Links 12/9/2023

Jellyfish surprise scientists by learning without a brain Big Think (David L)

Scientists Have Reported a Breakthrough In Understanding Whale Language Vice

Physicists ‘entangle’ individual molecules for the first time, hastening possibilities for quantum computing PhysOrg (David L)

Does Science Really Show Free Will Doesn’t Exist? Here’s What You Need to Know. ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

What Netflix got WRONG – Malaysian Flight 370 Green Dot Aviation, YouTube. Terry F:

Green Dot is one of my top two favourite YouTube aviation channels. I do not have the expertise to judge this new take on flight 370 but it is very interesting and I’m sure NC commentariat have interesting takes on it.


COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing in US, rates are highest among oldest and youngest Americans ABC (Paul R)

One in four who had Pfizer Covid jabs experienced unintended immune response Telegraph.


‘They destroyed our trees’: Women say their farms were seized to support Indonesia’s electric vehicle boom CNN (ma)

‘Unprecedented Mass Coral Bleaching’ Expected in 2024, Says Expert Guardian

Why automakers are turning to hybrids in the middle of the industry’s EV transition CNBC (Kevin W)

Is Xcel Energy holding back substation capacity from solar developers? It’s complicated. Energy News Network. Chuck L: “The writer needs a crash course on the meanings and relationships among electrical units – volts, amps, etc.”


China’s consumer prices mark steepest fall in 3 years as post-Covid rebound falters South China Morning Post

China’s deflation worsens as economic pressures mount Financial Times


WaPo Is Preparing A Major Information Provocation Against India Ahead Of The FBI Chief’s Visit Andrew Korybko

European Disunion

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen to stand trial for embezzling EU funds France24 (furzy)

Spain expels two US spies for infiltrating secret service EL PAÍS English (Chuck L)

U.S. announces military drills with Guyana amid dispute over oil-rich region with Venezuela CBS. Paul R: “Oh boy a new US war! We need another in case Ukraine or Gaza dries up! Donate now!!”


‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 63: Israeli army rounds up, strips and blindfolds civilian men in Gaza, takes them to unknown location Mondoweiss (guurst)

The Devastation of Gaza Daniel Larison

Gaza’s oldest mosque destroyed by Israeli bombing Aljazeera (Stacey B)

Flooding Gaza would be war crime – Russia RT

Gaza is a weapons lab for the arms industry w/Antony Loewenstein Chris Hedges Report (Stacey B). Perhaps, but this lab is for war against insurgents, as in no where peer or near peer power. How useful is this “lab” for conflict with Russia or China?

Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee objects to US veto during Blinken meeting Arab News (see US vetoes UN resolution calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza)

Israel-Hamas war: IDF strikes Lebanon after failed UN vote DW

I used to think the term ’Judeo-Nazis’ was excessive. I don’t any longer. Mondoweiss (Userfriendly)

Will Israel open fire on Lebanon as it did on Gaza? Elijah J. Magnier (Chuck L)

New Not-So-Cold War

Biden Administration Fearmongers Over Article 5 Event Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Establishment Alarmism in Overdrive as Raytheon Lloyd Threatens Congress with War Simplicius the Thinker (Chuck L). Note the Lloyd Austin remarks reported by Tucker were confirmed by Vivek, and perhaps more telling, no one has denied them.

EU countries order only 60,000 shells for Ukraine via new scheme – sources Reuters (Kevin W)

Dissecting the Washington Post’s “analysis” of Ukraine’s Failed Counter Offensive — Part 1 Larry Johnson (Chuck L)

Lying Was the Only Plan Biden, U.S. Ever Had in Ukraine Matt Taibbi. Recall how those of us who questioned Ukraine/US/UK propaganda were excoriated…..

EU wants China to help sanction Russia RT. Kevin W: “Sometimes the comedy writes itself. Xi must be hoping that the EU can do for the Chinese economy what they did for the Russian economy.”


Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Governments spying on Apple, Google users through push notifications – US senator Reuters (Paul R). Picked up: Spying through Push Notifications Bruce Schneier (David L)

House Intelligence, Judiciary battle over surveillance cracks party fault lines The Hill

23andMe frantically changed its terms of service to prevent hacked customers from suing EndGadget (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The collapse of Israel and the United States Thierry Meyssan (Chuck L)

Big if true:

ZOMG everyone looks genuinely happy:


Trump takes center stage at Biden fundraisers The Hill. Look at all the space Trump rents for free in people’s brains!


Texas judge grants pregnant woman permission to get an abortion despite the state’s ban Politico. Unfortunately a very narrow precedent.

Our No Longer Free Press

Iowa AG Brenna Bird calls for news outlets to cut ties with alleged Hamas-affiliated freelancers Iowa Capital Dispatch. Robin K: “State AGs strike out at publications associated with “Hamas-affiliated journalists.” Nothing about cracking down on Israeli-affiliated journos.”

Stefanik wants ‘consequences’ for colleges over antisemitism after her questions go viral Politico

Woke Watch

Darryl George: Black Texas school student suspended again for natural hairstyle NPR. My God, I thought we got over that by the early 1970s. This hairdo is way more groomed than a ‘fro.


AI scores in the top percentile of creative thinking PsyPost (Chuck L). Right. Because they hallucinate.

Google admits AI viral video was edited to look better BBC (Kevin W)

AI’s Copyright Problem Is Fixable Project Syndicate (David L)

AI and Trust Bruce Schneier (David L)

Class Warfare

White House Threatens Patents of High-Priced Drugs Associated Press

Quebec public sector strike wave swells, as 420,000-member Common Front launches seven-day strike WSWS

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

Peacocks lounging around the neighborhood is a common sight in Palos Verdes, California. This was the first time I’d actually seen one on a vehicle, but I imagine that’s common too, when the vehicle is a nice size like this one. (Ouch! For that nice paint-job!)

And a bonus (Chuck L):

And a second bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa


    He panics when he opens his eyes,
    There’s nothing he can recognize.
    Doesn’t know his bed or closet,
    Has no concept what could cause it

    To bring nothing to his mind,
    Every object undefined.
    He’s not sure what he might do,
    Can’t make sense or follow through.

    There’s a camera in there, so
    I know he’s waking up and go
    Into his room to calm his fear,
    To land him safely now and here.

    His name and age, the morning pee,
    A shower then a cup of tea,
    Blow his nose, lay out clothes,
    Adult diaper, pressure hose,

    He asks questions one by one;
    “Who am I? What have I done?”
    “Why can’t I remember you?”

    He grabs for facts to hold on to.

    His memory’s so leaky now,
    Nothing stays there anyhow.
    We do these questions many times,
    All day long, like nursery rhymes.

    Dementia at ninety six;
    Nothing lasts, nothing sticks,
    A big hole in his bag of tricks,
    No cure, no change, and no quick fix.

    “Hospice time,” his doctors say.
    “The man you knew has gone away.
    His body, bent and limping on,
    Will last a while before it’s gone.”

    No answer to my prayers or curses.
    Today I hand him off to nurses.
    Today I turn around and leave,
    With no idea how to grieve.

    He isn’t there, and I can’t care
    For what remains, I’m well aware.
    A body with a brain that’s failing,
    Plus some other problems ailing.

    To lose yourself but still draw breath
    Is such a lonesome, scary death.
    He somehow found the strength to face
    His disssipation with some grace.

    But even that gave way to fear,
    Now hospice is his last frontier.
    I’ll see him during family hours,
    But no more tea and morning showers.

    Today I do the thing I must,
    In fulfillment of his trust.
    I shall be a rolling stone,
    And he will wake up all alone.

    1. Cassandra

      I am so very, very sorry for your broken heart, Antifa. Your poem has captured your love and grief as you have walked that horrible path with him. I wish for him a swift and gentle release.

    2. Terry Flynn

      So sorry to read this but lovely words. I watched “The Father” on TV just a few nights ago. Quite rightly made me feel so uncomfortable and Anthony Hopkins really deserved that Oscar. (FWIW I think he should have got a 3rd Oscar in his career for The Remains of the Day but I’m a sucker for that film.)

    3. mrsyk

      To my great, late cat KT.

      We made a deal, you and I
      To wait by the river
      To be reunited
      To make the crossing together.
      But now I see another
      Who needs you more than I
      Who stands on the platform
      Waiting for a guide
      If you would be willing
      I would be ok
      If you cross the river with this father

      You and I
      Will have to meet another day.

      1. John Zelnicker

        mrsyk – That is the most touching tribute I have ever read.

        I have included it along with Antifa’s poem in the NC Songbook, Volume Three.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear what you are going through, Antifa. It’s hard to watch a parent slowly deteriorate so that they are no longer the person that they once more and I saw that with my own mother. But at least you did all that you could for your father and even more. I’m sure the person that was your father when younger would have been proud of his son.

    5. pjay

      Thank you for these beautifully heart-breaking words. It was over a decade ago for my father but I can still feel every line you’ve written here. My heart goes out to you; though I could not express it nearly as well, I can relate directly to the pain behind these thoughts.

    6. Jabura Basaidai

      i moved back from Chicago to be with my Dad – Mom had passed 6 years prior and my ex-wife and daughter had been living with him but had to move – it was my turn, my other siblings either out of state or not up to the time necessary – he was regularly having hallucinations of Mom and his sister who had passed prior to Mom – it was a slow process but not as painful as what you went through – he is at peace now and i remember what an understated but excellent model he was for me – was honored to have the opportunity to return the kindness to him in his time of need and practice the patience he taught me through example –
      you did what you could Antifa – you were there for him and that’s what counts
      makes me think of this Leon Thomas song –

    7. Roxan

      Antifa, such a heartfelt poem! I will send it to friends who have also gone through this, as have I–year after year–until all good will and money is spent. The grief is never ending.

    8. jax

      The grief I hear in your poem brings tears to my eyes. I wish your dad a sweet and peaceful exit and a letting go that’s not too painful for you, Antifa.

      1. Otto Reply

        Watching my mother go through this a few years back was excruciating. That you were able to express your heartache so movingly is a sign of your character, Antifa. Thank you for sharing your moving expression of love and compassion and sadness.

    9. flora

      I am so sorry. You have done the right thing, hard as it is. When you visit you can tell if he is being treated well. And if not changes can be made.

      1. flora

        adding to your lines:
        “He isn’t there, and I can’t care
        For what remains, I’m well aware.”

        Yet you will care, and that makes all the difference for both him and for yourself.

    1. The Rev Kev

      These people have no memory. Back in 2016 it was calculated that the Democrats and the Media gave Trump anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion in free publicity. As an example, wasn’t there one time that Sanders was giving a speech and they cut him so they could video-monitor a podium where Trump was due to speak but was running half an hour late? And now they are doing the exact same thing again. The main campaign platform for the Democrats will be vote for us or else you will get Trump. Still if you were honest, you would have to admit that old Joe doesn’t have much to show in his three years in office that helps the little guy that he could campaign on.

      1. Pat

        They did do that cut to the podium move, it was one of the most obvious moments that 1) made it clear that the media was not “objective” and 2.) that Sanders scared them more than Trump. I am sure they gleefully enjoyed all the money the ratings boost brought in that they saw from Trump AND laughed at his rallies and speeches without realizing what they were seeing as they thought he had no chance against Hillary “it’s my turn” Clinton.

        Also pretty sure that there are people who bought that Trump might be or was a danger to Democracy in 2020 who have been watching the various legal attacks on him and his supporters and wonder which party really is shutting down opposition including needed independents. The lawfare could and fear mongering may backfire on Democrats in more ways than just in raising money for Trump and not raising enough for Biden.

        1. jefemt

          Indeed. That was the June follow-up to the Iowa night of the Long knives by team Deep Dem.
          I will never ever forget or forgive it.
          2024 will be an unprecedented clusterf*#k in uncharted waters in a leaky raft.

          End of Empire is not elegant, no?

        2. Screwball

          Hillary “it’s my turn” Clinton

          I will never forget that election night. I was home with my X who had stage 5 TDS. She was in contact all night with her daughters, who also had stage 5 TDS, and were having a party in celebration of the first woman president. They were all in on Hillary, even had an outfit for the 1 year old with a Hillary logo on it. It was her turn and she deserved it, don’t you know.

          Then the results started coming in. I think it was about 9:30, the phones and jubilation went away, as it was becoming obvious her highness was going to lose. Party over, and then “I’m going to bed” as she stomped off. That’s when the world changed for so many people, and many have not been the same since.

          The little town I lived in created a support group for the TDS inflicted. They became active for the democratic party here, bought the little red hats, stood on the corner protesting against Trump, and even got their name on a sign along a highway where they pick up trash. She had to buy gloves, a mechanical arm, and shoes to be safe from the trash and filth in the ditches.

          All I could do is shake my head. All these people lost their minds over a damn election between two slimy pieces of poo, but especially the bad orange man, who made them nuts and want to pick up trash in his honor. That really showed him!!!

          Now we are watching the sequel which will probably be just as ugly. At least our ditches should be clean.

          1. Pat

            I sometimes think back to that night. Clinton had lined up the incredibly ugly Javits Center for her party all to signify the glass ceiling being broken. When it became obvious that she had lost (due to assumptions, arrogance and laziness on her part) she hid away.

            It is clear that someone in her campaign knew there was a chance they had screwed up. Sure the Russia thing was another bit of monkey poo thrown at Trump during the campaign, but there were seeds of the foreign interference made her lose in it. I sometimes wonder if on that night Clinton had acted in the manner and with the character that her supporters mistakenly believed she had if we would be where we are today. If she had gotten up and conceded with grace, admitting her failures and not blaming anyone else for the loss. Maybe pleading for the Democrats that had won to continue to support the causes that she had supported, but still helping Donald Trump transition from businessman to statesman and learning to compromise so that he could represent all of America. Instead she had a temper tantrum, played victim and her actions made it clear that she no more accepted the vote than Trump did four years later no matter what she said when she finally came out.

            Sadly too many people haven’t realized that they are two sides of the same coin with much more in common than just being slimy pieces of pooh.

            1. flora

              I still remember (and wish I’d captured the pages on the wayback machine) her and Bill’s matching suits in charcoal grey with a mid-light purple trim or necktie. I remember wondering what that color choice was all about. Then I clicked over to The Hamilton Project to see what they had to say. Well, amazingly enough, their home page was just then a charcoal grey background with a light purple line drawing of A. Hamilton. Were the Clinton’s wearing jockey colors for the Hamilton Project? Did The Hamilton Project pay for their outfits? Who knows? Those colors can’t have been a coincidence. I clicked back to The Hamilton Project a few days later to take a screen shot, but by then they’d replaced the grey/purple homepage with a normal homepage. (That’s why I wish I’d used the wayback machine when I first saw it.)
              Make of this single anecdote what you will.

              1. marym

                I thought at the time that she had planned to wear purple for her victory speech to signal that hahaha surprise surprise she was way to the red side of the red-blue continuum. Interesting about the Hamilton Project. Maybe “being purple” was going to be a more coordinated PR theme for a right-wing Clinton presidency,

              2. Arkady Bogdanov

                I’m a day late, as usual, but if you go back to a certain time period, the color purple was reserved for royalty in many polities. The commoners were outright forbidden to wear it in some places, but in most it was simply due to the cost of the dyes needed to produce the color.
                That, I believe, is the signal they were reaching for.

            2. Mark Gisleson

              As one who has shoveled mass quantities of slimy pooh, I must disagree. Trump and Clinton are different. Trump was/is a demagogue POS, Clinton is a cult leader POS.

              Trump got nominated by destroying the other candidates, Clinton got nominated by rigging the system and attacking the supporters of the other candidate.

              After 2020, Trump supporters protested in myriad sometimes violent sometimes comical ways. After 2016, Clinton supporters all wore the same red hats and flogged their memes and talking points in unison on social media and on news shows.

              Trump is chaos, Clinton is every movie about an evil Pope in which the evil Pope opens the gates of Hell and looses Satan/chaos on the world.

              1. Pat

                The case could possibly be made that they protested their loses in a similar manner to how they won their primaries.
                Trump was relatively direct and involved his followers. Clinton worked on once again rigging the system. She presented one public face but was using allies in the government, elected and bureaucratic to undermine Trump. She also used proxies to attempt the faithless electors strategy. That some actually attempted it for Trump might come down to the difference in temperament between followers. Thus we had pointless clothing displays and a meeting before brunch style versus actually trying to take some action even if stupid.

                Chaos agent or an organized demon of Hell, gad I didn’t think the 2016 options could appear even worse then at the time but you managed it.

              2. bassmule

                Funny, I just got a fundraiser letter from Chuck “Wall Street” Schumer telling me to vote for Democratic Senators just in case Bad Orange Man wins. He seems far more concerned about keeping his own job than dragging Old Joe over the finish line.

                1. Pat

                  Schumer is always self serving. And if, as I suspect, Biden is dead weight for fundraising outside of the Wall Street crowd, Chuck would always drop him when begging for dollars.

              3. Cassandra

                Trump got nominated by destroying the other candidates, Clinton got nominated by rigging the system and attacking the supporters of the other candidate.

                I remember when the “nasty, selfish Bernie Bro” meme first raised its ugly head over at TOS in November of 2015. I commented then that I had seen attacks on opposing candidates before, but never that level of vitriol against their supporters. It seemed short-sighted, since it seemed likely that HRC would be the candidate and would need all those folks to turn out and canvas for her the next fall. A few weeks later, Chuck Schumer made it official that the Democratic strategy was to replace its blue-collar voters with suburban Republican soccer moms. That was followed by the Great Ides of March purge.

                And here we are now– Team Blue has successfully eliminated its pesky left-wing activists and embraced the erstwhile Reagan/Bush Republicans at its most recent national convention. We’ll see how that works out. I’m sure all of the highly paid consultants will be just fine either way.

          2. elissa3

            Ha! You reminded me of earlier that night when a friend invited me to a concert and I invited him to dinner right after. Almost as a side comment, I remarked that it looked 50:50 to me. (I know, not a courageous prediction). He looked at me like I was totally nuts.

            The next morning, the faces on friends and acquaintances were like their mother just died. Had to do my best to not half smile.

            To be clear, I hold Trump in extreme disregard, and have voted third party exclusively since 1976.

            1. Pat

              I have always thought that most Democrats were too busy making fun of Trump and didn’t bother to listen to, and more importantly watch, those rallies CNN and MSNBC showed in their entirety or close to it. If they had, fewer people would have been taken completely by surprise. It wasn’t just charisma or showmanship, he was hitting nerves in his stump speeches and grabbing the attention and yes, hope, of his audiences. And this wasn’t something Clinton could do on even her best day outside of NY and California. You didn’t have to like or support Trump to recognize that he was running a very real campaign and gaining ground, but it did mean noticing that the idea that no one was going to vote for him was being shredded rally by rally.


            2. playon

              I called it for Trump way before election night, I could see what was happening, especially living in a very red county.

              I’d voted Dem all my life but could not vote for Hillary (especially after seeing what Dems did to Bernie) and have voted independent ever since.

                1. steppenwolf fetchit

                  A Michael Moore video predicting Trump’s victory is again findable on you tube. Here it is.


                  I remember getting looked askance-at by sensible liberals when I would say that for me it is either Sanders or Trump but never ever Clinton. I voted my rage and revenge in that election and I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of joyous hatred when Trump won.

                  I won’t vote for Trump again. But I don’t regret voting for Trump at the time. It had to be done.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Don’t forget that Michael Moore soon after went all in on Hillary Clinton. One time he looked at a camera in a close up interview, pointed at the camera and said that if Trump gets in it’s all your fault.

        3. Jason Boxman

          I think the “independent”, “unbiased” media is the biggest propaganda coup of the 20th century. The newspapers here always had a bias, and everyone knew that.

          1. flora

            Unbiased media there has never been. But there have been times when there was so much media widely owned by different outfits that one could take the morning paper, for example, to read the news from one bias, and then also take the evening paper to read the same news from a different bias, that one could sort of get an idea. Now all the media is controlled by a handful with the same bias toward the same advertisers’ wants who themselves all have the same bias, imo.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Iowa AG Brenna Bird calls for news outlets to cut ties with alleged Hamas-affiliated freelancers’

    I guess for safety’s sake, Bird and those other 13 Republican State Attorneys Generals could also demand that news outlets cut all ties with any Palestinian journalists. You just never know if any of them know a Hamas guy, do you? Then those Republican State Attorneys Generals will say that if we want any news out of Gaza, that Israel news media will gladly tell us what we need to know. Personally I would like to give those 14 Republican State Attorneys Generals a quick spot test. Ask them ‘Which Amendment guarantees Freedom of Speech?’ and see if any actually know the answer.

    1. vao

      Bird and those other 13 Republican State Attorneys Generals could also demand that news outlets cut all ties with any Palestinian journalists.

      In a variety of videos documenting encounters with pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians, showing a Palestinian flag, or a typical Palestinian scarf, is equated with being pro-Hamas. In the UK, people putting a flag of Palestine outside their houses get enquiries by the police. Pro-Palestine rallies have been banned in many European countries. Of course, flying the flag of Palestine has been prohibited in Israel.

      Notice that all this is not about Hamas, the Hamas flag (only nerds of Near-Eastern politics would recognize it), or Hamas symbols — or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for that matter — but about Palestine itself.

      Palestine is what is being “cancelled”, not Hamas, and I contend this is not an inadvertent blunder. It jibes with the reluctance (or even outright refusal, see USA) to do anything concrete to stop the mayhem in Gaza (and in the West Bank) and with all those European heads of state rushing to Jerusalem in order to state that they “stand with Israel”.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Would you believe that there is one State in Germany – Saxony-Anhalt – that says that if you are applying for German citizenship, that you must declare that you recognize Israel and support its right to exist?

        ‘Zieschang of the ruling conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) wrote to the state’s citizenship offices, saying that applicants will have to confirm in writing “that they recognise Israel’s right to exist and condemn any efforts directed against the existence of the State of Israel”.

        Immigration officials should pay particular attention and find evidence of antisemitic attitudes amongst immigrants applying to citizenship, Zieschang demanded.’

        So if you were a Palestrina – who in Germany has to register as a stateless person – you have to recognize the occupier while yourself is not recognized at all.

        On a funny side note, I read that they are saying that if you report a crime to the police in London, they will take a few days to get around to you. But if you stick a Palestinian flag on your home, you can expect a visit from a coupla police the same day to ask you why you have that flag raised and ask if you can take it down.

        1. Eclair

          Good tip, Rev Kev, if you need help fast. Our former next door neighbor, a firefighter in a large Southern California city, who had transitioned to EMT, told me that if I needed help really fast, call the Fire Department, rather than the Police. And, deal with the fallout from calling in false fire alarm later. At least I would still be alive. Fortunately, I never had to test it out.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          What if London citizens who wanted to report a crime started hanging Palestinian flags to get the police to show up the same day, and when the police showed up, those citizens said they didn’t really care about Palestine one way or the other, but they knew that putting up that flag would get a timely police response? And then said something to the effect of . . . ” well, now that you are here, I’d like to report the following crime.”

    2. redleg

      Assuming that there are any such rights left, isn’t this protected under the 1st Amendment? IANAL, but a government official can’t say/do that and exposes the state of Iowa to lawsuits, right?

  3. Wukchumni

    Red carpet treatment in Saudi Arabia versus blood red carpet bombing in Gaza.

    You can almost feel our hegemony slipping away, not to mention our humanity.

    1. mrsyk

      Did you read the Simplicus link? Damn.
      “BREAKING REPORT: Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin threatens members of classified briefing that if they don’t appropriate more money for Zelensky and Ukraine, “WE’LL SEND YOUR UNCLES, COUSINS AND SONS TO FIGHT RUSSIA.”

        1. Pat

          I appreciate that he left out Aunts, although I probably still qualify under cousins. Not sure if elderly and unfit will save me now that female won’t.

          1. Wukchumni

            An 82 year old friend beat the draft by having gotten married in 1962, as he was termed a ‘Kennedy Husband’.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Lloyd Austin was just lying his face off. The Sec. of Defense doesn’t get to call where US troops get to be sent if it is a war zone. That is the job of POTUS. It would take several months at least to set up the supply chains to support any such expeditionary force much less all the troops and equipment. You would be talking First Gulf War levels of preparation and the US does not have that Army anymore. Since Congress won’t even pass that $60 billion for Big Z, then how does he think that they will authorize what amounts to WW3 against nuclear-armed Russia. And would old Joe do this in an election year? Somebody there should have told Austin to go get himself a nice warm mug of STFU.

        1. i just dont like the gravy

          Somebody have Elon on speed dial? We could use him yelling GFY at more people.

        2. Benny Profane

          Needs a 9/11 level false flag to get the people behind it. Which would not surprise me.

          And I think we can easily conclude at this point that Austin is not a very bright man. But, he’s a lucky man.

        3. redleg

          That’s not the case. Once the President and Congress decide to engage in military action, what resources (including specific military units) get sent where actually is within the authority of the SecDef. The President and Congress can and do meddle, and given the current amount of rampant corruption they would, but that’s not completely baked in and can be overcome by events.

        4. flora

          Compare the current on-shore US heavy industry and chip manufacturing capacity to the current RU and/or China manufacturing capacity. ‘nuf said.

          1. Roxan

            We seem to have forgotten the lessons of the Civil War, when the factories in the North spelled the South’s doom.

            1. flora

              Indeed. Otherwise the South’s cotton financial claims should have guaranteed the South’s win. Except not. Financialisation even back then was no match for manufacturing might, even in it’s infantcy.

        5. Cristobal

          re: Austin, A typical full of s— general that thinks he runs the world. Arrogance squared. Plus the fac that he is big and black makes him a little scary and he no doubt takes advantage of that. A piece of work.

        6. Hickory

          According to the constitution, it’s actually congress that chooses where to send troops by declaring war or not.

          If we’re going to discuss legal theories, might as well note the actual expectation.

      2. Judith

        It does not say daughters. My daughter was born into the Quakers 30 some years ago. I still have the New York Yearly Meeting (Quaker) newspaper with her birth announcement, which I have kept just in case of times like this.

        1. Wukchumni

          When things were looking bleak around the time of Fallujah, they raised the maximum enlistment age to 42 and I was briefly eligible, not that I wanted to be a fodder figure.

      3. Barbara

        Weather report: 1.5 million degrees near your home, loved ones and everything you know. Russians have new missiles that can carry tons of warheads down around the south pole and up to an airburst above you, if you are lucky. Those further away, blindness, third degree burns, and survivors get to starve to death as their cells liquify from radiation.

        Even the fomenting the tiniest chance of this deserves brutal retaliation from people towards those promoting it.
        What can you do about it? Nothing directly.

        But you can help discredit and destroy those promoting the leadup to nuclear war by destroying their economic credibility and focusing attention back to our country.

        Go on an economic strike in anyway that you can. Cash only spent in small businesses for food, the only holiday gifts. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, buy as few taxable items as possible until next November. The wallet weapon is powerful.

      4. Feral Finster

        Which in turn begs the question why Biden and Austin are so desperate that they have resorted to openly extorting U.S. Senators.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It’s simple. That $60 billion probably represents one last big payday for all the supporters of this war who will get their cut and may be the last. About 90% of that money actually stays in the US so that is a lot of money sloshing around to fill lots of rice bowls both in government and the MIC.

        2. ambrit

          They learned it from Manchin. Hey, who says stealing a page from the opposition’s play book is wrong? [For some definition of “opposition.”]

    2. Ignacio

      Indeed, but with regards to humanity let’s be clear. It is not the humanity of the ordinary US citizen or the collective US citizenship. It is the humanity (or absence of it) of a very small group of people overriding the whole country. What a difference elections make.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Don’t you mean, “What difference do elections make?” Same small group rules, no matter the outcome of the beauty pageant. Certainly true when it comes to Israel “policy.”

    3. flora

      One very interesting bit in the video is when Putin is introduced in line, per protocol, to the Saudi King and shakes hands, the Saudi King also reaches out to briefly tap Putins arm in an ‘old friend’ gesture , imo.

      Compare and contrast B’s reception one year ago. ~25 seconds. B seems to jump over protocol, not waiting for the introduction.

      1. flora

        On the other hand, maybe the Saudi’s knew B couldn’t manage a full line of introductions and so reduced it to the one royal B knew. Either way, very different from the Saudi’s reception of Putin and his deputies.

  4. Pat

    Trump taking center stage at Biden fundraisers is a no brainer. His administration’s one true accomplishment, the actions on antitrust, aren’t immediately obvious and able to be put in a quick sound bite for a large rally size audience, and it isn’t going to be a popular for most of the big money dinner meet and greet attendees like at the Hollywood one that just had to erase one of the Pritzkers as a sponsor. The economy, Covid, emergency response, general governance, and especially foreign policy have been disasters in the Biden administration. The people supporting him will have missed or agree with the assault on civil liberties and free speech, but that isn’t really something you can put in a sales pitch.
    But then what do I know. I watched his basement campaign and thought his “I am a corrupt, sexually harassing war monger who has been a huge supporter of every bad economic and industrial policy of the last forty years but I am 50% less bad than the Orange man” pitch didn’t make the case to vote for him in 2020.

    1. Cassandra

      “every bad economic, social, and industrial policy”

      Fixed it for you. Oh, yes– don’t forget his support of every foreign policy disaster. Also, too, his anger management issues and lack of a filter even before the dementia.

      In his defense, Biden does have a better tailor than Trump.

    2. Carolinian

      The elites just want to make sure that when they buy themselves a politician they will stay bought. Therefore someone like Trump, who is already rich and actually cares what his public thinks about him, scares them. This is why Dimon has turned to Haley–so transparently ambitious and willing to serve. They need a stooge and Trump is the wrong kind of stooge.

      Therefore Biden’s weakness of character was a feature not a bug. Unfortunately his mediocrity and that of the people around him is creating all sorts of bizarre trouble. One could make the case that Bibi’s Gaza genocide is happening precisely because he knows that Biden is someone he can push around.

      The irony is that people like Pelosi and the Dems spend all their time worrying about revolution from the world’s least revolutionary public. On Jan 6 they were taking selfies rather than manning the barricades. But they can and do vote so this has to be controlled.

    3. Feral Finster

      Take away Trump, and Halfwit Joe’s level of support would approach zero.

      For that matter, Halfwit Joe’s imbecility, incompetence and mendacity are the best campaign ad that Doofus Trump could possibly ask for.

      This in turn begs the question why, in a nation of some 330 million humans, these two sociopaths are the two choices on offer.

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘Glenn Greenwald
    There are, by all appearances, millions of people who now believe that there’s an epidemic of students marching around chanting “gas the Jews” and “kill all Jews.”
    I’ve asked around 100 people in the last week for examples. Nobody can give one, let alone show an epidemic.’

    Gee, haven’t seen any myself. Wait, does South Park count? Maybe all those millions of people are thinking of that South Park Episode- (1:23 mins)

      1. Lefty Godot

        It’s all those awful microaggressions. One of those pretentious terms for sloppy ideas that I would be happy to never hear again, along with authenticity, heteronormative, and intersectional. Bombastic vocabulary for indulging in First World neuroses.

        1. redleg

          Microaggressions… Dear God. Address these after first dealing with the plethora of macroaggressions that plague society as a whole.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Every morning my internet news headlines tell me this university head or that one is being called on the carpet for the “rampant” antisemitism happening on their campus. Examples are never given but reading between the lines, it sure seems more like rich donors getting upset about the backlash to the Palestinian genocide and intentionally conflating that with antisemitism.

      1. Eclair

        These messy and imprecise definitions annoy me. Why did ‘antisemitism’ become the word of choice to describe feelings, words, actions against Jewish people? Because, historically and linguistically, semites and semitic apply to any peoples originating in a certain area of south of the Mediterranean Sea and speaking a certain language family.

        We use the term, ‘Islamophobia,’ to describe hate speech and crimes against members of the Muslim faith. Why don’t we use ‘Judaiophobia’ to describe the same feelings and actions and prejudices against members of the Jewish faith?

        We have anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, anti-American (or more accurately, anti-USian) activities. Why not use the term anti-Israeli to refer to sentiments that are less than flattering to the activities of the government of Israel? More people are using the term ‘anti-Zionist’ to describe revulsion against the settler-colonialist activities of people who support Israel. Which conveniently confuses the issue of who is doing the occupying and bombing.

        Of course, the sloppiness of anti-semitic terminology plays into the hands of the propagandists who want people to ignore the unfortunate colonialist history behind the declaration of the state of Israel on Palestinian territory.

        But, after years of Lambert exhorting us to be precise in our use of words, we really need to be aware of the terminology we use. And be ready and willing to attempt to change it to reflect our reality.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          Sometime in the late 1800’s, a Jew-baiter” in Germany realized that “Jew-baiting” sounded like a low-class activity and thought that giving a scientific-philosophical name like ” anti-Semitism” to “Jew hating” would make it sound more respectable in decent society. I can’t remember that German Jew-hater’s name.

          1. Polar Socialist

            The term was first used in 1860 by a Moravian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider to describe the thinking of French orientalist Ernest Renan.

            Steinschneider had with his friends formed a proto-Zionistic society “Die Einheit” in 1838 in Vienna, with the aim of “civilizing” Palestine with Austrian Jews.

            1. Eclair

              Who coined the term ‘anti-semitism?’ The NC commentariat once more rises to the occasion with the answer! I am saving your entire comment, Polar Socialist, to use as a conversation-stopper during Holiday dinners. (Only kidding. I abide by the Family Holiday Dinner Geneva Convention Rules.)

      2. Feral Finster

        Many of the hate directed against Jews in the past is now directed at Russians. But since Russians are the Officially Designated Enemy, thst makes it okay!

        In particular, note now Russians are portrayed as fascist theocrats to liberal audiences, and as communist subversives when the audience is conservative. Sort of like how Jews were simultaneously greedy capitalists AND godless communists, accused of never being truly part of the nation-state and at the same time of being too ingrained in it.

        1. David in Friday Harbor

          M[uch] of the hate directed against Jews in the past is now directed at Russians.

          Very astute observation. The Nazis very explicitly conflated Judaism and Bolshevism. The similar conflation by the Birchers was more subtle, but I certainly sensed it. Raytheon Lloyd still insists on calling Russia “the Soviets.”

          Of course, many in the Pale of Settlement did rightly saw communism as salvation from deadly pogroms perpetrated by the Russian Empire and later the German Third Reich. Only later did the anti-Jewish policies Ukrainian mafia who took over the Central Committee of the CPSU after Stalin cause a change in attitudes.

          As Naomi Klein pointed out earlier this week, all of this is mis-direction from the real bogeymen who run the U.S. Military-Finance Complex and from the real genocide happening right before our eyes.

    2. Offtrail

      There are many commenters equating “from the river to the sea” and “intifada now” with calls for the liquidation of all Jews. Judging by their tone, I think they really believe this.

    3. Feral Finster

      This is like equating some ordinary American Jew wishing that Germany be razed to the ground with the mechanism of The Holocaust.

  6. Pat

    Such an excited puppy. Wheelchairs for disabled animals help me remember that not everything people invent have to be huge money making things of evil, like new financial schemes or AI. Sometimes it will be things that bring more joy than money. Cheers to the dog, its owner, and the lovely people who made that wheelchair.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Dogs love going out. Yesterday my wife and I were at the kitchen table and she said she was getting ready to make a trip towards the city. Immediately our biggest dog on the other side of the window started dancing his four paws on the spot. When we jiggled the car keys he almost did back flips. My wife relented and took him in the car with her and he was in doggie heaven.

      1. Pat

        Such good doggie parents…
        I know it isn’t safe but I get a big kick out of the looks on dogs faces as they ride in the car with their heads hanging out of the window. Such joy at a simple pleasure.

      2. John Zelnicker

        After college I had a wonderful dog and took her with me everywhere. If dogs weren’t welcome at someone’s house, then neither was I.

    2. Ignacio

      That was IMO, one of the best antidotes I have seen if not the best. One that puts you in the situation of the dog and makes you feel its reaction as if yours.

      Then there is the video of the stoat who doesn’t know if it is more curious that shy.

      1. Ignacio

        “Stoat” was meant to be written as “sloat” similar but smaller than a weasel. “That” was meant to be “than”. Bloody keyboard!

    3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

      Our corgi spent a couple years in a wheelchair after he lost use of his back legs, then another year being pushed around in a stroller for his “walks,” so he could still get his sunshine and fresh air. We got very good at manually “expressing” him, with a little PVC stand built for him to lay in while his bathroom duties were taken care of.

      He was just as excited when he’d see the chair coming out …

  7. Wukchumni

    I feel somewhat certain that peacock is the progeny of a street gang of them who used to terrorize me on a constant basis with their 1950’s schlocky horror film soundtrack-like wails, runny white bowel movements deployed with you in mind-hoping you’ll step in it, and scratching of your car-not unlike the antidote, but as if to make up for all of the bad attributes of fowl play, they are stunning looking and wouldn’t be out of place in the procession of a coronation.

    When the Shah went away, so did his Peacock Throne…

    Shah Shah a Go Go, by the Stranglers

  8. KD

    Free will on Saturday morning:

    Distinguishing determinism from determinism:

    Calvinism is deterministic, in that God predetermines everything and makes it so. This comment is not addressed at Calvinists or refuting Calvinism, but pointing out Calvinism is a different species of determinism from the one bandied about by folks like Sapolsky. It is important to distinguish between the kinds of determinism you are talking about.

    Classical mathematical models in physics are deterministic, but not in the manner of Calvinism. If we model a cannon shooting an artillery round, if we know the initial conditions, we can predict the location and the speed of the round at any time moving forward from the initial conditions. The path and the velocity are determined solely by the initial conditions. If metaphorically, we model humans as artillery rounds or railroad cars, then the initial conditions determine what the humans do, and ergo no free will.

    Nietzsche said: “The ‘non-free will’ is mythology; in real life it is only a question of strong and weak will.” This quote can be taken in a number of ways. However, one way to regard it is that the notion of agency is bound up in the notion of will (whether free or non-free). Its pretty clear that a cannon ball or a rail road car has no will whatsoever.

    In ancient Greek philosophy, you had 4 causes, material (what something was composed of), efficient (how something came to be), formal (what something is), and final (what the purpose of the thing was). [On the subject of efficient cause, the law recognizes actual cause (or but-for cause) and proximate cause (e.g. who did it).]
    Cartesianism came along, and assigned the formal and final cause to the domain of the mind. Most of the Sapulsky-type naturalists are crypto-Cartesians, but rather than maintain substance dualism, are trying to effect some type of reduction or elimination of the mind into a material substrate. This means eliminating or reducing formal causes, final causes, and proximate causes (even though efficient) to epiphenomenon of material causes and actual causes. This can be rhetorically accomplished best by banging the table and shouting, and calling your opponents promoters of wu. . . But it has not been accomplished in any kind of philosophically rigorous way, because it rests on a basic category error.

    If we consider a game of chess, a game of chess can be described by a set of physical moves, and these moves can be described by physical laws. Every move in chess is determined by the initial conditions, and the prior moves in the game. Does understanding the initial conditions and the development of a chess game explain why Kasparov made a particular move at a particular point of time? No, you would explain why Kasparov did what he did with a teleological explanation. If someone had no insight, simply laying out the chess board at a crucial point in time would not cause them to see the winning move. You’re not going to get a reduction of the cause of the move into an explanation of the initial conditions plus prior physical transformations. Further, even if you get a computer with enough brute force computation power that it can consistently beat a person operating with intuition but lacking the computational tactical depth, the computer still has zero insight, its just following an algorithm some human programmed into it (for a purpose).

    Tying this back, physics may tell us where the cannon ball goes (if there isn’t a misfire), but physics doesn’t determine the direction in which the cannon is pointed. There may be formal and teleological laws in the universe, but physics as it currently is pursued does not investigate them, nor does biology. Agency is about will, will is about purpose, and will is also social and reflexive (I may desire X not for X but because he possesses X). Current physical models do not model purpose, are not social, and not reflexive. This has nothing to do with materialism by the way, because there is no reason we need to wear the Cartesian straight-jacket.

    Let’s be empirical. If you have a trait like height, it is a biological function determined by genetics and environment. If we model height in a population, you get a bell curve, or a gaussian probability distribution. On the other hand, if we look at the average daily move of the S & P 500, as Mandelbrot established, you do not get a gaussian probability distribution, you get a curve with excessively long and wide tails. This is because market movements are reflexive, when people receive the signal that everyone is selling, they sell. Likewise, when people receive the signal that everyone is afraid of missing out, they buy. If agency could be reduced to a deterministic, biological framework (and ultimately modeled by a deterministic model based in physics), the curve would be gaussian like height. Its not because there is an independent variable that effects the distribution, namely the one Sapulsky says doesn’t exist.

    The existence of agency is obvious. The existence of a distinction between a free action and an action undertaken by duress is obvious (even if there are boundary questions requiring the exercise of judgment). The existence of agents acting and being motivated by a purpose or end is obvious. The question is whether this is all a “mirage” or an “illusion.” Well, there real question is if there were no such thing as an oasis ever, what would it mean to call something a “mirage”? If every instance of something was an “illusion,” what would that mean? It would mean you are playing a game with semantics, there is “illusory free will” and then “supra-illusory free will” when there is duress. You can just strike the qualifier, it does no work.

    Are there formal laws of development, or teleological laws of development? Maybe, maybe not, but no one is looking for them, so the failure to find them can either be their non-existence or their non-discovery.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Thanks, very interesting. Just some addenda regarding classical mathematics when expanded beyond physics:

      Classical mathematical models in physics are deterministic

      Yep but in mathematical psychology the models can be deterministic or, crucially, probabilistic. Probabilistic models (look up all the stuff from the 1960s by “gods” of math psych who were often students of people directly or indirectly involved with the Manhattan project such as R Duncan Luce and his PhD student and 50 year collaborator Tony Marley) provided elegant simple solutions to the observed violations of transitivity etc that economists tied themselves up in knots trying to explain. Unfortunately Math Psych never had even a “pseudo-Nobel” so their ability to explain real human behaviour got sidelined in obscure journals like the Journal of Mathematical Psychology*.

      Random utility theory (making utility maximisation probabilistic at the level of the individual human) solves no end of problems but sadly remains exiled from “mainstream discourse” because it raises too many inconvenient questions.

      * Declaration of interest – I’ve published in JMP as co-author to Marley and thus have an Erdos number of 3, hehe.

    2. Socal Rhino

      I think Calvinism is best understood as a reaction to the authority that had been claimed by the Roman Catholic church. It replaced the authority of the church with that of the deity. Predestination referred specifically to salvation.

    3. flora

      Thank you. This sudden interest by the usual suspects in disproving free will makes me wonder what they’re up to, what political or philosophical ideas they’re trying to undermine. Too cynical? / ;)

      1. KD

        If we understand philosophy as an elite endeavor intended to legitimate the existing power structure and the existing ruling class, then not cynical at all.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>If we understand philosophy as an elite endeavor intended to legitimate the existing power structure and the existing ruling class, then not cynical at all.

          Yes, but with caveats. Historically, philosophers tended to be the geeks or nerds, not the government agents. Currently, while this still often true, I think we have the equivalent of Operation Mockingbird; then you add the degradation of education by Neoliberalism and the old school Koch Family’s anti-intellectualism, which has weaponized what is left of our intelligentsia’s “philosophy.”

          Philosophy has been transformed from a tool of exploration and change by individuals and scholars into a tool for the repression of the mind and therefore the population by the establishment. First with the intelligentsia, then the Political Managerial Class, and finally, the entire population.

          All this is helped by the funding of such poisoning by the government and interested elites, which, as with elections, tends to keep the elites’ disapproved candidates out of influence.

          1. flora

            Thank you. Your comment reminds me for some reason of these lines from Peter Weiss’s play The Marat Sade*, set in both the 18th and 20th centuries – a play within a play.

            And the priests looked down into the pit of injustice and they turned their faces away and said, ‘Our kingdom is not as the kingdom of this world. Our life on earth is but a pilgrimage. The soul lives on humility and patience,’ at the same time screwing the poor from their last centime. They settled down among their treasures and ate and drank with princes and to the starving they said, ‘Suffer. Suffer as he suffered on the cross for it is the will of God.’

            shorter: no free will for you. / heh

            *the play’s full title:
            The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              That brought back some memories. After teaching elementary school on a provisional certificate for 20 years, my mother went back to college in her 40s to finish her BS. What she mainly had to take were GenEd courses which included an introduction to theater. This course required some participation in a production, and my mother had experience with calligraphy and sign painting, and her assignment was to paint the marquee signs for each of the four productions. One of those productions was Marat/Sade. At first, they had her paint the full title, but when she finished, they decided the lettering was too small, and told her to paint over the original and use “Marat/Sade.” She wasn’t too happy.

              At 12 or 13, I got to see the production back in the mid-60s. It was quite risque for Kansas City since Marat dropped his sheet once when he stepped out of his bath.

          2. Gulag

            I would add that there is plenty of evidence that one particular philosophy, ( French post-structuralism–think Foucault, Lyotard) was an elite endeavor which largely succeeded in undermining or throwing into question existing narratives of all types including Marxism–which from a post-structuralist perspective seemed to represent a meta-narrative about the end goals of history, which was now obsolete.

            It just may be that one of the intellectual foundations for why the present left is presently in such disarray has a great deal to do with its acceptance of Foucault’s arguments that grand narratives of any type must be left behind, since any belief in a type of comprehensive collectivism ought to give way to the radical particularism of identity politics.

            1. korual

              This conflation of French post-structuralism and identity politics is way off. Foucault in fact was positive about the Iranian revolution, for example, which is a form of comprehensive collectivism. Also, he famously declared the death of the subject, which is a pretty total rejection of identity.

              The problem with using the term postmodernism is that it suggests that these philosophers were pro-postmodern, when really they were deeply pessimistic about the cultural logic of the postmodern: neoliberalism.

              1. Gulag

                My reading of Foucault’s critique of domination is his attempt to reveal the structures that constitute subjects and their thoughts and actions–and he sees these structures that are determining thoughts as themselves products of power relations depending on historical contingency.

                The subject is indeed dissolved and we are left simply with the process of becoming–an anti-essentialist identity–serving, I believe, as the foundation for identity politics–where, for example, a women is no longer a political subject defined by biological features but instead the result of social processes–always becoming.

                1. JBird4049

                  I do not know enough about to give a good comment for Foucault as I am still trying to get through Kant and Schopenhauer, while dabbling again on reading about the idea of Natural Rights using Martin Luther King as a starting point. All of this is enough to give strong headache right now. (really, am I smart enough for all this or am I just deluded?)

                  However, I think I understand that Foucault (and Sartre) were using the ideas of Existentialism to recreate a solid intellectual foundation after the wrecking crew that was in business from 1914 to 1945. Throw in the in the fun that was the Cold War and I think that the West has had its sense of self destroyed. This partially explains to me why the decay that we see all around has been so swift in its growth.

                  Instead of using the efforts of these and other philosophers to develop the ideas of personal and creative responsibility to reform Western thought, which could lead to a rebirth, or at least a repair, of Western society, some have slanted the ideas as tools of repair to tools of destruction. Instead of personal responsibility we get personal atomization. Instead of the hope we get from rebirth and growth, we get the despair that comes chaos and negation of both the individual and of reality, including of facts.

                  To go back to something I know slightly more about, I can refer back to David Hume, Emanuel Kant, and Arthur Schopenhauer. All of these philosophers had intellectually and socially disruptive systems of thought, but they created them as tools of learning and hopefully improvement. I believe I could say the same of the Existentialists. But their intellectual inheritors, rather most of the ones with any public influence seem to create systems of thought that dehumanizing and ultimately destroy society without giving any thought to this reality. (Look at my great and influential ideas. So what if they are destructive, isn’t “creative” disruption always cool?) Egomaniacs, who unlike previous philosophers, that do not seem to care to make their ideas beneficial, instead of destructive, and ultimately, deadly.

                  Maybe, I should call this the Neoliberalization of thought, which is supposedly just about trade, taxes, and regulation has become about the dehumanization, the de-emphasizing of people, the world, and even reality for the idea of money as all. Since modern creative destruction is about destroying anything and everything for easy pillage, maybe this explains as well the crapification of philosophy, or the enshittification of the process of learning about and then using philosophy.

  9. marym

    > Texas judge grants pregnant woman permission to get an abortion despite the state’s ban Politico

    Subsequently Paxton petitioned to block the ruling. The TX Supreme Court put hold the ruling while “review is pending.” (USAToday)

    “The Texas Supreme Court on Friday night put on hold a judge’s ruling that approved an abortion for a pregnant woman whose fetus has a fatal diagnosis…Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that Cox does not meet the criteria for a medical exception to the state’s abortion ban, and he urged the state’s highest court to act swiftly.

    He also warned three hospitals in Houston that they could face legal consequences if they allowed Cox’s physician to provide the abortion…” (AP)

  10. Lexx

    ‘I used to think the term ’Judeo-Nazis’ was excessive. I don’t any longer.’

    I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read some historical correction on what the U.S. knew and when it knew, what the Nazi were doing to the European Jews, well before the U.S. entered the war officially.

    Or the number of times it has been pointed out that the Nazis were just taking a page from the science and military strategies of the U.S. to justify their extermination of the Jews and anyone else they considered mudblood to the superior Aryan race.

    We’re a bloody-minded species, our ideologies a pretense otherwise. My fantasies could be found in science fiction books, thus my constant disappointment there’s so damn many of us and we’re not traveling around via transporters and flying cars, enjoying very long and prosperous lives. We expend our finite resources creating copies of ourselves and killing each other.

  11. Carla

    Well, black hair freedom seems to be a winning issue in many quarters:

    I’d rather have expanded, improved Medicare for ALL, personally, but TPTB seem to have chosen The Crown Act. Always good to know where their priorities are. And of course all people should have hair freedom.

    1. New_Okie

      Anyone else notice that the offending school is helpfully named Barber’s Hill High School? No better place for a dustup over a ‘do.

  12. Es s Ce tera

    re: ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 63: Israeli army rounds up, strips and blindfolds civilian men in Gaza, takes them to unknown location Mondoweiss (guurst)

    There’s a new and emerging dimension, for me anyway, in that Zionists are starting to call non-Zionist Jews herem. There are some important connotations to that, the Amelikites were herem, for example, and it was ones holy duty and obligation to genocide them.

    Justin Podur thas written on it:

    For me this means that before long we’ll be seeing the IDF round up non-Zionist Jews as well, and naked Jews in those same sand pits.

  13. Es s Ce tera

    re: ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 63: Israeli army rounds up, strips and blindfolds civilian men in Gaza, takes them to unknown location Mondoweiss (guurst)

    There’s a new and emerging dimension, for me anyway, in that Zionists are starting to call non-Zionist Jews herem. There are some important connotations to that, the Amelikites were herem, for example, and it was ones holy duty and obligation to genocide them.

    Justin Podur thas written on it:

    For me this means that before long we’ll be seeing the IDF round up non-Zionist Jews as well, and naked Jews in those same sand pits.

  14. TomDority

    Why all the worry about consumer prices falling in China and at the gate prices for industrial goods falling — thought that with the climate crisis, high costs of living, commercialized over consumption – this would be a good thing. The only bad thing is the financialized side of things can’t support its compounded interest demands that will always outpace the real economy – guess that is the reason for pearl clutching and insane growth, growth, growth calls

    1. Glen

      The irony is if food prices, home prices, vehicle prices and rent were falling in America, Biden would be bragging about it, and maybe even ahead of Trump in the polls.

      But if it’s happening in China so it becomes further evidence China is collapsing.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Deflation is very destructive with a heavy debt burden. Increases real cost of debt. Increases odds of defaults, panics, and a full blown crisis. If you don’t like compound interest, compound interest + deflation is worse.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Governments spying on Apple, Google users through push notifications – US senator”

    I recall hearing many years ago that the government was using Microsoft updates to install spyware on people’s computers but not everybody downloaded and installed those updates. So in the end they cut out this middle step and came out with Windows 10. :)

    1. Terry Flynn

      I’m very wary of being a “tinfoiler” and straying out of my lane, but this seems eminently plausible given what we’ve known for ages: e.g. the explanations given in the Flight 370 piece I suggested to Yves immediately made me think that although one DOES NOT NEED to resort to “software backdoor explanations” to validate the proposed account in the video, it is undeniably true that the US “cyber people” must have known enough to be 99% sure of what happened and thus be consistent with the sentiments you express.

      After all, most of us know that deleting Windows files and clearing the Trash is just basic stupidity….gotta use DBAN or somesuch to overwrite incriminating stuff…..and this is before we get to the fact Windows creates all sorts of temporary files of stuff, even when you decrypt stuff…..are they accessible?

      Plus, and more worryingly, a Malay tower got a ping that they KNEW was an Apple iphone and knew enough to pinpoint location. The latter is one thing that (to my knowledge anyway) was never fully made public, or at least “fully explained in terms of its implications”. It’s quite chilling. Was a call made to Apple HQ within those crucial hours after the tower realised something was suss? I find this question quite distressing to think about.

    2. Screwball

      I have come to the point I quit fighting all the spying. I always tried to make it as difficult as I can to not share data, prevent unwanted downloads, cookies, you name it. I don’t own a smart TV (have 7), and have a piece of tape over my laptop camera. My phone is a cheap model with few apps, and I try to keep the unwanted ones deleted. I think it’s all fruitless at this point.

      About a year ago I was in my car with my daughter making a small trip. We were talking about air fryers. The next day I started getting adds for air fryers on my phone and computer. That’s when I gave up. It’s a losing battle.

      Now I need a new laptop. My old HP pavillion series g which runs Windows 7 has pretty much decided I can’t use it any more. Can’t upgrade, won’t boot the same, loses all my bookmarks, etc. More hassle than it’s worth. All I need is a cheap PC to surf and stream to a TV.

      All I can find is Windows 11, which I’m not thrilled about. I can only imagine the issues that will bring, and I’m not looking forward to it. And I’m guessing Windows 11 Big Brother is improved and ready for their next victim. But, by now, they probably know more about me than me anyway. *spit*

      1. FredW

        Look up “Puppy Linux” — you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Among it’s many virtues, it can run on a Windows computer.

      2. Vandemonian

        There’s always Ubuntu, Screwball (or another Linux flavour). That path may even squeeze a little more life out of your old machine…

        1. flora

          As for smart phones, there are faraday bags to block incomeing/outgoing signals. Keep your phone in the bag until you’re ready to make calls and check for text messages and missed phone calls you may (or may not) want to return. / ;)

      3. Ken Murphy

        The day the hard drive died on my old XP box was one of the saddest days of my life. I did get a Win 11 box, but can’t be bothered to connect it to the internet.

        Still have my old XP install disk, but need to feed the product key buried in mountains of old papers.

      4. playon

        I’ve been enjoying Linux Mint for the past few years. I only use a Windoze machine for audio recording and keep it offline most of the time. Another upside to Linux is you don’t need to worry about computer viruses.

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          I’ve been using Debian Linux (testing) for about 20 years, with Windows being used only when I must run MS Office. Linux takes less than 5 seconds to boot, is well-behaved, runs quite acceptably on older computers I’ve bought used on eBay, and has only crashed a handful of times ever. [And most of those crashes were caused by bad hardware.]

          I’ve heard good things about Linux Mint, and I’ve set several friends up on Ubuntu Linux.

          For audio recording, have you ever looked at Audacity (mid-grade) or Ardour (pro-level)? Both are available on Linux.

      5. Don

        I irrevocably gave up on privacy after photographing refrigerators, along with their price stickers, in a Mexican department store in our remote small town, only to be subsequently bombarded with both English- and Spanish-language refrigerator ads on my laptop for several days. (But the piece of tape over the computer camera lens stays put, of course.)

        1. ACPAL

          Long story short, I learned to never say or write anything you don’t want repeated on the floor of the Senate. Information travels in unexpected routes.

          Your phone can listen to almost everything you say, many computer monitors and TVs can watch and see you, everything you type can be picked up, public cameras can have lip readers installed, anyone within earshot can hear what you say (including family and friends) and pass it along without telling you, and not necessarily the way you said it. If you don’t say it or write it it’s hard for it to get passed on. You can still talk and write just be super careful what you say because it “can and will be used against you” and “trust no one.”

  16. The Rev Kev

    “ZOMG everyone looks genuinely happy”

    This is what happens when countries invest heavily in diplomacy. By training people from an early age in the arts of diplomacy and simply not selecting somebody because they bundled a lot of money for a political party. You make this long term investment and with patience possibilities open up. The rapprochement of Iran and Saudi Arabia is one example of the fruits of diplomacy. But if you just indulge in bullying, lecturing, selecting idiots to be foreign ministers and a large portion of finger-wagging, you end up being isolated with no friends that will have your back when things fall apart.

    1. flora

      re: “But if you just indulge in bullying, lecturing, selecting idiots to be foreign ministers and a large portion of finger-wagging, you end up being isolated with no friends that will have your back when things fall apart.”

      Especially if you’ve outsourced most of your manufacturing – true source of your once wealth and power – to those countries you’re trying to bully. A silly example: I think everyone remembers that moment when growing up when in their late teens or 20s their parents still tried to pull the ol’ parental “because I said so”, and their response was a slightly bemused ‘uh, sure’ and ignored the parents’ directive with no harm. / ;)

      1. flora

        adding: I think B. Clinton’s touted ‘bridge to the 21st century’ was the foolish notion that digital intellectual property patent rights would substitute for manufacturing power.

        How is it RU and CHN seem to have weapons systems more advanced than the US? / enquiring minds, etc.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          I remember hearing that speech at the time, and my first reaction was ” I wonder how many people will be sleeping under Bill Clinton’s bridge to the 21st century”.

          The answer is: more and more. And then more and more after that.

    1. Lexx

      It’s a good thing they breed… like bunnies.

      Yesterday I was watching three bunnies across the street chase each other and in the middle was one ‘funny-tailed bunny’ – a squirrel, who escaped up an aspen. Prey we have aplenty.

  17. Jabura Basaidai

    don’t know much about the science except what i’ve read – it seemed that Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) were more a unicorn than a possibility and everyone would be flocking to the technology if possible in real time – y’all are pretty well-informed and the science bench among the commentariat is pretty deep – what are the real possibilities?

    1. Glen

      Thorium Molten Salt reactors have been around a long time. Oak Ridge National Lab built and ran a prototype pilot reactor (no provisions for power generation) in the early 60’s:

      Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment

      Here’s film from ORNL reporting the results:

      The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment

      An update of where MSR work is today is here:

      World Nuclear Association Molten Salt Reactors

      China seems to be the only country currently pursuing thorium reactor research. Research in America was pretty much stopped in America at the end of the operation of the reactor at ORNL. There are presentations on YT as to the history of how/why this happened and the politics behind the decisions. Here is one:

      The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn’t This Happen (and why is now the right time?)

      But understand that China is doing this research, America was doing this research, but now it is not.

      1. Ken Murphy

        China may also know that thorium can be found in the mare materials on the Moon. One of many, many resources that the Moon possesses that might be of use to future humans.
        In my view the lack of thorium reactor research is a function of the difficulty in weaponizing it or its byproducts. No weapons? Why bother? Look at all these other goodies we have up there in the Periodic Table that you can make into all kinds of delightful destructo-toys.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          Ken i initially thought the same but the ability to make weapons grade material doesn’t need a nuclear reactor, true a reactor can provide weapons grade material but not the only method to obtain – i think i’m correct on that – so what other reason? – whether a liquid cooled uranium reactor or a thorium MBR, they’re both shovel ready opportunities for jobs and the usual grift – just wondering if there is another factor involved for the preference – of course it may be just the egos of the individual silos of learning – who knows?? – but if there is going to be a nuclear renaissance i hope it’s thorium – regarding the moon, you may have a point there –

        2. Glen

          It turns out thorium is much more common than uranium. Estimates I saw at one time was that there was about 100 years of naturally occurring uranium with current use rates, but there was 100,000 years worth of thorium. One of the reasons mining many types of rare earth elements is messy is because it’s often found with thorium which is naturally radioactive. This is why they were going to make breeder reactors, but there also was a bias towards using the processes and technology which had made the bomb.

          But again, it would be a bonus if it’s already available on the moon too, no need to waste time/effort/energy to lift it into orbit.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            but thorium reactors are unable to provide the material necessary for the bomb – a big plus –

      2. Jabura Basaidai

        Glen thank you very much for your response – just watched/listened to the youtube “Why Didn’t This Happen” presentation and found it compelling – if i understand correctly what the gentleman is saying, a Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor is safer and more efficient in the long run than the technology used today – that presentation was in 2011 and if correct in this assumption, America has still not explored the use of this technology in any serious manner – what struck me as most important is the incredible safety inherent in the design – makes me wonder what other forces were in play here to advocate for the present technology rather than the safer thorium technology – also, since Google is probably using data centers similar to the one illustrated that Facebook has near the arctic circle i’m wondering if they don’t already have research ongoing in thorium technology – the points about “green” energy and its drawbacks are astute and prophetic for 2011 – rather than solar or wind or the canard of hydrogen, this seems a worthwhile technology for government to underwrite –

        there was another vid called Thorium Debunked –

        it mentions the counter claims that thorium holds no particular advantage over uranium as a nuclear fuel but then goes on to take apart these counter claims – in one part it explains what is overlooked in the UK National Nuclear Laboratory paper on “Comparison of thorium and uranium fuel cycles”
        a paper supposed to encourage the present technology and denigrate thorium MBR –
        in section 4.7
        “Recycling U-233 presents some difficult challenges in fuel fabrication because of the
        daughter products from U-232. U-232 builds up to part per million (ppm) levels in the U-
        233, compared with parts per billion concentrations in reprocessed uranium fuels. U-232
        has a half-life of 68.9 years and its decay chain includes daughters with very energetic
        gamma emissions, especially Tl-208. When the U-233 is chemically separated from the
        thorium fuel, the daughter products from U-232 are partitioned with the VHLW and the
        gamma activity of the U-232 is initially very low. However, the U-232 decay daughters
        re-establish themselves quite quickly, reaching equilibrium after about 2 years, at which
        point the U-233 has a very high gamma field. The activity of U-232 becomes significant
        at parts per billion (ppb) levels, so that the ppm concentrations in U-233 are very
        serious, demanding substantial shielding and remote fabrication methods. This is a
        significant technological barrier to full recycle of U-233 and poses a technical risk.”
        but the important conclusion is what followed –
        “MSR is unique in that it avoids these problems entirely, with no fuel fabrication required.”

        there were many biased proponents of the uranium fuel cycles that were quick with ad hominen attacks and dismissive snide asides for proponents of thorium, without reasons other than cost and only in a superficial manner, not a fully loaded cost evaluation –

        there seems to be another force involved in the biased assumptions of the proponents of the present technology – perhaps China will surpass America in another important area –

        1. Glen

          Alvin Weinberg got himself fired from director of ORNL because he was a proponent of MSR as a much safer reactor. He had been one of the key creators of the pressurized water reactor which became used for submarine reactors, but he was also on record as stating that while the submarine reactors were safe, that the massively up sized designs used for commercial power generation (like Fukushima) were not inherently safe, and MSR was an attempt to get to an inherently safe design.

          It may just be my bias, but China is doing the right thing by actually building these reactors because it is only by actually building and operating the reactors that a viable design suitable for civilian use will be developed. There are many efforts to research and build reactors in the west, but these are starved of resources to achieve success – not enough funding, not enough of the right scientists/workers. I’m not aware of any actually being built.

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            that’s too bad – considering the pressurized water reactor used for submarines, i wonder if that is the essential design in most Small Modular Reactors that are being touted by Bill Gates and his TerraPower company with Warren Buffet, and the NuScale one just approved by the NRC – here in Michigan the old school Palisades reactor was supposed to be decommissioned but is being pulled from the mothballs and given a new life that includes two SMR’s – the safety of thorium reactors would shut down the legitimate concerns about the safety of uranium reactors and radioactive waste, but probably too much invested in the old tech to change horses unfortunately –

  18. ChrisFromGA

    Re: China and EU

    The EU is going to have to decide whether they really want to maintain good relations with China or not. Silly stunts like throwing a piece of paper in their faces with a list of companies they say are evading sanctions that are neither legal nor anything China ever agreed to is the diplomatic equivalent of running up to your neighbors door, setting a bag of dog poop on fire, and ringing the doorbell before bolting.

    I’m sure the EU bureaucrats are slapping their knees on that one, but the adults in Beijing aren’t laughing.

    And it’s not like the EU gang are that stupid, they must know at some level what they’re doing has no hope of actually working.

    It is a wonder why China puts up with this sort of ridiculously insulting behavior.

  19. Carolinian

    Re free will–in the spirit of taking a crack at this here’s suggesting that we of course don’t have free will where only “will” is involved. My will may tell me to eat that extra doughnut but my mind says no. So the real question is whether humans have the ability to think as well as respond to our biology and obviously we do or we would still be swinging in trees. While the Nazis and other seekers of power like to make a big thing about will (as in Triumph of) that’s because thinking is the thing they want to negate. And moralizers themselves often serve this purpose by blackmailing us with our social, instinctive need to fit in.

    “Worse than a crime, a mistake” should be the guide and the reason we don’t want to be Nazis or slaughter the innocents is because social chaos is bad for everyone if we, as a species, are to thrive. And that’s the ultimate determinism because being part of nature, a species, we indeed are. We should worry less about good and bad morals and more about good and bad thinking.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Thanks and whilst I am loathe to criticise, I must comment on:

      We should worry less about good and bad morals and more about good and bad thinking

      Decades of research (often detailed in the journal JMP) has established that in certain contexts (often the “emotive” subjects we are not supposed to bring up at Xmas) we are most certainly deterministic. However, in huge swathes of life we’re probabilistic: a basic “tendency toward good thinking” (a “mean/average on a latent scale of morality”) must have added a probability distribution to show that we don’t “always do x but sometimes do y”. Ironically, current cinema-goers/sci fi nerds with an interest in the multiverse (looking at you Rev Kev) may be best equipped to understand this.

      As Lambert so rightly points out w.r.t COVID,, if you don’t test for it you won’t find it. We DO NOT TEST FOR INTRA-INDIVIDUAL variation in response in ANY randomised controlled trial. We don’t know if any individual “responder” would respond in 5 out of 8 times or 8 out of 8. And that matters. A lot. Only the n-of-1 trial which (for instance) randomises the individual to receive 8 courses of placebo and 8 courses of the intervention, in randomised order, unknown to patient and clinician. If we are lucky we can observe differences between variance (consistency of response) and relate it to an observable characteristic. Unfortunately most of the time we simply have no variable that this consistency is correlated with. Yet knowing this is crucial to getting the correct result from an RCT (known since the mid 1980s).

      Changing someone’s mean (underlying level of morality) is potentially very different from changing their variance (consistency in acting in accord with their mean level of morality). It requires a change in paradigm – one that recognises that we often are not deterministic automatons. Indeed several academic disciplines have contributed huge amounts to human knowledge when they have devised experiments that attempt to ascertain “how consistent” a human “does the key thing”.

      If one needs an example of a real world example, look no further than what Daniel McFadden did in predicting the demand for the BART in California before it was built. (There remains controversy because his paradigm is consistent with an “old school” economics one but that’s a can of worms I’m not opening here.)

  20. Mikel

    “Darryl George: Black Texas school student suspended again for natural hairstyle” NPR

    Many Black Americans wear a natural hair style literally for improving health!
    The chemicals used to straighten hair have proven harmful health effects. Especially over time.
    It can also mean the difference of saving thousands of dollars a year.

    An entertaining look at the health, political, and financial aspects around natural vs chemically enhanced hairstyles is Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair.” He said he made it for his daughters.

    1. Daryl

      Mont Belvieu is an odd place. An extremely wealthy small town on the side of Houston that is more known for pollution, chemical plants, oil refineries and high rates of cancer. I’m surprised this is happening anywhere in the greater Houston area, but maybe on reflecting it’s not that surprising. Note that corporal punishment is still allowed and practiced in Texas schools.

      1. jsn

        South east Texas is Deep South.

        Sam Houston happened to be there with a Cavalier army of slave herders when Santa Anna was camped out at San Jacinto because the 1836 Mortgage Backed Securities bust on the London Stock Exchange (mortgages backed with slaves) had bankrupted them and Texas was still Mexico to which they had just absconded with their “property” to wait out the statute of limitations in the Anglosphere.

        Plus ca change…

  21. pjay

    I usually watch the NBC Nightly News to get the daily propaganda spin. On Thursday, there was an incident in Albany where a man fired a shotgun into the air in front of a synagogue and apparently exclaimed ‘free Palestine.” It was of course covered on our local news, and Gov. Hochul was immediately all over the media warning about the dangerous explosion of anti-Semitism and putting the state on high alert. Within hours it led the Nightly News, which spent its opening five minutes on the story, the Governor, and the “horrific” implications of this act.

    So last night I watched the news with interest, because I knew that the Security Council was voting on Guterres’ Article 99 Resolution. Most nights the top story, or at least the second story, is about Israel. Not that night. About halfway through there was a brief mention of bombing in Gaza, followed immediately by a brief “balancing” story on the Albany shooter. On the historic UN vote? Nothing. 13 to 1 (with the lapdog abstaining). The whole world is watching – except the viewers of NBC Nightly News. I just wonder how many citizens in the US are even aware of how we are perceived in the rest of the world?

    1. Wukchumni

      I wouldn’t be too surprised if our presstidigitation calls it all an effort by the Israelis to book Arab’n’b rooms in Gaza.

  22. flora

    an aside: this part of a longer twitter comment could be applied to so many, not to trivialize the point.

    “…..”greatest tragedy” is that they “bet on the wrong side” in “the conflict between globalists and realists”. ”

    True also of Bud Lite, Target, Disney, and etc.

  23. Tom Stone

    The Biden Admin is getting ever more desperate, Brandon had cover from the DOJ and FBI from the time they verified Hunter’s laptop was genuine until Judge Norieka shot down an unprecedented plea deal that would have given Hunter full immunity for past crimes…
    In other words both Senior Justice department officials and FBI officials were aware that Biden had been compromised by Foreign Governments in March 2019, nearly a year and a half before the Election of 2020.
    Now enough evidence has surfaced to justify an impeachment.
    Everything Joe touches turns to shit instead of Gold and if that FBI informant was telling the truth Zlochevsky has recordings of both Hunter and Brandon demanding $5,000,000 each and proof they recieved it.
    Which might have something to do with how desperate Brandon is to get more $ for Ukraine.
    When I think of how reckless and irresponsible this regime has been ( Nordstream is only one example) and how tenuos their grip on reality is… dark chocolate seems like a good idea.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘until Judge Norieka shot down an unprecedented plea deal that would have given Hunter full immunity for past crimes…’

      It was more than that. One part of that plea deal gave him immunity to all future crimes as well. Hunter could have robbed a bank and he would have been able to use that get out of jail for free card forever.

      1. anahuna

        I’m stuck here while my boiler is being resuscitated, piece by piece, and for some reason I wandered over to Emptywheel. Pages and pages of legal argument intended to prove that it is Weiss, egged on by Trump, who is corrupt, while Hunter was simply too addled to know what he was doing.

        Once, long ago, I admired that site. Now, it looks to me like the spinning of fine minds utterly detached from reality.

        Thanks, as always, for the contributions I read here.

        1. Pat

          Wheeler started getting pulled into the good Democratic blog chipper during the Obama years. She held onto some sense of reality longer than Markos and Daily Kos, but it swallowed her and the blog whole and spit it out fully formed and indoctrinated into Orange Man bad, Democrats can do no wrong before Donald took the oath of office. About the only reason to read it is to know what kind of pretzel they are trying to twist the situation into so that they can pretend that “insert top Democratic name here” is totally innocent and is being persecuted.

  24. Jason Boxman

    Perhaps, but this lab is for war against insurgents, as in no where peer or near peer power. How useful is this “lab” for conflict with Russia or China?

    A different story posted here a few weeks ago went into the AI-related implications of this lab; So this could be useful for autonomous weapons. And that’s particularly useful since we know Russia has a good EW game and is deft at blocking and interfering to electronic communications. Although for airborne weapons, GPS disruption would still be a risk. So maybe not that useful.

    It’s definitely an arms bazaar though. Gotta refill those munitions lockers!

  25. ChrisFromGA

    AI’s beginning to look a lot like witchcraft

    AI’s beginning to look a lot like witchcraft
    Everywhere you go
    Just turn on CNBC
    It’s full of chicanery
    With pumpster chimps and anchorettes aglow

    AI’s beginning to look a lot like witchcraft
    Lies with every prompt
    But the ugliest thing to see
    Is the future that will be
    Soon at out front door

    A pair of drained glacial lakes and some flawless deepfakes
    Is the wish among Bezos and ilk
    Chatbots that’ll talk and send staff on a walk
    Is the hope of airlines that bilk
    And CEOs across the land have new cash cows to milk

    AI’s beginning to look a lot like witchcraft
    Everywhere you go
    There’s a treeless landscape clear cut
    With server farms that abut
    Your property, and power bills that suck

    AIs beginning to look a lot like witchcraft
    A means to sell more stuff
    And the hallucinations that they produce
    And the bezzles that they induce
    Look like warmed over fluff

    AIs beginning to look a lot like witchcraft
    Another way to screw the poor
    And the ugliest thing to see
    Is the future that will be
    Soon at our front door

    1. ArvidMartensen

      Love it. Now to get it go viral in this festive season where nothing is real except shopping.

  26. Jason Boxman

    From One in four who had Pfizer Covid jabs experienced unintended immune response

    The vaccine is read well enough to create the strong protection against the coronavirus, the scientists say, but the frameshifting issue creates what was, until now, an unknown off-target effect.

    The code relating to the Covid vaccines was harmless and no issues were created. However the team say that subsequent mRNA vaccines used for other diseases or infections could, in theory, lead to viable proteins being created that are active in the body.

    In this scenario not only is the vaccine not making the right protein, it could lead to a rogue protein being produced.

    (bold mine)


    So giving otherwise healthy people a cell reprogramming injection could possibly have been a horrifically stupid course of action, but we all got lucky, this time.


    So next time we just gotta continue to trust them!

    1. marku52

      Yes, and after observing that about 28 people had the frame shifting without horrible consequences, they pronounced it safe for millions.

      Nice work if you can get it.

  27. skippy

    Reference China’s woes:

    Philip Pilkington
    What does “worsening” deflation even mean? If the economy is growing it doesn’t matter if prices are falling slightly. Chinese PMIs and exports surprised to the upside recently. IMF said they’ll hit growth targets. Why is the media so stuck on this narrative? Its weird. 🇨🇳

    Maybe its like one commenter pointed out – “It’s almost like western elites have an interest in portraying China having an interventionist industrial policy rather than finance sector “lassaize faire” as a failure”.

    So at the end of the day its more about western elites preferences based on ideology that serves them than a national policy that works for the nation and its citizans.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Pilkington should know better.

      I get the Western press is hyperventilating over every Chinese tea leaf they can read as a sign of trouble.

      But nominal interest rates are set with investors pricing in a certain level of inflation. When interest rates rise, as many of you bitch and moan, investors who bought bonds and lender who made loans lose out to inflation. Witness all those US banks sucking wind on the Treasuries they bought a while back.

      When interest rates fall, borrowers, as in companies and individual debtors. lose. Their interest rate burden rises in real terms.

      This hurts groaf and investment. If economic activity and interest rates fall markedly, it can lead to defaults. China was already having defaults before this increase in decelerations.

      1. skippy

        Morning YS …

        Oh I understand that, yet its diabolical to compare the two systems which over lap in some regards and diverge on others, especially since global markets and governments are in such a flux at the moment.

        In comparison IRA spending will be interesting to watch down the road e.g. lead to self sustainable growth or looted all the way down.

        On the bit about US banks, I thought that was more a matter of the blind leading the blind or everyone was doing it thingy with a side of bad or nonexistent risk management.

        I carry no IR risks, just attend flows and customer base. Nothing like not advertising/marketing, referral only, knock back jobs, all whilst providing a superior service with short lines of communication, and make top money.

        Sorry going in on a Sunday to push a project ahead so fitters can come in on the 17th, flat out till then.

        PS hope you are well in your new surrounds.

      2. jsn

        It seems to me the question is does China have the right entities defaulting and what support are they supplying elsewhere?

        If most people are stable and some doing better than okay, and speculators and agents of mal-investment are going belly up, if I’m the Party, that looks pretty good.

        At least that’s how I read Pilkington, too simplistic perhaps.

        1. skippy

          “It seems to me the question is does China have the right entities defaulting and what support are they supplying elsewhere?”

          Me as well, jsn.

          Currently only China and Russia seem as developed economies in clipping a few wings, as needed, and cognitive about you just can’t vaporize some flows without making it up somehow elsewhere. Hence the whole argument seems to be about – those – that make such decisions and why.

          Yet having said that I think the environment will be the final arbitrator of it all, hence why I am not counting on passive income.

  28. Jason Boxman

    Shame on you all for using negotiable instruments!

    We Can’t Stop Writing Paper Checks. Thieves Love That.

    When Pam Berns mailed a few checks to pay bills, she had no idea such a routine task would throw her small publishing business into chaos.

    One of the checks, which she put in a mailbox on a Lincoln Park street in Chicago, was later stolen and rewritten for $7,200 to someone named Mark Pratt. That drained her business bank account, which meant she couldn’t pay the printer, her monthly payroll taxes or her salespeople.

    Well, digitizing paper checks for bank, and individual, convenience certainly makes it easier than ever to forge a check.

  29. Wukchumni

    Shohei Ohtani inked a 10 year deal with the LA Dodgers for $700 million…

    57 years ago coming off a dramatic World Series win over the Twins in 1965, Sandy Koufax & Don Drysdale both held out for 3 year $500k deals, but back then no team would ever give you more than a 1 year deal, what if you hurt yourself?

    Drysdale signed a 1 year contract for $110k, Koufax inked a 1 year deal for $125k.

    To put things in mad perspective, the perhaps best pitcher of all time-Koufax, is worth 1/5600th of one of the best pitchers of our time as far as contracts go.

    1. juno mas

      I watched both Drysdale and Koufax pitch in the Coliseum in 1959. That was about the only way you could see a MLB game then. Today the Dodgers play in the largest stadium in baseball and have an $8 Billion TV deal that allows them to pay Ohtani whatever the market will bear.

      1. Wukchumni

        I saw Koufax, Drysdale, Wills and the rest of the Dodgers from dugout seats, but a baseball game is wasted on a toddler, I have no memories whatsoever of it.

        My dad worked for a stock firm in LA where one of the employees was a certain Peter O’Malley-the son of the owner of the Dodgers, who befriended my dad with choice ducats on occasion.

      2. Pat

        My brief period of interest in baseball came from watching Koufax pitch on television. I was young and cannot even tell you what games. It was probably a World Series. But he was beautiful, it was like watching a great dancer. Yes, he made it look easy.

  30. XXYY

    A Black Texas student has been suspended once again for his natural hairstyle

    They buried the lede here. The headline should have been:

    A Texas student has been suspended from Barbers Hill High School for his natural hairstyle

    I’m thinking this high school should have some kind of sanctuary or amnesty program for hair-related offenses.

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      Of all the silly things to waste time on. His hair is nice and neat, above the eyebrows and above the collar. My boys at private school have hair that is much more unruly than this young man has. Their hair has zero impact on their academic, athletic or community service activities – they are straight A students, varsity athletes and complete their service projects.

      1. anon

        I guess, but it is Stanford; they have been pretty careful with this sort of thing. And also it shows the actual numbers if you run the curser along the edge of the curves. But maybe you are right; that would be great.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Will Israel open fire on Lebanon as it did on Gaza?”

    Not a chance. Israel has done war games against Hezbollah – one even recently – and in every one Israel loses. Israel doctrine says that if one of their military targets is hit, then you destroy a civilian area of the people that did it and they did this to a Beirut suburb once a long time ago. Can’t anymore. If Israel tried that, then Hezbollah has the capability of turning downtown Tel Aviv into Gaza. Israel wants to take southern Lebanon again up to the Litani river so that they can take the waters from that river too but that is no longer possible. So now both Israel and Hezbollah manage the fighting along the border so that both sides get to blow off steam and get to keep the home front happy but they make sure that it never escalates into a full scale war.

  32. Jason Boxman

    So fyi I’m seeing an ad here on iphone that literally is selling an ad blocker. Probably not an ideal ad to have running.

  33. ambrit

    Someone explain to this poor groundling what is going on in that ‘Putin on a plane’ video. I don’t get it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Might be saying that although the west thinks that Putin is running scared as he has an arrest warrant hanging over his head, he is in fact traveling places, meeting word leaders, making deals and he has his military behind his back as well. The caravan is moving on and is ignoring the barking dogs.

      1. ambrit

        Ah, you mean, with the friendly military escort there will be none of that; “You will land at Vienna airport for inspection,” nonsense.

    2. Don

      I don’t get it either — the narration is about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, nothing to do with the video.

  34. The Rev Kev

    Might be saying that although the west thinks that Putin is running scared as he has an arrest warrant hanging over his head, he is in fact traveling places, meeting word leaders, making deals and he has his military behind his back as well. The caravan is moving on and is ignoring the barking dogs.

  35. JCC

    I worked at Balad Airbase from early 2004 through mid 2005 as an IT contractor. Famously known at the time as Mortaritaville, we were rocketed as often as 25 times a day, multiple days a week for over a year.

    I saw things I never want to see again and still jump when Fourth of July celebrations happen near my neighborhood 20 years later. And what I saw and felt at that time doesn’t come even close to what many Iraqi civilians, and soldiers on both sides, felt and saw at that time.

    I mention the above because I just listened to Chris Hedges lecture at North Troy, NY. It reminded me of those days, and my experience pales in comparison, nearly a joke, in what I can only imagine the people in Gaza have been going through since Oct 7.

    How anyone with any battleground experience can support Netanyahu’s ongoing slaughter baffles me completely.

    Worth taking the time to listen to Mr. Hedges and the followup questions.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I remember those ads going out; all over craigslist, everyone was hiring IT specialists for Iraq. I would never have survived the heat, so I never even applied to any. I assumed it would be dangerous.

      Glad you made it back alive!

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