with no numbers in front of them) and screaming parents and education. Virginia kids missed the most days from covid, so there are issues. Even though Youngkin isn’t dealing with them, every parent is frustrated, and everyone went to school for a long time, basically over 10 years in one fashion.

    When Team Blue hyperventilates about “but the Supreme Court”, the will get the same response they did in 2016, but with the added pain of not having taken steps such as appointing more justices. If Trump is worse than 50 Putins, then normalcy can’t be respected while Trump appointees sit on the Supreme Court.

    1. JBird4049

      The political parties expect the hot button issues like abortion and guns to allow them to win elections while ignoring economy. It interesting how having a political economy that was focused on the bottom 90% and perhaps even the bottom 50% would ease all the pathologies that these people are in anguish over; however, a living wage or healthcare for all is just too much to even ask for, but a heavily armed and corrupt police-state is no problem.

  9. Alice X

    From the NYT:

    Appeals Court Rules White House Overstepped 1st Amendment on Social Media

    A Fifth Circuit panel partly upheld restrictions on the Biden administration’s communications with online platforms about their content.

    I’ve only scanned it but as usual with the Gray Lady one should drill down with other sources to find out the full situation. They did get their usual digs in against RFK Jr.:

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination and promoter of a number of conspiracy theories, filed a similar lawsuit, which was consolidated into the Missouri case. He argued that government officials had forced platforms to remove accounts, including his.

    Along another similar line in the title from the piece linked above:

    >Elon Musk Refused to Enable Ukraine Drone Attack on Russian Fleet

    GG pointed out that Musk simply didn’t extend SkyNet to include Crimea, so one must clock the NYT very carefully. But readers here know that anyway.

    1. Carolinian

      Zelensky is now making a big deal out of this even though Musk did Ukraine a huge solid by donating all those Starlink terminals. Our R2P overlords sure know how to pick their t-shirted heroes.

        1. digi_owl

          A glorious feudian slip, that.

          And from seeing Musk’s antics, he may well have considered it by was unable to get the trademark.

          1. Alice X

            hee hee – now that I’ve read up on the fictional SkyNet, I’m sure pretty much all the head honchos would like to have their own version.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        No “good” deed goes unpunished.

        Are we to understand that Musk could end this ukraine debacle tomorrow if he just deactivated its Starlink?

        1. Carolinian

          Last year there were reports that the Ukraine army units were using Starlink internet and their devices to communicate since the Russians were jamming other radios. They may have even been using commercial satellite websites to spy on Russian positions.

          I thought I read somewhere that the Russians can now jam Starlink but not sure.

    2. VietnamVet

      The Starlink kamikaze drone boat episode and Elon Musk making a national security decision is the natural outcome of the privatization of the global military. Across the world, Empires are fighting forever wars with mercenaries and stoking ethnic hatreds to make a profit.
      Some conflicts like “The Line of Actual Control” in the Himalayas between China and India have been going on since 1962 when neoliberalism was still a dream in Austria and had yet to convert the econ department at University of Chicago. These “Clashes of Civilization” will continue into the future as long as there are men to fight them unless armistices are signed and DMZs/secure borders are built to separate the cultures so that peace is given a chance.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “New Mexico governor issues order suspending the right to carry firearms in public across Albuquerque”

    Looking at her Wikipedia entry, I see that she is from an old political family but some of her positions sound more like that of a Republican than a Democrat. But this whole idea of declaring an emergency and making up ad hoc laws on the spot is not a good one because of the abuses such a technique be put to. If she was really serious, she could sponsor a law to repeal the open and permitted concealed carry of firearms and campaign to make it law. But this way, she will alienate people that might agree with her position on the grounds that she might do something even more stupid down the track-

    1. flora

      I’m starting to thing of admin ’emergency proclamations’ the same way I think of the civil asset forfeiture laws; ripe for abuse and therefore abused.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Didn’t I hear how the Governor of Hawaii did a similar stunt a few weeks before those fires and declared an emergency because of homelessness to pass some odious laws?

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            well the homeless can’t fight back so an easy target – here in Michigan the cities of K’zoo and Grand Rapids have passed laws criminalizing homelessness – and i’ve read where gentle souls trying to help the homeless have been fined as well –

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    Manure in the Netherlands–

    We’ve touched on this story in the Links and comment threads several times over the past year or so, but this article is the most thorough, dare I say balanced, that I have read. It’s a story of how farming became an industry, and how farmers, seeking to meet the demands of a market over which they had no control, have gone from stewards of the land to poisoners of themselves and their neighbors along with the ecosystems around them.

    I grew up around small dairy farmers. My grandparents raised Angus beef cattle as a “hobby” while my grandfather worked for the railroad, and raising beef cattle could be demanding at times. In the winter, the alfalfa bales stored in the hay shed had to be distributed to the cattle each and every day. If the winter weather turned suddenly bad, they had to drive the 5 miles from their house in town to the farm to gather the cattle into the shed to protect them from the inclement weather. If a calving cow was missing from the herd, they had to walk the 160 acres to find her and help her or get her to help if she was having trouble giving birth. (One cow even earned the name Oklahoma because she invariably chose the most southwest portion of the farm, the part closest to Oklahoma, to have her calf.)

    But all that was nothing compared to the dairy farmers. Every morning, the cows had to be milked or they were at risk of mastitis. There were no days off unless you could trade milking duties with another dairy farmer so each of you could have a few days off. Being a dairy farmer wasn’t a job or a business. It was more akin to taking monastic vows that determined how you lived 24/7.

    That was 60 years ago. Then along came Richard Nixon and his Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz:

    His mantra to farmers was “get big or get out”, and he urged farmers to plant commodity crops such as corn “from fencerow to fencerow”. These policy shifts coincided with the rise of major agribusiness corporations, and the declining financial stability of the small family farm.

    Set against Butz and his intentional undoing of the New Deal’s federal system of agricultural and environmental management was the writer, Kentuckian Wendell Berry. Berry saw Butz and his proto-Big Ag proponents as strip miners:

    I conceive a strip-miner to be a model exploiter, and as a model nurturer I take the old-fashioned idea or ideal of a farmer. The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter’s goal is money, profit; the nurturer’s goal is health — his land’s health, his own, his family’s, his community’s, his country’s.

    Butz stood out because of his arrogant brashness, but his ideas were not of his own invention. They were the product of a Social Darwinist paradigm and its goal of profit-uber-alles. The sole measure of success of an activity was how much money it made, and collateral effects on the health of ecosystems or even human health were of no importance. As the Mongabay article details, this destructive approach to farming found its way to the Netherlands and either seduced or forced the farmers there to adopt its money-centric, Nature-be-damned ways.

    The Mongabay piece focuses on the harm done to wildlife by the Dutch farmers’ practices. Ammonia clouds kill birds directly. Nitrogen poisoning leaches calcium from the soil, and the shells of songbirds are too thin or the baby birds legs are too brittle for them to survive. But the old adage about canaries in coal mines is obvious. If Dutch dairy farmers are doing this much damage to bird health, what about the health of the farmers themselves, their neighbors, all of the Netherlands? Berry’s strip miners have taken over from the real farmers, and everybody’s health has gone to hell.

    The history is the same whether it’s agriculture or medicine or journalism. The drive to profit, the compulsion to compete, trumps all human values. As I read Mongabay’s article, words from a couple of Midwest boys I’ve listened to for 50+ years, words written about these very issues and a place I knew well, came to mind:

    Twenty-four hours of barbed wire fence,
    Fifty-five years of pollution.
    Everyone knows now the puzzle was laid.
    Can anyone recall the solution?

    Tarkio Road” Brewer & Shipley

    Do we try to plow under these Dutch dairy farmers the way Earl Butz plowed under small farmers like my father? “Get green or get out?” Today’s Links contained another article warning about the political effects already being felt in Europe with that approach, and the Mongabay article details the strong political reaction in the Netherlands and beyond. Some of it was funded and promoted by Big Ag who always wants to sell more chemicals, more soy feed grown where the Amazon used to be. But some of it is legitimately grass roots and includes even some environmentalists alarmed by the effects the Dutch dairymen are having on their neighbors but feel it’s unfair to put all the burden on them.

    Does anyone recall the solution? Jason Hickel is trying a class-aware approach that is picking up steam in Europe. He’s been joined by Georgos Kallis and Julia Steinberger in an effort to model a “Post Growth New Deal” that tackles the spreading environmental catastrophe without putting all the burden on “little people” like the Dutch farmers or coal miners or airline flight attendants. It won’t be easy where there are already so many “little people” who feel they’ve “played by the rules” as Obama loves to say, and are now targeted for economic destruction because the way they’ve been told to do things has fallen out of favor. And, of course, the biggest obstacles are the billionaires who seem intent on preserving their Social Darwinist world that rewards them so well. Wendell Berry saw them for what they were back when he wrote The Unsettling of America in 1977:

    The world has room for many people who are content to live as humans, but only for a relative few intent upon living as giants or as gods.

    It’s a complicated puzzle, hard to solve, but there’s little choice but to try.

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah the basic change is that farming went from self-sufficiency while selling off the excess, to being mom and pop bio-factories supplying parts to the larger food industry.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I’d rather hear your take on this. I’m writing from memories aside from my gardening. You’re doing the thing.

          And how in the world are you Texans going to pay your electric bills?

    2. Ignacio

      I may be doing excessive dot connection but I though your comment was related with the link on European Disunion:

      Climate regulation is driving support for populism, says EU parliament chief Financial Times

      I have not access to the FT but, in my current line of connecting dots I thought that the complaint of “PMCish” EU’s Parliament chief might have to do with opposition of Netherlands farmers to the new “bright” EU regulatory framework titled: EU Nature Restoration Regulation which I believe it is now in the process of discussions in said Parliament. From the link, you can see how the regulation works: by setting common targets (EU nature restoration regulation: Setting binding targets for healthy ecosystems) in all EU regions. Though the EU Commission published all kinds of laudatory statements about the project little was known about concerns. The only one I could get around was from an Association of Young Farmers from the Netherlands that said such common targets would be difficult to achieve in a region with intensive farming like in the Netherlands. So is it that farmers in the Netherlands are becoming Populist? No longer interested in the Globalist Neoliberal Order?

      It is, IMO, quite true that setting common targets can be considered bad governance or cheap governance in which the EC passes the challenges to each individual State or Region without thinking whether these binding targets are feasible in each of the very diverse environments where it will be applied. Cheap for the EC and trouble for state/regional institutions. In this way each state can be blamed for failure, very much like Ukraine not following the guidelines from the West, under the best intentions set by our magnificent globalist elite up there in the EU.

      But as written above, I might be connecting too many dots today.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That was exactly the Link I was referring to, Ignacio.

        Not bringing in affected people as part of the planning process is an obvious error, and who can blame people from protesting when huge changes in their lives are demanded, and they’ve had no say in advance about it?

        Beyond that, if there are discussions with affected people from the beginning, then let’s keep the discussions open. Maybe farmers might see their purpose changed from raising commodities for a global market to supplying food for their communities and helping heal the ecosystem. In our society, the first question will be, “How do they make a living doing that?” But if we recognize farmers as people with special knowledge and experience who are indispensable in “helping us land the plane,” then surely we can figure out how the community (not The Market!) makes sure they’re making a living.

        1. digi_owl

          > But if we recognize farmers as people with special knowledge and experience

          Perhaps some do, but that risk going down the path of “noble savage” style thinking.

          For every farmer that has some deep knowledge, there are multiple that will just do something because it is how it was always done. Even if it makes a mess of things in the long run.

        2. Ignacio

          Timmermans was the Commissioner responsible for climate policy in the EU (including the EU Nature Restoration Regulation now being discussed) but resigned to run for Prime Minister in the Netherlands when Rutte was finished. Interesting elections there.

      2. GramSci

        Ignacio, it’s been often repeated in comments that many of us access the FT by searching for the title in Google (Firefox doesn’t work).

        But re the EU, my limited understanding is that Brussels is in large measure powerful because it forbids localities (formerly called “nations”) from managing their own economies. Thus, I found it interesting that EU President Metsola “also called on Brussels to loosen its fiscal rules so that governments can maintain spending on public services and infrastructure.”

        I gather “President of the EU” is a largely powerless office, but wouldn’t “loosening its fiscal rules” be tantamount to EUxit? (Exeunt?).

        1. GramSci

          Sorry, I should have specified Google search “(Firefox with,, doesn’t work.)”

    3. GramSci

      Thanks for this comment, HMP,

      “Every morning, the cows had to be milked or they were at risk of mastitis. There were no days off unless you could trade milking duties with another dairy farmer so each of you could have a few days off. Being a dairy farmer wasn’t a job or a business. It was more akin to taking monastic vows that determined how you lived 24/7”

      I come from a line of dairy farmer immigrants. Until WWII, being a dairy farmer wasn’t so bad, because farms were multigenerational, and neighboring farms were often owned by relatives. But after WWII, herds got bigger and families got smaller. By the time Nixon appointed Butz, he was already a fait accompli.

      1. Ignacio

        Roberta Metsola is the President of the EU-Parliament (not the EU), and she is one of the many MPs who are included in the People’s Party group (traditional Christian conservatives) which is the most numerous. This is not a decision making position but one of management and organization of the Parliament. Yet, in the case of this Regulation I referred to, it will need approval by the EU Parliament first (with amendments possibly) and then by the European Council. This is called co-decision. Metsola (I won’t definitely read the FT piece) might be complaining about other populist groups in the Parliament.

    4. Nate

      Half the nitrogen in most people’s bodies originates in the Haber Bosch Process, using the formerly cheap natural gas that the Globalist’s policies tricked Europe into boycotting, or we cut them off from with underwater demolition.

      Along with Russian mineral fertilizers this has doubled food and energy prices for the sucker taxpayers who still voluntarily hand money to the government.

      Joe Biden warned that “We would all have to make many sacrifies for as long as it takes to make Ukraine free.” I’m sure his family is really suffering from this.

      All those stupid deplorables should have bought defense stocks.

      1. Revenant

        Farmyard manure and slurry are not a problem in themselves, any more than weeds are. They are just plants in the wrong place. Integrated farms with both arable and livestock activity can use the output of the farmyard to fertilise the fields of crops.

        My spouse works on UK farm policy and reintegrating farmyard manure is a big topic. The problem is that it is too bulky to transport.

        Technology can provide solutions but they seem to fail commercially: anaerobic digesters produce a fertiliser crumb and concentrated liquid fertiliser but their electricity and heat output is hard to use on a farm and they do not scale well to small farms. They are finding most favour at food factories where the AD plant can take food waste which otherwise cists £300/tonne for disposal and produce electricity and process heat for the factory.

        Reintegrating family farms would be a better plan. Currently the wet West of Britain produces slurry (from beef and dairy cattle) which is poisoning its rivers and the dry East of Britain grows arable crops using fertiliser which is hurting margins and… poisoning its rivers.

        Unfortunately, our maximum stupidity government just gave a bribe to its property developer supporters and exempted them from the nutrient neutrality regulations, which are the reason for the Dutch revolt. Human waste origin nitrogen will now take up valuable nitrogen capacity without controls on building to reduce it. As a result, farming activity will have to be reduced to observe the overall limits, which have not been waived.

        Like the Army at the Somme, the Tories are slow walking into the firepath of the farmers.

        The rule change happened in the dog days of summer and not one interest group was for it, not even many of the developers (who make good money not building houses quickly and land banking): just wait until party political conference season in the autumn to see the shit fly!

    5. Chas

      Thank you for an excellent post Henry. And you put it together in two and a half hours! As for a solution to the “get big or get out” problem, Wendell Berry’s family is putting his words into action in Henry County Kentucky. They have started The Berry Center in New Castle, KY and one of the programs they have is a farming school where the center pays the tuition of all the students they enroll. There’s a story about it in the latest Small Farmer’s Journal but I couldn’t link to it.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Thanks for that. Here’s a link to what I think is the Berry Center’s listings for the latest courses:

        livestock on grass production;

        low-impact forestry;

        agrarian thought and leadership.

    6. Jabura Basaidai

      HMP you made me remember “One Toke Over the Line” – this discussion resonates with the John Perkins book “Touching the Jaguar” where he owns his complicity as an economic hit man for the Death Economy, coming out of the trance of materialism spreading corporate colonialism building the american empire with the help of the World Bank, IMF, USAID and other financial bullies, stealing the future from third world countries (what the heck is a third world?) – and it is still going on, elon musk will coup who he wants to coup – the blatant arrogance and greed is dumbfounding – a truly complicated puzzle and almost futile to solve but i agree there is little choice but to try and call bullcrap, bullcrap – even if it means being the cranky uncle at the family dinner – now it’s time to go harvest the bosc pears, throw the frisbee for Roscoe my pooch and smile at the sky –

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That made ’em national. Big stuff for guys basically located in K. C., playing at the Vanguard.

        But don’t forget my favorite, “Oh Mommy, I Ain’t No Commie.” I’ve quoted this verse here before:

        Mr. Nixon,
        I ain’t a fixin’
        To speak Spanish on a plane or polish off the Liberty Bell
        I just want to sit here on the shelf,
        And watch you finish off the place by yourself.
        Please let me do what I wanna.
        I’ll just lay around the house and smoke Marijuana.

        Oh, Mommy, Brewer & Shipley

        You and Roscoe enjoy yourselves. My Zelda envies your Roscoe.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          Roscoe is a schnauzer/poodle mix – a mini weighing about 13lbs – previous was Sam. a rescue and also a schnoodle a bit bigger at 25lbs – once had a big 115lb shepherd from birth who was a lifesaver for numerous reasons – his name was Conan – pooches now have to be non-shedders – my girlfriend’s daughter heads up the San Rafael leader dog place – Zelda may envy Roscoe but i bet she is a loyal loving companion – don’t think i could live without a dog or cat – present living situation doesn’t favor a cat unfortunately – last one was a feral kitten brought into where girlfriend worked – Mr Grizz – before that was Harry who hung with raccoons – before that with a Slovac girlfriend was Kocour & Mom Cat who hung with Conan – find more comfort with animals, plants and nature than with people – and thanks to NC don’t feel as isolated as before – don’t know if you’ll read this HMP but nice to know you have a pooch too – pax vobis frater

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          When our son was in college, he made a little money as a paid ringer in a century-old men’s chorus here. Most of the guys were well on their way to 100, and they needed some young voices to beef things up.

          So they got this woman director, and it was a rather contentious relationship. She was preparing for her last concert at the end of her non-renewed contract, and I wondered about her strangely contradictory song choices. There was the Baptist spiritual “Keep to the Middle of the Road.”

          Then the group sang “White Rabbit.” After being told to keep to the middle of the road, you were supposed to feed your head?

    7. some guy

      Reading that article about How Manure Blew Up The Netherlands I came across this paragraph which confirmed my suspicions as to how such a small country could “produce” so much beef, pork, etc . . .
      “The nitrogen problem in the Netherlands isn’t new, nor is its cause a mystery. Cows and pigs, the bedrock of the Dutch meat and dairy industry, consume a lot of animal feed — mostly soy concentrates imported from places like the U.S. and Brazil. Farmers who grow that soy use synthetic fertilizers to provide it with nitrogen and phosphorus, the nutrients that the world’s agricultural system is built on.”

      Are those “farms”? Or are those just CAFOs? With all the feed being given to the animals being “farmed” hundreds or thousands of miles away from the Netherlands?

      If ” the world” decided to ban CAFO meat altogether and only allow eco-sustainable meat grown on pasture and range, would animal “agriculture” in the Netherlands even exist at all?
      If only eco-sustainable livestock on pasture and range were permitted within the borders of the Netherlands, how much less meat/ milk/etc. would the Netherlands be capable of producing?

    8. Mangelwurtzel

      Thanks, HMP, those are brilliant quotes from Berry. And I always appreciate your comments. As a practising (non-hobby) small farmer, I have learned over the past 25 years that the only way to escape the race-to-the-bottom practices of ruthless price competition is to direct market and keep every penny of profit. Thus we have a farm stand, a cooperative staple crop endeavor, and do mail order. Beyond the Tofu Curtain in Western Massachusetts, we are also lucky enough to have many locals dedicated to small ag, and a state wise enough to restrict develop of prime farmland. That said, I’m sure it all amounts to just a drop in the proverbial ocean of industrial food production. Much work remains…

  12. mrsyk

    “I Create Minimal Illustrations Featuring Cats Blended Into Landscapes And Other Scenes”. These are nice. Kind of like a cross between Joan Miró and Charley Harper. Illustration #4, “Is nature a gigantic cat?”.

  13. square coats

    Re: China’s supposed social credit system

    I was watching a youtube video a little while ago, I forget what it was or I’d go back to try to refresh my memory, in which someone was talking about how actually Chinese companies, not individual citizens, have something like a social credit score, which is used to hold companies accountable in some ways for actions/etc that harm the public good.

    Does anyone know more about this? I remember thinking it sounded very reasonable and proactive in terms of incentivising companies to act responsibly or whatever, or disincentivising the opposite, contrary to how many companies particularly in the US act and regularly get away with acting.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well since corporations argue that they have personhood and people are responsible for their actions, then that Chinese idea sounds like an excellent one.

    2. Random

      Probably based on that one paper.
      It was by some western academic from one of the elite schools (Cambridge maybe?) examining the existence of the supposed system.
      Try tags like social credit China study business.
      Goes fairly in depth about the why and how, and yes it’s mostly about businesses when laws are too lax.

    3. bonks

      I own a small business (usually called enterprise) in China, have lived here for over eight years and yes the social credit system is only applicable to businesses. All private enterprise/companies big and small are attached to an actual person. If the business has been found to commit unlawful acts such as scamming and swindling, or harming the customers/community/employees, not paying salaries etc, they can be shut down and the name attached would have a social score that limits their movements and business activities, such as not being allowed to leave the country until they’ve resolved the matter in court and pay the appropriate reparation. I live near a courthouse where they’ve installed a giant screen outside the compound. The screen displays the name
      of the company, its owner and the offence they have committed.

      There’s no such thing as “social credit system” for individuals. The closest is credit rating on Wechat and Alipay, which will allow you to rent public goods such as shared bikes and power banks without deposits. Unlike the American debt-based credit rating system, it’s pretty easy to get a good rating simply by making payments via the apps.

    1. digi_owl

      I seem to recall reading that the reason we see all these crazy headlines from Florida, is that there police reports are public by default. So a bored journalist has plenty of easy source material for a headline.

      1. playon

        Plenty of American small town newspapers have a “police blotter” section which reports minor (often hilarious) crimes.

  14. flora

    re: immigration

    It occurs to me that the Dem estab and the DNC stopped listening to their voters a long time ago. The immigration issue is something that could, could drive the Dem mayors of great US cities to revolt against the DNC Washington Dem estab. Sort of a modern day Runnymede of barons (mayors) vs unpopular King John (pres B). Nah, never happen. / ;)

    1. Pat

      Nope, but unlike most of the Democratic strategies, I really believe making Democratic cities and states that normally wouldn’t have much of an issue with immigration deal with the overwhelming numbers will prove a winner for the GOP. For instance NY is more purple than it is noted most of the time. Pushing migrants into upstate counties has already upset their voters. And as NYC cuts services more and more or tries to raise taxes and fees or both, a whole lot of the citizens will not take it kindly.
      I will be extremely surprised if there are not more than a few representative turnovers from Democratic to Republican in the next election particularly in the State House but possibly for Congress as well.

      The donors better have a very good retirement plan, because keeping them happy on this is going to find more than a few people going on unemploymen.

  15. Refugee

    Our English hosts said they would knock us up in the morning.
    A tray with tea, milk, sugar, toast and jam awaited at the door.
    All had a good laugh at the saying.
    A fine way to start a day.

  16. DJG, Reality Czar

    Theresa Ryder, Steering with Sophocles, is a lovely reminiscence. At the bottom of her article, we see that the classics steered her into the craft of writing and the craft of the stage.

    Pertinent quote (trigger warning!):
    Medea raged on every page. She even out-spoke Creon, a man the playwrights had gifted with lengthy oration. I read quickly, captured, spellbound, and horrified to its outrageous end.

    And that’s the point: To “trigger,” to “trigger,” till a human being emerges. A very difficult yet fulfilling part of human existence is watching suffering on the stage. We learn. We have to learn, or else. It may be that we all have to becoming Jungians, or else. Triggered? Leave that limitation behind.

    Here in the Chocolate City, in the early spring, I saw a production of the Oresteia at Teatro Carignano that was, well, mind-blowing. The Oresteia is the old extant trilogy from Greek theater, which makes it one of the oldest surviving written works of art. Every instant of the production was enlightening–and triggering. Too bad about that triggering stuff. Instead of “triggers,” the gods themselves were on stage.

    Stateside: If you ever get a chance to see a revival of the Gospel at Colonus, go. Don’t hesitate. I saw the play on a hot evening about ten years back when it was revived in Philadelphia. It is a great work of art.

      1. GramSci

        Agreed to both. A lovely reminiscence.

        Quite by happenstance, I wound up with a college roommate who was an old boyhood friend. He majored in Classics, but I never paid attention.

        A couple of months ago there was a thread in these comments on how many of us, like me, have lapsed from book or novel reading. But now in my dotage, I’ve rediscovered these classics. We occasionally read them alongside Shakespeare when we can convene our closet drama society, and we just added THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS to our Met On Demand Club’s agenda. (No, the Met doesn’t do it. YouTube has it, but I tracked down the CD with extra footage.)

      2. britzklieg

        I was fortunate to see opening night of Gospel in Brooklyn and I’ve never seen anything better or more powerful since. And whereas no one could disagree about Freeman’s presence, it was Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys who, for me, stole the show.

  17. Richard H Caldwell

    RE: “The 3 myths of mindfulness” from Big Think

    I confess I would give more weight to this writer’s opinions about mindfulness if I could spot any evidence of him or the academic he cites as having a meditation practice. As a lay practictioner of vipassana for 30+ years I can confirm from my own experience that the “myths” cited are actually true.

    However, it has only been during that last 5 years that I have come to see this clearly. Perhaps a more-dedicated meditator would have come to these realizations sooner, but it’s not something likely to be obvious to anyone starting out. Meditation for me is the slow, oh so slow, process of identifying how my hardware and firmware constructs and interoperates with my conscious awareness. Followed, also very slowly, by the gradually-accruing ability to bring a level of conscious control over what are, by design, automatic and unconscious routines running in the background. It’s pretty cool, but slow…

    To a new- or non-meditator it may well be that these things seem to be mythic impossibilities—I cannot remember, myself. To a philosopher working within an intellectual framework rather than an empirical experience of meditation over time, I can see how cognitively dissonant the ideas behind these “myths” may be to entertain. Speaking empirically, these “myths” accurately reflect my own experiences.

    All that being said, I think the mindfulness fad may risk disappointing. As power yoga is to hatha yoga, so fad mindfulness is to vipassana. In both cases, the focus of the first is on results over process—the process is only a means to an end. It can be difficult to sustain any practice that does not seem to produce immediate and observable results.

    There are lots of reasons to abandon such a practice if one is focused on getting a result versus the practice is the result. Even still, any exercise is generally better than no exercise at all. The same is true for vipassana meditation. At least in my direct personal experience. So I offer that if you meditate, stick with it and trust your own experience over time.

    1. anahuna

      In the very first paragraph:
      “Halfway through dinner, you suddenly notice something odd has happened to the person sitting across from you: She has completely stopped talking. What’s more, she is staring at you with the dead eyes of a Halloween mask.”

      No need to read further.

    2. anahuna

      In the very first paragraph:

      “Halfway through dinner, you suddenly notice something odd has happened to the person sitting across from you: She has completely stopped talking. What’s more, she is staring at you with the dead eyes of a Halloween mannequin.”

      No need to read further.

      1. anahuna

        Sorry for the double. The original disappeared while I was searching for the last word of the quote.

        It is “mannequin,” if that matters to anyone.

    3. wol

      Well said. The mods will have to determine if this comment qualifies as self-promotion, since no one knows who I am or what I do. My art has been described as ‘meditative’ and ‘leading to altered states.’ I tried mindfulness and settled on meditation I learned at a Zen center (too many I’m With Her bumperstickers still present in the parking lot for me to continue there). In my fourth year of a daily practice I concluded that the altered state is what most of the/us normies have taken for granted as reality.

    4. bdy

      The 3 myths are misidentifications

      1. Not all thoughts are equal . . . it’s a foolhardy person who isn’t a little bit scared of venomous snakes.

      I don’t have to fear the snake to avoid it. Transcending the fear allows me to treat threatening situations more wisely — see COVID and “living in fear”

      2. Your attention is not only yours . . . It might be that some wizened Shaolin monk can ignore everything the world throws at him

      Don’t conflate not responding with ignoring. Attention is the opposite of ignoring. Meditation is not cutting off thoughts. It’s the practice of recognizing that those thoughts aren’t me. I can see things more clearly when I stop pretending that I come from them. Takes practice.

      3. It is impossible to “seize the day” . . . Human psychology depends on the wealth of experience, memory, and learned behaviors from the past. All of our actions and thoughts are framed by a concern for the future.

      I am consciousness beyond the plans I imagine I’m making and the stories I tell myself I remember. (As a side note, this is not a ticket to delusion — just because memory is a fiction doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Don’t un-make shit up.)

      A big part of the practice is in the gradual recognition that these and other contradictions are just another set of ego constructs that can be let go. Looking for “results” from mindfulness always leads to (if you do it in good faith) that central no-thing that Tibetan Buddhists find comfort in. Spiritual materialism meets reality and kinda falls apart.

      Musical interlude

    5. playon

      Mindfulness may be trendy now, but IMO it is still something worth cultivating – however as the article mentions, moderation in all things (even moderation) is important.

    6. Terry Flynn

      It’s no secret I have had mental health issues, largely exacerbated by a truly toxic work environment.

      Group (12 attendees) Mindfulness course was one thing prescribed under UK NHS. By end of first session I knew that 8 people might benefit, 3 definitely wouldn’t, with me being the “perhaps”. The exercises are ALL on CD (and I ripped them to MP3 for my phone). The problem? Suppose you are one of the 3 who does a job like an emergency worker (works in an ambulance). When TF do you get the amount of time to do those exercises? Lo and behold that person got angry. Felt she had her valuable time wasted on something she could NOT possibly integrate into her routine.

      Don’t get me wrong – I thnk mindfulness CAN be helpful and I remain of the opinion that it is something that “can” help……but I’m the “marginal case”. But just like CBT it has been championed as the “best thing which avoids meds”. It is NOT. It is something that can work. But your life must be “of a certain type/routine” if it is to be properly integrated into your life. Otherwise it’s another dead end.

  18. Es s Cetera

    re: Migrant crisis will ‘destroy’ New York City, mayor says

    Can someone explain to me how exactly a flood of migrants will ‘destroy’ NYC?

    Also, does this guy actually live in NYC, has he seen New Yorkers with his own eyes? Is he living in crystal palace removed and distant from real people? Does he remember what the Ellis Island was all about, and the last oh how many waves of migrants and how it created the particular character of NYC? And does he consider all migrants to be “illegal” just because? And even if they were “illegal”, so what, why is this a problem?

    1. Hastalavictoria

      Just a note about dog s***. I have not seen white dog’s poo for years yet through the 50’s to the 70’s it was ubiquitous in the UK, every path, village green,park etc.was strewn with it.Lack of calcium now no longer a problem, I guess even the poor can now afford dog food or perhaps a better explanation is dog owning is a socio- economic indicator!

    2. flora

      Hasn’t NYC declared itself a Sanctuary City?

      an aside: my uni mid-sized town declared itself a Sanctuary City during the T admin, mostly to virtue signal against T, I think. Lots of “We welcome all. Love not hate. You are welcome here” signs in the most prosperous and liberal neighborhoods. Until… this year. Now all those signs have vanished. Gone. What happened? No big influx of southern border immigrants that I can see. What I have seen is a big increase in very problematic homeless people being brought here from surrounding towns and counties because we’re a self-proclaimed Sanctuary City. Lots of new problems. Moms are afraid to take their kids to the library. Cops are being called. And the “We welcome all” signs have vanished. I guess that word “All” doesn’t mean what they think it means, to quote Inigo Montoya. Just one data point. / ;)

    3. flora

      re: “And even if they were “illegal”, so what, why is this a problem?”

      It’s called the effects of the rate of change. For a silly example: Say you drink 2 beers in three hours watching the game on TV. At that rate of change your blood alcohol level probably won’t get too high. Now say you drink 2 beers in 15 or 20 minutes. Now your blood alcohol level is probably pretty high. Rate of change. If the rate of change is too fast for the city to absorb into its budget and housing and schools and health systems, you’ve got a big problem. Ellis Island immigrants were not willy-nilly unchecked incomers. / my 2 cents.

    4. B Flat

      We already have a large homeless and indigent population of about 80000, including 27000 children, stretching services to the max. The bussed migrants have added another 100000, very quickly. The border states have had to cope–or not–with many fewer resources than NYC. Then again, Texas has been putting “vagrants” on Greyhound buses to anywhere else for years too. It was incredibly foolish virtue signaling stunt for NY Dems to offer sanctuary when the state can’t follow through. Especially after the cost of the covid lockdowns. Since states cannot print their way out, the cost of processing, feeding, sheltering, providing medical care and school is borne by taxpayers. It’s a mess. The border states made their point, yet so far there still isn’t the political will to control the pace of immigration. Local news sources are good for listing specific issues. I’m here all my life, and I’ve never heard the level of frustration, not even even in the bad old days of the 70s. Democrats are playing to lose evidently. TikTok lady sums it up (angry New Yorker profanity alert):

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That was pretty hilarious, but things must have been bad in NYC for a while if the kids had to be vaccinated for parvo and rabies. ;)

        1. B Flat

          Yes! And I appreciate the comic relief! As a rant it cuts across the partisan divide — she sneers at Biden for not wearing a mask, and she’s wearing a trump tee. The migrants are put into a situation that is already highly charged, esp since De Blasio turned some hotels into housing for homeless. With the migrants the total population must be near 200,000.

      2. wol

        “Ten degrees to the left in the best of times,
        Ten degrees to the right if it affects them personally”

    5. chris

      I think it is all much more simple than that. Let’s assume that it costs 60k$ per migrant per year for the required services to feed, clothe, house, and otherwise support them. If there are 110,000 migrants to care for, your bill is 6.6 billion $. Mayor Adams is claiming that the costs related to this population amount to 12 billion $. He is saying that those funds were not planned for during this fiscal year. He is saying in that video that services will need to be cut from everywhere in the city to make up for the unexpected cost of 110,000 migrants. He is asserting that those changes will destroy the city.

      I am not an expert on NYC finances. I don’t know how much it actually costs per person to care for them in this situation. I also don’t know how much of a budget for such things NYC had prior to this current problem. I’d say it’s likely Mayor Adams is saying this to bring attention to the problem so he can get federal funds to help his city. But since NYC is not Kiev I don’t know if anyone in the federal government will be helping. Afterall, Maui was a little too far east of the Dnieper to get direct funding for its problems without a Ukraine aid package being tied to it.

      1. Pat

        The city and the state have been begging for help for months. They have pretty much landed on expedited work permits, but even if most can find jobs and there is no guarantee that there are enough jobs, migrants, particularly those with children, will still be eligible for some or all city and state services for the poor. This would probably only cut a few billion from the increased deficit.

        And I don’t know if anyone has been pointing out that Adams original budget cut a whole raft of city departments’ budgets because tax revenues are down even before this ballooned out of control. Remote work led to a loss of tax paying population, the loss of sales tax, and then there was the commercial real estate crash. Property taxes have also taken a hit.

  19. ex-PFC Chuck

    From the Stalin’s Gamble link:

    “The book has that rare quality in that it appeals both to the scholar and the general reader. . . This is a book well worth spending time with., Make sure to pick up your copy.”

    How many general readers are going to pick up copies at $89.43 for the dead tree version or $71.49 on Kindle?

    1. GramSci

      Too bad. It was refreshing to read an account of the first half of the 20th century that wasn’t saturated with McCarthyism.

      It appears, however, that the book is being serialized at I liked this first chapter well enough to subscribe to their newsletter, which is something I never do.

      1. JBird4049

        Just $89.43? Outside of Lord Jeff’s domain, the lowest cost from an American seller I have found is $101.32 plus shipping and tax.

        If you can wait one to three years, a trade or maybe a mass market paperback will come out and there will be the used hardbacks, which will be cheaper even if still expensive.

        We best be grateful that there are hardcopies to be bought as I have noticed that the “publishers” are trying to reduce printing runs to almost nothing even for popular books. Ebooks are so much cheaper to “print,” and it does drive the cost of dead tree versions up and up especially used copies.

        And has anyone noticed that the newest books are harder to get than books from a few years ago? It is just a feeling coming from a bibliophile who has been know to chose books over food, but with the recent consolidation of book publishers, I cannot stop feeling that the steady crapification (or is that the enshittification?) of books is speeding up. Ebooks over physical books. Poor quality print-on-demand books even for new hardbacks. The decreasing quality of the editing even of official releases from large publishers as well as the increasing flatness of both fiction and nonfiction books, which often read like bad children’s books.

        Quality is still available, and there is the entire available written corpus of the past twenty-five hundred years, but I would still like to read a good and deep novel from a current writer on living today. I also know that finding that good novel is getting harder every year because there are no longer the many publishing houses both large and small putting in the work of finding, supporting, and editing the work of such writers. If anyone has a suggestion, I would be happy to listen. It is just a shame though. A good writer and a good novel are good whatever the genre, but just as with all the other arts, the conversation you have with them is often what happened then, when it was created, not on what is happening right now.

        Honestly, I am not that much of a reader of novels, but still…

        I worry about what that lack means, not just for me, but for our society. It speaks of our atomization, this lack of deep thought and deeper feeling, which often is needed for connection and understanding. And maybe, this long exegesis is just my wangst about the steady crapification for profit of life under neoliberalism.

  20. chris

    The new MS service agreement goes live on September 30, 2023. I’m not a lawyer, but this seems like a rather large grab at everything and anything anyone creates given the ubiquity of MS products and how so many offices rely on it…

    b. To the extent necessary to provide the Services to you and others, to protect you and the Services, and to improve Microsoft products and services, you grant to Microsoft a worldwide and royalty-free intellectual property license to use Your Content, for example, to make copies of, retain, transmit, reformat, display, and distribute via communication tools Your Content on the Services. If you publish Your Content in areas of the Service where it is available broadly online without restrictions, Your Content may appear in demonstrations or materials that promote the Service. Some of the Services are supported by advertising. Controls for how Microsoft personalizes advertising are available at ( We do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail, or your documents, photos or other personal files, to target advertising to you. Our advertising policies are covered in detail in the Privacy Statement.

    So if I use Word to write a story, and I share parts of that story online in order to generate an audience so I can sell the story, MS gets the right to do whatever they want with my story? If I use MS Excel to create charts showing the results of research I’ve done, and I share it online, MS gets the rights to my results anywhere in the world for anything they want to do? I don’t understand how something can be contractually defined as Your Content and yet you don’t actually control it. I also don’t understand why the people who make the tools you used to create Your Content get free access to it anytime they want. Like, if I buy a socket wrench at Advance Auto and use the wrench to fix my car Advance Auto doesn’t get the right to do anything with my car. Why does MS get to treat software differently?

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I loathe microsift for that very attitude.
      Zonealarm firewall is the o ly thing ive found that can bl8ck their hijacking….including the dern updates.
      Back when, circa windows98se, it was easy to thwart them.
      Its either my machine or it aint.

      1. JBird4049

        Somehow, I find this change conveniently profitable for Microsoft as I have to Microsoft Word for my schoolwork. Students, teachers, and I assume, administrators all. This is exactly what Zoom almost did. This makes me almost want to use typewriters again.

        1. Vandemonian

          LibreOffice is your friend, JBird:

          File compatible with most of the Office products (opens and saves most M$ files) free to download and to use, and no interest in pirating your work. Available for MacOS, Windows and Linux. I use it on my Ubuntu system.

          1. JBird4049

            Thanks for the recommendation, I will see if they will take it. Hopefully, they can although the online system sometime has problems with even the approved software.

          2. katiebird

            As long as you don’t rely on their database piece. It has gotten little attention. And my frustration has driven me to the point of dumping it.

        2. JBird4049

          To emphasis my point, if I want to graduate with another college degree, unlike twenty years ago with my first, all my writing must be accessible to Microsoft. This is an excellent way to surveil and then to surreptitiously reward or cancel as needed college students, their teachers, and their staff?

          It is known that the CIA staffs what are ostensibly NGOs to recruit, train, and feed new employees into the various public, private, and governmental agencies and organizations. Then there are the companies, particularly the medial, that are similarly staffed. Anyone who trust the current regime or thinks that it cannot be turned into the tool of different ideologies, movements, or just small groups of the ambitious, is a truly a fool.

          I also believe that the more sagacious will, if they are not already, become very quiet for their own as well as their loved one’s sake, which is another way to prevent leaders for reform to arise.

      1. Terry Flynn

        On my third attempt I feel comfortable with migrating to Linux (though NOT Ubuntu). Unfortunately my newest laptop (Win 11 preinstalled) is a machine I can’t wipe MS from because the voice recognition software is not Linux compatible. (I know I could go through rigmarole of virtual machine but why should I go through all that just to use an essential couple of programs?) So W11 remains on a partition. But it isn’t used much.

        I’m just glad that I’m very close to rejecting MS entirely.

  21. Jason Boxman

    As more abortion bans occur, many patients must travel hundreds of miles for care — or be stranded

    Another study soon to be published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management projects how additional bans in other states will continue to shape the post-Roe landscape of abortion care in the coming months or years. The Guttmacher Institute is tracking which states enact abortion bans and in January 2023, predicted that 24 states have or will soon ban abortions. In this scenario, people seeking abortions could have to travel hundreds of additional miles to receive care — but many won’t have the means to and will end up giving birth instead, the study found.

    This is truly a third world country; And never forget liberal Democrats had the trifecta, and a filibuster proof majority, under… Obama, and did nothing. And so now, they’re offering, nothing. Same as usual.

  22. Val

    How manure blew up the Netherlands Mongabay, Oh My Gouda.

    And by “blew up the Netherlands”, the author means “actual domestic food producers and their allies profoundly inconvenience long-ruling neoliberal globalist favorite PM Rutte and his dim bulb Malthusian cadre in nationwide protests and subsequent democratic elections”. Of course Rutte is still there as interminable “caretaker gov’t”, sending NATO carbon-neutral wonder waffles to the Ukies.

    Know what really puts a lot of nitrogen in soils? Explosives and corpses.

    So we get another standard “climate journalism” type specimen, deployed as necessary.

    What we blew up was Ukraine and the ruling coalition in the Binnenhof, so look at this old dune in Veluwe!

    Luxuriate in the psychological emergency, the free-association euphemisms, hasty generalizations, us-v-them-ism, infantilizing science-adjacent narratives for those who will never touch a chemistry textbook, let alone know anything about Dutch history, let alone know what an oak tree looks like in March or any other month…(then check egg guy’s ResearchGate).

    Can’t Hague it anymore. I think I’m gonna Edam.

  23. Henry Moon Pie

    This is for some Cleveland zeitgeist. has a column called Terry Pluto’s Faith and You. Now Terry is a Cleveland native and longtime sportswriter, not a pastor, but that’s the way he frames his writing.

    The most recent is titled “What about a midnight call pleading ‘You gotta help me!’” It caught my attention because the first of several stories is about a woman whose brother is in a local halfway house, and he’s pleading to move in with her because the halfway house is in the middle of a high crime area.

    Now around the corner from us used to be the Community Center. It had a day care whose teachers and kids we used to see during weekdays as they took walks around the community. It had lunches for senior citizens. Across the street, there was a cool community garden tended mainly by elderly Asian-Americans. But somebody was put in change who stole all the money, so the center is closed. A drug rehab center cum food bank replaced it, and now the drug rehab people are picking up houses in the neighborhood for $10-20,000 to make into halfway houses. So the brother’s rationale was something I could relate to.

    But then I took a longer look at the article, and the conversations it recounted rang true to discussions I’ve heard among neighbors and at meetings. Pluto quotes a priest and a pastor or two, but he has more quotes from Psychology Today. And then what struck me was the kind of advice Pluto was dispensing, which we’ll call “tough love.” Was the column pushing Social Darwinism, YOYO and bootstraps right down into the family unit itself since most of the cases involved siblings, children and parents? Or was this triaging in a nearly Mad Max society, basically understanding that someone who’s drowning can drown the rescuer as well as himself? Either way, it’s a sad picture of life in the city.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Here too the immunological detective work opens up even more questions: This T cell activity is also present in people who’ve recovered from an infection and have no long COVID symptoms, although Henrich notes the levels appear to be higher in certain tissues of people with long COVID.

      This was making the rounds on COVID Twitter a few weeks ago. This is seriously bad.

  24. Feral Finster

    Re: “Another Christian Influencer Arrested…” to answer the question of why conservatives keep falling for these types, the answer is “confirmation bias”.

    The author seems to forget that confirmation bias is not something that happens to The Other Team. Nobody is immune from it.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      A dose of Amanda Marcotte a day keeps the bad Trump Man away. To Amanda, Mormons and Christians are all on the same Bad Guy team. No need for any not-so-subtle distinctions. Us vs. Them, and Them is monolithic.

  25. some guy

    If the Democrats rescue some abortion in reality rather than in words, then abortion will rescue some Democrats. And if Democrats then rescue some more abortion in reality rather than in words, then abortion will rescue some more Democrats.

    Michigan’s Democratic Governor Witmer has announced a plan to spend a little bit of money and a little bit of time advertising Michigan as a pro-human-rights pro-legal-abortion state in some neigboring states, hoping to get some people and businesses to move from those states into Michigan. If it works, some other pro-human-rights pro-legal-abortion states might try the same thing.

    Meanwhile, De Santis in Florida appears to be attempting a broad and powerful brain-eviction plan against non-conservatives in Florida, to the point where brain-evictees driven out of Florida will outnumber the possible number of brain-drainees which could be attracted by the efforts of other states.

  26. Tom Stone

    Does anyone else find a Supreme Court Justice being bribed with a Bible deeply amusing?
    A Bible that is supposed to have belonged to Frederick Douglas…

  27. Jorge

    I’ve heard about the Lenat/CYC project for decades, and always wondered about it. And, yes, the approach is complementary to the current machine learning paradigm.

    I believe that the CYC database of logical constructions could be used to train a truly interesting AI. If I was in the academic machine learning biz, I would try very very hard to get access to whatever data is available from CYC.

  28. Glen


    A huge debt crisis is coming

    Around the world, debt is skyrocketing – and rising interest rates are making it unsustainable. In this first part, Ben Norton discusses the impending crisis in the United States, before explaining in part two how Wall Street traps the Global South in debt.

    It looks like our billionaire elites have figured out how to weather this crisis:

    Elon Musk told a Twitter advisor at 4 a.m. that the company would only pay rent over his ‘dead body,’ lawsuit says

    Somehow I’m willing to bet if I tried this – I would just end up dead.

  29. Jabura Basaidai

    “Brazil’s Supreme Court Invalidates all evidence from Odebrecht Leniency Agreements”
    i recently sent a different link to a Dr friend in Brazil – he is not fan of Lula and no, he is not a Bolsonaro guy either – read Lula is getting ready to sell oil rights at the mouth of the Amazon

    and then i read this and sent it to my friend –
    here’s my query
    you know anything about this
    another example of Lula’s duplicity?
    his response –
    Oh yeah. This guy Alexandre de Moraes is Lula’s Nazi SS. He arrests, releases, does whatever Lula wants.
    As Minister of the Supreme Court, he has all the power he needs. He fined Nelson Piquet, Brazil’s three-time F1 World Champion in the the 80’s, for 1 million U$, because of Piquet open support for Bolsonaro before and during the election. He has done several similar acts. Even cable TV has changed its programming. It’s filled with movies about Lula’s childhood, etc….

    Dig for Piquet in the net and for Friboi also. These are just two, plus the link you sent me. Democracy is not in the PT agenda

    Take Care, amigo

    needless to say we have had some lively email chats – not sure what i was supposed to find out about the meat processor Friboi – going to send him today’s link and see what he has to say –

  30. SocalJimObjects

    The Indonesian presidential election produces an unexpected twist. It’s a twist, but does it matter? The current Indonesian Vice President, Ma’ruf Amin, was NU (Nahdlatul Ulama)’s Chairman of Supreme Governing Council, and Jokowi selected him as his running mate partly in order to get the NU vote. However, in the last election, Jokowi was widely trounced in West Java, where he only managed to get 10 million votes as opposed to Prabowo’s 16 million. The people who voted for Jokowi will most probably vote for Ganjar, so this move in theory will hurt Prabowo the most, but only in theory, because there’s a quite significant element of the Indonesian population who still believe that the President should be someone from the military, just like Soeharto and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

    My take on this is that it’s nothing more than a move of desperation from Anies Baswedan.

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