Links 1/25/2024

Tiny Fossils Reveal Dinosaurs’ Lost Worlds Scientific American

Physicists Just Learned Something Major About the Proton Gizmodo

A Bad Office Can (Potentially) Become a Good Apartment The challenges and complexities of cubicles out, bedrooms in. New York Magazine. CRE cope?


How an ARkstorm Could Wreak Havoc on Los Angeles Los Angeles Magazine


‘The NHS sold out its staff’: Doctors whose lives were devastated by long COVID to sue health service Sky News. Good. Now let’s do the rest of the Anglosphere.

Institutional COVID denial has killed public health as we knew it. Prepare to lose several centuries of progress. The Gauntlet

You don’t need to catch that wave T. Ryan Gregory and Arijit Chakravarty, Monkeys on Typewriters


China’s slow response to economic turbulence leaves market bewildered Channel News Asia

Chinese retail investors hit by big losses in ‘snowball’ derivatives FT

China steps up support for Hong Kong’s role as financial hub for wealth products, bonds and green finance South China Morning Post

Chinese Modernization Is a Sure Path to Building a Great Country and Rejuvenating the Nation Xi Jinping, CPC Central Committee Bimonthly

100 years since death of Lenin marked by silence from China’s Communist Party. Why? South China Morning Post. See also….

How scary is China? The Economist


‘Worst leader’: Military’s winter of discontent Frontier Myanmar. Meanwhile:

Presumably flipping to Xi?

Myanmar’s Military Has Turned a Strategic Town in Sagaing Region Into a ‘Graveyard’ The Irrawaddy


In India, an algorithm declares them dead; they have to prove they’re alive Al Jazeera


Netanyahu May Be Standing in the Way of a Two-State Solution. But He’s Far From Alone RAND. Indeed….

Netanyahu Has Got to Go SpyTalk

Congressional Dems intensify their pushback against Netanyahu with public defense of Palestinian state Politico

* * *

Over 200,000 containers bound for Piraeus port delayed by Red Sea crisis Seatrade Maritime. Handy chart:

Red Sea naval forces struggle to contain Houthi attacks Splash 247

As more tankers divert from Suez Canal, there’s a ‘sea change’ in way Europe is buying crude Hellenic Shipping News

‘Opportunistic’ Chinese lines send ships to serve Red Sea ports FT

US urges China to help curb Red Sea attacks by Iran-backed Houthis FT. Commentary:

Before we go to war with them, or after?

* * *

ICJ to Deliver a Decision on Provisional Measures January 26th Internationalist 360°

Examining distinctions in SA, Indonesia and Slovenia ICJ cases against Israel Independent Online. South Africa.

Indonesia files lawsuit against Israel at ICJ Middle East Monitor

* * *

Middle East tension escalates: Mapping recent strikes in the region Al Jazeera

Reporter’s Notebook: Covering an antiwar protest in Israel Al Jazeera

Israel’s advanced crowd control techniques:

The manufacturer sells an antidote, but only to cops.

European Disunion

Far Right, En Marche The Baffler

Germany’s train services halted in longest strike yet Deutshe Welle

Fewer, older, poorer: France’s farming crisis in numbers France24

Dear Old Blighty

How Britain’s political elite broke the development bargain FT

The bitter lessons of Brexit Martin Wolf, FT

New Not-So-Cold War

Russia accuses Ukraine of shooting down plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war in Belgorod region CBS

Russian military plane crash: Ukraine says no ‘reliable information’ regarding passengers aboard France24. So, POWs were on board.

* * *

Rumors Ukrainian General Zaluzhny Will Soon be Fired–Replaced by GRU’s Budanov Weapons and Strategy. A very ugly scenario indeed. Hopefully just a wild rumor:

Kyrylo Budanov: the Ukrainian military spy chief who ‘likes the darkness‘ FT

* * *

No European security without Ukrainian victory The Atlantic Council. Alrighty then.

NATO signs key artillery ammunition contract to replenish allied supplies and help Ukraine AP. Commentary:

PM’s rebuke to Army chief who warned British conscripts may be needed for ‘citizen army’ to fight future war with Russia LBC

* * *

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with CBS TV channel, New York, January 22, 2024 (transcript) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Reconstructing the Istanbul Accords The National Interest

South of the Border

Argentinians stage nationwide strike against Javier Milei’s far-right agenda Guardian

Our Famously Free Press

Skip the Last Two Paragraphs—and Other Time-Saving Tips for Healthcare News Consumers FAIR

L.A. Times Layoffs Are Latest Sign of Billionaire’s Clipped Ambitions WSJ


Updated: FAA grounds expansion plans for Boeing 737 MAX production, approves path for MAX 9s to resume flights Leeham News & Analysis

Digital Watch

NYC first to designate social media as environmental toxin Axios

* * *

Apple Shares the Secret of Why the 40-Year-Old Mac Still Rules Wired

The rise and fall of the standard user interface The Register

* * *

How to Guarantee the Safety of Autonomous Vehicles Quanta

Realignment and Legitimacy

Greg Abbott’s New Year’s Resolution: Sow Chaos At The Border Texas Observer. They write letters:

I suppose now we’ll be arguing about that “invasion” means, along with “insurrection.”

Court allows Border Patrol to cut Texas’ razor wire along Rio Grande SCOTUSblog

Border battle lines: Dems call on Biden to seize control of Texas National Guard, as GOP allies back Abbott and Biden admin demands Texas give Border Patrol access to key park at center of border dispute FOX

How Greg Abbott’s Border Fight Bolsters Calls for an Independent Texas Newsweek

Guillotine Watch

How a Start-Up Utopia Became a Nightmare for Honduras Foreign Policy. Not nice people at all.

Class Warfare

US unions flexed their muscles last year, but membership rates fall to all-time low Associated Press

Rich People Don’t Talk to Robots Downtown Josh Brown. They have people for that.

Can Intellectual Humility Save Us from Ourselves? JSTOR. An entire issue on this topic.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Sardonia

    To the tune of The Beatle’s “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”

    For the benefit of Nikki Girl
    The ‘Pubs will have another whirl
    In her Home State.
    The Donald Man will still be there
    Crushing her like chinaware
    What a fate!
    Nikki H will sure assure her donors
    Her performance will be second but close.
    So the Arms Makers shouldn’t feel morose!

    The celebrated Nikki Girl
    Tells Raytheon that the whole world
    Is ripe for War.
    If they’ll just keep on backing her
    She promises to make a stir.
    Our Manticore!
    Nikki has the money from the interests
    Who will profit from a new foreign war.
    But of course, Donald the Coarse, is backed by a Force!

    The next round comes Feb. Twenty-Four
    Where Donald leads two score or more
    In Nikki’s state.
    But Nikki H stays in the Show
    Because one really never knows
    What lies in Fate.
    Just one more meal from MacDonald’s
    Could cause Donald’s heart to burst like a bomb.
    In which case, Nikki H, is topping the bill!

  2. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Day Tripper by the Beatles)

    Election season
    It’s gonna be long and drawn out
    Weather is freezin’
    But they want us all to turn out,  now

    They send us two geezers
    Barely standing,  yeah
    Would it be so wrong to drop out?
    I wanna pout . . .

    New bumper stickers
    Online election warfare
    Twistin’ my knickers
    To send them some money somewhere,  now

    That’s such a sidesplitter!
    Like they really need my cash,  yeah!
    Watch just how long I hold out
    Work it out . . .

    Ahh . . . ahh . . . ahh . . . ahh . . . ahh . . .ahhhhh

    Choose your geezer
    Can’t see the cards in his hands
    Choose your Caesar
    Neither will hear your demands,  now

    They’re both such huge fibbers
    No surprise there  yeah!
    I know we all feel so burnt out
    We have no clout . . .

    Two geezers,  yeah
    Two geezers,  yeah
    Two geezers
    Two geezers,  yeah
    Two geezers

      1. Mark Gisleson

        That I read that as a challenge speaks to much of what is wrong with me. Here then is The Beatles most unparody friendly song and wow I really had forgotten how long it was! Also amazed at how few words I had to change.

        Color Revolution No. 88 (to the emminently singable tune of Revolution No. 9)

        …artillery shells for you if I’d realized
        I’d forgotten all about it, Z, I’m sorry
        We’ll do next time
        Will you forgive me?
        Cheeky bitch

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        Then there’s this Ukro-median in brown underpants
        Trying to sell grain to Hertfordshire
        Everyone of them knew that as time went by
        Troops would get a bit older and a little bit slower but
        Shells are all the same, in this case manufactured by someone who’s always
        Campaign donating to Joe Biden squiddly oink
        Jobs went overseas, June delivery OK?

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        Who’s to know?
        Who was to know?

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        Pornographic crackhead son
        Perfect example
        Whoever he’s family blogging
        Business deals don’t fall through
        Wire the dough or I make the call
        To let Joe Biden know.

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        Oink! Oink!
        Oink, oink, oink, oink!

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        DOJ missed all that
        And blew some filing dates
        Compare it to The Donald
        His real estate and stuff
        Dangerous receipts no one should
        Ever see
        Our prosecutors can show you one.

        There are no short-cuts, tra la!

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        With this situation

        They are standing still

        Pix on Telegram

        Ooh, ooh

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        A country without enemies? No beards to fear?
        As the Director reported to Joe
        Mr President, FAFO has gone SNAFU
        But her voice was high and Joe couldn’t hear
        And so readied more troops to go.


        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        So Jill called Nancy and they went to see a Wray
        To price the overtime for Proud Embeds
        But they went to the rally instead
        So the undercovers moved barriers and signs
        Instead of going home, the crowd went to jail.

        Silence that kick, silence that kick!

        In his confused mind Joe’s thing is broken but he still has hair
        He’s not in the mood for twirling

        Um ah

        Ukes for Nuland but no hands to clap
        Shells for shelling and drones for droning
        Z Zelenskying and Blinken blinking

        Every ruse and excuse to find
        Putin waiting.

        Stone soup.

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        Industrial kaput
        Joe Biden’s long knives

        Thrusted between Z’s shoulder blades

        The Tutus
        The Hutus


        Take it brother, may it serve you well

        Maybe it’s nothing
        Maybe it’s nothing
        What? What? Oh

        Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, Joe Biden, joebye (bye joe bye, bye joe bye, bye joe bye)

        Does everything fall
        Apart if no one reports on it?
        The slide to surrender is
        Too much too soon to share
        It would be like being naked
        Joe Biden naked

        Hold that lie, hold that lie!
        Silence the kick, silence the kick!

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Reconstructing the Istanbul Accords”

    Yeah, I like reading about alternate timelines like the one offered up here. One where Biden did not push the Ukraine to keep fighting and where Boris Johnson was only in Istanbul as an innocent tourist and had no effect on negotiations. But if these negotiations were going nowhere, why did Russia move their forces back from Kiev as a good faith measure? If the negotiations were a failure as this writer tries to make out, the Russians would have kept those forces there to keep the pressure on. But then I remembered that this article is appearing in “The National Interest” who would not be adverse to rewriting history.

  4. viscaelpaviscaelvi

    Re. the King Dotcom twit with the usual nuclear war alarmism: Mercouris, two or three days ago, said that (beyond the political bickering going on in Kyev at the moment) the reason for Budanov to replace Zalushny would likely be that he is a specialist in “covert operations”, that is, terrorism, and that the Ukrainian government, foreseeing the Russian occupation of the country, was laying the ground for “resistance” operations, hence the need of someone with such profile being in charge of the armed forces.
    Occam’s razor can be easily modulated to apply to nuclear armageddon predictions.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I’m not worried about it for a different reason. The Russians targeted Budanov’s headquarters once before, and they will probably go after him again if necessary.

      1. Benny Profane

        The residents of Lviv have to be freaking out a little, with talk of the “capital” moving there. No, no, please, stay in Kiev!

    2. Polar Socialist

      I’d think replacing Zaluzhny with Budanov, if it actually happens, is all about Zaluzhny being much more popular than the Big Z himself and thus a dangerous man, while Budanov is a loyalist who owes his position to ideology and not to any actual capabilities.

        1. Polar Socialist

          He probably doesn’t, but I gather he can still do all kinds of stuff, like postpone elections or gather yes-men around him.

          The juicy scuttlebutt in TG, likely not worth the NC but here goes, is that Zelensky has been stingy with replacements and ammunition for Avdeevka becasue when it falls, the failure can be used to remove Zaluzhny.

          Oddly enough, the most obvious candidate to replace him, Budanov, is the man personally responsible for the POW exchanges with Russia. Just as long as those roll on smoothly, the stage is set for… Oopsie!

  5. Wukchumni

    How an ARkstorm Could Wreak Havoc on Los Angeles Los Angeles Magazine

    The 1605 atmospheric river that hit Cali was just one of 10 major flooding events over time that would have taken down LA and then some, and notice how it happens every 150 to 200 years… we are so due, especially when you add climate change into the mix.

    To add misery to it, LA is backstopped by the San Gabriel & San Bernadino mountains-and thanks to orographic lift, the amount of rain received there would be much more than in the flatlands below, and it all has nowhere to go (there is one crummy little lake in the San Gabs) but seeking the easiest way down into suburbia.

    Houses in the City of Angles are worth about a million now, imagine about a million of them being wiped out?

    In addition to this event, geologic evidence indicates that other “megafloods” occurred in the California region in the following years A.D.: 212, 440, 603, 1029, c. 1300, 1418, 1750, 1810, and 1861–62. United States Geological Survey sediment research revealed that the 1605 flood deposited a layer of silt two inches thick at the Santa Barbara basin, indicating that it was the worst flood event of the past 2,000 years, being at least 50% more powerful than any of the others recorded based on geological evidence. (Wiki)

    Assembling California, by John McPhee

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Yellowstone Caldera says ‘You call that a disaster? Hold my beer!’

      For a long time Park Rangers knew that there was a caldera in the area but could not find it. Then one day NASA sent them a complimentary satellite image of Yellowstone National Park and looking at it realized that the whole damn region was the caldera. It was that big. I saw a Park Ranger in a video point out a chain of mountains with a large gap. He said that when the caldera went of last, it blew that part of the mountain chain away. Something to think about.

      1. jefemt

        Every 200,000 years , give or take, over the last 600,000 years. Pretty recent! The lava flows in south central Idaho, from St. Anthony west to Jerome, are another reminder. As the plates slide over the plume, generally southwesterly, Cooke City/ Silvergate, Red Lodge MT and Cody could see some wild times!

    1. Polar Socialist

      If there’s an antidote, then it’s just a matter of time to figure out how to neutralize it. The problem, of course, is having to be exposed to it – probably multiple times.

    2. herman_sampson

      Supposedly it is water-based (Mistral Security), may be washed off with ketchup and olive oil (Al-Jazeera) (which seems to conflict with “water-based). The Material Safety Data Sheet should be available which I think would give some info on neutralizing it – if it’s shipped interstate it should be available to the public.

      1. chris

        If it’s based on sec-buytl mercaptain (skunk oil) then something like highly acidic tomato products could help. Oil to absorb the remnants would be helpful too. There’s no way to guarantee it wouldn’t go through clothing or Pentwater skin though. So it may be that you’re in for a rough time regardless.

    3. Enter Laughing

      Dawn dishwashing soap. Hands down the best way to clean a dog that gets sprayed by a real skunk. Way more effective than tomato juice, baking powder or any other folk remedy we’ve ever tried. Who knows, maybe it’ll work on the malicious malodorant as well.

      1. chris

        Dawn works so well because of that old “like dissolves like” rule we all learn in chemistry early on. Dawn has oil in it and that helps it pull those kinds of materials into it as a surfactant.

      2. Adam Eran

        Baking soda + Peroxide + dawn — actually works with a skunk spray from a real skunk. I have multiple dog experiences here.

    4. Craig H.

      A better source than a twitter post would be handy. I read the Al Jazeera article but it didn’t have much in it. Did the Israeli cops spray down a bunch of people? Have other countries used the chemical weapon?

    5. Eclair

      The well-dressed protestor should always wear, at a minimum: eye protection (goggles, glasses), face protection (mask, bandana), head protection (bike helmet? hoodie / watch cap), long sleeves, long pants, chest protection (layers of newspaper tucked under shirt/jacket/hoodie), lower torso protection (what the hockey players wear, or a couple of socks wadded up,) gloves, sturdy footwear (no sandals!)
      Plus, carry a plastic water bottle with squirt top.

      Now, a ‘skunk-proof’ layer of plastic over all? Save those all-encompassing plastic hoodie raincoats they give out on the Niagara Maid of the Mist tours!

        1. Offtrail

          According to a story on Democracy Now today, protesters recognized the three persons who sprayed the skunk spray as Israeli graduate students disguised in kaffiyehs. The university doesn’t seem to have done anything about it to date.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “‘Opportunistic’ Chinese lines send ships to serve Red Sea ports”

    More than a few sour grapes here but I don’t see why. Those shipping companies want those containers going through especially since Piraeus has announced that they are 200,000 containers short of what they were expecting. So the Chinese pipe up and say that they can carry those containers as they aren’t doing anything stupid. Like carrying goods to Israel or trying to repeatedly bomb Yemen. If they can get those containers through and help clear that backlog, you would expect a bit more gratitude here. Meanwhile I see that Maersk has finally given up on sending their ships through the Red Sea and are sending them around the cape of Good Hope instead-

    1. CA

      “‘Opportunistic’ Chinese lines send ships to serve Red Sea ports”

      More than a few sour grapes here but I don’t see why….

      [ The point here strikes me as critically important. Where the Chinese always look to diplomacy to resolve international disputes and conflicts, this American administration has been sustaining conflict from the beginning. American foreign policy now strikes me as belligerent and militaristic to an unprecedented degree. ]

      1. Adam Eran

        I’m not so sure this aggressive approach is so new to the Americas. After all the Europeans wiped out 90% of the New World’s population–in fairness, most of that genocide was implemented by Old World diseases like smallpox, measles, malaria and yellow fever.

        In any case, I’ve read that between 1798 and 1994 the US is responsible for 41 changes of government south of its borders, and that mentions nothing of the economic attacks like NAFTA.

  7. griffen

    Crazy pants to discuss a US state that could eventually announce their secession from our humble 50 state union, indeed, but one could argue no other state is positioned to do the thing that Texas could perhaps do. Having their own electricity grid, having their own ranching and farming industries, indeed having a unique culture that dates to 1836 and their subsequent addition as a state in 1845.

    Cities like Houston, like Austin, like Dallas and Fort Worth, have just seen tremendous growth and an influx of population and also key industries that help to diversify greatly the state’s economic profile and aggregated GDP. Such a thing would make national flights a little more interesting…landing at the DFW airport or Love Field for a connection, for one, might need a rethink…

    Added thought…seems like a remote possibility but just my two cents.

    1. Wukchumni

      Little known to most, Texas experienced hyperinflation where their fiat-based economy had to be bailed out by the Feds, one of 3 hyperinflation episodes in the USA. (Continental Currency & Confederate Currency being the other culprits)

      “Redbacks” were bearer promissory notes issued between January 1839 and September 1840 by Mirabeau B. Lamar to fund the national debt during his presidency of the republic. Inflation, due mainly to overprinting, devalued the notes substantially, making 15 redbacks equal to one United States dollar.[citation needed] This debt of over $10 million was an important factor for annexation into the United States.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘This debt of over $10 million was an important factor for annexation into the United States.’

        Sounds a lot like how Scotland came into the United Kingdom. They bankrupted themselves with some dodgy investments in Panama and the only way to get out of the hole they had dug for themselves was to join with England into a Union.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Why is a Jubilee-default never an option? Corps routinely default and process “bad bets” through bankruptcy and mergers/collapses. But the banking set has everyone who matters Pavlovian-trained to see “default” (by any except the wealthy) as the ultimate horror.

          “You mean to tell me that those express terms in the bond doc warning that there is a default risk in any ‘investment’ actually mean that I could actually LOSE MY CAPITAL??!!! And the risk premium I EARNED that made the interest amount, well, interesting???!! Doesn’t God Himself forbid defaults?”

        2. Anonymous 2

          Well, the rich in Scotland lost a lot of money. The poorer sort of course did not have much to lose in the first place so saw their country lose its independence to bail out the (formerly) rich who of course controlled the politics.

          As it is Burns Night:

          We were bought and sold for English gold
          Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    2. jo6pac

      I have no problem with them leaving as long as all Federal Govt. and companies with Fed contracts leave to. Houston you have a problem.

      1. Feral Finster

        I find North Dakota libertarians to be a laugh riot. The federal government has its fingers in so many different pies, subsidizing everything from rural housing to rural broadband, water supplies, electricity, then there’s flood control, agriculture, military bases, highways, etc..

        Take away the federal government and locals would either have to go back to The Waltons or return the state back to the Indians.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      Texan, here.
      i am in principal all for secession…and, like i’ve said many times, when Texas secedes from the Union, i will secede from Texas,lol.
      but there are issues that the current crop of orgasmics over in the #Texit section of twitter are not contemplating.
      #1 is $….somehow…surveying the people who have run texas for decades, now(Texdems are a throw rug, texgop has run off anyone with any sense)…it just doesnt appear to me that they’re in any way capable of setting up a viable currency, etc.
      too…and this is based on my local conditions, which(unless disproven) i habitually scale up…the 3 largest employers where i live are, in order, the public school, the one city gov, and the county gov…all 3 of which rely utterly on federal funds…or state funds, which are really federal funds, once removed.
      also, the state gooberment is hardly representative of the citizens of texas…we’ve been the practice run for just about every billionaire coddling, corporate welfare program that has then been spread far and wide….also just about every antidemocratic program, as well.
      again, ive always been for the right to secession, even down to the individual level(as problematic as that may be in practice,lol)…but i’ve also always known that if texas ever went that way, it would be for stupid shit.
      McLaren and the Republic of Texas morons had their compound not far west from me, and they would come hang out with friends around here from time to time(i cooked for them)…and they were idiots…talked about oil sovereignty and commandeering fort hood and whatnot, but always just assuming that all of Texas would rally to their cause when the balloon went up

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          indeed….a hobbsian state of nature is what will ensue, in spite of their denials when i bring that up as the likely end of their 40 years of mahgunz and “cant tell me what to do” juvenile bs.
          then we can settle into the Burning Times…and after that the Warlord Period(relative stability)…and then Blackrock or whatever swoops in and enslaves us all anyways.

          1. skippy

            I always point out to ***rusted on sorts*** what class[oligarch] and how their funding[fat from rents&government $$$$] started the movement they dead]icated their minds and souls too … willingly at that … with wild abandon …

            Then whilst the gears are grinding ask them how it scales wrt Personal Rights[tm] …

            The sad part is like my recovering Rothbard mate, once the mind, especially young, gets formatted like that its nigh impossible to completely remove the formatting e.g. whilst he now rails against the oligarch class, better understands how sovereign currency works, political operatives captured by $$$$, etc, he has now shifted that mind set to mRNA is what caused all the dramas with covid camp. Per se … if not mRNA everything would be normal and freedom and liberties[tm] go undiminished …


      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        let me hasten to also add that the current head of the texit movement….Daniel Miller…is a lot less hair on fire and less obviously crazy than any of the other ones who have led that parade in the past.
        i mean…mcklaren was cool to do a shot of tequila with,lol…but man….

        recently, they got enough signatures to get secession on the ballot in the gop primary, but were blocked on several fronts…”digital signatures”, no telephone, etc…same stuff dems do to frustrate the Greens.
        i reckon a referendum is the best course of action…i mean, given “Our Democracy”, and all…

      2. griffen

        Yeah I was hoping you could chime in with the view from hill country. I am no longer a resident, having fled the DFW metro area after 2015 and returning to the east coast and the Carolinas.

        It’s a lot of talk and planning, I’ll grant. My guess is the really downtrodden, the indigent and the homeless lacking in just basic services are getting used to being that way and worse in these scenarios, and they don’t like it now or would they like it then. Is there a Mad Max Round Rock sequel in the works? I’d still call the actual secession scenario a distant, but not fully impossible, thing to occur.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          from my perch, at least(and given the limitations and caveats: small sample size, isolated pop for many decades,culturally different than just abt everywhere ive been until say 1999)….i think the gop party true believers(blue hair, red hats) would be against it…they like things as they are(reagan revolution was won).
          and the lower orders, as ive said, couldnt care less/are unaware…or, if somewhat aware, are getting towards nihilism.

          its the former middle class party adherents…the contractors who just want decent pay, decent house, and not to be frelled with overmuch…who are likely to be on board with this, at least tacitly.
          (interestingly, my cousin in houston has been warning of this cohort for months…the guys who have a gun to hand, drive a truck, are shotcallers in construction….are ready to pop…even ones who are still relatively comfortable)

          the blue hair/red hat people are the righty version of PMC…everythings fine(except for the commie biden).

          its the middle that we must watch…they may not be burning shit right now…but theyve been talking about it at the beer joint and on the tailgate…and while fishing, hunting, etc…for a while, now.
          trump 2.0 may be the last chance they give it.
          if the second double bird doesnt work(whether by failure on trumps part, or shenanigans by deepstate/pmc)…then all bets are off.
          in that light, this current kerfuffel is merely foreplay(is abbot up for election in 24?,lol)

          1. Feral Finster

            “its the middle that we must watch…they may not be burning shit right now…but theyve been talking about it at the beer joint and on the tailgate…and while fishing, hunting, etc…for a while, now.”

            This is the correct answer, when lots of ordinary citizens turn malcontent because they see no alternative.

            Forgive me for the reductio ad Hitleram, but a lot of the Nazi voting base was not hardcore streetfighting national socialists, but from burghers that felt trapped and weren’t necessarily enthusiastic about their choice.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          i drove through there once…to avoid construction, i think.
          didnt know at the time that it was Galt’s Gulch.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      The population isn’t Texan. This is the flaw besides items like farming tax collection out to the IRS. Those things would have to be started from scratch.

      Besides a couple of hats and buckles, UT and A&M are both now also rans in the SEC. The culture isn’t that unique.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      What’s “crazy pants” is a homeland “security” chief, not even born in this country, and a “president” with full on dementia allowing millions of unknown foreigners to illegally stream across the “border” and be deposited throughout the country for three years while periodically reporting to congress that everything’s under “control,” and when a local someone tries to stop some tiny part of it, sues to keep it going.

      And immediately the talk around Abbot’s miniscule, long-overdue pushback turns to talk of “secession” or “civil war.” WTAF? It sounds like someone’s finally regained some tiny modicum of common frickin’ sense to me. Texas isn’t going anywhere.

      Considering what the u.s. is currently supporting in ukraine and Palestine, the standard “humanitarian” excuse is a sick joke. It’s high time mayorkas, his so-called boss and the spineless ditherers in the “congress” come clean about who they’re really working for and what kind of mayhem they’re setting up.

    6. jsn

      Yes, I expect like Brexit, Texit could lead to an avantguard Texas collapse, possibly years ahead of the rest of the US!

      The Libertarian house cats running the place have as good an idea of their dependencies as Tories.

      Mexico would probably find them a lot easier to deal with now than in 1836.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i saw recently that, for the first time, latinios outnumber white folks in texas…altho i didnt run it down, let alone look at methodology.
        so, Atzlan, here we come!

        and i hope the Comanche, Kiowa, et alia have their ducks in a row to retake all this land the Great Spirit gave to them(per all those cave paintings along the Llano River, at least…and at Paint Rock…and many other sites)

        should be a hoot.

        1. jsn

          House cats;)

          Don’t get me wrong, I love my house cats, but they don’t fill the water dish, buy the cat food or clean the box.

          They do act like they’re owed all those things and think the house title is in their name, obviously libertarians! Take them outside and a hawk will get them in ten minutes!

  8. Wukchumni

    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)

    If Trump takes her out in the Palmetto state
    She’s gonna change her mind (she’s gonna change her mind)
    And if Trump takes her out attacks will abate
    And he will treat her kind (he’s gonna treat her kind)

    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)

    Trump will treat her right, my friend
    Once you find her gone (once you find her gone)
    ‘Cause he will treat her right, and then
    He’ll be the only one (he’ll be the only one)

    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)

    He’ll make a point of taking her away from you (watch what you do), yeah
    The way he treats her, maybe Stefanik will have to do?

    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)

    He’ll make a point of taking her away from you (watch what you do), yeah
    The way he treats her, maybe Stefanik will have to do?

    If Trump takes her out in the Palmetto state
    She’s gonna change her mind (she’s gonna change her mind)
    And if Trump takes her out attacks will abate
    And he will treat her kind (he’s gonna treat her kind)

    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)
    You’re gonna lose that girl (yes, yes, you’re gonna lose that girl)

    You’re Going to Lose That Girl, by the Beatles

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I’m a bit surprised that the Donald hasn’t made more hay out of Nikki Girl’s stint on Boeing’s board of directors, prior to the MAX crashes that killed over 300 people.

      It was clearly a vanity appointment – she has no aviation background or knowledge of the industry other than luring Boeing to a right-to-work state. Essentially she got paid to do nothing, other than be a pretty face on a corporate web site. Now it looks like she fiddled while the place burned.

      Maybe the Donald figures that “the thing speaks for itself.”

      1. Pat

        I think you will see it if she doesn’t crash and burn in her home state. Boeing moving to SC is considered one of her triumphs, her term on the board is probably not as detrimental there as for the rest of the country.

        1. Feral Finster

          Sorta like HRC being on the Wal-Mart board, while her illustrious husband just happened to be governor of Arkansas.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My gut is Republicans tend to be very careful about which issues to attack Democrats on. There really should have been hearings on Libya, but the focus was on Benghazi because no Republicans would get wrapped up in it or be forced to address policies they agree with.

        If a Senator goes after Boeing, they won’t get the Lockheed job, but an ally may get taken down too. I also think it’s fine to bemoan corruption but naming names encourages the naming of more names. NBC’s Tina Fey made jokes about Harvey Weinstein and maybe Cosby for years. When names were properly named, NBC news started losing people. Even the GOP focus on Hunter Biden. He’s a clod. Everyone sees it, but they aren’t making a larger argument about Democrats protecting Bob Menendez or the donations to libraries. The Democrats do it with Trump. He’s a clown, but have you seen the other Republicans?

        1. ChrisFromGA

          There was a big kerfluffle yesterday because Kari Lake leaked a private phone call with a bigwig in the Arizona Republican Party, maybe the chair, and it caught him dead to rights offering her a bribe to stand down and not run for office.

          He ended up having to resign in disgrace.

          To your point, that sort of piercing of the veil tends to be rare. Slut-shaming Nikki for her Boeing connections could start to unravel all the other corruption. Raytheon Lloyd, Glitch Mitch probably has lined up cush jobs for his friends and family with Lockheed Martin, etc.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            When Virginia’s George Allen fell from grace, what stood out to me was all the stuff that was printed after the moment was a rumor. What happened was people were willing to say publicly these stories once the Rubicon was crossed.

            The Arizona flap seems like a nothing burger. This happens all the time. Calling it what it is changes the dynamic.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        He doesn’t need to. nimarata is purely a reid hoffman creation and he’s cuttin’ her off.

        If I remember my 5th grade science correctly, what happens next is called spontaneous combustion.

        1. flora

          T announced yesterday on his Truth Social site that when he’s president again (confident fellow) he’ll cut off listening to any of Nikki’s big current donors who continue donations to her after his announcement, aka from today forward. (can’t link the Truth Social ..uh… “Truth”? … “tweet” ?)

          Popcorn time at the donor watch party.

        2. Carolinian

          I’m not very plugged into local politics but I have no sense that Nikki is popular here. Trump on the other hand….

          And while the Boeing board seat was a commonplace political payoff, the $15 million she has acquired since the UN–much of it in speaking fees–is a riper potential source of scandal.

          Basically she had her shot and the chance to make the case for herself and she flopped. The trash talking belligerence may have had something to do with it and I read she is now going around claiming she is not a warmonger.

          It’s over.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The rise and fall of the standard user interface”

    I have to admit to a mild interest in computer user interfaces and how they work. I saw one computer though that when you first turned it on, left you at a wallpaper screen. No icons, not start buttons just nothing. It seemed that the designers had decided that they wanted a ‘clean’ screen that was not cluttered by objects such as icons and the like. A new user had to fiddle around to find out how to do anything or look up instructions on the net on another computer. Apple was supposed to have had the best user interfaces once but after Jobs carked it, the artsy types took over. I do not know if they have improved but here is one very critical article that I saved from several years ago-

    Windows is not much better and I noted that they removed some functions when they went from Windows XP to Windows 7. But after seeing the resource-hungry monstrosities that followed, I bailed and stuck with Windows 7 which works just fine for me. Of course I long for a good computer interface and have a fondness for a fictional one but that nonetheless I would love to have-

    1. turtle

      Yikes, Windows 7! I would not feel safe at all daily driving that now that it’s several years without security updates. If you don’t want to switch to Windows 10, and soon 11, have you considered Linux instead?

      1. The Rev Kev

        One day I will switch to Linux but as my computer is still working, the need is not pressing. As for no new security updates, I have an excellent internet security program and I follow my own set of security protocols. They certainly do not include installing an operating system like Windows 10 and 11 which both have a keylogger turned on by default. Here is an article that might interest you-

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          i run the same sorts of firewall, antivirii, etc ive run since 99…all still free, too…and zero problems.
          until win10 forced itself onto “my” machine, i hadnt done an update since last century, either(windows updates always screw up more than they fix, imo…and it aint like im running a bidness or banking online or anything)
          but wife’s school laptop, which they gave us bc they were getting new, and she had been doing the bills on it…well, i cant access the admin section,lol.
          so cant kill chrome or “edge” or the windows updaters, nor many of the things that are forever resetting to just open all the channels wide to the mothership.
          did manage to install zonealarm….one of my faves…and in spite of windows incessant warnings.
          so i just disallowed the updater access to the web,lol.
          of course, they hacked me, anyway, eventually…and installed win11(sigh).
          that microsoft doesnt even ask anymore is one of the things that bothers me the most.
          update=turn everything on, again….upgrade to latest bugridden betatest= turn everything on, and make it harder to turn it all off.

        2. Antagonist Muscles

          I saw one computer though that when you first turned it on, left you at a wallpaper screen. No icons, not start buttons just nothing.

          My computer’s user interface is deliberately minimal. When I turn on my Linux computer, I see two terminal emulators and a simple taskbar (XFCE panel) at the bottom of my screen. The taskbar shows the date and a list of windows currently open. There is no Start button that expands to multiple sub-menus when clicked on. There are zero icons on my wallpaper. If I click on my wallpaper desktop with my mouse, nothing happens. I abhor the desktop paradigm of placing icons on a desktop and using those icons as application launchers or shortcuts. I abhor files lying around on my desktop. Likewise, I abhor the home screen on iphones where I see a grid of icons, and I have to click on an icon to launch some software application. (Who decided that we should shorten this to “app”? What exactly is wrong with calling a piece of software an application?)

          From The rise and fall of the standard user interface:

          [The lack of Common User Access] also disenfranchizes millions of disabled computer users, especially blind and visually-impaired people. You can’t use a pointing device if you can’t see a mouse pointer

          My weird preferences for user interfaces and my usage of Linux is a not reflection of my renegade ways. Because of my extraordinarily rare visual problems, looking at a computer screen with a bunch of icons is literally painful. Similarly, using a smartphone is painful. How many smartphone induced pain episodes would it take you to realize that you ought to just stop using phones altogether?

          I am no Linux expert, even though I have been using it for ten years. I just use it. By the way, Linux sucks in countless ways. I still have to use it because (1) I can’t quit using computers like I quit using phones and (2) I don’t know how to customize Windows to not cause me pain.

          1. Not Qualified to Comment

            The term ‘Linux’ covers dozens of Operating Systems based on a common core but each deliberately designed for users with different needs and/or expertise much as the internal combustion engine is based on a common principle (“suck, squeeze, bang, blow” – shame on you if you pictured something else!) but powers everything from a Fiat 500 to a Rolls Royce through a Porsche.

            Presently ‘Mint’ is seen as the best option for Windows users as it most resembles it on the surface and is for general purposes, and in many ways the sheer number of other options all with their own claims – speed, simplicity, lightness, stability, security, aesthetics, specialisation – can be a mountain to climb. But if you’re willing to experiment a bit, research and persevere there’s likely a distribution for you out there.

        3. turtle

          Thanks for the link. If you’re taking proper precautions to compensate for the fact that the OS is no longer receiving security updates you may be OK.

      2. Pat

        Depending on what you do on the computer, 7 is probably as secure as 10 and has a whole lot less spyware than 11. Here is the thing, like the utterly bogus idea that organizations having your cell phone number made you safer, anything that is collecting and transmitting massive amounts of data about you will automatically make you less safe. Saves the malware work. Security updates are never going to address that as it is a feature not a bug.

        1. Carolinian

          Right. If malware didn’t exist computer company marketing departments would have to invent it. Security becomes our burden and their opportunity.

    2. Carolinian

      I think Bill Gates should get credit for the Windows interface which stole what Apple stole from Xerox and made it more useful with extra features like the right click context menu. Jobs was more of a marketing guy and thought computers should be “beautiful” and esthetic.

      They are all just machines, not art objects. IMO. Practical is best.

      1. Alice X

        Ha, poor Xerox, great ideas, no marketing. Where are they now?

        I’ve been wondering what I did that every little thing I write goes into moderation?

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            me, too…but i dont mind.
            mods are likely overworked…and i prolly said crazy things at numerous times…so it makes sense.

          2. Alice X

            Well, at least I’m in good company! :-)

            But actually I’m wondering if the algorithm is out of tilt. Anyway, it does make for more work.

          3. vao

            Me too — but I notice this only started recently (a few weeks ago). Wasn’t there an announcement around year-end that NC had had to reorganize its site management procedures because of whatever reason (software or personnel)?

            In any case, not an issue for me.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Some sort of glitch in the system. Pity the poor mods. Instead of having to look at only questionable comments, they have to look at damn near all of them.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that link, Vandemonian. Michael Okuda really outdid himself with the design of the LCARS system and his screens became know as “Okudagrams”. The following article mentions that he also designed patches for various NASA missions-

        Like a lot of people, I was intrigued with being able to talk to your computer instead of just banging away on a keyboard. But by the time it started to become a reality it had mutated in systems like Amazon Alexa which spent half the time spying on you and the other half trying to flog off their wares.

    3. El Slobbo


      I saw one computer though that when you first turned it on, left you at a wallpaper screen. No icons, not start buttons just nothing.

      I was using that all blank user interface for a while. It came out at a time when the standard Linux mouse had three buttons, and you would use the buttons in the standard way to get at what you wanted. Extremely simple and “intuitive” if you knew how to use that mouse in the “standard” way.

      Which brings me to the point, that the common user interface is beneficial for users and developers in that it saves both learning time and development time, but we must not forget that what we find to be second nature now are all learned operations, and that the learning curve can be measured in years for truly expert operations.
      I had the opportunity recently to work with someone who had never used a PC before and it reminded me just how unnatural is so much of what we do.
      Also, the majors have a long history of completely ignoring their own guidelines when it suits them to do so.

  10. divadab

    Re: Boeing’s Stock Buybacks aka Market manipulation for the benefit of management and to the detriment of the business.

    $61 billion in stock buybacks! Plus dividends Boeing paid out over 120% of its profits, per the article. And went cheap on everything required to grow the company – engineering, product development, quality control, union workers, etc. etc. This is negligence at the highest levels of the corporation, criminal negligence as it resulted in two deadly crashes that killed all on board.

    SO now the only thing keeping Boeing afloat is military contracts aka MIC welfare. It’s the sad death of what once of an icon of US aviation engineering and production. Killed (at least, mortally wounded) by the worst financial parasitism aka “Financial Engineering”.

    This is why stock buybacks used to be illegal until St. Reagan blessed the greed parasites to go all in. The parasite has killed the host. Nice work if you can get it.

    1. vao

      Let me throw a thought about all this:

      1) you are a top corporate leader or wealthy investor who has been around and seeing what is happening for decades;

      2) you are well-informed by your ever diligent assistants, research departments, think-tanks, NGO, and academics about the disruptions ahead (because of unbeatable emerging competitors such as China, natural resource exhaustion, climate change, societies nearing the breaking point after decades of capitalistic extraction, realignment of economic powers, etc);

      3) given the socio-political conditions, you assess the probability of societies prudently changing course in order to ensure the survivability of the economic system as very low;

      4) you judge that it is therefore pointless to do the right thing for the firm you manage to remain an enduring concern — it is swimming against the stream; besides, this would require real work, not just juggling with figures, accounts, and contracts;

      5) you conclude that the easiest thing for you is to extract as much wealth as possible from the organization you lead/possess, even if that leaves behind only an inoperable carcass; hence bonuses, dividends, and stock buy-backs.

      I remember an interview with Gaël Giraud, where he reported on his discussions with very wealthy individuals about the impact of climate change and neoliberalism. He clearly stated that they were perfectly aware that the current system is speeding to a disaster, but they were dismissive of any attempt to change or reform it, or mitigate its effects, and their only strategic thought was “how can we escape the direst consequences and take as much as we can with us — e.g. to New Zealand?”

      Frankly, there is so much going on with those stock buy-backs, private equity, and the like, that it looks like rational, frantic “looting while there is still time”. Or am I still too generous in assuming that level of (cynical) calculation amongst that “elite”? The belief they can truly escape a collapse and take their ill-gotten wealth with them would be an argument against it.

  11. Durans

    I’m not at all surprised at the algorithm in India incorrectly declaring someone dead. I pretty much knew it would happen, only thing needed was for someone to make a system designed to determine that. The deal with all the trouble in getting it fixed isn’t really a surprise either.

    Tired of all the AI “horror stories” being about ridiculous killer robots/computers, I tried to think up more realistic ideas (for a book I’ll never write). A mistake by some algorithmic system was at the top of the list, and it incorrectly declaring someone dead was one of the possibilities I though might work best.

    1. Acacia

      The foobar manhunt due to a swatted insect falling into a teletype machine in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is much closer to what we might expect than any fantasy Colossus AI-takeover.

  12. jefemt

    From Jesse’s Cafe yesterday:

    “I am not very excited about the upcoming Presidential election.

    I would never even consider voting for Trump, but I also would not vote for Biden, the Clinton-Obama-Biden clan, and the Reagan-Bush-GOP cult of Molok.

    And I don’t like the idea of being shamed into voting for the ‘lesser of two evils’ which has been the core Democratic strategy since 1990. Tough to make a meaningful pick for the national level.

    But this doesn’t seem to be just a US phenomenon. If one starts naming leaders around the world, the ‘leaders’ do not inspire much confidence. Actually, it gathers in the throat, like a sour mix of dark humor and horrified astonishment.

    Maybe I am too picky, but perhaps it also says something about those that are drawn to great power.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I feel like scaling is an issue. It was noted Chinese localities control something like 70% of government spending. The result is the denizens of Springfield demand better government when Shelbyville gets something because they can see it.

      Some decades ago, we would get real intra party rebellions as you could get guys like Huey Long or the Roosevelts. Today, the states are dependent on DC. We’ve become so accustomed to a distant government without good local governments we get people who believe Biden isn’t a monster as can be seen by his less than enthusiastic primary voters in the other article.

      Newsom has a profile because…he is there to veto his own party’s proposed policies. There isn’t pressure on him to be good because the governors of Oregon and Nevada are hamstrung even if they wanted to.

  13. Mikel

    “In India, an algorithm declares them dead; they have to prove they’re alive” Al Jazeera

    “..The interlinking of different databases was done to get an integrated database which was the ‘single source of truth’.”

    The hell being created by a bunch of emotional cripples.
    And then the living, breathing and actual single source of truth has to deal with what also sounds like a scam put on autopilot.

    1. vao

      The crux of the matter is here (in part 1 of that report):

      Since there are huge variations in how names and addresses are recorded in different databases, Samagra Vedika uses “machine learning” and “entity resolution technology” to uniquely identify a person.

      The article gives the example of a family denied desperately needed food benefits because the husband, called Syed Ali, was assumed to be another person named Syed Hyder Ali — with completely different socio-economic characteristics. Obviously, that machine-learning based entity resolution technology fails the most basic cases.

      Database reconciliation was already a big mess 40 years ago within single large corporations (and even more so when they merged with other firms). And then you have this:

      Samagra Vedika uses algorithms to triangulate a person’s identity in multiple government databases – as many as 30 – and combines all the information to build a person’s profile.

      applied to tens or hundreds of millions of persons. The best thing is that

      In cases where the physical verification did not pan out, the family income is derived by “logic-based artificial intelligence [AI].”

      All to prevent a dreaded “leakage” — although nowhere in the articles did the authorities provide reliable figures about how much “leakage” was ultimately avoided by those systems.

      And that is probably the point: the systems were not developed to ensure that people get what they are entitled by law, but to prevent “leakage”. Just like those medical management systems are not there to help physicians in their work, but to manage billing. Just like those search engines are not configured to actually find relevant information, but to foist paid advertisements.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “US urges China to help curb Red Sea attacks by Iran-backed Houthis’

    The Chinese must be having a chuckle over this one. The US has bombed Yemen about nine times already but the attacks keep on coming. So they have been going to China to get them to ask Iran to ask Ansar Allah to back off? Of course the US could approach Iran itself but since there are many in the administration that want to bomb Iran, that may not be possible. There might be another factor at work with China and the US here. A coupla years ago the US said that what they wanted to do with Chinese relations was to partition it. So as an example, the administration could on one morning send weapons to Taiwan to threaten China with but that afternoon ask the Chinese to buy more US treasuries or something. China, for some mysterious reason, said no and that international relations did not work that way but were always comprehensive. Old Joe has gotten himself in a pickle here. I wonder if the war against Yemen will still be going on this November?

  15. pjay

    – ‘Netanyahu Has Got to Go’ – SpyTalk

    Here’s why I don’t trust SpyTalk:

    “Here at SpyTalk, we’ve endeavored to hew closely to our self-declared franchise of reporting on “the intersection of intelligence, foreign policy and military operations,” as we like to say, and steering clear of the hyper-partisan politics and emotions ruling the day. Of course, that’s practically impossible when Donald Trump, the once and possibly future president, upends national security norms by, say, publicly favoring Vladimir Putin’s version of election interference over the findings of his own intelligence agencies, or sharing top secret intelligence with Russian officials in the Oval Office, or illegally squirreling away classified documents in his various homes, or prompting violent attacks on the FBI, prosecutors and judges, not to mention presidential electors and the U.S. Capitol…”

    Any “intelligence reporter” making such a statement has openly revealed his partisan intent. That doesn’t mean his message about Netanyahu is incorrect. Rather, it is simply another reflection of the Blob’s PR problem caused by Bibi and the genocidal fanatics now in control of Israeli policy. In this he is in agreement with some of our intelligence bros in Mossad. Better stick to assassinating Iranian scientists and Palestinian political leaders and keep the ethnic cleansing on low heat.

  16. gepay

    I wonder how the decline of quality of Boeing is related to real VIPs now fly their own private jets rather than commercial flights like the rest of us.

  17. Sutter Cane

    Institutional COVID denial has killed public health as we knew it. Prepare to lose several centuries of progress

    Great article. I would forward it to some friends who claim to be lefties but they are incapable of seeing that they are essentially right wingers now on this topic.

  18. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    I still remember when, in a 2011 Bloomberg interview, Musk was literally laughing at the very notion of Chinese car companies competing with Tesla.

    Thirteen years later, the same Musk: “Chinese car companies are the most competitive companies in the world… If no barriers are established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world. They are extremely good.”…

    Elon Musk: China automakers would ‘demolish’ rivals without trade barriers
    Tesla CEO says competitor BYD still an important battery supplier

    PALO ALTO, U.S. — Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Chinese automakers would “demolish” most of the world’s other car companies if there were no trade barriers.

    “Our observation is generally that the Chinese car companies are the most competitive car companies in the world,” the tech billionaire said on Wednesday at a Tesla earnings call when asked if he saw any opportunities for partnerships with Chinese manufacturers.

    8:01 AM · Jan 25, 2024

  19. Mikel

    “Argentinians stage nationwide strike against Javier Milei’s far-right agenda” Guardian

    Well…that was quick.

  20. pjay

    – ‘Far Right, En Marche’ – The Baffler

    I have no expertise in French politics, and certainly a scholar of French intellectual and cultural history at a US university knows much more than I do about the subject. And yet… I have a lot of expertise in clueless liberal academics. So I ask those who know: is this essay as clueless as I think it is?

    1. Aurelien

      Not entirely, in that some of the facts are correct, but it’s very much written from the pearl-clutching end of the political spectrum, which sees the strength of the RN as an evil in itself, and the election of Le Pen as President in 2027 as a disaster unprecedented in human history. As usual, it lacks any context or any attempt to explain why immigration is even an issue, and why sympathy for Le Pen is widespread, extending to parts of the established immigrant community itself. The actual immigration law that was passed by the National Assembly is a mish-mash of largely technical changes, with little practical impact. The symbolism was that for the first time a neoliberal government was forced to actually confront the topic, which is one of those that ordinary French people are very concerned about. The political shambles the article describes reasonably accurately has damaged the reputation of all the major parties, except for the RN who, unforgivably, behaved in a statesperson like manner, and showed how deeply evil they were by being moderate and avoiding polemic.

      Under normal circumstances, the condition of France would bring a Left-wing government back into power, but the Left has gone absent, and is in fact part of the problem. Its monomaniac fixation with destroying the RN at any cost, and its alliances of convenience with Islamic forces and thoughtless ranting about “Islamophobia”, while ignoring the real needs of its voters, have effectively marginalised it, and driven much of its original popular base to support the RN. It’s true that Le Pen’s 2022 platform would have been considered mainstream up to the 1970s, but that just shows how devilishly clever she is, speaking of things like national autonomy from Brussels and industrial regeneration.

      1. pjay

        Sounds very familiar. Instead of addressing the many social, economic, and political ills which led to the growing popularity of Trump and his MAGA followers, our ruling Establishment and its media apologists simply depict them as an ominous fascist threat and seek to ban Trump from public office. Apparently the same process is occurring in Germany with regard to the AfD. In both cases, the few remaining on the traditional left who seek to address mass concerns are also demonized as fascist enablers. Given the systematic dismantling of any real alternatives on the political left, it’s very hard not to be pessimistic about the future.

      2. spud

        the left in the E.U., are to busy trying to save what they think is the epitome of civilization, the E.U.

        but they are heading in the same direction as the last time someone tried that. you gotta wonder if this time around, it will be russia and china with bases in europe, to make sure fascism stays buried.

  21. Zephyrum

    Regarding the Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane shot down, a Ukrainian Telegram channel is saying that the Ukrainians are now well aware that the plane contained Ukrainian POWs being returned to Ukraine under a negotiated exchange.
    Key paragraph translated:

    In order not to disrupt the exchanges, the Ukrainian negotiators propose to carry out an exchange inclusive of these “dead” prisoners, and the Russians will receive the stated number with (a bonus for the crew and the plane).
    But this formula must still be approved by Zelensky and Ermak.

    The source on Telegram is Легитимный (Legitimate), which is a Ukrainian, but Russian language channel that is generally critical of the government there. Seems pretty well connected though.

    1. Lefty Godot

      Apparently Ukrainian media were all bragging at first about how they shot down a Russian plane. Then somebody remembered that was one of the planes with their freed POWs on it and all the brag posts got deleted. You really have to wonder WTF is going on in their heads.

  22. John

    Lavrov did well to contain himself in the face of an interlocutor who could not/would not hear his answers. IIRC he skated past two questions. I would have done the same. t has been a wonder to me that the “narrative” has persisted in the face of reality. Then again, if you do not want to know or your job depends on not knowing,we are presented with this performance. CBS is a news organization? Fearlessly pursuing truth?
    Walter maybe spinning in his graver.

    1. digi_owl

      It is sad that Russia and China right now seem to have far better examples of “elder statesmen” than basically the whole of NATO. Ours seem to behave like petulant children have been told no, and are throwing a collective tantrum.

  23. zagonostra

    >New Hampshire passes “The Clean Atmosphere Preservation Act,”

    I know some people dismiss Geoengineering, but apparently New Hampshire legislation has decided to take action. Good development.

    From House Bill NH 1700:

    It is therefore the intention of the general court to prohibit SAI geoengineering and other intentionally polluting activities in New Hampshire’s atmosphere and/or at ground level, as further set forth by the terms and provisions of this chapter to preserve the safe, healthful, and peaceful uses of New Hampshire’s atmosphere for people,

  24. Tom Stone

    It seems to me that the view of “Flyover” or the “Godzone” from Wokeistan is obscured by more than the dust raised by plowing the fields.

  25. MaryLand

    TX congressman: 90% of small business hit by ‘illegal immigrant’ crime. What the data says

    “Data published by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., found that the criminal conviction rate among undocumented immigrants in Texas in 2020 was 45% lower than that of native-born U.S. citizens in Texas.”

    Texas has an abundance of political posturing and manure spreading.

    1. cfraenkel

      Is the congressman’s ‘illegal immigrant crime’ referring to crime committed by the immigrants, or the crimes committed by the businesses?

  26. chuck roast

    Kyrylo Budanov: the Ukrainian military spy chief who ‘likes the darkness‘ FT

    …ouch…there was no puttin’ lipstick on this swine.

  27. Feral Finster

    “Absolutely unreal. The US is begging China to bail them out of the mess they put themselves in with Yemen.”

    The US knows full well that China cannot help and will not help. The US wants a pretext to blame China.

  28. JB

    Ryanair buying up a whole housing estate in Dublin (something REIT’s have already been doing for years now) to house workers – something that’s a reminder of US company towns:

    By many metrics, Dublin has one of the worst (imo the worst) housing crisis in the world – ongoing for a decade now, with the government only goosing it on.

    It’s about to reach the stages of collapse of essential-but-low-paid services, due to low-paid workers being unable to afford to live there.

    I keep saying it from time to time, but: Due to its oversized finance industry tax haven, I really do reckon Ireland is the archetype/testing-ground at the fore of whatever the next rent-seeking pillaging is about to be rolled out across the Western world (and at the fore of the narratives that will be used to back each step) – a lot can be learned from watching Ireland and narratives at play there.

    1. Divadab

      Same in Canada- housing unaffordability driven by excessive immigration. The Canadian government of Emperor Justin the Beautiful is importing about a million people per year, increasing the population by 2.5% every year, when less than 100k new housing units are built per year. It’s treasonous- no other way to describe this policy. I think Ireland is also being swamped by immigrants. This is, of course, according to the instructions of the WEF, both Trudeau and varadkar being “wef young leaders”. Apparently they aim to destroy their own countries.

      1. jrkrideau

        Actually about half of that.

        In 2023, IRCC plans to welcome more than 465,000 immigrants to Canada. In 2024, Canada’s newcomer target is 485,000 new permanent residents (PRs). In both 2025, and 2026 Canada will aim to welcome an additional 500,000 immigrants (in each year)

        Immigration is not helping the housing situation but a good bit of the problem is due to the federal gov’t getting out of the affordable housing field in the 1980’s under Brian Mulroney and the Liberals later not paying any attention to housing issues.

    2. digi_owl

      FFS, least they could do was built new housing units rather than scarf up what little there already is. And i guess it will just get worse for Ireland, being the English speaking gateway to EU since UK left.

  29. spud

    the article on Honduras is why the left has no story that the deplorable are interested in. the left seems to hate sovereignty, yet they are always saying they can fix the problems caused by free trade economics.

    but when are they going to accomplish this, they have been saying this since 1993, and you need sovereignty to fix things. so the left thinks free trade helps the poor, when the history of it right up till today says it pummels the poor.

    the article even mentions trump dumped one of the worst polices in free trade, no wonder the left is spitting into the wind, and the deplorable world wide are swinging in favor of trumps.

    the left was all for free trade and a loss of sovereignty, no amount of story telling is going to win back the deplorable, till the left bites the bullet, and says we are not citizens of the world, and we need sovereignty and nationalism to fight the oligarchs that control the world due to the loss of sovereignty.

    tariffs, duties, excise taxes, capital controls are all taxes on the rich. and they are despised by the rich.

    1. digi_owl

      Because the “left” talking, at least in MSM, are fake, petite bourgeois, “left” that want the open borders so they can move around like migrant birds. they are just as forked tongue as the xenophobic right that claim they want to close the borders, when all they really want is to toss refugees back into the seas as their businesses depend on the free flow of migrant workers to keep wages down and thus profits up.

      1. JBird4049

        Talking about the petite bourgeois (Neo)left our we? Those wannabe members of Professional and Mangerial Class apparatchiks of the ruling class?

      2. spud

        not really, talking about people like this,

        they have no real story to tell because they have no real chance of implementing their story, because they refuse to take into consideration that they are not fighting oligarchs from inside the country, they are fighting oligarchs from all over the world. see DAVOS.

        so as long as we provide complete fetter free open access to our country, no tariffs, excise taxes, duties, no capital controls, no real way to capture any tax, no regulation of commerce between the nations, those oligarchs will call the shots, and our government will not respond to our needs. and that is exactly what is happening now.

        trump tells a simple story, bill clinton free traded away your jobs, and its a true story.

        doesn’t matter if he will do anything about it. he is telling the deplorable what they already know. not some story about the distant past, and the refusle to acknowledge the present.

  30. Wukchumni

    A week into our mission in Utah, have prostelyzed on planks at 5 different ski resorts, with Snowbasin today being the most opulent, where the toilet stalls have marble floor and walls, along with gold-plated fixtures. The lunch room could be used for corporate board meetings, that posh.

    Owned by the heirs to the Sinclair Oil fortune, they spared no expense in bling there-done that.

    Snowing heavily and visibility down to bupkis, making do on snappy cocktails in the bar.

    Wonder if this is how the Donner Party fared in their travails?

  31. Willow

    Clearly not needed for bombing Gaza or even Hezbolah. Preparations for a war with Iran materially underway and soon?

    “ As part of the deal, the following will be transferred to Israel:

    – A squadron of F-35 jets (25 aircraft)
    – F-15AI squadron (25 aircraft)
    – Apache squadron (at least 12 combat helicopters)
    – Many thousands of weapons are expected to arrive in the coming days.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like the real target is Hezbollah in Lebanon. Gunna need those plans to bomb civilians, errr, Hezbollah soldiers. The Israelis have failed in Gaza so what better thing to do than to take on a much stronger opponent by opening up a real second front.

  32. JBird4049

    >>>I suppose now we’ll be arguing about that “invasion” means, along with “insurrection.”

    We haven’t reached the glorious Clintonian level of what is the meaning of the word “is” is have we? I thought that we had already gone past that to the post-modern truth that truth is what you want it to be, not what is, or reasonable or even plausible.

  33. skippy

    “level of what is the meaning of the word “is” is” – post modernism context ..

    Wellie mate how good is the halls of mirrors that is post modernism and one does not need to have a brain, but vacuously quote others to support an idea … style points for social and academic media demand it …

    Um … social/public choice theory maybe … market will sort it out … have no fear lol …

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